Drowned World Tour
|Tour by Madonna|
Promotional poster for the tour
|Start date||June 9, 2001|
|End date||September 15, 2001|
|No. of shows|
|Box office||US$76.8 million ($108.67 million in 2018 dollars)|
|Madonna concert chronology|
Drowned World Tour was the fifth concert tour by American singer-songwriter Madonna in support of her seventh and eighth studio albums Ray of Light and Music, respectively. It was also her first tour in eight years, following The Girlie Show World Tour in 1993. The tour was supposed to start in 1999, but was delayed until 2001 as Madonna gave birth to her son, got married to Guy Ritchie, was working on Music, and was busy filming The Next Best Thing. When the tour was decided, Madonna appointed Jamie King as choreographer and the tour was planned in a short timespan of three months, including signing up the dancers, musicians and technicians. Designer Jean-Paul Gaultier was the costume designer who designed the costumes in such way that they indicated different phases of Madonna's career. The poster and logo for the tour included references to Kabbalah, which Madonna studied.
The show was divided into five segments, namely Cyber-Punk, Geisha, Cowgirl, Spanish, and Ghetto. The setlist consisted mainly of songs from the last two studio albums released at that point, with 4 songs from previous albums added. The first segment displayed high-energy performances with Madonna wearing a kilt and dominatrix-style costumes. In the geisha segment performances Madonna wore a kimono and later performed airborne martial arts. Acoustic songs were performed in the country segment which featured Madonna in cowboy costumes. The Latin segment featured flamenco dancing and the last segment featured ghetto-themed performances. Drowned World Tour was critically appreciated from contemporary critics who complimented her ability to re-invent continuously.
The tour was a commercial success. It went on to become the highest-grossing concert tour of 2001 by a solo artist. It grossed more than US $76.8 million ($108.67 million in 2018 dollars), selling out summer shows and eventually playing in front of 730,000 fans throughout the United States and Europe. It received Major Tour of the Year and Most Creative Stage Production awards nominations at the 2001 Pollstar awards, but lost them to U2. The concert was broadcast live on HBO from The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan on August 26, 2001. A DVD titled Drowned World Tour 2001 was released in November 2001.
After the release of her seventh studio album Ray of Light (1998), Madonna stated in a live interview with Larry King on January 19, 1999 that "I am going to do a movie in April; The Next Best Thing, and then I am going to rehearse to go on tour. And then I'll probably play up until the millennium, New Year's Eve." The tour was delayed until 2001, as she had, in her own words, "been distracted by having children and filming movies". She also began a serious relationship with Guy Ritchie in 1999. By 2000, she had become pregnant with her son Rocco Ritchie, released her eighth studio album Music that year, and married Ritchie in December 2000.
When Madonna finally decided to go on the tour, time was short and she had to prepare the show within three months. Auditioning for the dancers started around March 2001. Jamie King was signed up as the creative director and the choreographer of the show. King said in an interview that the tour "was so hectic that I suffered from depressions and fell considerably ill." Rehearsals continued for thirteen hours a day, five days a week, with more and more dancers joining for the show. In the end, ten dancers and two backup singers were used. Madonna had her guitarist Monte Pittman teach her to play the instrument, and she played both acoustic and electric guitar live in the show. French house music expert Stuart Price, who had worked with Madonna on remixes of her album Music, was signed as bassist and keyboards player. Clair Brothers Audio support was roped in for providing a mixture of high-tech techno sound and fusion of acoustic and trance. Madonna clarified: "I don't see the point of doing a show unless you offer something that is going to mind-boggle the senses. It's not enough to get on stage and sing a song. It's all about theatre and drama and surprises and suspenses."
The Drowned World Tour was originally scheduled to begin with two shows in the Kölnarena in Cologne, Germany but both concerts had to be canceled due to technical difficulties. As a result, 35,000 tickets were refunded. Her show of August 3 at the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey was also cancelled, this time due to illness. Therefore, total tour dates numbered forty-seven instead of fifty.
