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Re-Invention World Tour

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Re-Invention World Tour
Tour by Madonna
Madonna - ReInvention Tour (poster).png
Promotional poster for the tour
Associated albumAmerican Life
Start dateMay 24, 2004 (2004-05-24)
End dateSeptember 14, 2004 (2004-09-14)
No. of shows
  • 17 in Europe
  • 39 in North America
  • 56 Total
Box officeUS $125 million ($165.81 million in 2018 dollars[1])
Madonna concert chronology

Re-Invention World Tour was the sixth concert tour by American singer-songwriter Madonna. It supported her ninth studio album American Life and visited North America and Europe. Madonna was inspired to create the tour, after taking part in an art installation called X-STaTIC PRo=CeSS, directed by photographer Steven Klein. She incorporated the images from the installation in the tour, whose name was in reality a dig at Madonna's critics. A number of songs were rehearsed for the tour, with twenty-one of them making the final setlist.

The tour was divided into five segments: French BaroqueMarie Antoinette Revival, MilitaryArmy, CircusCabaret, Acoustic and Scottish-Tribal. The costumes were developed by designer Arianne Phillips based on the concept of re-invention. The opening segment displayed performances with dance in general. Military segment displayed performances with the theme of warfare. Circus displayed light-hearted performances while the Acoustic segment performances were melancholy. The final Scottish segment had Madonna and her performers display energetic dance routines. The tour garnered positive reception from contemporary critics. However, fellow singer Elton John accused Madonna of lip-synching during the tour. Madonna's representatives denied the allegations and John later apologized.

Re-Invention Tour was a commercial success with total sell-outs and multiple extra dates being added. It became the highest-grossing concert tour of 2004, earning US$125 million ($165.81 million in 2018 dollars[1]) from 56 shows, and an audience of 900,000. The tour was awarded with the Top Tour trophy at the 2004 Billboard Touring Awards. Madonna released a documentary titled I'm Going to Tell You a Secret, which chronicled the tour.


Madonna and her dancers opening the concert with "Vogue"

The Re-Invention World Tour was Madonna's sixth concert tour in support of her ninth studio album American Life. In 2003, Madonna collaborated with photographer Steven Klein for an art installation project called X-STaTIC Pro=CeSS. The installation portrayed Madonna in different incarnations of her spiritual practices – from yogi, prophet, queen to freak and pole dancer.[2] The publication was a worldwide success, leading to a number of exhibitions in New York, London, Paris, Düsseldorf, Berlin and Florence.[3] After the exhibition was over, Madonna was inspired by the images from the exhibitions and decided to incorporate them into her then unplanned tour and asked Klein to help her with the task. The poster released for the tour used one of the images from the installation project. It featured Madonna in a seventeenth century style dress, crawling on all fours towards the camera.[3] Klein later commented that,

"The thing is, I always saw Madonna as a performance artist. And I think what I wanted to portray was the process about how a performer arrives at their work. And the thing is, what she had talked about as well, is that before a concert, what she finds very interesting is the rehearsals and the straining and maybe she would like to injure. [...] And she said that the process of making the concert became more intriguing than the final result."[4]

The main intention of the tour was to transform Madonna's old hits musically and display her capacity for transformation and self-reflection.[5] The tour was initially known as the Whore of Babylon World Tour,[6] although Madonna later denied using this name.[7] The idea was to portray Madonna as the Whore of Babylon, an evil figure from the Book of Revelation. However it was later changed to the Re-Invention World Tour, a self-confident dig at all the critics and people who have expressed their views about Madonna re-inventing her image over the years.[8] The official tour poster displayed Madonna in a vintage bolero gown and a large French Renaissance-like hair-bun.[9] Air-conditioning was turned off during the tour on Madonna's request as she claimed it dried up her throat during singing.[10]


Madonna performing "Nobody Knows Me" during the opening segment of the show.

