She left us for an eternity with an earthbound passion, an innate sense of confidence and a drive that any woman would strive to unleash on the world. The woman of a thousand faces to greet her was Madonna. And as much as we respect her, we, the people who came to see her in Canada this Friday, felt like we had to root for her. And support her. And inspire her. Because that’s what she did for us when we needed her.
She’s also a legend, and that legacy can be seen through all her adoring supporters – the people who have long proudly flocked to her. Born in New York and raised in Canada, Madonna has brought us strength, strength of character, sexual self-acceptance, sass and a hard-fought willingness to embrace her flaws in a way that many (myself included) had found difficult or unimaginable. Backed by a tight five-piece band, our standard of excellence was set immediately at Scotiabank Arena. That’s what we expected. We’d been waiting for her. Because finally, after more than 30 years touring, if she were to go into Chicago, she’d be playing for the public. It’d be an occasion and we’d get to show her a reason to sing. A reason to dance.
But no. In an unexpected and humiliating snub, all the world learned from the pre-show press release before the show began that the show would be “singles only”, “no encores”, and “no new material”. An action that sent a resounding message to fans around the world (including Canadians, who have been through the heartbreak of thinking they’d paid $2,300 and waited more than an hour to hear an introduction to Madonna’s only new song this tour). On live TV. During her big opening night.
I blame the old guard of music tour promoters who believe that given the ability to scale up from stadiums to arenas (or worse, from touring into China and Russia to playing for the masses, without the need for a shred of new content) that a song here and a new track there are all that’s needed to keep cash registers ringing. A problem, of course, that Madonna has faced many times, yet she never seems to blink. It’s so hard to put into words.