The tour was divided into five segments, namely Cyber-Punk, Geisha, Cowgirl, Spanish and Ghetto. Each segment represented a phase of Madonna's career. Madonna's publicist Liz Rosenberg announced that the tour was designed as the grandest spectacle amongst all the other Madonna tours. Designer Jean-Paul Gaultier was signed up to create the costumes for the tour. He came up with the concept of creating the costumes of the tour as a fusion of punk and Scottish fashions. Other costumes designed by Gaultier had geisha, cowboy and Spanish themes in them. Other designers associated with the tour included Dean and Dan Caten, creaters of the DSquared2 fashion line. The dresses developed included a torn shirt and zippered black pants, indicating the early days of her career, and leather chapped jeans and ghetto fabulous costumes, indicating the phase of her career at that point of time. Black wigs and white makeup would demonstrate the Ray of Light and the geisha themes. A hybrid of clothes from the music video for "La Isla Bonita" (1987) and the 1996 musical Evita were also created. The setlist for the show consisted mainly of songs from the last two studio albums Ray of Light and Music. Among her pre-1990s hits, only "Holiday" and "La Isla Bonita" were added to the set list. Dave Kob, FOH engineer for the tour, commented that,
"The show is extremely technical, extremely fast-paced, and the variety of music is amazing. [...] It goes from screaming heavy metal to techno dance, to Country and Western; there's even a flamenco hootenanny where everyone comes down front, beats on logs and plays acoustic guitars and pennywhistles. Then it goes back to 'Holiday' which is an old dance number. It keeps you steppin'. Madonna sings everything live. She's been that way from the beginning of her career, even with all the athletic dancing. She's a hard worker and she expects everybody else to work as hard or harder. I respect that."
The stage was as huge as a tennis court and was made movable. Above the stage was a vast electrical grid, composed of truss sections, chain motors, electrical cables and the control devices that linked electronically or mechanically with the performances happening below. Four gigantic video monitors formed the backdrop of the stage. Other equipment included a mechanical bull and equipment for aerial movements. The sets were built in sections by three companies. A permanent crew of around hundred was hired. Monitor mixing was handled by four monitor engineers, with two of them for Madonna's monitors. Blake Suib, one of the engineers, commented that Madonna was a perfectionist and she knew when a sound, coming from the speakers, sounded bad or good during rehearsals. By the suggestion of music director Pat Leonard, they tried out using 14 kHz of sound frequency in their live speakers, which was unusual to use at that point of time. Also they came up with the idea of using isolated amplifiers to pick up the sound of the instruments individually. Suib commented that "the creative process of coming up with new ideas, implementing them, and then soberly evaluating their results was time-consuming but worth it." The poster and the logo for the tour was developed by Chase Design Group. They wanted to make the logo as much aesthetic as possible. They developed a custom icon and logo type to convey the unique and ethereal qualities of Madonna's show, which was described by the group's founder Margo Chase as "a multilayered musical and spiritual journey through diverse worlds." Chase commented that since "Madonna is a student of Kabbalah, she requested that we include references to that body of knowledge." The resulting logo and poster included both Arabic and Hebrew references. A number of designs were prepared by Chase and the one ultimately chosen by Madonna made it to the main poster of the show, which featured Madonna's face-shot from the "What It Feels Like for a Girl" video shots.
The show was divided into five sections: Cyber-Punk, Geisha, Cowgirl, Spanish and Ghetto. It began with a dramatic performance of "Drowned World/Substitute For Love"; Madonna entered amidst billows of dry ice, dressed in a sleeveless black top, crossover top with one net sleeve, jeans with zips and bondage straps, a studded dog collar and a tartan kilt. She performed the song standing on the middle platform of the stage. Afterwards a chaotic cyberpunk-themed performance of "Impressive Instant" started, with dancers in gas masks and headlights. She then played guitar for "Candy Perfume Girl", leading to the performance of "Beautiful Stranger" featuring a lost stage technician. Backdrops displayed scenes from the movie Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and psychedelic fluorescent whirls. The first section finished with "Ray of Light" where Madonna danced energetically across the stage.
