Just in time to catch up with my bestie, and BOOM here we are at 3pm on the dot, lining up in front of the O2 World Arena, waiting to have the time of our lives. Well you may think that arriving 5 hours before the show actually starts is a little bit (too) early, but when it comes to The Queen, no way I’m gonna risk ending up in the 15th row, watching the whole concert on a screen. I WANT TO SEE HER!
It’s ok, as she puts it so well, “time goes fast, so slowly”. We thought about everything: a bottle of prosecco (cheap champagne for the non-Germans), and we’re just killing time, “bitching” about all the people there : because no, we weren’t the first crazies in line!
By the way, a little tip for you guys if you plan to go to the concert, you know there’s a private stage where only a select number of people are allowed… right? Well,to access this VIP area, no special ticket is needed, all you have to do is get there early enough, and then some people on the staff come along and choose a few lucky ones who will get a chance to experience the show as VIP’s. They use an iPad game-thingy that basically feels like playing the slot machines at a casino. Well, BIG surprise WE LOST, of course, so no VIP area for us. Fair enough, this won’t bring us down, one hour left before the doors open and we are already drunk as hell.
6.30pm, the doors finally open, everybody is running, we finally end up in the 3rd row: not too bad.
8pm, opening act, Martin SOLVEIG comes in for for his DJ set and plays for about an hour “live” (not sure about that). Well the guy looks pretty good and he’s obviously full of good intentions, but the crowd is not exactly buying it and not really following anything he’s doing, I mean of course, we paid something like 100 euros (or more), waited outside for 5 hours ( and more for some others), so sorry Martin you may be the best DJ in the world ( and I PERSONALLY ADORE YOU) but you know, let’s cut the crap right now and say it out loud : I WANT MADONNA
Yes I do, because to tell you the truth, that was my first time, so I wanted it to be special and I had o lot of expectations.
OK Martin’s set is finally over, and we are just….hum…waiting. 9pm….9.30….9.45…. HOLY SHIT the huge curtain that was covering the stage finally comes down…SCREAMING everywhere…and..nothing..they’re just building the stage right in the front of our teary eyes..THAT my friends, was, in my humble opinion, THE biggest fail everrrrr…10pm…some people start to boo..10.15pm, YES, here we are the show finally starts. OK for all of you people who didn’t see the show I won’t reveal too much, just give you my impressions.
The concert WAS GREAT and no sorry i am no Madonna fan, ok? I’m just your regular Britney FAN , so I am NOT exaggerating anything here! *wink*.
I mean, really, she totally OWNS the stage from the beginning till the end. The whole thing is just mind-blowingly perfect, at first I don’t even know where to look because there is so much going on. All the dancers (something like 30???), all the videos, the animations, it is really something. I’ve been to my fair share of concerts, but nothing like that.
Let’s talk about Madonna for a sec’: she does sing, and I was surprised because I heard that she wasn’t that good of a singer, but to be perfectly honest it was really good, seriously. One of the best openings I’ve seen too. She really worked the stage. There was so much going on, it was like going to the theatre. Her performance on stage is nothing short of super-human, i mean the show is like 1H50, nearly 2hours and i promise you there is no downtime, no time to rest and for a 53 year old woman, some may say granny, that’s pretty impressive. Speaking of which, I do wish my granny was like her, it would be so much funnier (wait… i just realized writing that, that my granny is actually dead, whatever, you get my point, right?)
Concerning the track list there is something for everyone, you can be a die-hard fan or just like her, you’ll be happy. Of course there’s a lot of songs from her MDNA album, but some older ones too, so don’t worry.
The other thing I wanted to talk about is her costume: there was no ”I am an 16 year old girl” thong-time…and this was really nice. I mean of course she’s not wearing a night gown and granny panties either but her look, is kind of, and i say kind of, that of a “normal” 53 year old woman (OK, one with a beautiful body, but still). No slutty outfits, really.
