Back in the day, when Madonna would play a series of New York City dates, I’d get tickets to one show and say, “I want to do it again!” as soon as the house lights went up. I finally figured out it was best to always get tickets to two shows, which is why I saw the Queen at Barclays Center in Brooklyn three days after I saw her at Madison Square Garden. I’m far from the only person who does this. In fact, at Barclays, I saw quite a few people that I “knew” from the Garden show, including these two guys.
I’m especially glad I caught a second show this time, because the Rebel Heart Tour is really one of Madonna’s best ever. The Hollywood Reporter‘s review summed it up perfectly:
“A two-hour spectacle of new sounds and refreshed throwbacks that left even the most repeated ticketholder of the singer surprised and fulfilled.”
I went to this show with MrB … sorta. I could only get one floor ticket, which I absolutely had to have, so I placed MrB by himself in a first-tier level close to me. Luckily, he’s the independent type! We waved at each other a lot before the show started.
My seat was right off the stage at the end of the runway, so I was super-close to Madonna for parts of the show, though not as consistently as I was at MSG.
There were three particularly awesome moments. First, Madonna dedicated “True Blue” to Debi Mazar, who was in the original 1986 video (as well as one of my favorite movies, Goodfellas).
When Madonna said Debi’s name, I instinctively turned around and spotted Debi was only a few feet away from me. I was shameless about watching her and I’m glad because this video I took of her singing along is adorable!
A video posted by Wendy Brandes (@wendybrandes) on
I’m going to make a dedication of my own now. This next picture goes out to my concert-going friend Jessie, who came to Madonna’s MSG show with me. She told me that she thought it was cool that the audience sang along at certain parts and put up their “lighters” (well, cellphone flashlights) without Madonna saying a word. I told her that, actually, Madonna has no qualms about telling the audience how to behave, and anyone who sits down will rue the day she or he was so lazy. Sure enough, at Barclays, a couple in the row right behind me had the nerve to sit down while Madonna was speaking to the crowd. She honed in on them, pointed at them and asked, “ARE YOU GUYS TIRED OVER HERE? WHAT’S GOING ON?” I got this picture of her in the act of calling them out.
As far as I saw, they stood for the rest of the show.
Right after that, while she was still at the end of the runway near me, Madonna performed “Ghosttown” from her Rebel Heart album, and got such a huge ovation after that she couldn’t speak over it at first. She also clearly had tears in her eyes. The copyright police will probably take this fan video down, so watch it while you can. It was shot from very close to where I was standing and includes Madonna’s comments to the sitting people, the song, and the applause and comments after. This other video might survive because it’s just the applause and her comments, rather than the song. By the way, a couple of reviews claimed audience members were bored during her new songs. I never saw any of that, and it certainly wasn’t going on at this moment.
Here are two other fun, short videos I took at the Barclays concert, after regretting not shooting them at MSG. Who besides Madonna would climb a cross-shaped stripper pole and swing around it on top of a half-naked “nun” for a sex song called “Holy Water”?
And I’m glad I got the dancers plunging practically into the crowd during “Illuminati.” Still photos didn’t do this justice. Like the Hollywood Reporter review said, “It’s arguable that her changeover dance sequences and stunts are more entertaining than other performers’ entire sets.”
A video posted by Wendy Brandes (@wendybrandes) on
What Wendy Wore to Barclays
Top: Original Madonna Blond Ambition concert t-shirt from 1990
Shorts: Acne Jeans (purchased as regular jeans in 2008, converted to shorts in 2015)
Shoes: Prada (2011)
Purse: Prada (purchased from eBay in 2008, first seen here)
Leather wrist warmers: Tae Ashida (2015)
That wall wasn’t near Barclays Center, but close to New York Adorned on 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. I swung by there — with MrB in tow — to get a third lobe piercing for my left ear. It wasn’t my first visit. About a month ago, my gorgeous former employee Eryn and I visited New York Adorned’s Cassie for other piercings. Eryn got a forward helix.
I got a tragus piercing in my left ear. I went first and Eryn thought she was going to get a funny photo to send to MrB. To her great disappointment, I didn’t flinch or even bat an eyelash, so, instead of a picture of me screaming for help, we wound up with what I think is the best photo of me ever.
At last, I know how to get a good photo of myself! I just need to lie upside down with my eyes closed next to two tattooed arms. Yep, now I have two poses!
I loved the way the tragus piercing looked (despite the blah nonallergenic stainless-steel stud I had to get for my sensitive skin) but it looked a little unbalanced to me with some bare space on the lobe. It was if all my earrings were pushing towards my face, like peeps at a general-admission concert: “Let’s get to the front of this ear! It’s no fun in the back.”
Photo of new #traguspiercing by @_eryn_elizabeth. Also in photo: my gun emoji and #middlefingeremoji stud earrings. Skull pinky ring with ruby eyes. Self-designed engagement ring. Full-finger barbed wire ring. No Class ring. #piercedears #tragus #lovegold #beplatinum #gunemoji #emojijewelry #rings #showmeyourrings #newpiercing #lobepiercings #barbedwire #skull #skullring #skulljewelry #jewelry #jewellery #fullfingerring #barbedwirejewelry #smile #redlipstick #profile
I decided I needed another lobe piercing to fix that, and that pre-concert was the perfect time. Madonna gave me the hole-y spirit! Once these heal, I’ll do the same on my right ear. I’ve got a LOT of stud earrings to wear.