Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Madonna Announces Greatest Hits Tour

This promo for Madonna's upcoming "Celebration" tour brings back a lot of great memories, seeing her in three of my former hometowns. I happened to be on a ticket stub kick lately -- scanning and photographing as many as I can find -- so the timing couldn't be more perfect. 

My virgin Madonna experience was at the ASU Activity Center with my brother Bill, having seen “Desperately Seeking Susan” on his recommendation a couple weeks before. (I slung popcorn where the film later showed, so got to see it a dozen-plus times on the big screen.) 

I was just a senior in high school, and I always got so intimidated whenever I set foot on the campus of Arizona State University, which of course seems hilarious now.

(I'd seen Cyndi Lauper for nine bucks at the same venue the September before.) 

The second time was when I was in Detroit for the summer. I went with my friends Mark, Nina, JR and Brad, moments after seeing “Who’s That Girl” at the movie theater where Brad worked. (I hope we got a discount!) That was the summer I went to my first gay bars (Hippodrome in London; Backstreet in Detroit; Connection in Phoenix), saw “Parting Glances” for the first time (Mark rented it for us, having seen it in an arthouse cinema the previous winter with his first flame) and watched my first gay porn. (You can thank John Davenport in "Powertool" for my curly-blond fetish!) 

Sadly the once architecturally esteemed venue, the Pontiac Silverdome in Madonna’s true hometown, was torn to the ground in 2017, after many years of disrepair and abandonment.

These prices are hilarious -- $14, $21.50 and $30 -- far less than Ticketmaster/Live Nation charges in "convenience" fees these days.

 The third and fourth time I saw Madonna was on back-to-back nights in May 1990, a week after I had moved to SoCal. Mark, Brad and I famously stuck our tickets in a cardboard beer bottle caddy as we were slamming brewskies in the parking lot of the L.A. Sports Arena before the second show when a homeless guy pushing a shopping cart looking for recyclables walked by. 

We cheerfully handed him our empties, not remembering that our tickets were still in the holder. (You've never heard three grown men shriek so loudly as we did in our panic!) Fortunately, Brad spotted the man in the distance and we were able to fulfill our blond ambition for a second night in a row. 😎

A year later Mark, his new boyfriend and later husband (Joel, RIP) and I returned to the venue to participate in the 3rd Annual AIDS Project Los Angeles AIDS Dance-a-Thon ... and guess who was also there? 💃

To be clear, there was no way to get particularly close to the Material Girl. (She brought her own dance partners!) 

But just knowing she was there in support of us, as the gay community watched so many of our friends and lovers fade away way too soon, made me feel for just a moment that everything might eventually be all right.

With photographer Herb Ritts, who had been long living with HIV when he died in 2002 at just 50

1 comment:

Stephen said...

I still have all of my ticket stubs and it's ridiculous at how low the cost was (including parking). I saw Madonna at The Houston Astrodome in the mid 80's