The second segment opened with a video interlude of "Paradise (Not for Me)" and had nearly naked dancers hanging upside down from the ceiling. As the video ended, the dancers stood in front of the stage opening their mouth which was lit from inside. Madonna appeared on the stage wearing a short black wig and a hand-painted kimono with fifty-two-feet long sleevespan, to sing "Frozen". The backdrops display silhouettes of burning trees against racing, blood-red clouds. A short intro of "Open Your Heart" lead to "Nobody's Perfect" where Madonna was portrayed to be sacrificed for her sins. This was followed by "Mer Girl" which turned into the fast-action, ninja/samurai martial arts battle performance of "Sky Fits Heaven", transforming back into the slow-tempo "Mer Girl". This section was inspired by the Chinese film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). Madonna's battered and bruised face is shown in the backdrops as she emerged with a shotgun from the battle on stage and shot her dancer. As Madonna disappeared into the floor, a violent, sexually explicit Japanese animation dance remix interlude of "What It Feels Like for a Girl" was shown, featuring footage from the Japanese anime film Perfect Blue (1997).
Madonna appeared as a cowgirl, wearing a stars and stripes vest, for an acoustic guitar performance of "I Deserve It" and dedicated it to her then husband Guy Ritchie. This was followed by line dancing with her dancers dressed as cowboys during "Don't Tell Me" where she accessorized herself with a raccoon's tail. For "Human Nature", she rode a mechanical bull. After the performance, she addressed the audience in a mocking southern accent and sang a macabre themed song titled "The Funny Song". The next song was "Secret", which featured scenes of riverside baptism, Sufi dervish ceremonies and Buddhist prayers in the backdrops. She finished off the segment with "Gone", which was replaced with "You'll See" on some select U.S. venues. Dancers started the Evita tango interlude of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina". A number of candles were lit along the side of the stage. Madonna appeared in a half-dress and performed the Spanish version of "What it Feels Like For a Girl" titled "Lo Que Siente La Mujer". She finished the segment with an acoustic version of "La Isla Bonita" accompanied by flamenco dancing.
Madonna appeared on stage, in a halter D&G T-shirt that read "Mother" on the front and "F*cker" on the back and a fur coat, singing a mash-up of Stardust's "Music Sounds Better With You" and "Holiday". She and her entourage finished the show with a ghetto-themed "Music", introduced by Ali G, as her music video images flashed onscreen behind her. The song was mashed up with Kraftwerk's song "Trans-Europe Express". The phrase "The End" appeared on the backdrops, and signified the show was over.
Several changes were made to the final shows in Los Angeles after the September 11 attacks: Madonna wore an American flag kilt during the show's opening segment as a display of patriotism, the closing of "Mer Girl" (part II) was altered to remove the staged shooting of a character; Madonna instead put the gun down, hugged him and they left the stage together. The macabre cannibalism-themed "Funny Song" was removed. Additionally, as a surprise for Madonna at the final concert date, her husband at the time, Guy Ritchie, appeared as the lost technician at the end of "Beautiful Stranger", the Samurai during "Sky Fits Heaven" wore Los Angeles Lakers jerseys. Also, all of the dancers joined in for the final dance section of "Holiday", which usually only featured Madonna and her two backing singers. During the New York City performance of "Secret", she dedicated the song to its inhabitants.