During the rehearsals of the tour, a general setlist was decided where the show rehearsals would start with "I'm So Stupid" from American Life, "Dress You Up" (1985) and "Material Girl" (1984). But "Dress You Up" and "I'm So Stupid" were later dropped from the show.[11] Other songs taken out from the initial set list include "Love Profusion" Headcleaner Mix (2004), "Swim" from Ray of Light (1998), "Live to Tell" (1986) and "Take a Bow" (1994). "Nobody Knows Me" was first rehearsed in Peter Rauhofer's Perfect Private Life Mix. The opening song for the show was decided as "Vogue" (1990) for a long time, until Madonna decided to use "The Beast Within" as the opener.[11] The finale of the show was decided to be "Holiday" (1983) rather than "Die Another Day" (2002) with the John Lennon song "Imagine" (1971) being added to the setlist. "Don't Tell Me" (2001) was rehearsed in two versions – a French video backdrop version for the American leg and Paris shows, and the "Bitter Sweet Symphony" version for the other tour stops.[11] Two new tracks rehearsed for the show included "Devil Wouldn't Recognize You", written by Madonna and Joe Henry, and "I Love New York". The latter was incorporated as a bonus track of the live Re-Invention Tour CD I'm Going To Tell You A Secret (2005) and remade as a dance track for her tenth studio album Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005), while the former was included in her eleventh studio album Hard Candy (2008). "Ray of Light" was also rehearsed during the initial phases, but Madonna later decided to eliminate it, as performing the song at the beginning of the show would hurt her voice beforehand.[11] Finally twenty-four of the thirty rehearsed songs ended up on being the official setlist for the show.

The costumes for the tour were created by designer Arianne Phillips. Before the show started, USA Today reported that Madonna would be making five costume changes in the tour.[12] Phillips commented that since Madonna was revisiting her old songs for this tour, hence that was the main philosophy and inspiration behind designing the costumes. However she also noted that "Madonna has always pooh-poohed the concept of reinvention and doesn't strategize or premeditate her new look in a boardroom, so this is the greatest ironic statement of all." The T-shirts were designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier and the shoes used were provided by clothing line hosiery Miu Miu.[13] The opening dress was created by French designer Christian Lacroix and incorporated the baroque look. The second part of the displayed military themed outfits inspired from the American Life album and designed by Phillips. The third ensemble emphasized on the emotional point of the show and hence the costumes were quieter and displayed the silhouettes of the performers.[12] The costumes of this segment were designed by Stella McCartney. Phase four costumes, inspired by the carnivals, were designed by Chanel. The final segment of the tour displayed traditional dresses. Other than these, Madonna wore corsets during the first segment.[13]

Concert synopsis[edit]

Madonna and her dancers performing "American Life" on the tour's second act.

The central theme of the show was unity versus violence.[14] It was divided into five acts with different themes: French BaroqueMarie Antoinette Revival, MilitaryArmy, CircusCabaret, Acoustic and Scottish-Tribal segments. It began with "The Beast Within", an ominous recitation from the Book of Revelation by Madonna and the screens displaying Madonna's X-STaTIC PRo=CeSS installations.[14] Once the introduction had finished, Madonna appeared onstage on a rising platform in a golden corset (for some European shows she wore a lilac one), striking yoga poses to perform "Vogue".[15] It was followed by the energetically performed "Nobody Knows Me" on a conveyor belt with some of the words to the song appearing on the screens, then "Frozen", during which a video of a naked male and a naked female wrestling, caressing and intertwining in water, their faces and genitals darkened by shadows so as to preserve their androgyny, were displayed on the backdrops. This video was directed by Chris Cunningham, who directed Madonna's original music video to the song.[14][16] The military segment started with the sound of a helicopter in the background as Madonna's backup dancers, dressed as soldiers, crawled on their bellies as though in the middle of battle, then hugged each other as if saying goodbye. Madonna appeared onstage, on top of a structure made up of TV sets, wearing camouflage pants, an olive army jacket and black beret. She started performing "American Life" as war footage of death and destruction flashed on screens behind her (at the end of the song, it showed a George W. Bush look-alike lovingly resting his head on the shoulder of a Saddam Hussein look-alike, as though the pair were waiting for a marriage license [10]). During the performance Madonna ran down a lengthy V-shaped catwalk that descended from the ceiling and allowed her to reach the middle of the stadium.[10] She also twirled army rifles during a march-like "Express Yourself" before strapping on a guitar for rock versions of "Burning Up" and "Material Girl".[17] During the latter's performances, the backdrops displayed mathematical equations along with DNA helixes rushing through the screens.[14] A remix interlude of "Hollywood" featured a breakdancer, a firedancer, a bellydancer, a tapdancer and a skateboarder. The screens displayed animations of the Rider-Waite tarot cards.[10]

