I’ve been neglecting things here lately because, mostly, I’ve been slave to feelings of *I should be doing something more important*, even if not actually doing so. This means I’ve missed the perfunctory 2008 wrap-up post. So over the next few weeks I’ll try to cover the key points, at least. These are: Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet tour and Kyliex2008, both of which my meandering search-for-meaning activities managed to get me to last year (or in Kylie’s case, 3 times). So to get the ball rolling, here’s my take on Sticky & Sweet, a profoundly disappointing tour.
But I should be honest. My perception of Sticky & Sweet is skewed in two ways. Firstly, by the absolute wonder of the Confessions tour, and secondly, Madge’s ill-fated decision to purchase slightly too large and distracting cheek implants. This means that, for me at least, the whole show is infused with a sense of decay, decline, tragic-fending-off-ageing-but-failing, and various other negative associations. But also, aesthetically, the show just wasn’t very good.
Whereas Confessions seemed like a holistically conceived and realised masterpiece (and I’m not exaggerating), Sticky seemed slightly av. As in the kind of show you might get from Janet Jackson or Xtina. But not a Madonna masterpiece. Here are some of the problems:
1. Awful costumes that accentuated Madge’s gruesome and ghoulish new look.
2. Crass lighting and visual imagery that seemed cheap and cheerful.
3. Too much bodgy guitar. Look, we know you can’t really play guitar, so if you need a rest just do what every other superstar does and keep the crowd in a holding pattern with a “dance” interlude while you take a break.
4. A bizarre “gypsy” interlude (when in fact, Madge seemed to be sitting on floor cushions, perhaps also taking a little mini-break)
5. A profound sense of soullessness and lack of joy.
6. The fact that Hard Candy is just not that good. And no Stuart Price.
While, yes, she can still dance, I was left with the impression that this was some kind of tipping point moment on the way to a more Cher-like freak show era. And yes, a lot of this is about age. Watching Confessions in 2005, it really did seem like Madge had valiantly thwarted the ageing process. Not just because she had a more subtle face lift at the time (presumably), but also because she really did seem to be at the top of her game in every aspect. But now there’s the sense that yes, she’s human, and that also, for the moment at least, she’s lost her way. Looking forward to the comeback.
Her sugar is RAW.