|Tour by Madonna|
Promotional poster for the tour
|Associated album||Confessions on a Dance Floor|
|Start date||May 21, 2006|
|End date||September 21, 2006|
|No. of shows|
|Box office||US $194.7 million ($246.93 million in 2019 dollars)|
|Madonna concert chronology|
Confessions Tour was the seventh concert tour by American singer-songwriter Madonna. It supported her tenth studio album, Confessions on a Dance Floor. Madonna confirmed the possibility of going out on a tour as early as November 2005. Jamie King, Madonna's longtime collaborator, was then hired on to direct. The set list consisted of mainly songs from the supporting studio album and rehearsals started during 2006. As with many of her prior tours, the Confessions Tour did not go to Australia, prompting Madonna to release an apology statement on her website.
The concert was divided into four parts: Equestrian, Bedouin, Glam–Punk, and Disco. Equestrian had horse-themed, bondaged performances, Bedouin had performances accompanied by messages, Glam-Punk performances had Madonna playing guitars and the final Disco segment consisted of dancing in general. The tour garnered positive appreciation from contemporary critics and commercial success. Tickets were completely sold as soon as dates and venues for the tour were announced, prompting the organizers to add more dates. After its ending, the Confessions Tour was dubbed as the highest-grossing tour ever for a female artist, grossing over US$194.7 million ($246.93 million in 2019 dollars) from 60 shows with 1.2 million spectators. It is also recognized as the highest-grossing music tour per concert in the 2007 edition of the Guinness World Records. Confessions Tour received the "Most Creative Stage Production" at the Pollstar Concert Industry Awards as well as "Top Boxscore" from the Billboard Touring Awards.
Madonna's performance of the song "Live to Tell" while hanging on a giant mirrored cross wearing a crown of thorns was met with strong negative reaction from religious groups. The performance at Rome's Stadio Olimpico was condemned as an act of hostility toward the Roman Catholic Church by religious leaders. Madonna responded saying that her main intention with the performance was to bring attention to the millions of children dying in Africa from hunger and poverty. The tour was recorded and broadcast on such channels as NBC in the United States and Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. A CD+DVD recording titled The Confessions Tour was also released.
In November 2005, during an interview with The Guardian, Madonna confirmed that she was going out on tour in 2006 and it would likely be named either the Confessions Tour or the Confess Your Sins Tour. Jamie King was next hired on as the director of the tour. During an interview with MTV in February 2006, Madonna explained that she wanted to play first at small venues like Roseland Ballroom in New York or the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, then move out to perform at stadiums and arenas. That way she deduced that she would not feel bored during her performances. King clarified,
"A typical Madonna show is quite produced, [...] She likes things large, she likes things theatrical, but this time, being that Confessions on a Dance Floor is an intimate album, we want to try to make people have an intimate experience as well as a big produced theatrical experience. So look for us doing some small venues, some smaller venues. [...] I would like to put her as close to her people — her fans, her dancers, her fellow supporters — as possible,"
King also confirmed that the set list for the tour consisted mainly of songs from the supporting album, with few of Madonna's old hits making the cut. Some of the dancers from the music videos of "Hung Up" and "Sorry", both singles from Confessions on a Dance Floor, were signed to perform on the tour as well. In March 2006, Madonna, along with her then-husband Guy Ritchie and with their kids, moved to Los Angeles, to begin rehearsing for the tour. In the summer of 2006, Madonna's manager Guy Oseary announced that her Australian leg to the tour had been dropped. Her official website released the following statement:
To my fans in Australia,
Please forgive me. I really did hope and expect to come to Australia during the Confessions Tour and asked my managers to try to include some shows there. I have fond memories from previous tours. Unfortunately, the logistics just didn't work out this time around. We looked into going from Japan to Australia and ending the show there but I have to get my kids back into school in England and they are, as you can understand, my most important priority. The important thing to remember is that I'm not retiring anytime soon and I am gonna get to Australia as soon as I can. You remain in my heart and Thank you for your continued love & support. —Love, Madonna
The stage and associated props took twenty-four semi-trailer trucks to transport. The setup consisted of a main stage with three elevators and a turntable (which rose and lowered), a central runway with LED and strobe lights connected to a central stage with a LED view screen in the construction and an elevator. The two secondary runways were raised up into the stands and also had view screens inside the construction. Two projection screens were raised above the audience so those who couldn't get a clear view of the stage could still see the performance. There were also 3 LED screens that moved around during the performance, including one semicircular transparent screen lowered onto the stage during the video interludes.