The interlude was followed by a Cabaret-like performance of "Hanky Panky", which started the Circus act. Next a jazz version of "Deeper and Deeper" was performed with her two female back-up dancers.[15] Then followed "Die Another Day", with Madonna and her dancers in a Tango-like choreography and backdrops displayed an old man in his deathbed.[15][18] After that, she was strapped into an electric chair as she started singing "Lament" from the soundtrack of the film Evita and the platform rises with her to the top. Madonna commented later that "Lament" was her "favorite part, [...] I like the idea of being restrained. I'm singing about all the things I could have had, but my ego got in the way and I destroyed all my happiness."[18][19] The Orbital remix/video interlude of "Bedtime Story" was performed as dancers swung on trapezes. An acoustic-style segment started with "Nothing Fails", with the guitar being played by Madonna herself. After that, she sang "Don't Tell Me", recreating the choreography from the song's video with her dancers. The next song played was "Like a Prayer" where symbols of the 72 names of God were displayed on the backdrops.[14] During the performance of the combined "Mother and Father", Catholic images along with Madonna's Mother were displayed on the backdrops.[20] Madonna then performed John Lennon's pro-peace song "Imagine" when photo montages of war-ravaged children, bombed-out villages and artillery were displayed in the backdrops. Asked why she chose to cover this song Madonna simply said: "I wanted to make a statement with the ultimate peace song."[18]

The final segment started with Scottish bagpiper players parading around the stage in kilts and playing drums and pipes. Madonna appeared onstage in similar long kilts and a white sleeveless T-shirt to perform "Into the Groove" with Scottish bagpiper Lorne Cousin.[15] A video simulation of the rapper Missy Elliott is played during the performance; later on, Madonna started singing "Papa Don't Preach" Madonna wore black T-shirts with the line "Kabbalists Do It Better" printed on them.[10] Madonna whirles on the raised platform and sings the song.[20] Other lines printed on the T-shirts for various other shows included "Midwesterners Do It Better", "Italians Do It Better" "Irish Do It Better" and "Brits Do It Better".[21] The next song, "Crazy for You" is dedicated to all her fans for "Sticking by me for the last 20 years!". The last two performances consisted of "Music" and the show closer, "Holiday" which was backed by a montage of morphing flags on the backdrops.[14] The show ended with cannon shots of confetti and the phrase "Reinvent yourself" appearing onscreen.[10]

Critical response[edit]

Madonna performing "Die Another Day" on the third, cabaret-themed segment of the tour.

The show received critical acclaim. David Segal from The Washington Post noted that the "difference between this show and the last, the Drowned World Tour of 2001, was striking. That show seems standoffish compared with this one, in part because Madonna has finally worked through whatever issues prevented her from performing her earliest hits. [...] Madonna has created a new performance hybrid."[10] Segal's view was shared by Elizabeth Smith from The New York Times who also commented that "Unlike 2001's Drowned World Tour, which was dark, often hostile, Re-Invention returns Madonna to the light. She looks as if she is having a good time."[20] Edna Gunderson of USA Today gave the concert four out of four stars and said "Madonna seems to be having a jolly good time. Whereas her last outing had technical strengths but lacked warmth, Reinvention finds Madonna reinvested emotionally. The show doesn't have the degree of flesh, carnal content or shock value that past outings delivered, but this time Madonna is opting for more heart than cleavage and more personality than profanity."[19] Joshua Klein from Chicago Tribune commented that Madonna's show displayed more spectacle than substance.[22]

Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine commented on the theme of the concert and said that "the best thing that can come out of Madonna revisiting (and reinventing) the past is that she, and we, will be reminded of what she does best: making us forget about the bad times, come together, release the pressure, and have a holiday.[14] "Kelefa Sanneh from The New York Times said that the concert was "a dense, dizzying, often incoherent, sometimes exhilarating night, starring a great performer who often found herself shadowboxing with her own past lives."[23] Dan Aquilante from New York Post said that the concert "razzle-dazzled her way into the hearts of the devoted audience with an entertaining theatrical revue that was elaborately staged, costumed and cast with a full dance troupe."[24] Thea Singer of the Boston Herald said that "Madonna brought Jewish mysticism on tour."[25] John Hand from BBC noted that the "Re-Invention Tour happily marrie[d] past and present Madonna. [...] It is a far more rounded concert experience for the dedicated fan."[15] However Robert Hilburn from Los Angeles Times felt that the show eventually took on a darker, more political tone and condemned the "weakly political Re-Invention concert [as] unsexy and uninspiring."[26]

Commercial reception[edit]

Madonna performing an acoustic version of "Mother and Father" during the fourth segment.

The first tickets for the tour were allotted to the members of Icon, Madonna's official fan club members.[27] However, the tour soon started selling all around the world. Originally scheduled to perform in twelve major markets in North America with additional stops in Paris and London, the demand for tickets became so high that in New York City after two Madison Square Garden dates sold out in record time, Madonna's manager Caresse Henry, and the worldwide tour promoter Clear Channel Entertainment, decided to add new dates to the tour.[28] Within the first five days the tour was a sell-out for the dates at Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, Philadelphia and Miami. High-priced ticket packages for all dates on the tour were sold from Madonna's tour website The tickets were priced at $700 ($929 in 2018 dollars[1]) per person.[29] MTV arranged for an on-air contest titled Front and Center With Madonna Contest where fans were able to win tickets to an onstage area at any of the scheduled shows.[30] After the tour started, mid-year it was announced that the tour has grossed US$44.9 million ($59.56 million in 2018 dollars[1]), from the selling of 258,000 tickets at an average price of $174.17. Her average gross per show was US$6.414 million ($8.51 million in 2018 dollars[1]) with still more than half the dates being left.[31]

Before the show was over, Billboard magazine projected total sales of $120 million ($159.18 million in 2018 dollars[1]) for Re-Invention.[32] This was confirmed by People magazine who said that the tour grossed around $120 million from all the shows, thus making it the highest-grossing tour of 2004.[33] Although musician Prince's Musicology Tour was initially projected to be the highest-grossing tour, Billboard Boxscore published that the Re-Invention Tour had sold 55 out of the 56 shows and grossed US$125 million ($165.81 million in 2018 dollars[1]).[34] At the 2004 Billboard Touring Awards, Re-Invention Tour received the Top Tour award during the Backstage Pass Conference at New York City's Roosevelt Hotel on November 9, 2004. Madonna's tour manager Caresse Henry was awarded the Top Manager award.[35][36]

Lip sync allegation[edit]

Elton John accused Madonna of lip-synching during her shows.

During the Q magazine awards, Elton John accused Madonna of lip-synching during her shows. Reacting to Madonna being nominated for Best Live Act, he commented "Since when has lip-synching been live? Anyone who lip-synchs in public on stage when you pay $134 to see them should be shot. That's me off her fucking Christmas card list. [...] But do I give a toss? No."[37] Madonna's publicist, Liz Rosenberg, rejected John's allegations by saying "Madonna does not lip-sync nor does she spend her time trashing other artists, [...] She sang every note of her Re-Invention tour live and is not ashamed that she was well paid for her hard work. [...] Elton John remains on her Christmas card list whether he is nice...or naughty."[37] John later released a statement to Entertainment Weekly saying that he would like to apologize to Madonna for his comments. He said:

