I just came back from Paris today so let me write a review of my adventures with Madonna in the course of the last fortnight for those who might be interested.
After the Tel-Aviv failure (where I eventually hadn't managed to get into the Ramat Gan stadium and had to struggle watching the opening night from outside the arena), I was quite unsure whether to buy online tickets for other shows I wanted to attend or not.
My somehow adventurous, slightly Gypsy nature won and I headed to Amsterdam on the 7th of July for a wonderful cycling tour of the city and when the evening started falling, I reached the Ziggo Dome. The area around the metro station was full of crazy people dressed all in white as on Ajax's Arena (a few steps shy of the Dome) a huge techno party was being held. Sadly that was the main event of the night grabbing all the buzz so MDNA could easily be missed by non-fans. At 21:00 when Solveig was playing his set, some sitting tickets were still available for the show but all the standing ones were totally sold out. In the end, instead of paying almost 100€, after some negotiations with local dealers, I got mine for 50€, got in and was pleasantly surprised at how small the whole Dome was. The tip of the triangle was almost reaching the middle part of the standing area, of course there was no place for any golden circle or anything. I was sitting in a very particular place (I wouldn't have normally chosen it but all in all am satisfied to have seen the gig from this perspective), nearly BEHIND (!) the stage. I practically couldn't see the backdrop videos at all so was fully focused on herself and the dancers. When they were on the main stage, it was straight in front of my eyes, whereas during parts on the triangle I could only see her butt. The best thing about my place was the fact I saw Madonna backstage many times (preparing to go live, correcting makeup, entering the venue and leaving it with a towel around her neck after "Celebration" or running to the tip of the triangle in a specially made corridor to appear on time for "I'm Addicted"). If you knew where to look (just like me), watching the show from this spot was a big fun catching glimpses of unusual backstage moments. The concert itself was very nice and energetic. Nevertheless, needless to say I had to go back the following day to bargain a better ticket. Pitch was my only goal given the size of the place...
Amsterdam has so much to offer that Madonna had to wait for me, lol. For once it was not me waiting for her. I arrived in front of Ziggo Dome at 21:45 on the 8th of July, yet again without any ticket. This time the cashiers were already closed so my only hope were the street dealers. I'll soon be able to write a guide book on how to barter, hehe. Without any stress I started negotiations that soon ended up with me grabbing a VIP standing ticket (original price: 236€!!!) for a mere 45€ (talking about a good deal). Too bad for me that the merchandising gift stuff was no longer available as all distribution points were long gone. Nevermind, I got my pitch where curiously most of the people in the back didn't seem to care about the distance separating them from the stage so gradually I managed to squeeze inbethween them toward the stage until something like 6-7 metres which is not bad if you ask me. I loved the "full picture" with live action complete with stunning backdrops and the most amazing part of the speach with a proposal. I was so happy to attend that show especially when she was saying that she could spot in the audience many people from the previous night. Of course she didn't mean me personally but it felt so good and special in a way. I think Ziggo Dome is perfect for Madonna's concerts especially when the stage has some sort of catwalks or triangles like here because from every point one can see her well enjoy the good sound quality without worrying about the weather. This nice start of my Dutch adventure kept on going south where I discovered some magnificent places in the Country of Tulips. An almost 4-day break from Madonna was brought to a halt when I got off the train in Brussels in the evening of her gig.
Similarly late, I reached the stadium and, as usually, started wandering around trying to look for some good deals. This 12th of July was unlucky for me though. Rain was already beginning and those trying to get rid of their tickets weren't too happy to negotiate in the zones below 50€ (they were few and far between anyway due to the fact that all tickets aside golden circle were still on official sale). If I have to get wet and see Madonna with a size of an ant given how big the stadium is, I won't pay much for this luxury. Unlike in Amsterdam when she was punctual (I mean 22:00 is indeed punctual for her standards), the Belgian crowd had to wait much longer and it allowed me to make the final decision - I'm better off under a tree listening to the show while catching some scrapes of the backdrops for free. With quite a big group of other people that's what I actually did and don't really regret it as I wasn't well prepared for night showers. That concert didn't have any special moments anyway. She was talking about the rain on all occasions, asking if prayers had been said to stop it, commenting on her bad hair due to humidity and throwing a funny moment at the end of "Human Nature" while stating something like "it's a shame I'm already all wet because I was going to take my clothes off". Generally I can't say I attended the Brussels show but I was somehow participating in it, had the best possible sound quality, a dry spot, companion and a very picturesque surrounding (as just behind the stadium the famous Atomium is situated so it was pulsing with lights as if synchronised with Madonna's music). What a better scenery for a free gig of the Queen of Pop?
And finally after stopping by for a day in Lille to visit my friends, I got to Paris straight on the Bastille Day to celebrate two events at once. After a busy day of National Holiday festivities and crossing millions of people on the streets of the French capital, I continued my exploration (believe it or not but I'd never been to Paris before!). I was having so much fun there that I almost forgot what I came for, lol. I was even considering letting it go as I thought there was nothing more I could discover in this show. I got myself together though and arrived to Saint Denis at... 22:00, haha. Time goes by so slowly for those who wait? Alright, I won't wait then. Fortunately (not so much for those who were indeed waiting
) she started way beyond the schedule - close to 22:20 - so I got a chance to practise my negotiation skills and bartered a standing ticket down to a staggering 30€! No "pelouse or" was left among the street vendors so I had to take the normal pitch but at this time no-one really cared to look for details on my ticket and having inspected how far from the stage I'd be while standing, I sneaked inbetween sitting tribunes going all the way down them to have the best possible view. Still Stade de France is giant and Madonna was extremely small in reality however the screens were really huge and once again I really had fun, was lucky enough to see her boob and finally experienced a Parisian concert because this city has a reputation of being the best place to see her. I can confirm that the audience is brilliant and even old people enjoy the show and participate in it actively. All in all it was well worth the negotiation.
Summing it all up, MDNA is not my favourite tour of Madonna but it's definitely not bad. I've seen it from different corners and perspectives but unlike the previous tours, I haven't yet been really close to her. I suppose Dublin on Tuesday will be my last chance but in order to get it, I'll have to spend the whole day in front of the arena and I truly hate it... should I sacrifice? Do you think I stand a chance of the golden triangle? Shit, I still need to buy the ticket first, haha. This time perhaps I'll use the official sales channels and rates.
PS. Congratulations to those who went through this whole post