Madonna news - Aug. 2008


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31 August - No smoking at Sticky & Sweet Tour
Dear Madonna fans,
The Material Girl has embarked on her Sticky & Sweet Tour and is currently performing live in several European cities. While thousands of you attend the show each and every night, our girl is giving her best to each and everyone of you.
Singing and dancing along with her is a fantastic way to support her, but there's a little something some of you can do to turn the experience into the ultimate one. If you're watching the show from the first front rows, we ask that you please refrain from smoking as it blows up on the stage.
Thank you for your understanding, we appreciate your help! (source: Madonna.com)
Madonna @ Schoenefeld airport Berlin

31 August - Madonna wears bathrobe in German airport
Pop superstar Madonna stunned security staff at an airport in Germany on Thursday (28Aug08) night - by turning up wearing a bathrobe.
The Holiday hitmaker arrived at Schoenefeld airport after performing at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin as part of her Sticky & Sweet world tour.
But staff at the venue were shocked to see the star wander through security checks wearing nothing more than a fluffy white robe and black trainers.
The singer's gown had the cheeky slogan "Dancing Queen" printed on the back. (source: Contactmusic)


31 August - Guy won't renew wedding vows with Madonna
Guy Ritchie has branded rumours he and wife Madonna are set to renew their wedding vows as "rubbish" - because he spent too much money on her 50th birthday celebrations.
The couple were rumoured to be planning to remarry in a Kabbalah ceremony later this month (Aug08).
But the moviemaker is adamant they won't be heading down the aisle for a second time - because their lavish 2000 marriage in the Scottish Highlands was all they needed.
Ritchie says, "Rubbish (rumours of renewing wedding vows). I think once was enough. And I've just paid out on a big party for her birthday.
"I bought her two original Hermes drawings of equestrian thingies (sic) - but trust me, the party was infinitely more expensive than the paintings." (source: Contactmusic)


27 August - Madonna's pre-show ritual
As her Sticky & Sweet tour kicks into high gear, Madonna is in "great spirits," her rep, Liz Rosenberg, tells People.
And why shouldn't she be? At the second stop of her European leg, the pop icon was cheered on by famous fans Bono and Elton John in Nice, France, on Tuesday night. (It would seem that her feud with John – who accused her of lip-synching in 2004 – is officially ancient history.)
As the singer gets into the groove of her 51-date world tour, her priorities are simple: "Making sure the show is perfect – and taking care of her kids and her husband," says her rep.
And even though she recently celebrated her 50th birthday, Madonna has no plans to retire any time soon.
"The harder Madonna works the happier she is," says Rosenberg, a longtime friend. "Because she was a dancer, that's why. It's practice, practice, practice."
Behind the Scenes
Backstage, the atmosphere is peaceful and family-oriented, with a kids' play room next to the singer's dressing room. On her opening night in Cardiff, Wales, "She had a massage and a facial – things are very quiet," says the rep.
Before each show, she spends an hour in hair and makeup, then performs some vocal exercises. Next, she warms up with some form of exercise, "probably some free weights."
Daughter Lourdes, 11, will often watch her mom from the wings. "She is quite casual about it, she can take it or leave it," says Rosenberg. "She's comfortable with the dancers. She talks to all of them."
Lola (as she's known to friends and family) might have a superstar for a mom, but she's no spoiled brat. "She's very grounded," swears the rep, who fondly remembers the girl as a makeup-obsessed 2-year-old. "I think Madonna has done a really good job."
And despite the recent rumors of marital woe, the singer's husband, director Guy Ritchie, "absolutely" supports his wife from backstage. "Guy understood who he was marrying and they have a whole separate life [away from the spotlight]," she insists. "They are completely fine." (source: People.com)


27 August - Madonna courts controversy again over McCain video
Madonna has always revelled in controversy and with the recent launch of her concert tour, Sticky & Sweet, the 50-year-old pop star has kicked up a new fuss by comparing John McCain to Adolf Hitler in a video.
The dust-up is the latest in a career of risky moves that have paid off handsomely for Madonna, whose tours and albums have long mixed music with politics, sex and religion. While other stars rose to fame in the 1980s then faded away, "Material Girl" Madonna has become a global star and even courted controversy to stay relevant to younger audiences.
"Madonna seems to be an extraordinarily brilliant business woman in the business of culture," said Robert Thompson, a professor of media at and pop culture at Syracuse University.
"She's controlled her controversy, so every time she's been in controversy it does her good not bad," he told Reuters.
As her world tour opened in Cardiff, Wales, over the weekend, Madonna showed a video montage juxtaposing images of Hitler with McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona running for president against Democratic Sen. Barack Obama. The Democrats on Monday launched their nominating convention.
McCain's campaign blasted Madonna with a campaign spokesman telling media organizations that the video was "outrageous, unacceptable and crudely divisive."
Abraham Foxman, national director for Jewish group The Anti-Defamation League also issued a statement calling it "outrageous to invoke Nazi imagery in the context of John McCain's candidacy."
In 2005, Rabbis criticized Madonna over a song, Isaac, that they said used an inappropriate reference to a 16th century mystic. Madonna also has drawn the ire of the Vatican over sexual themes such as simulating masturbation on stage.
Her 1989 song Like A Prayer, with links between religion and eroticism, caused Pepsi-Cola to cancel a sponsorship deal.
In 1992, she released a book called "Sex" with nude pictures of the star that caused a media sensation, and in 2003 her same-sex kiss with Britney Spears at MTV's Video Music Awards proved to be yet another celebrity news firestorm.
While Thompson noted that Madonna has successfully boosted her career in the past with controversy, he added that celebrities should speak their minds if they want.
"The whole notion of a democratic republic is that this wasn't just about politicians, that anyone could shoot their mouth off about whatever they wanted to," Thompson said.
But David Horowitz, a conservative writer and activist, took a more dim view of Madonna's latest controversy.
"We're in a sad situation if we're turning to entertainers for political wisdom," he told Reuters. (source: Reuters via Yahoo)