Did i mention that we were in the 3rd row already? yes, well. I got to see her up close, and her face looks OK (YES I DO KNOW THAT SHE IS WEARING MAKE UP, THANKS!), no monster-face. She just looks 53 ( YES SHE PROBABLY GOT SOME WORK DONE), but you know like totally fine. I can see it coming, some of you will ask “so it was the perfect concert?” Well no. It wasn’t perfect.
The only thing that was really REALLY annoying, was hummm… THE CROWD. MY GOD, seriously the German crowd sucks so freakin’ muuuch (sorry, guys). Nobody was dancing, and if you had the bad idea of going a little too crazy with your dance moves, the people next to you would immediately tell you “NEIN!” (that means no, for the non-Germans). I was so disappointed. Why on earth would you, for God’s sake, buy pit tickets and if you refuse to dance?! THAT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE NOW DOES IT?
When we heard the first notes of “like a prayer” me and my friends started going INSANE, like OHH MYYY GOOD, LIKE A PRAYYYYER, LIKE A FUCKING PRAYYYYYER… and people around us were like dead quiet. I went to a couple other concerts in Berlin, and i have to admit, German crowds are less energetic than others (French for example). It was, you know, the only drawback. So if you’re still wondering whether or not you’re gonna go to Madonna’s concert, well, seriously, buy your ticket already, because it really IS worth every penny. And if you’re going to see her this Saturday in Berlin, well, hum…..I don’t know…just WAKE UP, RELAX and enjoy the show, GOD DAMN IT! This isn’t a funeral, people! Have fun and PAR-TAY, OK?
Madonna is on “Vanity Fair Italy” (No Cover Magazine) with a short “one page” article about the “turn up the radio” set in Tuscany.
Thanx to Mad(e) In Italy for the scan
Many thanx to our friend Golan Haziza for these photos
Cool photos from the 70’s and today!
Professional photographer from Beverly Hills, California, who addressed the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle in Hollywood encompassing pop, punk and rock bands that included the Faces with Rod Stewart, David Bowie, Robert Plant, Sex Pistols, and of course … Madonna
Madonna with her brothers and sisters
Madonna and paparazzi
GANG BANG / PAPA DON’T PREACH / HUNG UP
TURN UP THE RADIO
HUMAN NATURE / LIKE A VIRGIN
Monte Pittman has played on every one of Madonna’s live tours since her 2001 Drowned World Tour. Last weekend he played in Coimbra on the Portuguese leg of the legendary artist’s latest MDNA 2012 World Tour. Here, he talks to The Portugal News about following dreams, the importance of being able to play live, and “figuring it all out.”
“I lovePortugal! I’m so glad Madonna chose to do a show here. I’m a big fan of Portugal. It’s really good for the throat”, he says.
Born inLongview,Texas, Pittman grew up listening to the likes of Ace Frehley, Metallica (which had “a massive influence on me and still do”) and other bands in their genre: “Slayer, Anthrax, Testament. All of the Thrash bands. That was so new and fresh when it came out. Steve Vai was a big influence when I first got a guitar. Ottmar Liebert is an incredible guitar player and a huge influence on me from the other side of that spectrum”, he reveals.
Aspiring to reach the heights soared by his idols, at the age of 24 Monte Pittman took a leap of faith and moved to LA to pursue his dream.
“It was tough leaving all of my family and friends”, he says, adding: “I played in a band there called Myra Mains and we were doing great. I figured if things didn’t work out I could always move back. I almost did a few times. There’s really no place I’ve ever been likeLongview. It was hard leaving.”
Pittman’s hometown is no stranger to talent. Country singers Neal McCoy and Sunny Sweeney and actors Matthew McConaughey and Forest Whitaker are among the locals who made it big.
“Growing up, Pantera were the local hometown heroes fromDallas. That had a huge impact on me. Now maybe more than it did then. Also, just down the road in Gilmer is where Freddie King is from. I think he was one of the best guitarists to ever walk the Earth!”
