Pop: Material Girl Is Still Grooving ; MADONNA Koko LONDON HHHH

By Sturges, Fiona | The Independent (London, England), November 17, 2005 | Go to article overview
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Pop: Material Girl Is Still Grooving ; MADONNA Koko LONDON HHHH


Sturges, Fiona, The Independent (London, England)


There is a fever in the north London air. Four hours before Our Lady takes the stage, fans and photographers are clamouring outside Koko in states of severe hyperventilation.

By virtue of her longevity, Madonna may not be the mistress of the unpredictable that she once was, but her live shows are still a major event, so much so that even Chris Evans can be seen clutching a ticket and queuing patiently.

The choice of venue isn't a random one. Madonna played her first London gig here, 22 years ago, though this time she has taken it upon herself to spruce the place up, hanging a giant glitter-ball out front and lining the floors with sparkling vinyl. It takes one ticket, two separate wristbands and a laminated pass to get through the doors. Contravening the rules of Camden gig-going, those lucky enough to have won, blagged or stolen tickets have actually dressed up for the occasion.

Before the show starts, it is cocktail hour, with assorted pastel- coloured drinks being distributed by glacial girls and boys in Madonna T-shirts and David Bowie make-up. Then the lights go down and the temperature goes through the roof.

Opening the show with 'Hung Up', the new number-one single is, of course, equivalent to serving your dinner-guests dessert before the main course. Madonna gives it her all, which is the least that you'd expect, given that she's only playing five songs.

She does, you have to admit, look fabulous. The look is Farrah Fawcett meets Joan Jett " tonight she has ditched the pink leotard in favour of purple knee-length boots and pedal-pushers " while the sound is late Seventies disco. To the almost palpable relief of the crowd, she has ditched the anti-war, tree-hugging bluster of her American Life album (though that wouldn't have mattered, had there been some good tunes).

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