Madonna news - Aug. 2006

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Lenny Kravitz on stage with Madonna in Paris!

31 August 2006

The webmaster is in Bercy at the moment on the last Paris show, reporting that Lenny Kravitz joined Madonna on stage for I Love New York! And more details can be read of the show in the tour diary.

Madonna & Lenny performing I Love New York

Jump video to be directed by Jonas Akerlund

31 August 2006

It seems that longtime Madonna collaborator Jonas Akerlund (Ray Of Light, Music, American Life, I'm Going To Tell You A Secret) is going to direct the video for Madonna's next single Jump, reported in Swedish newspapers. The video will be shot in Tokyo, but it's unknown whether it will be a studio or a live clip.

Madonna's AIDS auction

Source: Life Style Extra - 31 August 2006

Madonna is to auction off her designer stage outfits to raise money for an AIDS charity. The Hung Up singer's flamboyant costumes - designed by Jean Paul Gaultier for her Confessions tour - will reportedly be sold off to raise money to help AIDS victims in Africa.

A source told Britain's Closer magazine: "She has pledged money to AIDS charities since the beginning of her career. She's thinking about doing it through eBay, or maybe an auction house in London."

The singer has already pledged over £2 million to help orphans in Malawi. She is reportedly also planning to visit the impoverished country later this year.

Moscow ticket swap starts monday

Source: The Moscow Times - 31 August 2006

The organizer of Madonna's upcoming Moscow concert said holders of the 36,000 tickets already sold could begin exchanging them Monday.

Vladimir Kiselyov told the newspaper Trud in an interview published Wednesday that the concert would not be canceled as a result of weeks of confusion that ended Tuesday, when the date and venue of the concert were changed.

Kiselyov is general director of a state-owned management company called Kreml, or Kremlin, which is part of the Presidential Property Department. Kreml has emerged in recent days as the lead organizer of Madonna's concert, now scheduled for Sept. 12 at Luzhniki stadium.

Kiselyov told Trud he had just returned from London, where he met with Madonna's representatives and discussed security for the concert. Tickets will be verified at four checkpoints at the stadium, and concertgoers will be given special bracelets.

Move for Madonna's Moscow concert

Source: BBC - 29 August 2006

The venue and date of Madonna's concert date in Moscow has been changed to allay fears about safety. Organisers and city officials have agreed to stage the live show at the larger Luzhniki stadium, home venue of the Spartak Moscow football team.

The concert has been put back one day to 12 September to avoid clashing with a football game. It was feared that students could fall from their windows watching the show at the original venue near a university.

Officials were also concerned that 250,000 people would try to get into the original venue, near Lomonosov University, which only has space for 35,000.

There were plans to move Madonna's first concert in the Russian capital to an airfield on the outskirts of the city, until agreement was reached on Luzhniki - the country's largest sports stadium.

The venue is set in parkland on the edge of the Moskva river. "If nothing extraordinary happens, I think everything will be okay," said Vladimir Kiselyov, director of the company organising the concert, speaking on Russian television.

Madonna's tour recently went ahead in Germany, despite the threat of legal action over the singer's staging of a mock crucifixion in the show.

Russian Orthodox churchmen have also expressed concerns about the use of religious imagery in her show.

With no director and broken bones, M was 'Hung Up'

Source: MTV - 25 August 2006

Johan Renck was having a crazy enough day as it was, trying to shoot an H&M commercial with Kate Moss just hours after a photograph of the model cutting up lines of cocaine hit the tabloids' front pages.

Fighting off paparazzi that were climbing a fence for a shot of the scandalized beauty, Renck was at the end of his rope — when out of the blue he got a call on his cell from Madonna. The two had collaborated in 1999 on her geisha-inspired clip for Nothing Really Matters, and now, six years later, the singer wanted to work with the Swedish director again — now. "She was desperate," Renck said.

Madonna had planned to have photographer/filmmaker David LaChapelle direct her video for Hung Up, the first single from Confessions on a Dance Floor, and the pair had worked out a concept that involved incorporating all types of dance techniques from around the world — including the krumping style featured in LaChapelle's documentary "Rize."

But then the two had a falling out and couldn't come to terms creatively — and Madonna was locked into a deadline to "get this thing going, immediately," Renck recalled. She wanted to know if Renck had heard the song, and since he hadn't, "she told me to be in the parking lot by the stage in 45 minutes." Madonna sent a record-label rep over in a truck to play the song for him, then called back to ask again, would he do this?

"I was like, 'Sure,' and she said, 'OK, I have a grain of an idea for this, can I e-mail you the idea?' " Renck said. "And then she asked if I could go to Los Angeles to meet with the stylist and choreographer. Mind you, I'm still in the middle of chaos with Miss Moss, so I said, 'Well, I'm kind of shooting today.' 'Good, you can go tomorrow.' It was all very abrupt." (Ironically, H&M dropped Moss soon after and later picked up Madonna for an ad campaign).

"I kind of liked that we didn't have time to over-think this and be too clever," Renck said. "I like being out on a limb and not know what we're doing and why. Just deal with it, the mayhem, you know?"

Thrown into the middle of Madonna's whirlwind, Renck had to hit the ground running, just like many of the dancers cast for the clip. Madonna wanted to use a few performers from her tour, such as Daniel "Cloud" Campos, Miss Prissy from LaChapelle's "Rize" crew and traceur Sebastien Foucan, a practitioner of parkour, a philosophical French sport that involves moving via uninterrupted motion, whether over, under, through or around objects.

"It's not about the music, but the bodily expression," Renck said. "We wanted to show the whole spectrum, be it krumping, breakdancing, jazz or disco."

While they couldn't exactly shoot all over the world, Madonna wanted the video to have an "omnipresent feel," with the middle section of the song generating a sense of congregation. Renck suggested that they have the boombox be the tool to unite everything, "since that's the way street dancing started."

So while some setups are meant to take place in London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Tokyo, the actual shoots only took place in London and L.A. A London suburb stood in for the Parisian suburb most known for parkour, a restaurant in London's Chinatown stood in for Shanghai and Compton stood in for the Bronx. "If Mohammed can't go to the mountain, the mountain has to go to Mohammed," Renck joked.

