Although it’s nice to finally have some official word direct from the woman herself, Madonna’s tardy apology to her Australian fans is perhaps too little too late for many of her admirers across the country today. The day I found out – just under two months ago – that Australia was off the MDNA tour itinerary I was sitting at my desk at work, counting down till 5 o’clock. It was 2pm that I had heard the bad news, and at 2:30 I swiftly left and explained there had been a “family emergency” (I know), and spent the next 90 minutes on a delayed train hiding my puff-pastry eyes with huge aviator sunglasses. Once again, Madonna had just as easily torn my hopes to pieces as she did build them. Here is the “video”, which is actually just audio.
The story is the same; Madonna discusses the horror of balancing a personal life that revolves around her children and her role as The Queen of Pop, using it once more to justify not coming to Australia. Interestingly, Madonna only admits to not bringing her tour to Australia last time; 2008’s Sticky & Sweet Tour. However, if my Year 9 math studies serve me correctly, it’s actually been the last three tours now that Madonna has failed to bring to Australia, once again after countless promises that she would be here next time.
This recycled excuse can only be legitimately used so many times. If Madonna was honestly trying her best to bring the tour to Australia then perhaps she would have started the first leg of it down this side of the world? Something I’ve said on this blog a million times before. Finally shut those Aussies up and kick off the tour down under and perhaps leave countries like Russia and France to either sit at the end of the tour dates or – like us in Australia – just completely detour them. It’s not like she hasn’t taken the last couple of tours to these countries, correct? I understand there is nobody to make a political statement for in Australia, but how about just coming because we really love you and have been treated to broken promises for so long? How hard is it – really – to commit to a few dates in Australia? Time and time again Madonna has continued to let her army in Australia down, whilst ungrateful fans in areas where her tour has graced its presence with are booing her and calling her a slut as she performs – and for the umpteenth time in their country. It’s a frustrating process to have to watch every Madonna tour via shoddy bootleg camcorder recordings and YouTube links before the DVD arrives, but it’s an annoyance I have more than become accustomed to. Australia may be a length away but that doesn’t stop big-named acts with even bigger-stage-productions like Lady Gaga and U2 touring the country; and if you recall, US pop-rocker P!NK proved there was an incredible amount of money to be made in Australia – the time and effort she put into working the country has been reciprocated; P!NK could release three minute audio of a plastic bag being ruffled and it would still debut at #1 on the ARIA singles chart. Madonna’s chart successes in Australia have dwindled since her no-show for 2006’s ‘Confessions Tour.’ Bypassing Australia once more is going to prove most detrimental to M’s sales; Aussies flock to record stores when artists come for a visit but Madonna’s lack of promotion for MDNA bar the actual tour has been non-existent. So, if the tour is in itself part of a promotional package spurred on by the MDNA album, does Australia’s removal from the itinerary mean the artist has absolutely no interest in promoting herself, and thus restricting her sales, in this particular country? How are we supposed to feel after each tour is announced, the same countries get first pickings whilst Australia’s left on the maybe back-burner for a grueling and lengthy period before that maybe is swiftly turned into a No?
The jig is up.
The excuse may be the same and in turn it is probably genuine, but how can we trust a woman who has cried wolf now a total of three times? If you recall, Guy Oseary, Madonna’s manager, tweeted months ago that “I’ve already made a promise to Australia and I intend on keeping my word.” Guess that’s just another promise to bite the dust then? I’m not going to turbulent extremes by trashing my enormous Madonna collection (OH MY GOD I COULD NEVER GURL) or shipping them off to the highest bidder as some other Australian fans have been in light of all this news, but who’s to say how I’ll handle the heartbreak a sixth time? What happens then? Whatever happens, I’ll be blissfully posting positively about her work on the blog and pretend like nothing has happened beyond this post. Bit hard to forget about it though, and the first time I watch the MDNA Tour on DVD, I’ll be emotional for all the wrong reasons.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Madonna’s career. But at the 30 year mark of her career things are not as they were when she embarked on her tall body of work; there’s a new Pop diva vying for her title and she didn’t have a family to worry about back in those days either. Times have changed, but as seasons and eras go by, the Aussie fans (the ones of us that are left) still want to see their Goddess on their turf. Australia should have been more than just an oversight with earlier bookings, but what can you do. And as for the record MDNA itself, it has a lot of strong songs with heavy weak-points, proving the album itself was too much of a rush-job to coincide with the launch of the tour. I plan on going into MDNA’s content with great detail later in the week, and I’ll go through where I think the records problems lie and where it truly delivers Classic Madonna Anthems. But in hindsight, how powerful would an album containing around four monolithic ballads be, as xolondon has once suggested? How amazing would it be to see her working with Patrick Leonard, Stephen Bray or even Jellybean again? Nile Rogers?! At the 30 year point she seems hellbent on self-referencing; so why not self-reference even further by creating some sure-fire radio-ready hit singles? And some solid, indisputable album tracks to go along with it? Put those old producers and songwriters in a room someone like Stuart Price or Mirwais (an underrated element to Madonna’s body of work), making it this massive composition of old and new, making something completely fresh and interesting that puts Madonna in the front-line once again as Pop’s reigning First Lady. In my eyes she still is, but I’m not sure I can say the same for everyone else; particularly older fans who have, in recent years, turned their backs on her completely and given up. Why is it so hard for a woman with such a long history in exciting the masses to understand what her fans – the ones she’s had for years and not just since the release of Born This Way - want so much? I feel like some better decisions could be made here, and if there had been, maybe the press and those ready to kick Madonna by-routine whenever she’s down wouldn’t be laying into her so much.
You know, in that audio message Madonna sarcastically says she was going to write everybody a letter. Well perhaps she should start with maybe not me, but the people around me who’ve had to put up with my incessant whining and sulking whenever you’ve bypassed a tour. Actually I’d love a letter thanking me, personally, for my near-29 years in service to this woman. I may not be rich enough to fly overseas to see her tour in another country but there isn’t a day I don’t spent a good hour or two doing something that is related to Madonna’s body of work. I don’t feel like I’m entitled to some personal apology but after all that it certainly wouldn’t hurt.
For gods sake Madonna, come and tour Australia, stop trying to win over new fans with your choons and start making songs to keep the fans you already have – before it’s too late. And maybe that personally signed letter too if you haven’t completely disowned me.
(Amazing picture at the top of the post taken from the stunning Madonnarama.com)