Tonight I had the distinct pleasure of attending the MDNA Tour Screening at the Paris Theatre in New York.
The fans were let into the theatre at about 7:30 after many issues with the red carpet delayed entry to the venue. Once inside about twenty fans were given access to the first two rows of seats in the downstairs area. The rest were granted balcony tickets. When we made it to our seats, a representative from EPIX came by and handed out sheets of paper to certain fans with pre-approved questions for the Q & A which would take place after the film.
Between 7:30 and 8:30 the theatre filled up with many crew members, dancers, and random celebrities including Martha Stewart, Debi Mazar, and Anderson Cooper. Madonna posted a photo of herself in Marlene Dietrich inspired clothing and the room erupted in people talking about her photo. Within 10 minutes, Madonna was in the auditorium – greeted by tons of applause. She kissed a few friends and quickly took her seat. The movie began shortly afterwards.
The film starts with a montage of the dancers preparing for the show, getting into hair and makeup, while a graphic overlay of what resembles the moving blocks from Celebration fills the screen. The title MDNA appears and the show begins.
Without giving away too many spoilers, I will say that the film is unlike any Madonna concert DVD that has ever been produced. Fans will be happy to know that the sound mix is incredible. Madonna’s voice is strong, clear, and not overly processed. The sound in the movie theatre was amazing, and the mix has added several details that weren’t exactly noticeable in the live show.
What some fans may not like is that there is a very obvious lack of continuity from shot to shot. Shots of the shiny Party Rock pants in the transgression section are mixed with shots of the normal pants worn on all the other dates of the tour. Faces at the tip of the Triangle change from shot to shot. Clips from the Olympia show are very obvious when there is suddenly a catwalk jutting out. The “Prophecy” section of the show features Madonna’s different variations on her braided leather dress – sleeveless vs. with sleeves. Like a Prayer shows what looks like 30 different fans singing along with her – this however was BEAUTIFULLY done.
There are also some very surprising and unique moments. For the first time since The Virgin Tour, fans get tiny glimpses of what goes on backstage while Madonna and the dancers are changing between certain songs. It’s beautifully done and total treat to see. The Like a Virgin / Love Spent mashup is done completely in black and white and is so amazingly and uniquely edited words simply cannot describe it. Freeze frames and photos from various shows make up a large portion of the segment.
Fans will be very pleased to know that the editing is beautifully cinematic. There are very few of the choppy half second shots that define the Sticky and Sweet Tour DVD. There are stunning closeups, some of which last over 10 seconds. The sweeping cameras are amazing and provide amazing and unique shots. Hung up features footage from what seems to be a ceiling camera, providing angles that the audience never saw of the show. The colors were so brilliant and vibrant and didn’t have that overly saturated look that the previews for Give Me All Your Luvin had.
I could try and pick out highlights but literally every song had a unique and amazing quality to it. One fan was overheard leaving the theatre saying “I only saw the show twice, and this made me love it so much more. I noticed so many more details than I did seeing it live. Songs that I didn’t like I loved seeing in the movie.” I asked another fan later if they noticed the continuity issues and was told “not at all”. Maybe that’s my attention to details after seeing the show so many times.
Fans now only have to wait a few more days before making their own judgements. But overall the response of the film was exceptionally positive.
Once the film ended, a full drum corps came out into the theatre and played a crazy upbeat rhythm while the credits rolled. When they finished Madonna was introduced for the Q&A. She came out pointing at fans she recognized from the Golden Triangle and was very chatty with some. Madonna explained that her outfit was inspired by Marlene Dietrich was was at the ribbon cutting of the Paris Theatre.
She expressed that this premiere marked the end of the MDNA era. The first (pre-scripted) question asked was how she was able to do the tour every night. She said it was the hardest tour she’d ever done. “If you don’t leave a pound of flesh on the stage every night, you didn’t do your job”. She talked about the dancers workshops, working with her kids on the tour, her sense of style, and more. When asked about her workout routine during the tour – “I did the show every fucking night!” After about 10 minutes of questions, the last question – what is your next project – was met with a teaser trailer of the SECRETPROJECT. With that, Madonna was off the stage and gone!
Video courtesy of Boyculture.com