Following his move to LA Pittman found a job in a guitar centre but quickly realised he was “better at teaching than selling”, so started providing guitar lessons. Coincidentally, his third student would be British filmmaker Guy Ritchie, who had just received a guitar from his girlfriend, Madonna.
Soon after, Monte was introduced to the iconic performer and the rest, as they say, is history.
Revisiting his days as a guitar teacher, Pittman recalls: “I kind of did things like that on the side (or so I thought) when I really wanted to start a band or join a band. It’s only now that I’ve really started to have things happen from playing on my own.”
At one point Pittman started a band called ‘The Citizen Vein’, with singer Adam Lambert (runner-up of American Idol, season eight),TommyVictor on bass (“one of my favorite guitar players”), and Steve Sidelnyk on drums; “but it was hard to get everyone in the same place to do anything. Who knows what we could have done.”
The Citizen Vein met its end when Lambert went on American Idol; “so then I had to go back to the drawing board. That’s how I went back to playing on my own and started really taking it seriously.”
Rave reviews following an acoustic opening for a rock band gave Pittman the confidence boost he needed to work even harder at going solo: “It’s been a long road to get where I am now. I can say I’ve made several mistakes along the way but on the other hand I feel like everything is exactly as it’s supposed to be”, he reflects.
While getting off a tour bus at 5am to check into a hotel may not be quite as thrilling as many may perceive world touring to be, “travelling the world and having experiences in places I never imagined ever going” more than make up for jetlag.
One of the biggest downsides for Pittman though, is being away from friends and family: “but that seems to be a re-occurring theme with me”, he quips.
“Luckily, we have technology to communicate. It’s painfully gut-wrenching being away from my wife and kids but then again, this is my job and I have a job to do.”
Despite spending vast lengths of time on the road, Pittman likes to keep his finger on the pulse of the music industry.
“My favourite band I’ve found that’s recent is called ‘Now, Now’. Their new album ‘Threads’ is one of my favourites this year, next to Meshuggah’s ‘Koloss’”, he shares.
With regards to the wave of manufactured bands and TV-sourced talent that has washed through the music scene in recent decades, Pittman believes “Everything in music runs in cycles.” “From the Theory of it to the actual seasons of styles. Every time something spectacular has come around there had been a void to fill or a merging of styles. The talent shows are really nothing new. Star Search was a big thing in the 80’s. There’s always good music out there. A lot of musicians I know aren’t very fond of Spotify [Swedish music streaming service] because it’s kind of the nail in the coffin as far as musicians making money from albums, but I think it’s a great way to find new music and preview it before you go buy it. We are in a transition period.”
Now the author of two albums, Pittman’s own works are deep, thought-provoking and story-telling.
“It’s something that just comes to me. You don’t write a song, you channel it from a higher power. Songs are gifts. When I put together ‘Pain, Love, & Destiny’ I didn’t realise that everything together told a story until I was done writing it. My first album ‘The Deepest Dark’ also has a message of starting off ‘Cold’ and in the dark and finding light and love from that journey. It’s not how you stay on the horse; it’s how you get back on WHEN you fall off…”
His advice for youngsters looking at starting out on a journey similar to his is quite simply, “to follow that dream.”
“Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something. But don’t be stubborn about things. You have to be able to play live. The days of selling albums aren’t what they used to be. For me, versatility has been something that has helped me out in several situations.”
So with two albums of his own and a decade of touring with one of the biggest names ever to grace the music industry under his guitar-belt, what’s next for the boy fromLongview?
“I feel like I’m just getting started with doing things on my own. I’m just figuring it all out. In the next couple of weeks on a day off, I’m going to start recording my third album. That’s my main goal after I get off this tour. I feel like I’m just getting out of college and now it’s time to go to work!
See Monte’s website: http://www.montepittman.com
To purchase or listen to his new album: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/