While riding high on her success in Dick Tracy, Madonna kicked off her third and most imaginative tour to date on 13 April 1990. When tickets went on sale, 2500 were sold in one minute-a new record in the entertainment industry. The Blond Ambition Tour opened at Chiba, Japan's new Marine Stadium, to enthusiastic reviews. The futuristic out-door venue at Chiba provided a fitting locale for the show, a highly theatrical extravaganza. The surrealistic atmosphere was heightened by the rain that began to fall just as the show opened. Adhering to the philosophy that 'the show must go on,' Madonna braved the downpour, and though the show had to be briefly interrupted a few times to sweep the rain from the stage, the audience was delighted that the singer was willing to carry on. Three years earlier high winds had forced Madonna to cancel her Tokyo show, and she wanted to avoid another cancellation at all costs.
The tour coincided with the release of Madonna's latest album, 'I'm Breathless', the title of which provides a clever tie-in with her starring role as Breathless Mahoney in Dick Tracy. Described on the album sleeve as 'music from and inspired by the film Dick Tracy,' I'm Breathless is a departure from what Madonna has done before With the notable exception of "Vogue",' which seems written specifically for the top 10, the music evokes the era of torch songs and swing tunes. Her voice, too, is different. The bright chirp of "Holiday" is now deeper and darker. Three songs from the album -"Sooner or Later," "Now I'm Following You," and "Hanky Panky" - were featured in the glitzy 'Blond Ambition' show.
In other words, the Boy Toy is not a sex object; she is the boss, the woman warrior, equipped with armored under-wear. Blond Ambition is about female power. She does after all, knock down her chorus line of men. 'It's a great feeling to be powerful. I've been striving for it all my life. I think that's just the quest of every human being: power.'
The Japanese press concentrated on writing about Madonna's sexual shenanigans to the point of ignoring other aspects of the show, but the response in Japan was a decidedly positive one: Madonna reportedly earned $14 million for just nine shows. They may have loved her in Japan, but the welcome Madonna received elsewhere was far less cordial. In Toronto, police asked her to tone down her show. When she refused they set themselves up in the stadium with binoculars, presumably ready to rush to the stage and arrest her if she committed any illegal acts in the course of her performance. In Italy, Catholic groups in Rome and Turin called her show vulgar and blasphemous and demanded that Madonna's concerts be banned. Many church officials were especially disturbed by Madonna's routine use of a crucifix as an article of costume jewelry. The reaction was an intensified version of the controversy that had surrounded her 'Like A Prayer' video the year before. Protesters in Italy were successful in forcing the state-run television network to stop running the video.
As is her nature, Madonna held strong to her position. She called a press conference and invited the church leaders to 'Come and see my show and judge it for yourselves. My show is not a conventional rock concert, but a theatrical presentation of my music and, like the theater, it poses questions, provokes thought and it takes you on an emotional journey. This is what I call freedom of expression and thought. By preventing me from doing the show, you would be saying you do not believe in these freedoms.' Church leaders declined her invitation, but the show went on as scheduled.
Controversy goes hand-in-hand with being an artist. A work of art-be it a novel, a sculpture or a performance-challenges the intellect. As an artist who strives to be thought-provoking and entertaining, Madonna has never shied away from controversy, and will undoubtedly continue to do so with her future creative endeavors [extract from Madonna, by Marie Cahill, Bison Group, 1991. p84-88. See below]
Full album artwork is provided, along with Italian 'Maverick Bedtime' bootleg release which features the full show (see below). The recording itself comes from the Dallas Show at the Reunion Arena in the USA, held on May 7, 1990. The quality of the recording is very good with exceptional vocal clarity. (Please note that I have edited the opening track "Express Yourself" by removing a minute of annoying sound affects which would have supported the visual component of the shows introduction).
01. Express Yourself
02. Open Your Heart
03. Causing A Commotion
04. Where's The Party
05. Like A Virgin
06. Like A Prayer
07. Live To Tell
08. Oh Father
09. Papa Don't Preach
Madonna - Vocals
Kevin Kendricks, Jai Winding - Keyboards
Carlos Rios, David williams - Guitar
Darryl Jones - Bass
Jonathan Moffet - Drums
Luis Conte - Percussion
Donna Delory, Niki Harris - Backing Vocals
Madonna Link (110Mb) New Link 25/05/2015