25 August - Guy: "You won't find a fitter bird than my missus"
Madonna skipping rope on the Sticky & Sweet TourThere are a lot of armchair Madonna experts doing the rounds - but few who have seen her in action as often as Guy Ritchie.
He has been watching from the wings at almost every performance on her last four tours, living through the stress, sweat and tears of his wife's gruelling military preparation.
On Saturday night in Cardiff I was lucky enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with him watching his missus in her element on stage for the first night of her brilliant Sticky & Sweet Tour.
And the RocknRolla director gave his expert opinion on Madge's big night at the Millennium Stadium.
He said: "This is my fourth tour. I went to almost every single show the last time round but I hadn't seen any of this one before tonight. I loved it. It is a great show.
"I love all her dark songs best. Some of the songs come from genuine suffering, let me tell you."
I shared the journey from London to Cardiff with Guy to see Madge's big night, stopping off for a real ale on the way.
He added: "It's quite an experience being on tour with the missus. In America you get full-on motorcades and 15-car escorts from the police.
"In London you're lucky if you get one rozzer. It's something else on show night. There will be 20 levels of staff before you get through to see the missus."
Guy presented Madge with a bouquet of flowers before the gig, leaving pals in hospitality drinking 12-year-old malt whisky. Then, when showtime started, he took us to the stage, shaking hands on the way with all the guests and massive crew for the tour.
Madge pulled up to the stage in her blacked-out Merc - stopping for a quick kiss with her man before taking the stage to a deafening roar.
For the last six months I have seen photos almost every day of Madonna leaving the gym in pieces after putting herself through hell to be in perfect condition for her gigs.
And Guy, along with 60,000 other fans, was well impressed by just how incredibly fit she looks for a 50-year-old mum-of-two when she took to the stage for opening number Candy Shop.
He said: "Her legs are Olympic standard. She is in amazing shape. You won't find a fitter bird than her. Her legs are so toned. She's fitter than dancers on her tour who are half her age."
Britney Spears has a cameo role in the show, as The Sun revealed earlier this month. A video of the singer trapped in a lift is played during the performance of Human Nature.
Guy explained: "Britney in the lift is based on real footage the missus saw of someone stuck in a lift for 48 hours. The dancing is inspired by what happened inside."
During an intricate dance routine with a skipping rope during Into The Groove, Guy joked: "Have you ever tried skipping? It's not easy."
He also pointed out some of the characters involved in the show: "She nicked my old guitar teacher off me. His name's Monte.
"He was in a heavy metal band. Now she's nicked him for the show. He teaches her too."
Guy nodded his approval throughout - especially during the clever links between the show's four sections, with pumping dance music mixed in with her classic tracks. He said: "That's one thing about the missus's shows. They are non-stop.
"You get in, she's on and then you have two hours of non-stop entertainment."
Guy, who turns 40 in two weeks, watched the entire show wearing a pair of classy shades - not because he's a poser but because his eyesight isn't what it used to be.
He added: "I haven't seen a lot of the shows properly before because I always forget my glasses."
You can't blame a man married to Madonna for having trouble with his eyesight.
I couldn't believe my eyes for most of the show on Saturday night... (source: The Sun)


25 August - Buenos Aires show confirmed + 2nd Sao Paulo date added *official*
Argentine fans surely don't have to cry for Madonna as her official tour itineary was updated today with a show scheduled in the River Plate Stadium of Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 6th. It is Madonna's first performance in the country since 1993's live extravaganza The Girlie Show. After that Madonna did go back to shoot the Evita musical on location, but fans had to wait till 2008 to get an actual Madonna concert. Congratulations for all the fans in Argentina! Ticket sales info to be revealed later. It is unknown whether Argentina is the last country to be added in the Sticky & Sweet tour itineary. At this point, Madonna's show is lined up for 17 different countries, the most ever for a Madonna tour. What a perfect way to make fans celebrate her 25th anniversary in the music industry!
The tour schedule was also updated with a second date in Sao Paulo, set for December 20th, where the demand seems to be incredibly high, considering the general sales are only happening on Wednesday, September 3rd!


23 August - Madonna kicks off world tour!
The Sticky & Sweet era has official begun! Madonna is currently performing the opening show of her massive Sticky & Sweet Tour in Cardiff, UK. In the next 4 months, she's going to be everywhere! Keep checking our Sticky & Sweet Tour page throughout the weekend for press reviews and pictures of the opening night. We encourage our visitors to send us fan reviews, be it the opening night or any of the upcoming concerts, your opinions of the tour are more than welcome! Mad-Eyes is going to write a tour diary, based on personal experiences and by reports from fans all over the world.
UPDATE: The show has just ended, Madonna was in top shape, she blew the crowd away. Check out the opening night gallery, the press reviews and find out what songs she performed!


23 August - First tourbook pictures online
4 pictures of the brand new tourbook, that is debuting tonight at Cardiff, has just leaked online. Madonna looks gorgeous on them, in the same boxer theme.
UPDATE: More pictures leaked!
UPDATE: You can see the scans of the whole tourbook here! It's definitely one of her most interesting and gorgeous photoshoots ever! The setlist of the show is printed in the book, exactly the same setlist you can find on our spoilers page as well.