The tour received mostly positive reviews and critical acclaim. Cory Moss from MTV wrote that "music might make the world go round, but costumes and theatrics make it more fun. Nobody knows this better than the Material Girl." Michael Hubbard from MusicOMH commented that "you'd struggle to find a better show than Drowned World and you'd find it difficult to find a mainstream artist who can command near-universal respect for anything like as long as this fine lady. One could almost judge the artist by what was left out [...] she displayed that temptress quality which has beguiled us for nearly two decades and that, combined with her exquisite music, is why Madonna is so special." Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine wrote: "Though her Cowgirl image is easily her least significant incarnation to date, Drowned World proves that Madonna is still unmatched in her ability to lift cultural iconography into the mainstream. [...] Those who thought Madonna hung up her handcuffs along with the notorious Sex book should look again closely. With its themes of chaos, dominance, and, ultimately, celebration, Madonna's Drowned World explores her ever-fervid intrigue with both imposed and pious restraint."
Simon Price from The Independent said that the tour "is a triumph of hydraulics, bungee rope acrobatics and cutting-edge choreography." However, he felt that the setlist consisting of mainly current songs implied that Madonna was doing "a paranoid attempt to frame herself as part of the present and not the past? The irony here is that, given the ever-decreasing spirals of pop revivalism, in order to be truly contemporary, rather than eschewing her past, Madonna would need to be ripping herself off circa 1984." John McAlley from Entertainment Weekly commented that the music was "loud, energetic, well-sung, and perhaps a little too often beside the point" and that "[it] struggle[d] to rise above its [the show's] theatrics." He added that one will be "awed by Madonna's palpable life force and intelligence. [...] There are plenty of reasons to bow at this artist's feat." Jon Pareles of The New York Times said that "through the concert, Madonna made a display of arrogance, tossing off profanities, striking tough postures and glaring more often than she smiled. She represents self-love backed by plenty of gym time and a whole troupe of devoted flunkies, all laboring to delight an audience she only seems to disdain. Music makes the people come together, she sang in the finale – together, that is, if Madonna is clearly in charge." Alexis Petridis of The Guardian felt that "with its perfect dance routines, special effects, devoted audience and hint of bullish arrogance, the Drowned World show befits the world's most famous woman."
Tour dates were limited to cities in Europe and North America. Drowned World became the first (and only) Madonna tour to skip over Canada completely. For many weeks prior to the launch of the tour dates, Arthur Fogel from Live Nation attempted to book dates in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre between the Sunrise, Atlanta, and Detroit dates, though no free bookings were available. In the end no dates were scheduled in Toronto. Ticket sales were swift in London on April 25, as Madonna sold out her dates at Earls Court Exhibition Centre in record time – six shows in six hours. Madonna made history with the fastest-selling show ever at Earl's Court, as 97,000 tickets were sold.
The first show sold out in just fifteen minutes, and the online ticket website took one million hits in the first ten minutes while thirty million attempts were made to phone Madonna hotlines. All dates of Madonna's Drowned World Tour sold out within minutes of going on sale. After the tour was over, industry reports presented that it earned US $76.8 million ($108.67 million in 2018 dollars) in total, from forty-seven summer sold-out shows and eventually played in front of 730,000 people throughout North America and Europe, averaging at $1.6 million ($2.26 million in 2018 dollars) per show. Drowned World Tour became the highest-grossing concert tour of 2001 by a solo artist, as well as the fourth highest-grossing among all, behind U2, N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. Drowned World received the Major Tour of the Year and Most Creative Stage Production awards nominations at the 2001 Pollstar awards, but lost them to U2.
Broadcast and recordings
The concert was broadcast live on HBO from The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan on August 26, 2001. Known as Madonna Live! – Drowned World Tour 2001, the broadcast was announced by Nancy Geller, senior vice president of HBO Original Programming. She commented, "It's a thrill for us to have Madonna back, because we know it is going to be a spectacular show, with that combination of her amazing talent and extravagant style which only Madonna can bring." It was produced by Marty Callner and directed by Hamish Hamilton. "Gone" was performed for the television broadcast and DVD release. The special was seen by 5.7 million viewers. The broadcast won the Best TV Concert category at the 2002 AOL TV Viewer Awards.