All of the dancers' scenes were shot in early October 2005 in half a day, for a total of six days of shooting, while Madonna's solo dance number — inspired by the John Travolta film trifecta of "Saturday Night Fever," "Grease" and "Perfect" — only took three hours to shoot (Madonna has said the video is "really a tribute to dance — and John Travolta").

Considering that the singer was still recovering from breaking her ribs, collarbone and hand just weeks earlier in a horseback-riding accident, "she was such a trooper," Renck said. "She just fell off a horse!" When Renck and choreographer Jamie King would say they couldn't even tell she was injured, Madonna would tease them, " 'If you were a real dance choreographer, you could tell I can't lift my left arm higher than this' — and it was like, what, a 20-centimeter difference?" Renck said. "But when she said it 'hurts like f---,' she'd take a break and sit down for two minutes. 'I have broken ribs, remember that!' I just can't imagine dancing like that. Talk about priorities."

Madonna's priorities extended to sitting in on the edit so she could help shape the finished product. "She was my edit supervisor," Renck laughed. "She'd leave me alone for a few days, and then come back and say, 'Let's do this and this, get rid of that, do that.' And then she'd be there all day, more or less. I think she likes the process, how it starts to unravel in front of your eyes."

Since Madonna had done more videos in her career than Renck, he welcomed her input. "It's not, 'My nose doesn't look good,' " he insisted. "She wants her dance to look the way she wants it. She wanted it to be a little more raw, like a documentary feel, which was fine, because it let me portray her realistically, rather than how she's usually polished and stylized."

But while Madonna certainly could have made more demands — her right, her video, Renck said — she was willing to bend a bit. "She says, 'I'm not a director, that's why I have a director,' and she gives you a lot of slack," he recalled. Not that she lets anything go by uncommented. "She's a very good client, but she's tough. I can't say it's not tough. But she's good." Her toughness paid off to the tune of five MTV Video Music Award nominations, including Video of the Year.

Making Hung Up was such a "massive undertaking," Renck said, that he feels like it was a little hard for all involved to come back to reality once it was finished. "It's like you form this little family that's flourished and prospered for the month, and then you chop it down like a tree," he observed. "You come out with a sense of yearning and longing, like, 'Can we just do that again? Please?'"

Moscow police insist on Madonna's concert in Tushino

Source: Interfax - 25 August 2006

Moscow law enforcement services believe that Tushino Airfield is the only venue suitable for Madonna's concert in the Russian capital, city police spokesman Viktor Biryukov told Interfax on Friday.

Biryukov, however, did not confirm media reports claiming that the Moscow authorities had banned Madonna's concert at Vorobyovy Gory.

"The issue Is being discussed. However, the opinion of the city authorities is leaning toward organizing the popular singer's performance in Tushino," he said.

Police in central Moscow detain 12 protesters against Madonna show

Source: itar-tass - 25 August 2006

Police in central Moscow have detained 12 Orthodox youths for unsanctioned protest against Madonna's concert, a city law-enforcement official told Itar-Tass.

"The young people, sporting yellow T-shirts reading "Madonna, go home" gathered near the monument to Zhukov. They began distributing leaflets to passers-by saying that the upcoming concert by the U.S. pop diva insults the feelings of the believers. They also called for boycotting the show.

H&M campaign

"The detainees, aged between 18 and 25, were taken to the Kitai-gorod police station, where administrative protocols over organizing an illegal picket are being drawn against them," police said. "Most likely, they will have to pay a fine of 300 to 500 roubles," they added.

Madonna's concert is Moscow, which is expected to gather an audience of up to 250,000, is scheduled for September 11. The venue has not been selected yet. City police, backed by the City Hall, propose the Tushino airfield, saying it meets the security requirements.

But, according to the organizers of the tour, it is unlikely that they will accept the place: the stage can hardly be called prestigious. A terrorist attack was carried out at the Krylya /Wings/ festival there in July 2003, which Madonna's assistants undoubtedly know.

The Confessions Tour Guide

24 August 2006

After his previous books Voice of a Generation and Secret Re-Inventions, the Belgian writer Dirk Timmerman is back with his latest Madonna book Madonna - The Confessions Tour Guide.

The book gives a never-seen tour review of the European leg of Madonna's Confessions Tour 2006. It starts in Cardiff at the soundcheck at the day before the kick-off and ends in Moscow where Madonna gives 2 exclusive concerts.

The 72-page book has 110 live pictures of Madonna’s Confessions Tour 2006, taken from every different angle of the venue. Therefore you will discover the Confessions Tour from a whole different point of view and with different show highlights. The book tells the story of the biggest artist ever on her ultimate tour.

Everything you always wanted to know about Madonna’s Confessions Tour is now in this book MADONNA – THE CONFESSIONS TOUR GUIDE !

Wembley shows score highest gross of 2006

Source: Billboard - 24 August 2006

Despite reports in the British press that fans were balking at her high ticket prices, Madonna rang up eight sellouts at Wembley Arena beginning Aug. 1, notching the highest Billboard Boxscore gross of 2006 in the process. Madonnna's Aug. 1, 3, 9-10, 12-13 and 15-16 shows at Wembley grossed $22,090,582 and drew 86,061 in attendance. Tickets were priced at U.S. $299.88-$149.94, well lower than in the United States, where seats top out at $350.

For Madonna to reach the top Boxscore is a remarkable feat, as serious box-office heights have already been scaled. Luis Miguel's 30-show stand at Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City grossed $19,286,000, while Billy Joel's record 12-show run at Madison Square Garden in New York grossed $19,215,942.

Madonna to dine with Russia's first family

Source: WENN - 24 August 2006

Pop superstar Madonna has been invited to a private dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin when her Confessions tours hits Moscow next month. The Material Girl has been eyeing a date with the political heavyweight for months, but it was Putin's daughters Maria and Katya, both huge Madonna fans, who eventually convinced him to make it happen.