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23 August - Official tour website launched
Madonna.com has just launched the official website dedicated to Madonna's new tour! They currently have the Japanese dancing duo Hamutsun Serve in the spotlight, who featured in the 4 Minutes video and will appear onstage at the Madonna show as well. Moreover, you can watch a short backstage clip of Madonna in the make-up room, reasuring her fans that "this show is gonna be so amazing"! ;-)
Sticky & Sweet tourbookAlso, WalesOnline is focusing on Madonna today, on their live blog you'll be able to find pictures, videos and reviews right after the show.


23 August - Tourbook cover revealed
Official Madonna merchandise website Fanfire.com has revealed the cover pic of the Sticky & Sweet tourbook. It's a fantastic picture that carries on with the boxing theme of the Hard Candy album booklet, shot by Tom Munro, the director of Give It 2 Me video.


23 August - Early spoiler: Dress rehearsal pictures
UK news site The Sun brought us 2 fantastic pictures from yesterday's dress rehearsals, only hours before the actual tour kick off:
She's still got the old Madgic
Dress Rehearsal (Old School segment) Dress Rehearsal (Old School segment)For months Madonna has been hitting the gym ahead of her Sticky & Sweet world tour.
Madge is wearing custom-made Moschino specs for the Old School section, where she sings She's Not Me, doffing her cap to her Eighties roots.
I'll be there to see her tonight.
Check Monday's column for a full review.
And here are world exclusive pics of the Queen Of Pop rehearsing on stage in Cardiff for the opening gig tonight – and proving all her graft has been worth it.
She is in incredible shape, which is just as well with an all-action two-hour show to do on a marathon tour visiting [so far 38] cities.


22 August - Ray Of Light, VMAs & Hall of Fame among most important Madonna moments
Ray Of Light, the albumA week after Madonna's milestone 50th birthday, we look at the results of the poll that celebrates Madonna's 25 years of entertaining the fans. Mad-Eyes presented 25 of the most magical moments of her career to the visitors to choose their favourites. By a considerable margin (with 15% of the votes), the release of Madonna's 1998 album Ray Of Light wins, followed by Madonna's induction of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame from the current year, and 2 of Madonna's most iconic performances, from the MTV Video Music Awards 1984 & 1990 that seem to have had a huge impact in her career (each got 9% of the votes). Thanx for the participation, check out the results here!
On the eve of the launch of the greatest show on Earth, we'd like to know about your opinion on Madonna playing the guitar on the Sticky & Sweet Tour in our current poll. Vote here!


22 August - Madonna to perform in Santiago, Chile *official*
Madonna.com has just announced another stop in the South American leg of the Sticky & Sweet Tour, Chile gets its first ever Madonna show:
A new show in Chile has just been added to the Sticky & Sweet tour itinerary. Madonna will perform at Santiago's Estadio Nacional on Wednesday, December 10th. A devoted fan club presale will start on Wednesday, August 27, at midnight, Local time. Public registration will start on Thursday, August 28th at midnight and end on Friday September 5th, while tickets will go on sale Wednesday, September 10, at these times: Internet sales - 0:00 h (midnight) / Phone sales - 10am / Outlet sales - 11 am 0 / Box Office sales - 12pm (noon).


21 August - Madonna gets her second US Double Platinum single!
It's official, 4 Minutes is Madonna's best selling single in the US alongside her 1990 megahit Vogue! Billboard.com revealed the latest single certifications where the Madonna/Justin duet received its Double Platinum award for 2 million paid downloads. On top of that, 2005's Hung Up is finally certified Platinum, which raises Madonna's total of Platinum singles to 6! Congratulations to Madonna and don't forget to check out the list of all her certified singles on our charts page!


21 August - Triggering leaks online
After nearly 3 years of knowing the existence of the track, today the Confessions On A Dance Floor outtake Triggering leaks online. Was it worth the wait? Surely, it's a true gem, we have absolutely no clue why it has not been used as a B-single at least. It's the song Confessions is lacking: a simple uptempo song about dancing, nothing else. Longtime Madonna collaborator Mirwais does not disappoint, the feel-good track is very infectous, it's definitely the best among all the outtakes from that era. Madonna does a hilarious Debbie Harry-esque rap in the middle of the song, prominently using the word 'hip hop', possibly an early sign for her urban makeover of 2008? ;-) You can listen to the song here and you can read the lyrics here.
A song called Is This Love (Bon D' Accord) recently leaked as well, which was supposedly written for the Hello Suckers! musical (just like Devil Wouldn't Recognize You) and had served as the basis for the Hard Candy track Voices. There's also an American Life outtake that reached the fans, called 'The Game' (listen here and here).


21 August - Madonna reveals tour secrets
Madonna fans – get ready to party! As her countdown to her Sticky & Sweet tour begins, the Queen of Pop is preparing to take fans on a "rock-driven, dancetastic journey," her Web site reported Wednesday.