The Drowned World Tour 2001 DVD was released in all regions on November 13, 2001, the same day Madonna's second compilation album, GHV2, was released. Three audio tracks were made available: a DTS track, a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. A photo gallery was included as a bonus feature. Like the original airing of the show, the DVD received very good reviews. The photographs used on the DVD packaging were taken by Madonna's friend Rosie O'Donnell. The DVD was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of 100,000 copies in DVD units.
- "Drowned World/Substitute for Love" (contains elements of "Music", "Human Nature" "Ray of Light" and "Impressive Instant")
- "Impressive Instant"
- "Candy Perfume Girl"
- "Beautiful Stranger" (contains elements of "Soul Bossa Nova (Dim's Space-A-Nova)")
- "Ray of Light" (ends with a reprise of "Drowned World/Substitute For Love")
- "Paradise (Not for Me)" (Video Interlude)
- "Frozen" (Stereo MC's Remix)
- "Open Your Heart Swell"
- "Nobody's Perfect"
- "Mer Girl" (Part I)
- "Sky Fits Heaven"
- "Mer Girl" (Part II)
- "What It Feels Like for a Girl" (Remix) (Video Interlude)
- "I Deserve It"
- "Don't Tell Me"
- "Human Nature"
- "The Funny Song"
- "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" (Instrumental Interlude)
- "Lo Que Siente La Mujer" (Spanish Version of "What It Feels Like for a Girl")
- "La Isla Bonita"
- "Holiday" (contains elements from "Fate" and "Music Sounds Better with You")
- "Music" (contains elements from "Trans-Europe Express")
- Additional notes
- "Gone" was replaced by "You'll See" in some U.S. shows.
- "The Funny Song" was not performed during the Los Angeles shows after the September 11 attacks.
|June 9, 2001||Barcelona||Spain||Palau Sant Jordi||36,136 / 36,136||$2,039,112|
|June 10, 2001|
|June 13, 2001||Milan||Italy||FilaForum||36,100 / 36,100||$3,926,815|
|June 14, 2001|
|June 15, 2001|
|June 19, 2001||Berlin||Germany||Max-Schmeling-Halle||43,455 / 43,455||$2,864,786|
|June 20, 2001|
|June 22, 2001|
|June 23, 2001|
|June 26, 2001||Paris||France||Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy||68,000 / 68,000||$4,443,155|
|June 27, 2001|
|June 29, 2001|
|June 30, 2001|
|July 4, 2001||London||England||Earls Court||107,415 / 107,415||$8,734,149|
|July 6, 2001|
|July 7, 2001|
|July 9, 2001|
|July 10, 2001|
|July 12, 2001|
|July 21, 2001||Philadelphia||United States||First Union Center||31,128 / 31,128||$3,382,485|
|July 22, 2001|
|July 25, 2001||New York City||Madison Square Garden||79,401 / 79,401||$9,297,105|
|July 26, 2001|
|July 28, 2001|
|July 30, 2001|
|July 31, 2001|
|August 2, 2001||East Rutherford||Continental Airlines Arena||16,457 / 16,457||$1,842,155|
|August 7, 2001[a]||Boston||Fleet Center||29,886 / 29,886||$3,503,520|
|August 8, 2001|
|August 10, 2001||Washington, D.C.||MCI Center||32,061 / 32,061||$3,472,148|
|August 11, 2001|
|August 14, 2001||Sunrise||National Car Rental Center||31,572 / 31,572||$3,603,573|
|August 15, 2001|
|August 19, 2001||Atlanta||Philips Arena||29,617 / 29,617||$3,553,444|
|August 20, 2001|
|August 25, 2001||Auburn Hills||The Palace of Auburn Hills||35,407 / 35,407||$4,127,533|
|August 26, 2001|
|August 28, 2001||Chicago||United Center||33,725 / 33,725||$3,743,830|
|August 29, 2001|
|September 1, 2001||Las Vegas||MGM Grand Garden Arena||29,587 / 29,587||$6,503,950|
|September 2, 2001|
|September 5, 2001||Oakland||Oakland Arena||31,195 / 31,195||$3,351,320|
|September 6, 2001|
|September 9, 2001||Los Angeles||Staples Center||61,464 / 61,464||$8,303,165|
|September 13, 2001|
|September 14, 2001|
|September 15, 2001[b]|
|Total||732,606 / 732,606||$76,692,245|
|June 5, 2001||Cologne||Germany||Kölnarena||Technical problems|
|June 6, 2001|