A source tells The Sun newspaper, "This has been on the cards for a while. She really wanted to meet him but he wasn't sure initially." Madonna's invitation distances Putin from the Russian Orthodox Church's stance on her impending show - the singer has already been lambasted by religious leaders in the country for her controversial 'crucifixion' stunt, with one churchman insisting she "needs spiritual assistance".

Organizers request second Madonna show in Moscow

Source: The Moscow Times - 22 August 2006

The Russian organizers of Madonna's Moscow concert have sent a request for a second show to the pop star's management team, Interfax reported Monday.

"The ball is in their court now," said Anton Atrashkin, PR manager for Madonna's Russian show, adding that the request had no deadline.

Madonna will bring her Confessions tour to Moscow's Vorobyovy Gory on Sept. 11. Tickets for the show sold out in just four days.

Atrashkin also responded to reports of a threat to Madonna's safety in Moscow that appeared in the Western media.

The Sun, a British tabloid, reported Saturday that Russian gangsters had threatened to kidnap Madonna and her two children, son Rocco and daughter Lourdes.

Atrashkin said that, while he could not provide details of the security measures that would be taken to protect Madonna in Moscow, the gangsters mentioned in the Sun's article would have "no chance of causing the singer any trouble."

Also on Monday, German prosecutors said they had decided against opening an investigation into Madonna after the pop diva performed a controversial mock crucifixion scene at a weekend concert, The Associated Press reported.

A crowd of about 45,000 packed Düsseldorf's LTU Arena Sunday night to watch the first of two German concerts on the Confessions tour. The crucifixion scene recently drew criticism in Italy, and Düsseldorf prosecutors said last week that they would monitor reports about the concert. They did not, however, send observers.

Madonna was scheduled to perform in Hannover, Germany on Tuesday.

Moscow authorities consider alternate site for Madonna

Source: RIA Novosti, AFP - 22 August 2006

Security concerns have prompted Moscow authorities to consider an alternate site for Madonna's upcoming concert, a government official said Tuesday.

The pop diva is expected in Moscow September 11. Madonna's show, part of the controversial Confessions tour, was originally supposed to take place in front of the Moscow University building, on a hill overlooking the capital.

"The concert venue was among the issues considered at a session of Moscow's Anti-Terrorist Commission August 19," Nikolai Kulikov said.

He said the large number of expected fans - up to 250,000 - could mean the concert would have to be moved from Vorobyovy Gory to the more spacious Tushino airfield in northwest Moscow. ["More than 250,000 tickets have already been sold and we fear the students of the (Lomossov) university... could fall from the windows."]

Kulikov said authorities in Rome, where Madonna has already performed, also had to transfer the performance from a city square to a stadium.

"We have considered holding the concert at the Luzhniki stadium, but it will be hosting an international football match," he said.

However, Kulikov assured ticket holders that the concert would not be canceled under any circumstances, even in light of a bomb attack at a Moscow market Monday that claimed at least 10 lives.

"Life must go on despite these blasts," he said. "No events planned for City Day are going to be canceled either, but security will be tighter."

Moscow celebrates its birthday the first weekend of September. This year the city will turn 859. The only time celebrations were canceled was following the Beslan school massacre in September 2004, which left 331 people, including 186 children, dead.

Strike a pose contest

22 August 2006

Calling all photographers! Win a chance to photograph Madonna in concert!

For this contest we want to see the best photograph you have taken of a landscape. f your picture is the one chosen, then you'll become an official concert photographer for one night! You will be given a special tutorial by a professional photographer, and press access to photograph Madonna at Bercy in Paris, France on August 28th!

Wait, there's more! To take tbe best pictures ever, the winner will need a great camera... And Nikon will give you one away to the winner! Flying to Paris and staying in a hotel is something you can't afford? No need to worry, Madonna and Orbitz will take care of it for you! Last, but not least, the best pictures taken during the show will be published on Madonna's official website. (for more information, visit the official page)

Re-Invention DVD in September?

21 August 2006

Fansite Drownedmadonna got the info from Warner Japan that the long-awaited Re-Invention Tour DVD - Live in Portugal is going to be released in Japan on September 15th with a worldwide release following on September 18th.

This coincides with the Japanese leg of the current tour. Also, the tour edition of Confessions On A Dance Floor with a bonus DVD is out exclusively in Japan only this wednesday.

No prosecution in Germany

Source: AP - 21 August 2006

German prosecutors said Monday they have decided against opening an investigation into Madonna after the pop diva performed a controversial mock crucifixion scene at a weekend concert.

A crowd of about 45,000 packed Duesseldorf's LTU Arena Sunday night to watch the first of two German concerts on the worldwide Confessions tour.

The crucifixion scene recently drew criticism in Italy, and Duesseldorf prosecutors said last week that they would monitor reports about the concert. They did not, however, send observers.

On Monday, spokesman Johannes Mocken said they would not open an investigation for possible charges of insulting religious beliefs. While the scene might be "hurtful to religious people," there was no indication of a criminal offense, he said.

Mocken said the scene was covered by laws protecting artistic freedom.

The scene - in which Madonna rose from the stage crucified on a mirrored cross and wearing a crown of thorns during her rendition of Live to Tell - drew criticism from religious leaders in Italy. They condemned it as an act of hostility toward the Roman Catholic Church.

Madonna's representatives have insisted, however, that the performance on the cross is not disrespectful toward the church.

Madonna is scheduled to perform in Hanover on Tuesday. Authorities there have not publicly expressed concerns about her show's content.

Madonna kidnap fears

Source: WENN - 21 August 2006

Madonna is reportedly being targeted by Russian gangsters who are threatening to kidnap her and her kids in a bid to stop her controversial Confessions tour from reaching Moscow next month.

The pop queen's husband Guy Ritchie has called for a step-up in security around his wife and children Rocco and Lourdes - but the Ray Of Light star remains relaxed.

An insider tells The Sun, "Madonna is well aware of the kidnap threats but she is brave and even a little nonchalant when it comes to her own safety.

"Guy is seriously concerned and has made it clear that security has to be tightened, just to be on the safe side.