Madonna performing Candy Perfume Girl @ Drowned World TourThe singer – who turned 50 earlier this week – reveals that her two-hour show will be broken into four sections: 1920's "gangsta pimp," old-school New York club, gyspy (described as a "VIP trip to La Isla Bonita infused by the spirit of Romanian folk music") and far-eastern inspired rave.
After a grueling 653 hours of rehearsal, the tour kicks off in Cardiff, Wales on Saturday. Each performance will include a medley of Madonna's hits, old and new – while the singer models more than eight costume changes. (She'll open the show wearing Givenchy, before moving on to many of the major couture fashion houses.)
On stage, she will be joined by 16 dancers and a 12-piece band. And let's not forget Britney Spears, who will be making a virtual appearance on the tour for a top-secret collaboration.
After its U.K. start, the tour travels across Europe before the U.S. leg begins Oct. 4 in East Rutherford, N.J.
On the Homefront
Meanwhile, Madonna's husband, Guy Ritchie is busy promoting his new file, RocknRolla.
And while he wouldn't discuss reports of marital strife, the director did open up – a bit! – about their home life. "You know, you have conversations, some deep, some shallow," he tells the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph. "That's the same in everybody's relationship."
Ritchie's new film has been warmly received, unlike his two previous efforts, Revolver and the much-maligned Swept Away (costarring Madonna).
"We made Swept Away as a low-profile movie, for $5 million," he told the paper with a shrug. "But, hey, I don't think there's anything you can do that's low profile with my missus." (source: People.com)


21 August - Madonna about to kick off Sticky & Sweet Tour
Madonna kicks off her Sticky & Sweet world tour at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Saturday, the latest test of her enduring appeal just a week after her 50th birthday.
The "queen of pop" will be hoping to eclipse her last trot across the globe in 2006. Confessions became the top-grossing tour ever by a female artist, with ticket sales of $195 million.
Sticky & Sweet, featuring hits that span nearly 30 years in pop music including her latest album Hard Candy, includes 49 dates and is due to wrap up in Sao Paulo on December 18.
Madonna performs Vogue @ Re-Invention TourAs of Thursday, roughly half the tour venues had yet to sell out including Cardiff, although organizers Live Nation announced in June the tour was on target to gross more than $250 million.
Sticky & Sweet is also a major test for Live Nation, which signed the American star to a 10-year contract in 2007 reported to be worth a total of $120 million.
Record label executives, smarting as some top acts jump ship to sign new deals with the likes of Live Nation and coffee chain Starbucks that reflect changes in the music industry, wonder if companies are paying too much to attract household names.
Madonna reinforced her reputation as a shrewd businesswoman by switching from long-term label Warner Brothers at a time when the pop world recognized that live performing was generally more lucrative than selling records.
Illegal downloads and competition from other forms of entertainment such as video games have eroded music sales, and rising legal digital sales have failed to compensate.
Ups and downs
Musically, Madonna has few real rivals.
The Recording Industry Association of America has described her as the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and the second top-selling female artist in the United States.
Guinness World Records list her as the world's most successful female recording artist of all time and she has sold about 200 million albums. The Sunday Times estimates Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie's fortune at about $600 million.
The last few years have not all been easy for Madonna, however.
A celebrity who often bristles in the media glare, she may be universally admired but is not universally loved.
Her decision in 2006 to adopt a young Malawian boy whose mother had died was controversial, both in the southern African country and further afield.
Madonna has two other children -- son Rocco with her husband, British film director Ritchie, and daughter Lourdes from a previous relationship.
She directed her first feature film that came out in 2008, and although reviews were mixed, there were harsh words for a woman some believe should stick to music.
Her eight-year marriage to Ritchie has come under increasing scrutiny after tabloid newspapers in Britain, where she spends much of her time, have reported that the couple are planning to divorce. Both have denied the reports. (source: Reuters via Yahoo)


21 August - Sticky & Sweet Tour press release
Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour Kicks Off This Saturday In Cardiff
Madonna, currently putting the finishing touches to her fabulous new Sticky & Sweet Show in Cardiff, is readying herself and the 250 travelling personnel for the opening night this Saturday at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
Madonna performing La Isla Bonita @ Live EarthHot on the diamante shaped heels of her phenomenally successful Hard Candy disc, Sticky & Sweet promises two pulsating hours of non stop hits in a show that features 16 dancers, a 12 piece band, more than 8 costume changes for the lady herself and £1 million of Swarovski crystals.
The audience is taken on a rock driven dancetastic journey that's broken into four sections:
Pimp
A mashed up homage to 1920's deco and modern day gangsta pimp. Madonna makes a grand entrance dressed by Givenchy.
Old School
Madonna tips her hat to her early 80's downtown New York City dance roots with flashes of Keith Haring and the dance culture vibe of the time including the birth of rap.
Gypsy
A VIP trip to La Isla Bonita infused by the spirit of Romanian folk music and dance. A tour de force.
Rave
Far eastern influences emerge all sparkly and sporty.
Sticky & Sweet kicks off this Saturday August 23rd at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. The tour hits London's Wembley Stadium September 11th.
The Sticky & Sweet Tour is produced by Live Nation Global Touring. (source: Madonna.com)