|August 3, 2001||East Rutherford||United States||Continental Airlines Arena||Illness|
Credits and personnel
- Conception – Madonna
- Creative Director – Jamie King
- Video Director – Dago Gonzalez
- Musical Direction – Stuart Price
- Costume Design – Jean-Paul Gaultier, Dean and Dan Caten of D-Squared, Dolce & Gabbana, Donatella Versace, Catherine Malandrino
- Choreographer – Alex Magno
- Keyboards – Marcus Brown, Stuart Price
- Drums – Steve Sidelnyk
- Guitar – Monte Pittman, Stuart Price
- Bass – Raymond Hudson
- Percussion – Ron Powell
- Backing vocals – Niki Haris, Donna De Lory
- Head Dancer – Christian Vincent
- Dancers – Ruthy Inchaustegui, Nito Larioza, Tamara Levinson, Anthony Jay Rodriguez, Jamal Story, Kemba Shannon, Eko Supriyanto, Jull Weber, Addie Yungmee
- Technology Director and Additional Keyboards – Mike McKnight
- The show of August 7 in Boston was originally scheduled to take place on August 6 but was postponed to allow time for Madonna to get well after cancelling her second East Rutherford show.
- The show of September 15 in Los Angeles was originally scheduled to take place on September 11 but was postponed due to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
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- Guilbert 2002, p. 76
- Metz & Benson 1999, p. 67
- Reimer, Courtney (April 26, 2001). "Madonna Taps Les Rythmes Digitales Mastermind For Tour". MTV. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
- D'Angelo, Joe (June 6, 2001). "Madonna To Revisit Evita, Geisha Girl, Cowgirl Personas For Tour". MTV. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
- Young 2004, p. 107
- Clerk 2002, p. 172
- Metz & Benson 1999, p. 89
- Taraborrelli 2002, p. 90
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- "Out100 Styles". Out Magazine. Here Publishing, Regent Entertainment Pvt Ltd. 10 (6): 77. December 2001. ISSN 1062-7928.
- Orgill 2001, p. 109
- Reporter, Reuters (June 11, 2001). "Madonna Performs Swimmingly at First Drowned World Tour Show". ABC News. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
- Moss, Cory (June 11, 2001). "Few Hits, Many Costumes At Madonna Tour Launch". MTV. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
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- Young 2004, p. 110
- Plazm, Dougher & Berger 2003, p. 84
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- Fouz-Hernández & Jarman-Ivens 2004, p. 136
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- Price, Simon (July 9, 2001). "Madonna, Earls Court, London". The Independent. Retrieved December 30, 2009.
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- European box score data:
- "Billboard Boxscore". Billboard. New York City. June 23, 2001. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
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- "Billboard Boxscore". Billboard. New York City. July 28, 2001. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
- North American box score data:
- "Billboard Boxscore". Billboard. New York City. August 18, 2001. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
- "Billboard Boxscore". Billboard. New York City. September 1, 2001. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
- "Billboard Boxscore". Billboard. New York City. September 25, 2001. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
- "Billboard Boxscore". Billboard. New York City. October 13, 2001. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
- "Billboard Boxscore". Billboard. New York City. October 27, 2001. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
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- "Madonna cancels Cologne concerts". News24.com. May 6, 2001. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
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