I don't want to escalate it because I like Madonna, [...] She's been to my house for dinner. It was something that was said in the heat of the moment, and probably should not have been said. [...] Would I apologize to her if I saw her? Yeah, because I don't want to hurt any artist's feelings. It was my fault. I instigated the whole thing. But it applies to all those bloody teenage singers. [...] The reaction to it was so hysterical, It was like I said, 'I think all gays should be killed or I think Hitler was right.' I just said someone was lip-synching. I'm not afraid to speak my mind. I'm not going to mellow with age. I get more enraged about things as I get older because you see that these injustices go on.[38]

Broadcasts and recordings[edit]

The final show in Lisbon was expected to air on CBS, who had allegedly offered to pay $10 million to broadcast it as a two-hour special, but did not happen.[13] A documentary titled I'm Going to Tell You a Secret, which chronicled the tour, was released. The documentary was recorded during Madonna's performance on the tour and was finished during the recording of Madonna's tenth studio album Confessions on a Dance Floor.[39] The DVD+CD containing the documentary and a live album of highlights from the show was also released in May 2006. The DVD contained a two-hour long look at the tour, including its rehearsal plus some performance footage, while the CD offers thirteen songs of the set list plus the rock demo of "I Love New York".[40]

The documentary was directed by Jonas Åkerlund. Barry Walters from Rolling Stone commented that "Jonas Akerlund's 2005 kinetic yet personable documentary of Madonna's 2004 Re-Invention Tour lacks the dishy delights of the diva's 1991 Truth or Dare doc. Instead, a more worldly Madge struggles to become a less sound-bite-reliant, more sincere person. The bonus live CD proves that she's a better singer."[41] Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic complimented the release saying "as Madonna's first live CD, I'm Going to Tell You a Secret is strong and entertaining, and even if the excessive minutiae on the accompanying DVD means only hardcore fans will sit through its two hours, it's also quite well done."[40] The release debuted at number 33 on the Billboard 200 and the top ten in Canada and the European Top 100 Albums chart.[42]

Set list[edit]

The final performance of the night, "Holiday", with Madonna and her dancers wearing kilts.
  1. "The Beast Within" (Intro) (contains elements of "El Yom 'Ulliqa 'Ala Khashaba")
  2. "Vogue"
  3. "Nobody Knows Me"
  4. "Frozen"
  5. "American Life"
  6. "Express Yourself"
  7. "Burning Up"
  8. "Material Girl"
  9. "Hollywood" (Remix) (Interlude)
  10. "Hanky Panky"
  11. "Deeper and Deeper"
  12. "Die Another Day"
  13. "Lament"
  14. "Bedtime Story" (Remix) (Interlude)
  15. "Nothing Fails"
  16. "Don't Tell Me" (contains elements of "Bitter Sweet Symphony")
  17. "Like a Prayer"
  18. "Mother and Father" (contains excerpts from "Intervention")
  19. "Imagine"
  20. "Into the Groove" (contains elements of "Susan MacLeod" and "Into the Hollywood Groove")
  21. "Papa Don't Preach" (ends with a reprise of "American Life")
  22. "Crazy for You"
  23. "Music" (contains elements of "Into the Groove")
  24. "Holiday" (contains elements of "She Wants to Move" and "Physical Attraction")

Setlist and samples per Madonna's official website plus the notes and track listing of I'm Going to Tell You a Secret[43][44][45]