21 August - Madonna gig will bring £5m into Cardiff
The Material Girl will help pump £5m into the Welsh capital's coffers this Saturday.
Madonna has chosen to kick off her Sticky & Sweet tour in Cardiff and experts say her thousands of fans will dig deep.
They predict that millions of pounds in extra revenue will pass through the tills of the city's shops, bars hotels and restaurants.
Close to 60,000 music lovers could engulf the capital's Millennium Stadium to see the star perform hits including [...] and her recent collaboration with Justin Timberlake, 4 Minutes.
It is thought scores of fans will enjoy meals out and afterwards stay in some of Cardiff's biggest hotels.
Ed Townsend, of city marketing body Cardiff & Co, said: "Research has shown large football or rugby events at the stadium can be worth up to £10m.
"People travel into the city, go to the match and will then eat and drink afterwards.
"Given the Madonna show is an evening concert, I think it will be worth about half, £5m.
"People will probably eat out beforehand and then stay in the city afterwards.
"It will also have an impact on the numbers coming back to the city at a later date.
"Cardiff is a well-kept secret – people come, love it and advise others to make a trip.
"No doubt this weekend's concert will have an impact in this sense too."
Saturday's performance, which will also feature support acts Editors and The Guillemots, will be Madonna's second in the city – her first being the 2006 Confessions tour when 59,000 fans bought tickets for her flamboyant show. It was dubbed the most talked about concert to hit the capital in recent years, and according to city centre manager Paul Williams, the fact the 50-year-old star is to return to the city shows she has built up a "special synergy" with Cardiff.
He said: "The Sticky & Sweet tour sees the arrival of a massive superstar in the city – this has a huge kudos attached to it.
"People coming will want to have a good time.
"There will be people coming from far and wide, and for them Saturday will be about experiencing the city, the stadium and an iconic moment in music with the concert." (source: WalesOnline)


20 August - Helping Madonna dress to thrill
As the ageless superstar begins a new tour, Hannah Betts talks to the woman behind her costumes
Madonna, who turned an unconvincing 50 at the weekend, is on the brink of a new tour - and inevitably it is generating a fashion frisson. For rather than opting for Country Casuals and elasticated waistbands, the woman who has enjoyed more incarnations than Proteus himself will, as ever, push the sartorial boundaries.
The Sticky & Sweet tour, which opens in Cardiff on Saturday, features an intriguing mix of gangsta pimp, dominatrix and gipsy costumes. And with looks designed by Givenchy's Ricardo Tisci, shoes by Miu Miu, thigh-high boots custom-made by Stella McCartney and sundry items from Yves Saint Laurent and Roberto Cavalli, it leaves no fashion stone unturned, as these exclusive preview sketches show.
Although eyebrows are occasionally raised at the singer's off-duty wardrobe - her penchant for grubby tracksuits and silk bloomers, not least - her stage attire provokes nothing but awe.
"Madonna was the first of her kind," says Lorraine Candy, editor of Elle magazine. "Stars such as Debbie Harry, Patti Smith and Jane Birkin had distinct looks and their own natural styles. But Madonna really entered into the fashion world. Her relationship with Gaultier made her like the supermodels of the time. It's never a catwalk look, it's creating a whole new self, and exploiting cultural references to get this self talked about. In doing so, she transformed herself into a brand."
One woman has been Madonna's collaborator on this venture since 1997 - equivalent to at least a century in fashion years. Arianne Phillips, 45, and based in LA, first met the performer at a shoot for Rolling Stone magazine, and has styled her concerts ever since.
"I had been an admirer of Madonna for years," says Phillips, "idolising her awareness of visual style, her sensibilities, her forever moving forward. I never dreamed I'd get to work with her." Phillips has also styled Justin Timberlake and Courteney Cox, yet her own appearance belies her guru status. "You wouldn't see me and think: 'There goes Madonna's stylist'. My look is pretty low-key: lots of black, nothing that screams fashion, apart from the alert look on my face."
Phillips also helps Madonna with album covers, film and theatre appearances and award ceremonies, maintains a separate magazine and film career, and was nominated for an Oscar for the costumes in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line.
It is touring, however, that is the most strenuous role. Not only does the diva herself require dressing, but Phillips must also take responsibility for the 26 other performers. She marshals the work of other designers and creates a good deal of the outfits herself - a role she describes as "the perfect synergy between styling and costume design".
For this, their fourth tour, there will be four motifs. The first, a dominatrix-style gangsta pimp/Art Deco look by Givenchy; an "Old School" phase harking back to Madonna's early days in New York; a paean to Romany romance, also courtesy of Givenchy; and a futuristic rave moment rich in Japanese influences.
Candy's favourite outfit is the gipsy look. "It feels most now," she says. "The colours are very strong, and there's that religious element going on. As ever, she's saying: 'Look at my body.' And why wouldn't she? It must be Olympic standard."
Other conspirators, notably Italian label Dsquared's Dean and Dan Caten, who created 150 pieces for Madonna's tour in 2000-01, have remarked upon her control-freakiness. "She is amazing," says Dan. "She knows exactly what she wants." Phillips concurs: "Madonna is 100 per cent involved."
More even than the leather-look Rolling Stones or the still sprightly Tina Turner, Madonna's age attracts comment. Her position is robust. "I'm not going to be defined by my age," she says. "Why should any woman?"
Lorraine Candy agrees. "The age thing is irrelevant," she says. "As someone who has just turned 40, I'm really bored by being told what's right for a certain age. We should wear what we want to wear. Madonna's body may be unique, but we can all learn something from her spirit of transformation - her attitude."
In effect, Madonna's chameleon quality makes her the embodiment of fashion. "No one else is able to do that reinvention, and that's what fashion is," says Candy. "Someone like Posh Spice looks like the puppet of designers. The clothes wear her. Madonna wears the clothes." (source: Telegraph.co.uk)
~ For the sketches and the details on each costume piece, check out our tour spoilers page!


