Blond Ambition Dallas (Godfather GR 271)
Reunion Arena, Dallas, TX – May 7, 1990
Express Yourself, Open Your Heart, Causing A Commotion, Like A Virgin, Like A Prayer, Live To Tell, Oh Father, Papa Don’t Preach, Sooner Or Later, Hanky Panky, Now I’m Following You, Material Girl, Cherish, Into The Groove, Vogue, Holiday
No artist is as indebted to the rise in influence of MTV as Madonna. In dominating the musical landscape of the eighties, the final years of the decade saw an over-saturation. Like A Prayer was released in March 1989 hitting number one on the charts and was followed a year later with her appearance in the film Dick Tracy and her soundtrack to the movie I’m Breathless. The Blond Ambition tour was her fourth tour overall and biggest to day both in terms of shows played and in artistic statement. It began in April with nine shows in Japan before coming to the United States the following month. May 7th was the third of the tour and first of two in Dallas. Godfather use an excellent sounding soundboard recording. It has tremendous clarity and good balance between the performance and audience reaction. This was released before in October 1991 on Life Is Change (Buccanner Records BUC028/2). The old release is complete but unfortunately Godfather is not since it is missing the second encore “Keep It Together” (with “Family Affair” introduction). There is also a small cut after “Open Your Heart.”
Tightly choreographed and highly rehearsed, the Blond Ambition tour was divided into four separate acts meant to give a summary of Madonna’s career up to that point. The first part was the Metropolis set, inspired by the Fritz Lang movie whose motifs were used in the “Express Yourself” video and runs through the first three songs. It is during this part when she wears the famous cone brassiere. The second segment runs from five songs from “Like A Virgin” to “Papa Don’t Preach.” The set contained a crimson sheeted bed and her simulated acts of masturbation for “Like A Virgin” which is played in a slower, Moroccan-like arrangement compared to the single. For “Like A Prayer” the set turns into a Catholic church with the backup dancers dressed as nuns and priests. The songs are sung as if they were in a confessional.
The three song third act contains songs from the Dick Tracy soundtrack “Sooner Or Later,” “Hanky Panky,” and “Now I’m Following You.” The final act of the show is a short retrospective of her earlier hits. Almost to prove how far she had progressed as an artist, these songs are given a lighthearted treatment. She sings “Material Girl” with a deep Brooklyn accent as if she were mocking Cindy Lauper. “Into The Groove” is sung straight as the single and the show ends with her mega-hit vogue. The first encore is “Holiday” and was normally followed by “Keep It Together.” Blond Ambition Dallas is packaged in a tri-fold cardboard gatefold sleeve with various photos from the tour on the artwork. Godfather keep people on their toes with an eclectic catalogue. This is a good release to reminisce about the early nineties. It might have been better if they split the show over two discs to accommodate the second encore and maybe add bonus tracks from the era, either tracks from other shows or period interviews to truly capture the moment.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)