Among the various props present for the tour, was a $2 million disco ball embellished with a further of $2 million worth of Swarovski crystals, bringing it to a weight of two tons. The ball was lowered onto the stage at the end of the runway during the opening number, and then opened to reveal Madonna. The ball contained hydraulic tubing to hold it open, two sets of stairs, and hundreds of LED lights. Other props include the turntable-pummel horse used during "Like a Virgin", a set of jungle gym-like metal bars used during "Jump", the steel cage used for "Isaac" and "Sorry", and the boom box used during "Hung Up". The promotional poster for the tour featured one of the photographs of Madonna taken by Steven Klein during the performances at G-A-Y club in London, as part of the promotional tour of the Confessions on a Dance Floor album.
The concert was divided into four parts: Equestrian, Bedouin, Glam–Punk and Disco. The Equestrian segment of the show began with images of Madonna, riding crop in hand, and horses cantering across windswept plains on the big screens. A giant disco ball was then lowered onstage, and opened like a flower bud to reveal Madonna inside. As she took her dancers' reins, she performed "Future Lovers", which featured samples from Donna Summer's "I Feel Love". This was followed by "Get Together" backed by her dancers in horse reins. She rode a carousel horse-like dance pole during "Like a Virgin". The backdrops displayed the X-Ray of Madonna's broken bones, which she had during a previous accident. "Jump" followed this performance, where the dancers displayed the physical discipline parkour. After Madonna disappeared backstage, three of her dancers then revealed personal tragedies during an interlude called "Confessions". The second segment titled Bedouin started with Madonna appearing on a mirrored crucifix to sing "Live to Tell" as a death toll of African AIDS victims counted down onscreen above her. She stepped down off the cross to perform "Forbidden Love" where two male dancers intertwined each other while displaying religious symbolism on the screens like blood corpuscles connecting to form symbols of hope and unity. Madonna brought a guest vocalist from her Confessions on a Dance Floor album onstage for "Isaac", when a female dancer in an oversized Middle-Eastern burka danced within a cage with the backdrops displaying sand dunes. Madonna then recreated the dance-off scene from her "Sorry" music video live with her troupe for her performance of the song. The performance was followed by the song "Like It Or Not" where burlesque-style dancing was performed by Madonna with the help of a chair as a prop. After the performance, her dancers performed krump dancing for a remix interlude of "Sorry" as social, political, and ecological images flashed onscreens.
Madonna returned for the Glam-Punk segment of the show and strapped on a guitar for rocked-out versions of "I Love New York" and "Ray of Light". The backdrop during the performances displayed the New York skyline sliding off and stars respectively. "Ray of Light" was accompanied by her dancers in new wave style dance, while wearing black clothes and white ties. An energetic rendition of "Let It Will Be" followed before she sat down for some minutes to talk with her audience. She later started singing "Drowned World/Substitute for Love" without any choreography or backdrop video, only sitting on the floor, and then recalled co-singer Yitzhak Sinwani out for an acoustic version of "Paradise (Not for Me)". The final segment Disco started after a brief radio-style mini-mix of old hits. Madonna emerged in a butterfly-collared suit influenced by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever for a mash-up of "Music" and The Trammps' 1976 single "Disco Inferno" This also included a sample of her 1986 song "Where's The Party" at the beginning of the song while dancers rollerskated circles around her. Stuart Price's remixed dance version of "Erotica", which sampled the song's original demo "You Thrill Me", is performed. The next song was a Tropical-Dance version of "La Isla Bonita", where the screens displayed clips of different beautiful islands, the sea and its fauna. This is followed by "Lucky Star"; this dance re-invention of the song shared the same musical arrangement of the following and final song of the evening "Hung Up", which is accompanied by a sing-along with the audience and confetti and golden balloons falling from above. The show ended as the phrase "Have you confessed?" appeared onscreen.