20 August - The immaculate guide to 25 years of Madonna on the UK charts
UK music industry website Music Week gave Madonna fans an remarkable treat for her 50th birthday as they celebrate Madonna's 25 years on the charts and reveal the sales and ranks to all of Madonna's hit singles:
She is one of the music industry's most enduring talents, an eclectic, idiosyncratic and enigmatic singer and songwriter, who guards her private life jealously, juggles a recording career with motherhood, and recently celebrated her 50th birthday. But enough about Kate Bush – we're here to look at the phenomenon that is Madonna, who shares all of the above characteristics with Bush and has enjoyed unparalleled success since she arrived on the recording scene in 1982.
Although precocious in many ways, Madonna was something of a late starter as a recording artist, and has still spent less than half her life as a hitmaker.
Born Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone in Bay City, Michigan, she is one of a quartet of major stars born within a few weeks of each other in 1958. Prince arrived on June 7, Kate Bush on July 30, Madonna on August 16 and Michael Jackson on August 29.
Her initial singles, Everybody and Burning Up, were major club hits in America – both reached number three on the Billboard dance chart but fell short of the Hot 100.
Third single Holiday's frivolous, sing-along style won it a much wider audience, and provided her with her introductory Top 20 hit on both sides of the Atlantic, and much of the rest of the globe. On its first visit to the UK chart, in 1984, it peaked at number six. Subsequently reissued in 1985 (when it reached number two) and 1991 (number five), it continues to sell well as a download, and recently became the third song by Madonna to top 0.75m sales here.
Madonna has not looked back since Holiday, and has accumulated 64 consecutive hits, all of which made the Top 20. Along the way, she has sold 16.41m singles in Britain – an average of more than 250,000 per release. That is enough for her to rank fourth in the all-time table of top singles artists in the UK, trailing only Cliff Richard (21.21m), The Beatles (20.71m) and Elvis Presley (20.66m). Richard and Presley rarely penned their own songs but for Madonna, writing, or co-writing her hits is part of the process, and in sales terms she is by far the most successful singer/songwriter in UK chart history.
She has sold as many singles as the two next most successful female solo artists – Kylie Minogue and Whitney Houston – combined. Runner-up Kylie's career tally of 9.05m is impressive but, although 10 years Madonna's junior, she has lost ground on her in the last five years.

Madonna's all-time UK singles sales:

1. Into The Groove (1985) 843,561
2. Like A Virgin (1984) 768,129
3. Holiday (1984) 752,968
4. Crazy For You (1985) 662,481
5. Papa Don't Preach (1986) 629,386
6. True Blue (1986) 534,728
7. Hung Up (2005) 517,036
8. Beautiful Stranger (1999) 513,992
9. Like A Prayer (1989) 513,231
10. Frozen (1998) 508,296
11. Vogue (1990) 484,308
12. La Isla Bonita (1987) 421,760
13. 4 Minutes (2008) 400,784
14. Music (2000) 400,531
15. Material Girl (1985) 389,999
16. American Pie (2000) 380,937
17. Who's That Girl (1987) 376,498
18. Don't Cry For Me Argentina (1996) 338,494
19. You'll See (1995) 302,432
20. Borderline (1984) 298,388
21. Gambler (1985) 292,341
22. Live To Tell (1986) 271,897
23. Erotica (1992) 270,800
24. This Used To Be My Playground (1992) 270,427
25. Ray Of Light (1998) 262,514
26. Dear Jessie (1989) 250,769
27. Causing A Commotion (1987) 229,934
28. Justify My Love (1990) 228,683
29. Hanky Panky (1990) 205,733
30. Dress You Up (1985) 204,970
31. Angel (1985) 198,650
32. Express Yourself (1989) 194,102
33. Cherish (1989) 192,891
34. Open Your Heart (1986) 186,742
35. Don't Tell Me (2000) 179,939
36. Sorry (2006) 178,963
37. The Power Of Good-Bye / Little Star (1998) 175,095
38. Die Another Day (2002) 167,863
39. Deeper And Deeper (1992) 136,854
40. Rescue Me (1991) 134,764
41. Rain (1993) 130,771
42. Nothing Really Matters (1999) 128,137
43. Me Against The Music (2003) 126,136
44. The Look Of Love (1987) 121,439
45. Secret (1994) 117,957
46. Lucky Star (1984) 117,470
47. Take A Bow (1994) 102,739
48. Give It 2 Me (2008) 100,986
49. I'll Remember (1994) 100,090
50. Bedtime Story (1995) 97,428
51. Drowned World/Substitute For Love (1998) 90,651
52. You Must Love Me (1996) 90,428
53. What It Feels Like For A Girl (2001) 86,771
54. Fever (1993) 86,077
55. Human Nature (1995) 80,685
56. Another Suitcase in Another Hall (1997) 75,233
57. Bad Girl (1993) 74,915
58. American Life (2003) 72,260
59. Get Together (2006) 67,163
60. Hollywood (2003) 59,633
61. Oh Father (1996) 58,730
62. One More Chance (1996) 56,851
63. Jump (2006) 52,038
64. Love Profusion (2003) 41,025


19 August - Madonna's husband pays tribute on birthday
Madonna on her 50th birthday with GuyMadonna's husband Guy Ritchie paid tribute to her at her 50th birthday celebrations on Saturday (16.08.08).
The director threw a lavish £100,000 party for 90 guests to celebrate his wife' reaching the landmark age at the weekend and, in an emotional speech, spoke of his love and pride for the singer.
Guy – who has been dogged by rumours his marriage to the pop superstar is on the rocks - told partygoers at the Volstead nightclub in London: 'She looks better now than she has ever done. I'm so proud. I love her so much.'
Despite organising the party, Guy spent most of the day working as he hosted a private industry screening of his new movie 'RocknRolla'.
An insider commented: 'It was as if he was trying to make a point by not being at her beck and call.' The Give It 2 Me singer was moved to tears when her 11-year-old daughter Lourdes performed a surprise rendition of 'Never Alone' from the musical 'Fame' at the venue's grand piano.
Madonna was left disappointed after her closest friends – including Stella McCartney and Gwyneth Paltrow – failed to attend the party.
In a 40-minute speech, she thanked Guy, Lourdes, eight-year-old son Rocco, and adopted son David, two, before adding: 'I'm really disappointed. There are a lot of people who are not here tonight, but thanks to everyone who did make it.'
Guy – who refused to dance with his wife - also poked fun at the absence of Madonna's friends in his speech, noting that many of the guests worked for her. Around 40 partygoers were her dancers, who joined the star and her children to gyrate to her back catalogue on the dance-floor, which had a huge M in the middle.
A friend said: 'She loved it when her songs came on. Her dancers were pulling out all the moves, it was like the final rehearsal for her tour.' (source: Undercover.com.au)


