OA: Madonna out to get fan base back

DENVER — How does a Material Girl get by without the actual Justin Timberlake to sing the hit “4 Minutes” when faced with a sold-out crowd?

She resorts to technology.

Tuesday night, Madonna draped herself along one of four moving panels showing video of Timberlake as she delivered her part of the song laden with sexy horns and hip-hop sound meshed with drumbeats.

It was this duet with Timberlake released in March on “Hard Candy” that sealed the deal that Madonna is on a mission for a serious recapture of her home-country fans.

And they seemed to take her seriously Tuesday, with the first of two sold-out shows at the Pepsi Center and her first live appearance in Colorado.

I watched football with my father for at least 18 years to see the Denver Broncos win a Super Bowl.

I waited even longer — 25 or more — to see Madonna perform in Colorado.

What I once thought impossible came to be. The wait paid off. And then some.

Madonna opened her “Sticky & Sweet” tour stop in Denver with colorful backdrop visuals of peppermints and candy corn, and she performed with dancers in suits and top hats.

Regardless of the number of times her fans might have seen the 1980s “Blond Ambition” tour VHS video filmed in Paris, seeing the song “Like a Prayer” performed live was still astounding. Backdrops flashed
Biblical-style calligraphy and “commandments” that seemed to mostly paraphrase the popular love chapter in the Book of Corinthians. 

Several concertgoers dressed up in Madonna fashions from different genres. Some ventured back to her 1980s style, just after she started to take off in the music business and not long after she left Detroit to chase a dream in New York City with nothing but a teddy bear and $25.

In a throwback to the 1980s, the CD cover of “Hard Candy” pays tribute to Annie Lennox’s old look.

“Sweet Dreams,” one of Madonna’s transition songs during the show, further cemented a Lennox tie.

During one song, Madonna donned large, white heart-shaped glasses, similar to those sold out at the
T-shirt stand in the Pepsi Center lobby.

She reminded the audience of the early 1990s with the way she costumed her dance troupe for “Vogue” with barely-there garments some of us don’t want to remember. 

Crowd favorites were “Like A Prayer,” “Get Into The Groove,” “She’s Not Me,” “Music” and “Borderline.”

There were times Madonna would hold a guitar, but it didn’t seem she was actually playing it.

The show could have included a few ballads that Madonna is known for. Some of the costuming was overdone: a pair of dancers donned large silver helmets for “Ray of Light” and fluttery pastels for the “Sweet Dreams” transition.

Madonna started her high-energy show more like the creative rock icon we all recall her as. As the show went on, she became more serious, with a show reflective of the British techno music culture from the country she has called home for most of the last decade.



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