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EXCLUSIVE - Madonna: 'I want to reinvent pop tours'

From BBC - September 15, 2017

Twenty-seven years ago, Madonna set the template for modern pop concerts with her Blond Ambition world tour.

From its hydraulic stage to Jean-Paul Gaultier's iconic costumes, it raised the bar for stadium-sized spectacle.

Now, after seven huge world tours, the star tells the BBC she's "exploring" a smaller-scale show in the future.

"I have done so many shows - world tours, stadiums, sports arenas, you name it - that I feel like I have to reinvent that now too," she explains.

"I like doing intimate shows and being able to talk directly to the audience.

"This is something I am exploring right now: the idea of doing a show that does not travel the world, but stays in one place and utilises not only humour and the music in a more intimate setting but other people's music, as well, and other entertainment.

"Kind of a revolving door of amazing, gifted, unique talent - dancers, musicians, singers, comedians, me, humour. I do not know! Like, I am trying to come up with all those ideas now."

The concerts will presumably owe much to the vaudeville-style Tears of a Clown show that Madonna performed twice in 2016 - once as a gift to fans in Australia, and again at a fundraiser for her Raising Malawi charity.

The low-key gigs featured the pop icon dressed as a clown, riding a tricycle, chatting to the audience and telling jokes when not performing stripped-back renditions of some of her favourite songs.

Footage of the Australian concert appears on the star's new DVD, released on Friday, which documents her 2015-16 Rebel Heart Tour.

In an exclusive interview with BBC News, she talked about touring life, changing attitudes to sex, and her recent dispute with a courier company...

Before we start, there's one thing I need to know: Did your FedEx package ever arrive?

Ha ha! Yes, it has. FedEx is blaming customs, customs is blaming FedEx and we will never know what happened. But I have it now.

So, I saw the Rebel Heart tour when you were in London and the DVD does a really good job of capturing what it was like to be in the audience. How do you go about that?

I was there every step of the way, every day for months and months. It's really hard to capture the true feeling of the excitement and the passion and the heat and the blood, sweat and tears.I am pleased with the way it came out.

There's a particularly touching sequence during True Blue, where everybody in the audience embraces each other.

I know, it's a very sweet, emotional moment in the show. I did not expect it to be, but when I look back at the DVD it almost brings a tear to my eye because everyone seems so in love.

How do you put a show like this together? Where do you get the ideas?

Everything's based around my song choice. So first, I go through my catalogue of songs with my band and I start working on things that excite me and inspire me in the moment. Some songs I am sick of doing and I do not want to do them. Other songs I say, "No, I did that on the last tour, I do not want to do it again."

So I try to rotate things and I also try to reflect my current mood and what I have been feeling, and what's been inspiring me artistically or filmically, politically, philosophically. I try to put songs together in groups that have thematic connection, and then I try to tell a story. And then I do the visuals. It's quite a process.

What are the songs you do not want to do again?

Well, I tend to not want to do the songs I did on the tour before. That's what I mean. So if I did Material Girl on the tour before, or Express Yourself on the tour before, then I will say, "OK, I did that for 88 shows. I ca not do it again."

How do you keep a healthy balance between new songs and your back catalogue?

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