19 August - Just why have Camille Paglia and co turned on Madonna?
One would have to be a fairly determined news avoider not to clock, at some level, that Madonna has just turned 50. Never mind that life expectancies have risen in the developed world, and living to one's half-century is not the achievement that it once was; this is Madonna's half-century, and attention must be paid.
The interesting thing, however, is how vitriolic much of this attention is, and where that vitriol is coming from. Take Camille Paglia, for instance, writing in Salon last week of the "horrifying paparazzi pix of Madonna's wan face looking as resculpted as a plastic doll", and of the "brassy" cover image for Madonna's latest CD, Hard Candy, "with that ostentatiously exposed crotch and hard-bitten face lolling its tongue like a dissolute old streetwalker ... still hammering at sex as if it's Madonna's last, desperate selling point." Or Julie Burchill (not one, it is true, to be relied on for a consistent or fair point of view), who began by inveighing against Madonna's "vile veiny hands, that sad stringy neck - yuck!" then proceeded to bring up the crotch shots in Madonna's 1992 book, SEX. "Visions of that greasy muff, which one could easily have fried an egg on without benefit of oil, haunt me till this very day." Germaine Greer, writing in the Sun, called her the "elderly mother of Lourdes, nearly 12, Rocco eight, and David Banda, nearly three". Since when did elderly mother (of a 12-year-old, meaning she was 38 when she had Lourdes) become a term of insult? At least two of these women would call themselves feminists.
What exactly has Madonna done to deserve this? Perhaps the answer lies in the hopes they had for her (and themselves) 20 years ago. In 1990, Paglia wrote that Madonna "has taught young women to be fully female and sexual while still exercising total control over their lives"; she celebrated the snook Madonna was cocking at "the puritanism and suffocating ideology of American feminism": Madonna, proclaimed Paglia, "is the [real] future of feminism". And now they feel betrayed by what that future held: Catholicism replaced by Kabbalah; one-night-stand babies by marriage and stately homes; a vigorously pursued desire not to look old (by clinging to the in-your-face sexuality she pioneered).
So Paglia castigates her for not maturing with grace; Greer for never being what she seemed: "Madonna was a middle-class girl pretending to be tough, a religious girl pretending to be irreligious, a prude pretending to be a pervert, a control freak pretending to be out of control."
In fact, she's doing what they liked her for in the first place - going her own way, fighting her own fight, mores be damned. Trouble is, it's their mores she's breaking, and they don't like it one little bit. (source: Guardian.co.uk)


19 August - Why we're all still so hung up on Madonna
Nobody should be deluded that Madonna is just a pop star. Or that the vitriol poured on her by sections of the media as she turned 50 has to do with another superstar going off the boil. Or that she was simply being devoured by the beast that created her in the first place. So, some said she wasn't wearing the best? That's the usual misogyny.
Influence aside, Madonna isn't Britney any more than she is Kylie. She is from an entirely different universe.
She wasn't wanted in the first place. She wasn't manufactured. They said she couldn't sing, wasn't conventionally good-looking and couldn't act.
But as soon as the public clocked her, the war was over.
Madonna is still doing what she did 25 years ago - changing the face of popular music, racking up credibility as a musician, songwriter and performer almost on a par with the best there has ever been and generating hit after global hit.
Fact is, not even male icons have stayed at the front of popular culture the way she has.
Prince? Dead and gone. Bowie? Comes around once every 10 years. Elton? Everybody's granny. Bruce? Nostalgia central. Michael Jackson? Fruitcake.
Uniquely, Madonna brought fashion, lifestyle, an aggressive feminism - these things went straight to the heart of women's experience and they have helped to shape it in a way that has made the "Madonna" brand so much a part of the identity of women under 50.
When people use the word 'attitude', it's because Madonna invented it.
So it's no surprise that the media - run by men - and "opinion-formers" - mostly men - just can't get their head around it.
They don't like it, they don't understand it, are a bit frightened of it and would much rather it just went away.
These things are important. Madonna isn't Petula Clark or Dionne Warwick. From day one, she was a full package of a way of living.
A way of talking to people, of expressing an opinion, of throwing off the shackles. It was Papa Don't Preach; Express Yourself; Live To Tell; Material Girl?
She took up positions - physical and emotional - which were way beyond what most girls or women would have dreamed of doing themselves.
For the first time in mainstream culture, she brought religious symbolism into pop music. Certainly, this was controversial, but mostly because it was so new and so potent, rather than for any real 'blasphemy' or sacrilege.
And given the scandals which have rocked the Catholic Church of her upbringing and the dissension on sexual morality which has riven Anglicanism, Madonna's musings on the simple icons of her culture seem more a positive recognition of the emotional power of Christianity than ridicule of it.
So extreme was her impact that even now it would take a massive pressure for "ordinary" women to be as radical as Madonna was and remains.
But they know that it was important that she did and said what she did and said, because it loosened up their own possibilties for behaviour.
There have been personalities who have done some of this for some of the people for some time. But then they stop doing it.
Madonna has been doing it for 25 years solid. If there are generations of young women that she can't get at directly - and that is questionable given the huge volume of global sales of her albums - she gets them through the all-pervasive influence of her musical styles.
And, yes, her attitude - which has influenced younger women musicians and songwriters.
The watermark was when she turned 40 - that was supposed to be the end of her creativity and influence.
Ten years on and they're still rehearsing the usual stuff about how ragged she looks, how old she is and how irrelevant she'll soon be.
The people who don't like Madonna had better get used to it, because we're living in a society now that's less about Madonna's age and more about the Age of Madonna. (source: Belfast Telegraph)


