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Friday, September 28, 2012

Splat-ter of the Week: M-D-N-A... Madonna!

When Madonna tickets went on sale months ago, my friend, M, generously decided to bring the Splat-ospheric team along.  We had gone to see Madge eight or nine years ago and spent the whole night dancing, belting out her old hits, and bopping along to the occasional new song she sprinkled in among the classics.  We couldn’t wait to get into the groove again.

Four of us met up at M and G’s house on Sunday afternoon at 4.  It was early, but we wanted to allow plenty of time to park at G’s office on Independence Avenue and walk to the Verizon Center. 

Mother Nature can be a little stingy about doling out perfect weather here in DC but we can usually count on a bounty of it in September.  We savored the sun and seventy degree temps as we strolled a mile or so to meet more friends for an early dinner at Clyde’s right next to the arena.  Our group wrapped up dessert around 7:45 and asked for the check so that we could be in our seats for the 8 p.m. start time reflected on our tickets. 

None of us expected Madonna to start right at 8, and in that sense she met and exceeded our expectations.  We passed an hour making some idle chitchat and using our smartphones.  (These devices might deserve the criticism they get for the near-extinction of in-person interaction; however, they come in handy when you’re stuck waiting someplace and would love to bust out a newspaper but wouldn’t be caught dead walking in with the actual New York Times folded under your arm.)  

At 9:15, the Material Girl hadn’t materialized. We knew it was a bad sign when roadies set up a table and sound system for a DJ.  He took the stage and spun techno tunes for an hour.  We might not have minded had we felt like raving, but by this time we were in more of a mood to rant. 

Most of us can forgive lateness if we get a heads-up about it. That way we can do something with the extra time and aren’t entirely hostage to the situation.  But apparently our time is not so valuable to Madge, who is destined for greatness in customer service when she’s done with this music thing. 

She finally graced us with her presence at 10:30.  She made a grand, if sacrilegious, entrance.  But after she’d sung a couple songs from her unremarkable recent album, we wanted to hear some hits.  We saw some hits instead.  She performed her new song “Bang bang” against a backdrop of a seedy motel room, armed with a fake gun that she used to mow down every man that came her way.  With each hit, blood blanketed the movie screen behind her.  This kind of gory excess might work okay in a Tarantino film but doesn’t play as well at a live performance in a city that’s well-acquainted with gun violence. 

She followed that with a few dance classics so we forgave her.  But when she slowed “Like a Virgin” to the point of converting it to a funeral dirge, she lost us again.  We could be wrong but we think it’ll be a while before Madonna’s tune unseats “Amazing Grace” from the top spot on Billboard’s Morgue Hits countdown.  

She managed a partial redemption by closing with “Like A Prayer,” complete with gospel choir, but she’d dug a pretty deep hole.  Concertgoers that get home from the show at 2:00 a.m. on a Sunday night/Monday morning and have to work less than six hours later are frequently referred to as “former fans.”

The last time the team at Splat-ospheric waited over two hours for someone on an evening when we had high expectations was Senior Prom Night in 1989.  (Actual quote from our dad after 90 minutes had elapsed with no word from our date: “Do you think you’re being stood up?”) We didn’t warm up to that guy, either.

On the second night of her D.C. stint, not only did Madonna fail to rebound from her Sunday night splat but she compounded it by infusing her show with a political message.  She’s certainly not the only artist/entertainer to publicly endorse a candidate, or even the only one we’ve wished would shut up.  But she is the only one to implore fans to vote for Obama “because he’s a Black Muslim.” 

We regret that we have to pass up other worthy contenders to give the golden pancake to Madge. For example, the NFL almost overtook Miss Kabbalah U.S.A. for its spectacular mishandling of the referee lockout.  Fans groused about poor officiating for the first three weeks of the season but those grievances weren’t enough to spur the league to action.  The situation didn’t reach a tipping point until Monday night when the replacement refs botched a call in the final play of the Packers/Seahawks game, denying the Packers and interception and giving the Seahawks an unearned touchdown that propelled them to victory. 

Aside from aggravating fans, the mistake caused millions of dollars in bets to land in the wrong hands and dealt a serious blow to the gambling industry.  The President wasn’t about to stay silent in the face of a threat to one of the few prospering sectors of the economy so he issued a statement calling for league leaders to end the lockout.   On showing that he’s in touch with the issues that matter most to Americans, Obama pulled ahead in the polls. Mitt Romney followed with a statement of his own, condemning the bad call and noting that the replacement refs were “obviously ‘'47 percenters.'

While a worthy splat, the NFL referee fiasco was still no match for Madge. Judging by the looks of our girl she hasn’t touched a pancake since the last time we saw her on tour but we’re going to give it to her anyway.


  1. Try Springsteen next time he's in town - wait is less than an hour and concert goes nearly 4. Still the hardest working guy in show biz!

  2. With that kind of work ethic small wonder he's known as "The Boss." Thanks for the excellent advice!

  3. I'm caught between empathetic outrage and gleeful reveling that I no longer have to be as jealous of you as I was.

    1. Ha! Well, you can still be jealous of my dates if you'd like--they were stellar!