Madonna tours are like orgasms—even the most Woody Allen of them is right on the money.
I attended my first (of six) Confessions Tour shows at Madison Square Garden tonight. I think Madonna's more recent fans are downright spoiled—this is the third time I've marched into MSG in five years, when not so long ago (from 1993 till 2001), Madonna wasn't touring at all. There were the predictable "freaks" (as some ridiculously Snoop Doggish young thugs observed, without irony, outside), the guys in hot pants and purple boas, the over-the-hill chicks in lycra there to remind you that Madonna may also be over the hill but it ain't the same hill, the Chelsea queens with puffed up chests and painted-on vintage tour tees and of course all the uncategorizables—the nerds, the straight guys with ponytails, the soccer moms, the New Jersey nouveau riche, the...I"m not sure what that is. At Madonna's level, there are the wannabes, but there are also always the forgotten yougogirls, just happy to bask in her presence.
I ain't gonna front—I had outrageously great seats, the best I've had for any of her proper tours. I was in Section 4, Row X, Seat 9. I know—it sounds crappy. But Madonna's stage is set up with a catholic regard for her fans, offering a giant catwalk that ended 15 feet from me and two others that extended to the first loge. As we sat there, anxiously awaiting the show to begin (an hour and 15 minutes late), a guy came up to us and asked us our seats, then jumped for joy because he would be sitting there the following night. He cellphoned his companion for tomorrow and told him all about how close they'd be, forgetting he was on top of us. Then I watched a chunky girl and her gay pal enter and gawk at how close they'd be, speechless until she began to cry a bit and he, amused, led her to their final resting place for the night.
I also managed to bump into my friend Giulio from Italy, who I only know after being Madonna pen pals (I know that this sounds hopelessly nerdy, but you can't be a fan of anything without accepting the essential nerdiness of the pursuit) starting 15 years ago. Now we're both entertainment professionals (no, we're not in a touring company of Sugar Babies) and jaded Madonnaficianados, and yet I'm sure both scream like girls when Madonna is cavorting nearby. Giulio was able to introduce me—finally!—to Madonna's legendary publicist, Liz Rosenberg. Her name immortalized by Madonna in the funniest thing she's ever done (a Saturday Night Live sketch bookending Mike Myers with Roseanne at the end of which Barbra Streisand made a surprise appearance), Liz has been incredibly kind to me over the years. When Encyclopedia Madonnica came out in 1995, Liz loved it and told me so, helping to make sure Madonna signed a copy for me. The following year, she contributed photos to a Madonna one-shot magazine I published called Madonna: Superstar of the Century, and she's always sending reporters my way, apparently liking the quotes I supply. You can't miss Liz at any event because she always wears headgear—a tiara or cat ears are preferred. I think this is so she can be spotted in a crowd. She was gracious to me, cupping my chin and complimenting my smile and thanking me for what I've written or said over the years. "Have you seen the show yet?" she asked. "No, I'm a virgin," I said, "but I'll be a whore by July 19th." Liz, known as the wit behind many of Madonna's classic quips, purred, "Honey, you'll be a whore by the third song!"