18 August - Sticky & Sweet shows in Brazil confirmed! *official*
After what seems to be an eternity, Madonna.com has finally confirmed that the Sticky & Sweet Tour will indeed reach Brazil! Madonna is going to perform in Rio De Janeiro's Maracana Stadium on December 14th and in Sao Paulo's Morumbi on December 18th. The ICON presales are set to Wednesday, August 20th @ 10 am local time. The public registration will start on Wednesday, August 20th and will end on Friday, August 29th. Tickets for Rio De Janeiro will go on sale on Monday, September 1st, while the Sao Paulo ones will be available from Wednesday, September 3rd. Madonna has not performed in South America since The Girlie Show 15 years ago, so congratulations to all the fans in Brazil and fingers still crossed for the other South American countries!


16 August - Liz Smith's birthday wishes
On August 16th, Madonna turns 50. She is still young - 50 is the new 25! - but perhaps because she has been a megastar since she was 25, it seems as if she is 80. Remember the famous H. Rider Haggard book (and later an Ursula Andress movie) She? That's how we think of Madonna - thousands of years old, renewing herself by walking through the magic fire. I think human sacrifice was involved, too. (Well, if you believe her brother Christopher …)
Not since Marlene Dietrich became the "World's Most Glamorous Grandmother" have I seen such fret and fuss about a star's age. (Miss Dietrich, who never saw a publicity angle she didn't love, was initially amused by the glam granny references. Later, as the business of putting "Marlene Dietrich" together became more labor intensive, she was less cheery about it.)
Of course, with every round-numbered birthday that Madonna has passed - 30, 40 – the press has asked, "Is Madonna the Material Girl Now Immaterial? Is She Still Relevant?" The answer is f- yeah, she's still relevant. When you don't ask, she'll be gone. There has always been an unseemly media haste to put an end to maturing female careers, especially when that career is based, at least in part, on good looks or sex appeal.
Truth to tell, Madonna's record sales are not quite what they once were in the United States, but in Europe she sells three times as many CDs. Ticket sales for her coming U.S. and European concert tour remain stratospheric. (This ongoing aspect of her career is very much like that of the withered Rolling Stones and nobody is bothering to diss their crow's-feet!)
Madonna is too thin, too worked-out and her hair is way too long. But these are the choices she makes. It doesn't photograph well. In person - and I have seen her in person without makeup recently - she looks softer, younger and prettier. Not so unappealingly muscular.
People ask me, as Madonna's birthday approaches, if I have advice for her? Puh-LEEZE. I wish she had some advice for ME. I'd like 600 million dollars.
As a friend, I'd only suggest she relax. As a friend, she'd probably reply, "I will when you will, Liz!" (Several years ago, my newspaper, the New York Post obliged me to ask Madonna if she was ever going to retire? She laughed and said, "Are you?" End of subject.)
Madonna, you keep on keeping on as long as you want. Happy birthday, honey!
Oh, and here are a few other stars who reach the half-century mark this year - Michael Jackson, Prince, Angela Bassett, Kevin Bacon, Ellen DeGeneres, Sharon Stone, Candace Bushnell and Tim Burton.
But as far as the press is concerned, it's All About Madonna. (source: The Women on the Web)


16 August - Madonna's 50th birthday in the press
Madonna reaching the half of a century mark is getting a lot of positive press in online media. The following articles are all a nice read:
Better with age? Madonna reinvents 50 (ABC News)
Madonna turns 50: Highs and lows (BBC News)
Madonna's 50th birthday: a gallery her stage costumes, beauty looks, entourage and style moments (InStyle)
Happy Birthday, Madonna! (E! Online)
Madonna to celebrate 50th birthday (Yahoo! Music)
Madonna: An unlikely inspiration for 50-plus set (AP via Yahoo)
The age of Madonna: Pop powerhouse turns 50, and she's better than ever (NY Daily News)
Madonna masters the numbers at 50 (Metro.co.uk)


16 August - Happy Birthday Madonna!
Dear Madonna,

Half a century ago, you arrived into our ordinary world, but nobody expected that you'd be one of those few people who can make a change in the lives of millions. 25 years ago, you launched your magnificent music career. You've dedicated half of your lifetime so far to entertain your fans. In that time, you've released 12 fantastic studio albums, dozens of great songs and you've done 7 massive tours. Today, on August 16th, 2008, we just want to celebrate your brilliance. You're still going strong, if not more than ever! You're about to kick off your 8th tour which promises to be your biggest ever. Thank you for all the inspiration and the great moments, Madonna, we'll see you on tour very soon!
Happy Birthday Madonna!

~ Bartie & Dani / The Mad-Eyes team

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