List of concerts, showing date, city, country, venue, tickets sold, amount of available tickets and gross revenue
Date City Country Venue Attendance Revenue
North America[46]
May 24, 2004 Inglewood United States The Forum 43,158 / 43,158 $6,965,055
May 26, 2004[a]
May 27, 2004
May 29, 2004 Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena 28,341 / 28,341 $7,005,548
May 30, 2004
June 2, 2004 Anaheim Arrowhead Pond 24,250 / 24,250 $4,164,450
June 3, 2004
June 6, 2004 San Jose HP Pavilion 40,205 / 40,205 $5,543,715
June 8, 2004
June 9, 2004
June 13, 2004 Washington, D.C. MCI Center 26,788 / 26,788 $3,486,684
June 14, 2004
June 16, 2004 New York City Madison Square Garden 88,625 / 88,625 $12,674,925
June 17, 2004
June 20, 2004
June 21, 2004
June 23, 2004
June 24, 2004
June 27, 2004 Worcester Worcester's Centrum Centre 46,075 / 46,075 $6,439,890
June 28, 2004
June 30, 2004
July 1, 2004
July 4, 2004 Philadelphia Wachovia Center 30,575 / 30,575 $4,134,478
July 5, 2004
July 7, 2004 East Rutherford Continental Airlines Arena 29,315 / 29,315 $4,437,345
July 8, 2004
July 11, 2004 Chicago United Center 59,591 / 59,591 $7,894,105
July 12, 2004
July 14, 2004
July 15, 2004
July 18, 2004 Toronto Canada Air Canada Centre 52,160 / 52,160 $5,332,703
July 19, 2004
July 21, 2004
July 24, 2004 Atlanta United States Philips Arena 25,627 / 25,627 $3,450,874
July 25, 2004
July 28, 2004 Sunrise Office Depot Center 28,208 / 28,208 $3,834,522
July 29, 2004
August 1, 2004 Miami American Airlines Arena 30,580 / 30,580 $4,145,760
August 2, 2004
August 14, 2004 Manchester England Manchester Evening News Arena 27,320 / 27,320 $5,136,114
August 15, 2004
August 18, 2004 London Earls Court 34,087 / 34,087 $6,356,207
August 19, 2004
August 22, 2004 Wembley Arena 45,267 / 45,267 $9,809,717
August 23, 2004
August 25, 2004
August 26, 2004
August 29, 2004[b] Slane Ireland Slane Castle 62,275 / 70,000 $6,575,339
September 1, 2004 Paris France Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy 68,000 / 68,000 $7,357,529
September 2, 2004
September 4, 2004
September 5, 2004
September 8, 2004 Arnhem Netherlands GelreDome 73,300 / 73,300 $6,759,661
September 9, 2004
September 13, 2004 Lisbon Portugal Pavilhão Atlântico 33,460 / 33,460 $3,286,166
September 14, 2004
Total 896,787 / 904,512 $124,790,787


  1. ^ The May 26 show in Inglewood was originally scheduled to take place on May 25 but was postponed due to illness.[47]
  2. ^ The August 29 show in Slane was the annual Slane Concert.[49]



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  3. ^ a b Timmerman 2007, p. 23
  4. ^ Timmerman 2007, p. 25
  5. ^ Fouz-Hernández & Jarman-Ivens 2004, p. 16
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  28. ^ Reporter, Business Wire (March 30, 2004). "Madonna's Re-Invention Tour Sells out around the World; New Dates Are Added". Business Wire. Associated Press. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  29. ^ Zahlaway, John (April 2, 2004). "Madonna adds repeat performances to meet demand". LiveDaily. Ticketmaster. Archived from the original on February 5, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  30. ^ Vineyard, Jennifer (May 21, 2004). "Madonna's Male Dancers Learn 'What It Feels Like For A Girl'". MTV. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  31. ^ Reporter, Pop (July 14, 2004). "Prince And Madonna Top Pollstar's Midyear Tour Grosses". PopDirt. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  32. ^ Susman, Gary (June 1, 2004). "Madonna may have 2004's top-grossing tour". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  33. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (June 1, 2004). "Madonna Boasts Top-Grossing Show of Year". People. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  34. ^ Susman, Gary (December 14, 2004). "Mother of 'Re-Invention'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  35. ^ Trust, Gary (November 4, 2004). "Madonna Tour Gets Top 'Backstage Pass' Honor". Billboard. Retrieved July 13, 2008.
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  46. ^ Box score:
  47. ^ "Madonna postpones second LA date". BBC News. May 26, 2004. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  48. ^ Box score:
  49. ^ "Madonna Confirmed For Slane Castle, Ireland August 29". Hot Press. April 9, 2004. Retrieved August 27, 2014.


External links[edit]