"Madonna doesn't anticipate any problems herself but Guy isn't convinced. Her tour director, Chris (Lamb), has been on edge after being informed about the security to increase the protection around her."

Madonna has sparked outrage among religious leaders across the globe with a mock crucifixion scene, in which she wears a crown of fake thorns while performing on a mirrored cross.

N-waste? Madonna has solution

Source: - 21 August 2006

Madonna and her husband, Guy Ritchie, have been lobbying the British Government and nuclear industry over a magic cleaning solution.

The couple, both followers of the Jewish spiritual movement Kabbalah, approached Downing Street, Whitehall and British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) promoting a scheme to clean up radioactive waste using a "mystical" liquid tested in a Russian lake.

"It was like a crank call ... the scientific mechanisms and principles were just bollocks, basically," one official said.

But public servants at the Department of Trade and Industry and scientists at BNFL were obliged to take the celebrity couple seriously.

It is understood that the couple, who live in London and Wiltshire, were promoting a water-based solution that had allegedly proved successful in neutralising dangerous nuclear waste in Russia.

Live from Düsseldorf

20 August 2006

Check our tour diary about a special update, live from Düsseldorf (contains spoilers).

Madonna pays tribute to Ritchie at birthday party

Source: Yahoo - 18 August 2006

Madonna ended months of speculation surrounding the state of her marriage when she delivered an emotional tribute to husband Guy Ritchie at her birthday party on Tuesday.

The Like A Virgin singer threw a lavish celebration in London the day before she turned 48, and invited a host of stars including Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey.

And she took the opportunity to express her love for the Snatch director, whom she described as "the love of my life".

She added, "He has changed my life for the better since I met him. I can only thank him for all his support."

Madonna leaves stars waiting

Source: ITV - 18 August 2006

Pop queen Madonna reportedly kept stars waiting for over two hours after arriving late for her own birthday bash.

The singer threw the £60,000 party to mark her 48th birthday on the final night of her UK tour.

But she kept the likes of Hollywood A-list celebrities such as Kevin Spacey, Gwyneth Paltrow, actor Jason Statham, Guns n' Roses singer Axl Rose and rugby star Lawrence Dallaglio hanging around until 1.15am in the morning at east London's Loungelover bar.

The singer apparently hired two French DJs at £5,000 a head for the glitzy birthday bash.
Madonna is due to continue her world tour in Germany over the weekend.

New H&M pictures

17 August 2006

New pictures of Madonna's H&M campaign, taken by Rankin, have been released (thx to Mario & Madonnalicious).

H&M campaign H&M campaign H&M campaign H&M campaign

Madonna party in Porto

17 August 2006

Portuguese Madonnafan Vítor has informed us of a Madonna party taking place in Porto, Portugal this next Saturday:

"Hello, I would like you to know that we are going to have a party about MADONNA next August 18, 2006. The aim of this party is to let people know how much we are dedicated to the artist and to give our customers a different night with a special set in music, performances and so on.

The party is going to be at "Boys'R'Us Club", a gay bar (very open-minded and straight friendly, so everyone is invited and welcomed) in the city of Porto, Portugal. Here are the highlights of the party:

» Hairdresser and make-up artists at the customers' own service (free)
» Show (performances) with transvestites and Dragqueens. The show is all about Madonna (all performances are going to be presented with Madonna old and new songs, including some surprises during the night);
» Special decoration
» Special cocktails only to this night
» And much more surprises."

Confess Your Soul exhib opens in London

17 August 2006

In June we informed you about the Confess Your Soul exhibition in Warsaw, which showcast pictures of Marcin Kokowski, Madonnafan and photographer of the Sorry cover. After the huge success in Warsaw, the exhibition is now moving to London.

It will be opened on Sunday August 20th from 4pm at the Habitat Store in central London (196-192 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7PJ, Tube: Goodge Street) and will be visible till September 3rd.

One of the highlights of this exhib will be the original picture that was used by Madonna herself for the cover of the Sorry single. Other pictures on display will include snaps from the G.A.Y. performance as well as a few pictures from the Drowned World Tour.

Vote for Madonna @ VMA

16 August 2006

Don't forget to keep onvoting for Madonna at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. The Hung Up video is nominated in 5 categories: Video of the Year, Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, Best Pop Video and Best Choreography.

Now, it's up to YOU to make sure Madonna gets the awards she deserves. Everyone can vote here, and as many times as you want. So get over to the MTV website and cast your Madonna votes!

The English Roses, Too Good To be True

16 August 2006

Amazon is now listing Madonna's new children's book The English Roses, Too Good To Be True, follow-up of the successful The English Roses, for presale. The book is set for release on October 24th, 2006.

Amazon adds the following description of the book: "With a whirling dervish of a teacher and a sprinkle of magic fairy dust, the English Roses learn valuable lessons about friendship and surviving their first crush. Readers of all ages will delight in this much-awaited sequel to Madonna's first children's book, The English Roses."

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Callaway; 1st edition (October 24, 2006)
Language: English

H&M sales boosted by Madonna

Source: New Ratings - 16 August 2006

Hennes & Mauritz's (HM-B.SK) August sales are seen boosted by an advertising campaign featuring Madonna, says Cheuvreux Nordic, after sales growth in July of 11% came in matching expectations. Expects a slowdown in selling expenses in 3Q and 4Q to be a trigger for the share price.

Keeps at outperform with a price target of SEK330. Shares trade +0.7% at SEK276.50. In August '05, sales grew 17%. H&M will report August sales growth on September 27, in its report on 3Q results.

Prosecutors to monitor Madonna act

Source: AP - 16 August 2006

Prosecutors plan to keep an eye on Madonna's weekend concert in Duesseldorf to see if the pop diva repeats the mock crucifixion scene that has drawn fire from religious leaders.

Johannes Mocken, a spokesman for prosecutors in Duesseldorf, said Tuesday that a repeat of that scene during Sunday's concert could be construed as insulting religious beliefs.

Madonna, who is known for her theatrical, action-packed shows, wears a crown of fake thorns while performing on a mirrored cross.

