Yesterday I went into London to see Madonna at the O2 Arena. We drove to the edge of London, parked and then got the tube in the rest of the way. Unfortunately the Jubilee Line was shut and so we had to take the Docklands Light Railway to East India, where we caught a river ferry to get across to the dome. Therefore the journey was a mix of car, train, boat and on foot.
It was the first time I have been inside the Dome, having seen it many times from the outside. If you have not been there it is an amazingly huge structure. Inside there is a large reception area with a big variety of restaurants around the outer edge of the dome. We made our way past the sellers of Madonna souvenir programmes (£20 each) and headed to the Brazilian restaurant “Rodizio Rico”. I have never been to a Brazilian restaurant before. We helped ourselves to the buffet and then a never-ending stream of young waiters came around with various cooked meats on skewers and proceeded to carve off pieces onto our plates. The meat included everything from chicken wings and chicken hearts, to roast beef and roast ham. It was very, very tasty!
Feeling rather stuffed we made our way to our entrance to the arena which is in the centre of the dome. We had paid almost £100 but were in the seats almost furthest from the stage, right up “in the gods”. Those closest to the stage had paid around £500 for the privilege. We arrived at about 7:30pm and had to wait until around 9:20pm before the lights faded and Madonna appeared. Apparently she doesn’t like air-conditioning, as it affects her voice, and so the arena was a sweatbox. I am just glad that I paid almost £5 for a large Fanta orange drink with ice.
The show began with an amazing graphic display and the emergence of Madonna on a throne from the central panel at the back of the stage. She began with “Candy Shop” and went through a wide repertoire which included remixed versions of classics like “Holiday”, “Vogue”, “Die Another Day” and “Human Nature”. She also performed a tribute to Michael Jackson of “Billy Jean” and “Wanna be Starting Something”, with a Jackson look-a-like dancer on stage. This was well received by the packed arena. She performed a set of Latino rhythm songs during which Madonna played on an electric guitar. The final part of the concert was made up with a selection of more contemporary club tracks with a fantastic laser display.
The whole concert was backed up with some amazing effects and graphics on the big screens behind the stage. However, there was also a “video cylinder” which could be moved around and was used extremely effectively to portray waterfalls and other effects. There was also a car and a boxing ring on stage at various points. There is no doubt that Madonna has mastered the art of theatricality, with her show being as much about the theatre of it as the music.
The 2008/09 Sticky and Sweet Tour has already grossed over $270m with almost every date selling out within minutes of the tickets going on sale. Looking at the price of the programmes and other merchandise (T-shirts were £75 each) I would imagine that it will easily exceed $500m in total.
All in all it was a fantastic experience but I would hope that for future concerts I could get better tickets and be a little closer to the action. I hope that the YouTube clips from her tour give you some impression of what an incredible spectacle the whole experience is.