THE MADONNA CONCERT – as experienced, sorta, from the far far up and away and off to the side “cheap” seats


“Cheap” seats deserves it’s quotation marks.  After all, we did pay over $100 a ticket.  We could have paid less and ended up even further up, up, up in the nosebleed section, or even further off to the right and behind the stage.  I didn’t realize just how big the Barclay Center was and just how high up we would be, so that even through our “opera glasses” / binoculars we got only a far away look at the performances.


Thus my heart sank a little when I took the above picture upon arrival.  Ed and I had thought when he made our tickets choice that we’d have a good view of the video screens, but unfortunately no screen angled well towards our section, and we could barely see what was on them.  The loudspeakers also all faced away towards the left of us, which is possibly why the sound was a bit muddled.


Madge, the tiny figure to the far left of the runway. And to the right the sliver of screen showing her video “close-up”.


I don’t think I can really judge the concert itself, as I wasn’t really in a position to appreciate but a distant fractional version of it.  I had seen the videos of most of Madonna’s previous concerts and always thought she put on a really great show.  Whether the Rebel Heart show lives up to the level of those previous concerts I honestly can’t be certain until, I guess, I see the video.  I basically had to read the NYTimes review to go, “Oh, right, so that was what was going on during that song…”

Madonna dragging a long train behind her.

Madonna dragging a long train behind her.

My favorite Madonna albums are Ray of Light, Confessions on a Dance Floor, Like a Prayer and I’m Breathless.  Ironically “Vogue” was the only song from any of those albums performed Saturday.  Madonna not surprisingly focused on many songs from her current album, Rebel Heart.  Otherwise she played mostly songs from the 80’s, all but Holiday (the encore) performed with completely new arrangements.

Best view I could capture of the dancers in the signature

Best view I could capture of the dancers in the signature “Rebel Heart” black curvy horns. A couple Superfans in the audience also showed up bare chested wearing black curvy horns.

Maybe because of the sound quality in my off sides corner, but musically my favorite parts were the songs performed with limited accompaniment.  Thus “True Blue”, which I didn’t much care for when it was originally released, sounded absolutely heavenly with (I believe) only the ukulele strummed by Madonna and otherwise her voice on lead and back up singers capturing all the other vocal lines like a female Doo Wop / Madrigal group.  Similarly, “Who’s that Girl”, a song that also originally had left me cold, was very affecting with Madonna alone on guitar, and thousands in the audience obliging with the echoing “Who’s That Girl” after each Spanish phrase in the chorus.


Cell phone lights are today’s lighters. Not quite the same effect, but still quite beautiful, and certainly less of a fire hazard.

So maybe my takeaway is, the next rock concert I attend at the Barclay Arena, I better make sure I have seats further down the mountain and at least somewhat angled towards the stage.  And be prepared to pay through the nose and a couple other orifices for the privilege.  Or let it be, and hope and wait for the concert video on Netflix or somesuch down the line…

It took some time to be sure, examining this dance interlude through our binoculars...

It took some time to be sure, examining this dance interlude through our binoculars…

…but we can confirm there were two opposite sex, one male/male and one female/female couple writhing on the four beds.




I should probably point out that those are pole dancers in nuns’ habits (or rather the upper veil of a nun’s habit). What, you can’t tell from the photo?





About dannyashkenasi

I'm a composer with over 40 years experience creating music theater. I'm also an actor, writer, director, producer, teacher and general enthusiast for the arts.
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