The stunt, which has been included from the outset of her worldwide "Confessions" tour, has been criticized as an act of hostility toward the Roman Catholic Church.

Representatives for the singer, who will be 48 on Wednesday, have said the scene is not disrespectful toward the church.

Mocken said authorities would rely on media reports rather than sending observers to the concert and that the show might be covered by laws protecting artistic freedoms.

Earlier this month, religious leaders in Rome condemned the concert stunt. Some 70,000 fans attended Madonna's performance at Olympic Stadium, some two miles from the Vatican.

Happy Birthday Madonna!

16 August 2006

The Queen of Pop is celebrating her 48th birthday today! She's having her last show in London today, the audience is expected to give their all and wish her a Happy Birthday. And let's hope no horse accidents this year. ;-)

Confessions Tour might become top-grossing ever for female artist

Source: Monsters and Critics - 15 August 2006

OK, I confess: I wasn't always the biggest Madonna fan. While her pop culture influence is undeniable, her ability to reinvent herself remarkable and her boxoffice feats easily quantifiable, I have always considered her not a musical lightweight, but as something perhaps less than the rock titans of her era.

No more. All respect to the mighty M.

Madonna is on what will likely be the top-grossing tour ever for a female artist. The Confessions tour, which just wrapped in North America, is putting up heavy-duty numbers. The 34 shows on the North American leg drew 467,312 people and grossed $85.8 million. The tour has moved on to Europe and then heads to Japan.

The tipping point for me regarding Madonna's musical viability was in attending the last of six sellouts at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Big Apple is Madonna's kind of town, obviously, and she laid it all down with a performance that was equal parts Broadway, discotheque and rock'n'roll.

This is an athletic, kinetic, enormously energetic show, with inspired choreography, an ambitious stage design and highly creative use of video. The tour travels on 27 trucks, in the league of a Rolling Stones stadium tour, and the convoy's load mostly goes into the production.

If the music is sometimes not so memorable, the delivery is always riveting, and Madonna herself leads a vigorous dance team that expends an impressive amount of effort. This thing rocks, ebbs, flows and erupts, a truly compelling concert experience. And Madonna is a seriously charismatic presence onstage, from the time she emerges from her giant glitter ball well past when she hangs on her disco cross and rides her leather carousel pony.

"She works incredibly hard and expects everyone around her to work hard as well," tour producer Arthur Fogel mused before the Garden show in the 'Arthur Fogel' wing of the venue, where he has presented 14 shows in the last year between U2 and Madonna. "I admire and respect her drive for excellence."

Madonna began her European tour July 30 in Cardiff, Wales, and will play the region until Sept. 11 at Vorobievy Gory in Moscow. Then it's off to Japan toward a gross that could make $200 million - and history.

Update tour diary

14 August 2006

Check the tour diary for an update on the London shows. If you've seen one of the recent shows, send us your report and add some nice details.

Madonna abandons movie career

Source: ContactMusic - 13 August 2006

Madonna has begrudgingly turned her back on her movie career, because she is convinced the media is hell bent on ensuring her film projects are flops. The singer was lauded for her performance in the big screen adaptation of the musical Evita, but she has suffered a string of flops, most notably Body Of Evidence and Swept Away, her last movie role directed by husband Guy Ritchie, which failed to secure a cinema release.

And the 47-year-old, who is currently in the midst of her Confessions world tour, will concentrate solely on her music career from now on. She says, "I hate to admit it, but I've decided to give that up. How can any film survive if everyone says it's going to be a flop from the very day the project is even conceived? It's already dead in the water."

Moscow show sold out

Source: Itar-Tass - 12 August 2006

Tickets to Madonna's concert in Moscow have been sold out a month before the scheduled concert in Moscow, PR manager of the US singer in Russia Anton Atrashkin told Tass.
A total of 34,000 people will be present at the Confessions show that will be held in Vorobyovy Hills in Moscow on September 11.

Thousands of tickets to the show were booked by the singer’s Fan Club on the Internet, so that people from many countries will arrive in Moscow to enjoy Madonna’s show. Most of the singers' foreign fans are from the Baltic and Scandinavian countries.

Russia will watch the show of the US pop star after the Czech Republic, where Madonna will perform on September 6.

A third of Moscow tickets sold in 2 days

Source: RIA Novosti - 10 August 2006

More than a third of the tickets for U.S. pop star Madonna's sole Moscow concert had been sold by the end of the second day of sales, organizers said Thursday.

Some 16,000 tickets for the September 11 show, part of the diva's world tour to promote her Confessions on a Dance Floor album had been sold by the end of August 9. Ildar Bakiyev, responsible for ticket sales, said the most expensive tickets would be distributed by order and members of the Madonna fan club would be able to buy tickets to the dance floor in front of the stage.

"We agreed that they would write an official letter with a list of all the fan club members, so that I was sure that the tickets would not go to touts," he said.

A total of 10,500 tickets were sold Wednesday and 6,000 for the dance floor were sold for 1,500 rubles ($56), well under the European-low of $90, on Tuesday when sales began. Tickets for Madonna's concert in Moscow are the cheapest in the world.

The 40,000 tickets for the show fall into six price categories, from 3,000 rubles ($110) to 25,000 rubles ($935).

Anton Artashkin, Russia's PR manager of Madonna's tour, said Web sites selling tickets experienced many technical failures as many people were willing to order tickets online.

Religious leaders, however, have been less enthusiastic about the 47-year-old's controversial show, which features a song in which she is apparently crucified during her concerts on a giant cross studded with small mirrors.

Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Moscow Patriarchy's department for external relations, said Tuesday, "For an Orthodox believer there is no point of attending her [Madonna's] concerts or helping her propagate her spiritual problems via self-advertisement."

Damir Gizatullin, deputy head of Russia's Council of Muftis, echoed him, saying, "I believe Islam believers in Russia will not support Madonna's show, and she will not be a success here contrary to her expectations," he said.

A total of 200 metric tons of Madonna's stage equipment will arrive in Moscow in 57 trucks after her September 6 concert in Prague. The singer will be accompanied by a staff of 200 and will perform onstage with a team of 27 people.

