Madonna concert receives mixed reviews

By Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 28-06-2012 11:25:00 · 5 Comments
Madonna concert receives mixed reviews

Otherwise good reviews for what should have been one of, if not the concert of the year in Portugal have been overshadowed by claims of off-key singing, under-par ticket sales and eccentric demands; the media scrutinised Madonna’s visit to Coimbra last Sunday night and were quick to provide detailed accounts of the Queen of Pop’s performance during her MDNA 2012 World Tour.

Lusa News Agency described the largely anticipated evening as "more than a musical concert, a spectacle of entertainment with lots of dancing and various performances, sound and visual effects."

This was a view backed by newspaper Público, which said: "It is a much more theatrical Madonna, at least during the first half hour [of the concert], that we see in Coimbra in comparison with the concert in Lisbon two years ago."

Notwithstanding the effort put into making the show look good, Lusa went on to report how, at certain points during the concert, the artist was somewhat off-form vocally.

"Madonna showed some vocal difficulties throughout the show, which started at 10pm, noticeable, for example, when she started off-key in ‘Papa Don’t Preach’, the fourth song of the night, which didn’t last longer than the first couple of verses and one chorus."

Contrarily, Publico claims ‘Papa don’t Preach’ and the song ‘Hung Up’ were cut short "to respect the very elaborate stage moments."

During her one hour and 46 minute performance Madonna changed outfits "at least five times", her absence between sets being filled with the screening of videos and dance routines by her 22-member troupe, Lusa noted.

Reports vary as to how long it took the iconic artist to address the Portuguese crowd, placing her first moment of interaction with the audience at somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes in.

The concert’s attendance has also been brought to the fore for being "far from being sold out"; "the announced ticket sale of 45,000 places was far from being sold out, with the grass area and all sections of the stand showing patches of empty seats", Lusa said.

National newspaper Correio da Manhã estimated around 35,000 people had attended the concert.

Coimbra’s City Stadium has a capacity of 30,210 for football games and up to 50,000 for concerts. Previous concerts held at that stadium, including U2 and the Rolling Stones, were both sell-outs and used as measuring sticks for Madonna’s poorer turnout.

The song ‘Sagaro Jo’ proved to be one of the evening’s musical highlights, during which the singer defended the freedom of speech and encouraged everyone to respect themselves as well as respecting others, a conditioning factor for there to be no more war, she said.

Towards the end of the concert, Lusa reported, the singer once again started to show signs of vocal troubles when during the song ‘Erotic Candy Shop’ she was "out of tune on the low notes, unable to hold the notes and didn’t even attempt to sing the high notes, making it noticeable that that part of the performance was mimed."

It wasn’t until the artist sang one of her older and more controversial songs, ‘Like a Prayer’, the penultimate song on the tour’s repertoire, "that the show started to feel like a real concert." Backed by a gospel group it was during this song that the public began to sing along with and applaud Madonna, especially when she emerged with a Portuguese flag, Lusa reported.

During a press conference last week Álvaro Ramos, of concert promoters Ritmos & Blues, revealed a few of the star’s demands ahead of her performance in Coimbra.

He confirmed rumours that her dressing room would be sterilised by a specialised team after her departure, so no hair, spot of salvia or other trace of DNA belonging to the star remained.

Other demands included Portuguese wine, that all dressing rooms had only one key to them, that her dressing room was completely re-covered and redecorated with false walls and ceilings to prevent hidden cameras, and that the Portuguese promoters had no access to the dressing rooms at all during the show.

He said: "We have to take extreme care, like I have never seen for any other artist. We cannot even look at the dressing room, after it is ready, or even open the door."

He revealed that the Portuguese staff would only be allowed to re-enter the dressing room "after her sterilisation team has left the room. There will not be any of Madonna’s DNA, any hair, or anything.

"They will clean up everything. In the end it is all to protect her and make her feel comfortable.

"I do understand it, but it is taken to extremes."

Madonna’s MDNA tour kicked off on 31 May and before reaching Portugal had already passed through the UAE, Turkey, Italy and Spain. Coimbra was the singer’s third concert in Portugal.

See page 51 of the printed edition for an interview with Madonna’s guitarist Monte Pittman.


The concert was sheer unadulterated rubbish. The concert was not about what the audience wanted and deserved in these harsh economic times. When everyone in the seat section was seated throughout the concert except for the first and last songs, it speaks volumes. I did not go for a techno display, but to hear her hits interspersed with new material. She should give up now. She has become ridiculous.

by Lynn from Other on 01-07-2012 08:21:00

By taking her DNA with her, she is making sure that no one creates another Jurassic park, with her as the star.

by PMM from Other on 30-06-2012 06:38:00

Madonna's MDNA show is the greatest show on earth by miles

by Alan from UK on 29-06-2012 08:06:00

This article is ridiculous. Totally.

This the best show on earth. Perfect.

Absolutely perfect.

by Alex from Other on 29-06-2012 05:00:00

But no one can beat the Queen of Pop. The concert was spectacular. Excellent i should say.

by Ronaldo from Lisbon on 29-06-2012 11:42:00
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