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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 28, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 39
Madonna still Queen of Pop
Arts & Entertainment
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Madonna still Queen of Pop

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

MADONNA
KEY ARENA
October 2 & 3


Many attempts have been made to dethrone her as Queen of Pop, a title Madonna rightfully earned by talent alone. That's not to say the Material Girl hasn't stirred the pot to grab headlines in her three-decade career, but whatever she does, and whatever she says, can be backed up with an unparalleled music catalog.

Some contenders have proven they're in for the long run, including Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Pink, Katy Perry, and Jennifer Lopez. Others simply ran out of gas, like Britney Spears, Shakira, and Janet Jackson. But Madonna has kept going and going. Some years and some albums were better than others, and she has to yet to be fully embraced by the film industry, but no female artist can touch Madge's world domination in record sales, Grammy and MTV awards, sold-out tours, and fan clubs in just about every country on the planet.

This year alone, Madonna appeared in the Super Bowl halftime show - a performance seen by 114 million people - and won her second Golden Globe for penning 'Masterpiece,' from the 2011 drama W.E., which she directed. She also launched her latest tour, in support of her new album, MDNA, this spring in Tel Aviv. The road outing has thus far plopped down in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, France, Germany, and Sweden, to name a few of the itinerary stops, and continues with a bulk of North American dates that squeezes in back-to-back Seattle concerts.

When the international superstar appears October 2 at Key Arena, it will be her first appearance here in 25 years. Her previous visit to the Emerald City was in July 1987 when the blob of cement called the Kingdome was still intact. Madonna had four albums under her belt then. Now she has 15, if you include the Evita soundtrack. Of the overwhelming number of hit singles from those albums, not to mention the ones folded into compilations and other movie soundtracks, an estimated 24 will be performed live on Tuesday and again on Wednesday.

We know that Madonna leans heavily on newer material for her shows, and this means five to six tracks from MDNA have been plucked for this tour. It's a safe bet that 'Give Me All Your Luvin' and 'Girl Gone Wild' made the cut, plus 'Masterpiece' and maybe 'Turn Up the Radio.'

The real quiz is what will the pop legend yank from her older recordings? 'Vogue' seems certain, coming off the Super Bowl high. Ditto for 'Like a Prayer' and 'Express Yourself.' If she reaches back to her debut, then 'Holiday' will momentarily grab the spotlight. 'La Isla Bonita' is said to have been retired, while 'Like a Virgin' has been on the set list too many times. 'Papa Don't Preach,' 'Who's That Girl?,' 'Open Your Heart,' 'True Blue,' 'Justify My Love,' and 'Dress You Up' are prime, since neither received any attention in the past two tours ('Dress You Up' did get included on a medley during the Confessions outing). And there's no way she's omitting 'Celebration' from the show, her best dance hit of the past five years.

Expect a long wait before Madonna takes the stage, something she's widely criticized for and doesn't seem to really care about. Expect lots of wardrobe changes, flashy set designs, sharp choreographed numbers, bare-chested men, two hours of music, appearances by Rocco Ritchie, and perhaps, if we're fortunate, a statement from the diva recalling her first tour performance of her career, at Seattle's Paramount Theatre with supporting act the Beastie Boys. Madonna could, in yet another bold shout-out to her Gay fan base, declare her support for the Approve R-74 campaign for marriage equality here in Washington. While performing in St. Petersburg this summer, she gave the middle finger to the Russian government with a boisterous speech on Gay rights and the display of a rainbow flag on stage.

This is nothing new, of course. Madonna has long been an outspoken ally of the LGBT community. In an era long before Lady Gaga marched on Washington - when Elton John was still in the closet, and when Gay men by the thousands were dying of AIDS - Madonna was using her fame to raise awareness of our community through song lyrics, music videos, and personal endorsements. Plus, her continued integration of Gay culture and artists in her work hasn't gone unnoticed.

Madonna performs October 2 and 3 at KeyArena. Show time both nights is 8 p.m. (although, as mentioned, she's never in a rush to go on stage). There's no opening act billed for either concert, but she occasionally has a touring DJ warm up the crowd with a short set. The first night is sold out, but tickets remain for the second. Go to www.ticketmaster.com for ticket information, and look for a review of Madonna's appearance in next week's issue.

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