Diamonds are Madonna's best friends

Source: British Vogue - 10 August 2006

Madonna has long been a fan of Chopard – she wore its baubles to the launch of her new album, the Brits, the Grammys and at the Oscars. And now the French jewellery house has designed the world's most famous singer her very own necklace.

Diamond necklace by Chopard

Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, designed this stunning necklace, to celebrate the title, Hung Up, of the hit song on Madonna's latest album, Confessions On A Dance floor, in 18 ct white gold set with 1.95 cts white diamonds and a mobile diamond mounted on an Indian-style chain of eight brilliants. Look out for it on stage during the current world tour.

Madonna Plays with Fire, Brimstone

Source: E! Online - 10 August 2006

If ever anyone was due for a smiting, surely it's Madonna. At least, an increasing number of Italians seem to think so.

Fresh off her Vatican-disavowed mock-crucifixion performance in Rome, the erstwhile Material Girl has drawn the ire of yet another group of Catholics, this time over her H&M clothing ad draped over the scaffolding of Milan's landmark Duomo.

Surprisingly, it's not the "Papa Don't Preach" star's pose or wardrobe that's causing the controversy--it would be a feat to find offense with the image itself, which features Madonna donning a fully-zipped white sports jacket and looking downward.

Instead, protestors have found fault with the ad's placement, gracing the outside of the cathedral less than a week after the Confessions on a Dancefloor singer went ahead with plans to stage her cross-writhing routine at a concert at Rome's Olympic Stadium, just a mile away from Vatican City.

Timing is apparently everything.

Last Sunday, the controversy-courting singer pulled off a Jesus-channeling performance on stage, suspending herself on a 20-foot mirrored cross and donning a crown of fake thorns while singing the '80s ballad Live to Tell.

Despite increasing protests over the H&M banner, the revenue from which is helping bankroll restoration of the cathedral, the Duomo's Monsignor Luigi Manganini said the ad would stay up for the duration of H&M's contract.

"It's just an ad, certainly not a canonization," Manganini told Italy's Ansa news agency, per Reuters. "When it was accepted, the poster seemed all correct and appropriate for its place, and it still is."

The head of culture for Milan's city council agreed, claiming the complaints, primarily by a Catholic parents' association and Milan's Advertising Progress Foundation, was much ado about nothing and that the ad might even be in keeping with the decor of the 14th century cathedral.

"The other parts of the building are full of devils and demons," Vittorio Sgarbi told the city's Corriere della Sera newspaper. "So an infernal Madonna shouldn't hurt us too badly." It's not the first time an Italian church-side advertisement has drawn the ire of watchdog groups.

Last spring, Rome's St. Pantaleo church was blasted for agreeing to hang a giant movie poster promoting The Da Vinci Code on its outer scaffolding.

Several clergymen called the advertisement's presence "blatant provocation" as it came on the heels of mounting Vatican protests against the film, which questioned key tenets of Catholic beliefs.

The poster, which featured the face of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa along with the film's premiere date, remained up for three weeks before the Italian Interior Ministry agreed to remove it.

Madonna, meanwhile, has moved on from her Roman protests and is back on the road, already courting the wrath of another religious body, the Russian Orthodox Church.

Church officials have already jumped on the boycott bandwagon, urging Christians to sit out her concert when she stops in Moscow Sept. 11.

Bartie's report for Rome

9 August 2006

Check out the Confessions tour diary for a full personal report of the show I attended in Rome. Enjoy!

Madonna at Milan's Duomo

9 August 2006

Photo (by AP): As part of the H&M advertising campaign, a giant poster of Madonna hides scaffolding of the Milan gothic cathedral known as the Duomo, in downtown Milan, Italy.

Madonna poster at the Duomo in Milan

Not surprisingly, some conservative catholics protested against the Madonna poster at the Duomo after learning about the "blasphemous" crucifixion on her Confessions show in Rome.

Russian fans queue all night for tickets

Source: Moscow Times - 9 August 2006

Fans lining up outside the Detsky Mir department store Tuesday to buy tickets for Madonna's Sept. 11 concert.

Hundreds of Madonna fans lined up overnight outside the Detsky Mir department store to buy the first tickets to the U.S. pop star's Moscow concert.

The 2,000 cheapest tickets went on sale Tuesday, costing 1,500 rubles ($56) for a spot on the dance floor of the outdoor concert at Vorobyovy Gory on Sept. 11.

The tickets cost almost half the price of the cheapest ones in other European countries where Madonna is taking her Confessions tour, said Mikhail Shurygin, president of NCA, the St. Petersburg-based organizer of the concert.

Madonna poster at the Duomo in Milan

The other 40,000 tickets for the Moscow concert will cost 3,000 rubles ($110) to 25,000 rubles ($935).

The first fan appeared on Teatralny Proyezd outside Detsky Mir at about 7 p.m. Monday, and the line had grown to 300 people by early Tuesday, RIA-Novosti reported. The box office in the department store opened at 10 a.m.

In Prague, where Madonna will perform Sept. 6, all 36,000 concert tickets sold out in nine minutes.

Shurygin said free tickets would be handed out to disabled people but that Madonna's management would determine how many would be made available, RIA-Novosti reported.

The Russian Orthodox Church is warning believers not to attend the concert. "For an Orthodox believer there is no point of attending her concerts or helping her propagate her spiritual problems via self-advertisement," a church spokesman, Father Vsevolod Chaplin, said Monday, RIA-Novosti reported.

Damir Gizatullin, deputy head of Russia's Council of Muftis, agreed, saying Tuesday: "This is in conflict with the traditions of our people. Such things do not do credit to people like Madonna," the news agency said.

Madonna staged a mock-crucifixion before a sold-out crowd of 70,000 people in Rome on Sunday, ignoring a storm of protest and accusations of blasphemy from the Roman Catholic Church.

The singer will bring 200 tons of stage equipment on 57 trucks to Moscow. She will be accompanied by a staff of 200 and perform onstage with a team of 27 people. The stage will be set up in front of the main building overlooking the city at Moscow State University and be protected by a police cordon and a fence.

