On Saturday (July 4th) Her Madgesty opened the second leg of her "Sweet and Sticky" tour at London's O2 Arena, where Michael Jackson was set to stage his comeback shortly. During the course of the show, Madonna respectfully and magnificently paid tribute to the King of Pop.
As an image of a young Michael popped up on the screens, one of her dancers dressed up as MJ performed a number of his signature moves while Madonna & the rest of her dancers hooted and hollered in the background. The crowd went wild. Madonna then went on to say "Let's give it up for one of the greatest artists the world has ever known. Long live the King" The crowd went wilder.
It was a fitting tribute from one icon to another. Madonna and Michael achieved the same level of superstardom at similar times in the 80's, and continued to suffer the intense scrutiny of the press and the world throughout the past 20 years. They famously attended the 1991 Oscar's together and while I don't think they were especially close at the time of his death, Madonna was clearly shaken by the news of his passing.
It is interesting to look at how they both dealt with their mega-fame. One wonders what led them down the different paths their lives took. Madonna continues to be one of the most successful performers in the world, whereas before announcing the comeback tour, Michael seemed to be relegated to tabloid fodder. It is sad that the damage done to Michael as a child, and the fact that he did not have a normal childhood, or a parental support system resulted in him being ill equipped to deal with that level of fame.
It must be said that I am not a massive Madonna fan. Although I like much of her music, I find her affected British accent annoying, and generally find her insufferable. I did go and see her in October last year for the Vancity edition of her "Sweet & Sticky" Tour (in my head, the money for my ticket went to one of her dancers, not to her - I know, I know, I am crazy). The concert was okay - she was 2 hours late, the stage as too small for BC Place, she said 2 spontaneous things throughout the course of the show, and I am convinced that just before she came out on stage someone told her that she was in Vancouver so she threw in a few "Hello Vancouver's". I am glad I went, I can now say I have seen Madonna in concert. Enough said. But she is quite the savvy business woman and has built herself as one of the biggest brand's in the world. And for that I can give her respect (but not for the accent - you are from Michigan, Madge!)