Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Madonna Wraps Up Controversial Confessions Tour in Tokyo

Madonna Ends Tour in Tokyo without Fuss
The controversial crucifixion scene

Madonna wrapped up her controversial yet highly successful Confessions Tour on Thursday September 21 at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo. Madonna’s Confession tour has been dogged by outrage and protest from religious groups throughout the world for her crucifixion performance.

Many have felt the act blasphemous and disrespectful to Christianity. Madonna countered this by saying the performance was designed to highlight the suffering of AIDS orphans in Africa.

The tour started on May 21 in Los Angeles and went through several major U.S. cities gaining notoriety as it went before leaping over to Europe and into another hotbed of controversy. Even the Pope got involved. From Russia, her tour flew to Japan where she performed without much fuss two nights each in Osaka and Tokyo. Originally she had planned to finish the tour in Australia but was unable to do so for logistical reasons.

By the time, the Confessions tour ended, Madonna had performed 60 shows in front of over a million people on three continents. The Confessions Tour grossed $193.7 million, the highest ever for a female artist.


The huge Tokyo Dome — taken from the nosebleed section

What shocked and angered religious groups was not the belly dancing, the male-slave horseback riding, nor the hedonistic glam rock-n-roll roller-skating. It was the crucifixion scene that sent them into catatonic fits of religious fervor. During one of her sets, Madonna was slowly raised up on a mirrored cross while wearing a crown of thorns. She sang “Live to Tell” while images were shown of the African AIDS crisis and its orphans.

Religious groups comprising Jews, Christians, and Muslims voiced outrage at what they saw as sacrilegious.

Madonna recently issued a public defense of her crucifixion scene:

“I am very grateful that my show was so well received all over the world. But there seems to be many misinterpretations about my appearance on the cross and I wanted to explain it myself once and for all.“There is a segment in my show where three of my dancers ‘confess’ or share harrowing experiences from their childhood that they ultimately overcame. My ‘confession’ follows and takes place on a Crucifix that I ultimately come down from. This is not a mocking of the church. It is no different than a person wearing a Cross or ‘Taking Up the Cross’ as it says in the Bible. My performance is neither anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous. Rather, it is my plea to the audience to encourage mankind to help one another and to see the world as a unified whole. I believe in my heart that if Jesus were alive today he would be doing the same thing.

“My specific intent is to bring attention to the millions of children in Africa who are dying every day, and are living without care, without medicine and without hope. I am asking people to open their hearts and minds to get involved in whatever way they can. The song ends with a quote from the Bible’s Book of Matthew:

“‘For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you took care of me and God replied, “Whatever you did for the least of my brothers… you did it to me.”‘

“Please do not pass judgment without seeing my show.”


Madonna tries to bring peace to the Middle East via modern interpretive dancing.

Madonna even invited the Pope to attend her show.


Madonna complete with riding crop and hat to go slaveback riding.

There was little fuss made in predominately non-Christian Japan. When the mirrored cross was raised there was little in the way of excessive cheers or jeers in Tokyo. For most of the Japanese audience, it was just part of the show.


Madonna with a T-shirt endorsement of Japanese sexual prowess

With the exception of the crucifixion scene, the Confessions Tour seemed far milder than earlier tours. In the early 1990s Madonna garnered notoriety with sex-laiden acts that included topless dancers, S&M outfits, simulated masturbation, and so forth. She particularly prickled Puerto Rico by rubbing their flag in her crotch.


Madonna as a re-imagined John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever

As for moi, I was way up in the stratosphere of the Tokyo Dome somewhere in the vicinity of the orbit of the planet Venus. The ticket still cost me a whopping $90! I only went because a Japanese girl wanted to go. I was more taken by the beer girls before the show. Truly working class heroes/heroines for the common man!


My heroine!

Still it was a fun concert. And whether I like her music or not is immaterial. As with any Gen Xer, Madonna is an intricate part of my pop-culture universe. Her songs ebbied and flowed in the background of my growing up experience influencing the style and thinking of my peers. We were either consciously or sub-consciously voguing, expressing ourselves, living to tell the secret to preaching papa’s, praying to Black Jesuses on our own private Isla Bonita while justifying our love to our virginal-like lucky stars. Personally, I think she was a far sight better than those god-awful hairbands of the late 80s.


One more for the liver, baby, onegaishimasu!

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than 20 years since Madonna made her debut during the baby years of MTV. Her original teenage audience are now in their late 30s to early 40s with young teenagers many of whom listen to Madonna today. One of my students told me that she saw Madonna in concert 18 years ago in Tokyo.

The amazing thing about Madonna has been her ability to re-invent herself. And she knows how to work the media to her benefit by shocking the hell out of conservative types. Despite calls for boycotting the concert, Madonna made more money than any female artist in concert ever has before. She should send donations to the religious groups who kicked up such a fuss that created all the free publicity.

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September 30, 2006 - Posted by | 1980s, 1990s, Blogroll, confessions, japan, madonna, media, music concert, tokyo, TV

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for sharing this information. Really is pack with new knowledge. Keep them coming.

    Comment by My Kids Website | August 16, 2007 | Reply


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