Russian Orthodox Church calls for boycott of Madonna concert

9 August 2006

Russia's Orthodox Church accused US superstar Madonna of exploiting Christian symbols for her own ends and called for a boycott of her first-ever concert in Moscow.

"The US singer Madonna exploits Christian symbols -- the cross, rosary beads and the crucifix -- and tries to equate human passions, including her own personal passions, with something sacred," the spokesman for the patriarch of Moscow said.

"I don't think that Orthodox believers should support this lady by going to her concert," father Vsevolod Chaplin said on Echo of Moscow radio station.

She "needs spiritual help because she swings between Christianity and Kabbalah," he said, referring to a branch of Jewish mysticism that the singer follows.

Madonna will perform in Russia for the first time on September 11 as part of her "Confessions" world tour. The concert will take place on a specially constructed stage on Sparrow Hills overlooking the city centre, close to Moscow State University.

The pop diva will arrive in the Russian capital with 57 trucks and 200 tonnes of equipment in tow, the organisers said. Tickets cost between 1,500 rubles (55 dollars, 45 euros) and a hefty 25,000 rubles (930 dollars, 730 euros).

Madonna kicked off the European leg of her world tour in the Welsh city of Cardiff on July 30 where she gyrated on a saddle floating above the stage and sang from a crucifix in a performance involving provocative dance routines.

She has often sparked outrage among religious leaders with raunchy video clips, notably when she kissed a black Christ in front of a burning cross in her 1989 hit Like a Prayer.

Madonna the wedding crasher

Source: ITV - 9 August 2006

A British couple have had an unexpected celebrity guest at their wedding reception - pop queen Madonna.

The music legend was in Rome to play a concert at the Olympic Stadium, when she noticed the wedding party going on in the hotel restaurant she was dining in.

At first guests politely ignored the singer and her husband Guy Ritchie who were having a quiet candle-lit dinner for two.

But when the star discovered it was a British wedding party, she stopped, joined them for a chat and wished them good luck.

Neil and Imogen McCarthy's surprise happened at the luxury Hotel De Russie in central Rome where they had booked a wedding reception for 70 guests who had flown in specially from Britain.

Onlookers said the couple seemed delighted. They are now on honeymoon.

Back from Rome

7 August 2006

I just got back from a wonderful weekend in Rome. The show was simply AMAZING! It's 1am, just got back from the airport and I'm totally exhausted. Check the tour diary tomorrow for a full report and more updates.
~ Bartie

Madonna and Ritchie to renew vows

Source: WENN - 4 August 2006

Madonna and Guy Ritchie are planning to renew their vows in a simple ceremony at their home in Wiltshire, as soon as the pop queen finishes her Confessions tour this autumn.

The golden couple spent last year fighting off rumours their marriage was in a mess - but their romantic gesture will prove the critics wrong, according to website Celebrity Week.

A friend says, "They want to show the world how committed they are to each other. Because they've been living in Los Angeles, they've missed spending time in the English countryside with friends and family."

Madonna to help orphans in Malawi

Source: AP - 4 August 2006

Madonna is always reinventing herself. In her latest role, she is a humanitarian with an ambitious plan to care for orphans in the AIDS-ravaged African country of Malawi.

"For the last few years - now that I have children and now that I have what I consider to be a better perspective on life - I have felt responsible for the children of the world," the 47-year-old pop star tells Time magazine in its issue on newsstands Monday. The singer has two children, a daughter, Lourdes, 9, and a son, Rocco, 5.

"I've been doing bits and bobs about it and I suppose I was looking for a big, big project I could sink my teeth into."

She has found one — and it's as about as high-profile as her ongoing Confessions world tour. Madonna plans to raise at least $3 million for programs to support orphans in Malawi, and is giving $1 million to fund a documentary about the plight of children there, Time reports.

The singer, who plans to visit Africa in October, credits her faith in Kabbalah with shifting her priorities.

"One of the main precepts of Kabbalah is that we're put on this Earth to help people," she says. "And your job is to figure out how you can help, and what it is that you can do."

An orphan care center, being built with a goal of feeding and educating about 1,000 children a day, will have programs based on Spirituality for Kids, Kabbalah's children's program, Time says.

That's not all. She has teamed up with developing-world economic leader Jeffrey Sachs on programs to improve the health, agriculture and economy of a village in Malawi, Time says. She's also met with former President Clinton about bringing low-cost medicines to the area.

Rome Church condemns Madonna's crucifixion stunt

Source: Reuters - 4 August 2006

Rome's Catholic, Muslim and Jewish leaders have united to condemn pop star Madonna's decision to stage a mock-crucifixion when she performs in the Italian capital on Sunday a stone's throw away from Vatican City.

The lapsed-Catholic diva's latest irreverent performance sees her wearing a fake crown of thorns and descending on a suspended, glittery cross as part of her worldwide Confessions Tour.

Having already been criticized in the United States, Catholics priests from across the Eternal City have gone one further saying the act "comes close to blasphemy."

"It is disrespectful, in bad taste and provocative," Father Manfredo Leone from Rome's Santa Maria Liberatrice church said late on Wednesday about the star's latest stage stunt.

"Being raised on a cross with a crown of thorns like a modern Christ is absurd. Doing it in the cradle of Christianity comes close to blasphemy."

In an unusual show of religious solidarity, Muslim and Jewish leaders added their condemnation of the self-styled Queen of Pop, famous for peppering her concerts and videos with controversial religious and sexual imagery.

"I think her idea is in the worst taste and she'd do better to go home," Mario Scialoja, head of Italy's Muslim League said.

Riccardo Pacifici, spokesman and vice president of the Roman Jewish community, added Madonna should have pulled the routine considering where she was performing -- a stadium a mile from the gates of Vatican City.

It is not the first time Madonna, who has a Catholic Italian-American father, has raised the ire of the Catholic Church.

Catholic leaders condemned as blasphemous her controversial 1989 video for hit song "Like a Prayer," featuring burning crosses, statues crying blood and Madonna seducing a black Jesus.

