Concert Review : Madonna at Quicken Loans Arena

Madonna and opening act Paul Oakenfold performed at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night.

I arrived at the venue around 9:00 and DJ Paul Oakenfold was already on stage. At first I thought we had missed most of his set but he performed until about 9:45. I don't know much about Oakenfold but after about 20 minutes of listening to him I was ready for it to be over. This was a concert not a giant dance party. He seemed a little goofy on stage bopping his head and waving his arms. He's an excellent DJ but it wasn't what I was there to see.

When Oakenfold finally left the stage around 9:45 I assumed Madonna would be on in about 15 minutes. Her official set time was 10 pm. It wasn't until 10:40 that the Material Girl appeared on stage. At this time the crowd seemed beyond restless.

She opened the show with a Gregorian Chant which eventually led into "Revolver", " Gang Bang" and "Papa Don't Preach". During this segment of the show Madonna and her dancers were carrying guns and shooting each other in front of a large screen with blood images splattered across it. It was intense and in this day we live in I think that it offended a lot of people. It wasn't my favorite part of the show but I can't say I'm surprised by what I saw. It was a Madonna concert.

"Express Yourself" was one of my favorite performances of the evening. Madonna and her dancers were dressed as marching band members while drummers were suspended from the ceiling. Another favorite of mine was "Open Your Heart" with Kalakan. None of the songs performed on Saturday night were versions you would hear on the radio. Every song sounded different which kept the show interesting all night. It was nice to hear renditions of old and new songs.

At one point of the show Madonna stopped singing and addressed her concern that there were not enough people in the triangle portion of the stage. She demanded security let more people into the triangle, which was standing room only. She sat down on stage and refused to move until at least 10 more people were allowed into the triangle. Eventually security let a few people into the triangle. I'm not sure if this was part of her act or if she was seriously angered by the empty space in the triangle.

She performed a 21 song set list for almost 2 hours on Saturday night. Since Saturday I've read mixed reviews of the show. Some fans complaining about the auto tune vocals, others complaining about the long wait before the show started. Personally, I enjoyed the show. I felt that this was a once in a life time opportunity to see such an amazing pop icon perform in Cleveland. It's hard to believe Madonna is 54 years old and continues to perform the way she does. It wasn't just a concert, it was a show. There is so much time and talent that goes into producing a show like this.

Set List

Gregorian Chant Virgin Mary Intro
(with Kalakan) (with snippets of "Lekhah dodi"… more)
Girl Gone Wild
(with samples from "Material … more)
Gang Bang
Papa Don't Preach
Hung Up
(with samples from "Girl Gone Wild")
I Don't Give A
Best Friend
(video interlude; with samples from "Heartbeat")
Express Yourself
(with snippets of "Born This … more)
Give Me All Your Luvin'
Turning Up the Hits
(video interlude; with samples … more)
Turn Up the Radio
Open Your Heart
(with Kalakan) (with snippets of "Sagarra jo!" by Kalakan)
(with Kalakan)
Justify My Love
(video interlude)
Candy Shop
(with samples from "Ashamed of … more)
Human Nature
Like a Virgin
(with samples from "Evgeni's … more)
Love Spent
(with snippets of "Evgeni's … more)
Nobody Knows Me
(video interlude)
I'm Addicted
I'm a Sinner
(with Kalakan) (with snippets of "Cyber-Raga")
Like a Prayer
(with samples from "Girl Gone Wild" and "Give It 2 Me")