Madonna connects with her adoring audience (tour review - spoiler)

July 25, 2004

By Sonia Murray

 It is so easy to get caught up in the self - generated swirl that is Madonna.
 The sexually - charged themes of her music, performances and costumes over the course of her 21 professional years. The 'sex' book. The children's book. The kiss. The Kabbalah. And the latest about her wanting to be called Esther.
 It's enough to make you weary way before you learn that attending her greatest hits concert billed as the Reinvention Tour could cost you up to 0; one of the priciest tickets this summer for a star with fading record sales.
 But then you see Madonna alone on stage confidently strutting along the moving sidewalk during 'Nobody Knows Me,' or playing the guitar exceptionally well during 'Burning Up,' and it is hard not to marvel at the force she is all by herself.
 From the moment the 45 - year - old appeared on stage at Philips Arena in Victorian costume and ageless shape, until the confetti came down two hours later during 'Holiday,' Madonna's 'Reinvention' commanded the senses.
 Sometimes it was the jarring, jittery images flashed on the ever - changing screens of her backdrop.
 Even the brief interludes packed with trapeze artists, a skateboarder, a tap dancer, a bagpipe player and a drum corps deserved ovations.
 But Madonna simply, finally, appealing to her ravenous audience by doing her ever - catchy hits 'Vogue,' 'Express Yourself,' 'Material Girl,' after 'Into the Groove' and all was without question the biggest pleaser.
 The last time she performed in Atlanta, three years ago during the 'Drowned World' tour, her focus was current - album heavy and there was little to no attempt to connect with the audience. This time around there were holes on the side of the stage, MTV Awards - show style, so that fans could dance right along  though just below her.
 And there were plenty of opportunities. In fact, even thuds like 'American Skin (LIFE)' and that awful rapping the still - capable vocalist does during 'Mother and Father' became somehow slightly more tolerable reimagined for the live audience.
 'Don't ever tell me,' Madonna sang three - fourths into the concert, almost as if she was testifying. 'I saaaiiid don't ever tell me. Don't you ever, ever, ever, ever tell meeee. Toooo stoooop.'
 Yeah right Madonna, like you would listen.
 Or more importantly, after performances like this, like someone would actually suggest such a thing.

 CONCERT REVIEW
 Madonna Saturday night and tonight at Philips Arena.

 The Verdict
 Even more seamless than one of the most well - choreographed careers in pop musi
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