In 2004, a Vatican group warned that her latest religious belief "Kabbalah," a mystical form of Judaism, was a potential threat to the Roman Catholic faithful.

Madonna, 47, has refused to kowtow to Italy's Catholic sensibilities, but in an interview published on Thursday she had nothing but praise for her Italian background.

She told Italy's edition of Vanity Fair her "good Italian genes" were the reason for her staying in shape, famously allowing her to writhe in a leotard in a recent video.

Jump release dates

3 August 2006

Websites of music stores have posted a tentative release date for Jump, the fourth and last single of Confessions On A Dance Floor.

In the US it is expected on August 29th, while the UK would receive it on November 6th (almost a full year after the album release).

Simpson admits single was influenced by Madonna

Source: ContactMusic - 3 August 2006

Jessica Simpson has confessed her latest single was accidentally influenced by pop superstar Madonna's Holiday. After posting A Public Affair on her website in June (06), Simpson has received a barrage of criticism claiming the song is too close to Madonna's 1984 hit.

But Simpson retorts that's exactly what her fans need and is refusing to apologise for the retro sound. She tells MTV, "I think people are ready to hear something that Madonna used to do. We all need to hear that every now and again. "It wasn't a sample or something I meant to do, but she did influence me and still does today. I hope to have the longevity of her career."

Moscow officially added

2 August 2006

While it had already been announced by news agencies and Russian media, the Confessions tour stop in Moscow has now been officially added to the tour schedule on

The show will take place on September 11th at the Moscow University (Sparrow Hills). It is expected that a second show for September 12th will be added after the first has sold out. No details about the ticket sale have been made available yet.

Reminder for the Japanese fans: this saturday, August 5th, tickets for the second show at the Osaka Dome will go on sale.

~ Check the now completed Confessions tour schedule.

Madonna tops world's best body poll

Source: PA via Yahoo! - 2 August 2006

Currently writhing around in riding leathers on her UK tour, Madonna has the best body in the world for a woman over 40, according to a new poll.

The fiercely-honed pop diva - a yoga devotee - beat svelte stars like supermodel Elle Mapherson, Twiggy, Sharon Stone and Oscar-winner Halle Berry to take the top spot in the survey by Top Sante magazine.

Although Madonna, 47, evidently loves flaunting her curves right now in leotards and jodhpurs mostly, she has hinted she would consider going under the knife if her super-firm body ever started to sag.

But the mother-of-two has said she would probably keep it a secret if she ever did have surgery.

"I think about it, like everybody, and I don't rule it out," she has been quoted as saying. "But I am not going to hold a press conference if I have plastic surgery."

On Sunday Madonna finally kicked off the opening night of the European leg of her world tour. The queen of pop entertained a crowd of 59,000 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff with an erotically-charged performance.

It was the first time her Confessions tour had been seen outside America and in a stadium. She said: "It's also our first show in Europe. I'm sick of people sitting down in concerts. It's really boring."

Madonna honoured in Square of Fame

Source: Launch/Yahoo - 1 August 2006

Pop queen Madonna said she felt like "an honorary Brit" as she unveiled a cast of her hands striking a pose outside Wembley Arena.

The diminutive singer's tiny hands had been cast in bronze to become the inaugural star at Wembley's new Square of Fame.

Madonna at the Square of Fame

Cast makers flew out to New York while Madonna was on the US-leg of her acclaimed Confessions Tour to prepare for the plaque. They used Alginate, an organic moulding material used by dentists to make casts of teeth, to create the original imprint.

They then brought the impressions - created while the star was in her dressing room preparing to perform at Madison Square Gardens - back to the UK to turn into a bronze plaque.
The Material Girl took 15 minutes out of rehearsal time to unveil the cast and the Square of Fame.

Madonna at the Square of Fame

Organisers hope it will become the British equivalent of Hollywood's famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

The singer's hands have regularly attracted attention as the only part of her anatomy which betrays her age.

But the 47-year-old, wearing sunglasses, a white tracksuit and matching trainers, was delighted to receive a cast of her hands to take home with her.

After kneeling on a cushion to pose with the casts she said: "They're great, it's a great honour. I did it because it makes me feel like an honorary Brit."

Asked which name she would like to see join her on the Square of Fame she said: "Tony Blair and other world leaders."

Cardiff fan reports

1 August 2006

We'll be following the European tour more closely, so keep an eye on our tour diary.

We've added lots of press reviews for Cardiff, as well as a fan report by Marcin, who's best known in the Madonna community as the photographer of the Sorry cover.

Five VMA nominations

1 August 2006

MTV has announced the nominees for the 2006 Video Music Awards, which will air live from New York's Radio City Music Hall on August 31. Madonna - who won't be attending the show since she'll be performing in Paris that night - received five nods for her Hung Up video, in the categories Video of the Year, Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, Best Pop Video and Best Choreography.

Only Shakira and the Red Hot Chili Peppers received more; both 7 nominations. Now, it's up to YOU to make sure Madonna gets the awards she deserves.

Everyone can start voting now, and as many times as you want. So get over to the MTV website and cast your Madonna votes!

Christina Aguilera: "Ain't No Other Man"
Madonna: "Hung Up"
Panic! at the Disco: "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"
Red Hot Chili Peppers: "Dani California"
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: "Hips Don't Lie"

Christina Aguilera: "Ain't No Other Man"
Kelly Clarkson: "Because of You"
Madonna: "Hung Up"
Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland: "Promiscuous"
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: "Hips Don't Lie"

Madonna: "Hung Up"
Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland: "Promiscuous"
Pussycat Dolls f/ Snoop Dogg: "Buttons"
Sean Paul: "Temperature"
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: "Hips Don't Lie"

Christina Aguilera: "Ain't No Other Man"
Madonna: "Hung Up"
Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland: "Promiscuous"
Pink: "Stupid Girls"
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: "Hips Don't Lie"

Christina Aguilera: "Ain't No Other Man"
Madonna: "Hung Up"
Pussycat Dolls f/ Snoop Dogg: "Buttons"
Sean Paul: "Temperature"
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: "Hips Don't Lie"

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