The Confessions Tour received positive critical response. Steve Baltin of Rolling Stone wrote: "Madonna had played many roles in the first night of her Confessions tour – but confessor was not one of them. Apparently, in all the pomp and circumstance, there was no room for warmth, or even the attitude that made her recent Coachella festival performance so memorable." Don Chareunsy of The San Diego Union-Tribune commented that Madonna's previous tours, Drowned World Tour (2001) and Re-Invention World Tour (2004), "were excellent concerts ... but she stepped it up a few notches" for the Confessions Tour. Ben Wener of The Orange County Register reported that "No one – but no one – stages elaborate eye-candy productions like Madonna, whose highly impressive Confessions Tour opened Sunday night at a packed Forum so sweltering it seemed as though it were being prepped for the world's largest Bikram yoga session." Lina Das from the Daily Mail complimented the show, saying that Madonna still had the ability to grab the headlines with her shock tactics. Thomas Inskeep from Stylus Magazine complimented the finale of the tour saying, "There's not a better way the Confessions Tour could’ve closed." Tom Young from the BBC called the show "a big fat neon light of a pop-dance explosion. There's a party going on, and unless you were there in the first place, you’re not invited. Whistles and whoops rarely cease and applause ripples throughout building into regular raptures for a consistently first-class performer. It's almost enough to make those who weren’t there jealous. Almost."
Jim Harrington of the ANG Newspapers commented that fans were "certainly happy" with the tour, though, Terry Armour of the Chicago Tribune noted from a report from The Arizona Republic that fans were "hot and bothered" over Madonna's alleged requests that the air conditioning be turned down in venues during her tour. It was reported that the result of this was due to Madonna wanting to preserve her voice. In one article, it was said that the air conditioning concerns "are nothing new in the entertainment business" in which voice problems "can cost performers millions in lost revenue." Another story said that Madonna does not like the air conditioning on during her performance because it dries out her throat. Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine stated that the tour was a "reminder that Madonna's music need not be motivated by sex or politics to be good as long as it displays a smidgen of heart and soul. [...] Her Confessions Tour, though spotty and compromised but often breathtaking, is something of a coup after the fierce but icy theatrics of her Drowned World Tour and the shrill aggression of her Re-Invention Tour." Bill Lamb of About.com noted that the "highest points of the Confessions Tour prove[d] that a combination of great songs, riveting staging, and accomplished choreography always amount to a brilliant concert experience." Christian John Wikane of PopMatters commented that "even the most rabid anti-Madonna listener or cynical music lover would find elements of the Confessions Tour impressive."
Tickets for the tour sold out within minutes of going on sale at many venues in North America and Europe, and new dates were immediately announced – included five new dates at Wembley Arena and new dates in New York, Chicago, Paris and Los Angeles. Madonna rang up eight sellouts at Wembley Arena beginning August 1, 2006, notching the highest Billboard gross of 2006 in the process. She grossed $80 million ($101,459,227 in 2019 dollars) for the US shows alone throughout the summer, and it instantly became the highest grossing summer tour of the year 2006. In particular, NRJ reported that the two French dates sold out within 15 minutes of going on sale, resulting in two shows being added. The two original dates in London sold out almost instantly, and five new shows at Wembley Arena were announced. On April 8, 2006, Madonna sold 30,000 tickets in under 40 minutes in Montreal, breaking a record previously held by U2. On July 9, 2006, 50,000 tickets went on sale for Madonna's Osaka and Tokyo shows. The tickets were sold out in a record breaking five minutes. It was Madonna's first time touring Japan in 13 years, and an additional date was added, September 21, 2006, at the Tokyo Dome, to meet high demand. On August 8, 2006, more than 35,000 tickets for the first ever Madonna concert in Moscow went on sale and, as claimed by show organizers, all were sold out in four days, which could be a new record in that country as all other artists had taken more than two weeks to sell out the tickets in the region. However, after many problems with the concert including venue uncertainty, rescheduling, ticket exchange and huge numbers of tickets in the hands of speculators, tickets were on sale at their nominal values until the last minute.
According to Billboard and tour producer Arthur Fogel, the tour grossed over US$194.7 million ($246,926,395 in 2019 dollars) from 60 shows and 1.2 million audience, becoming the highest-grossing tour ever for a female artist and breaking the record previously held by Cher for her Living Proof: The Farewell Tour (2002–2005). Madonna broke her own record in 2008, with her Sticky & Sweet Tour, which became the highest-grossing tour by a solo artist, earning US$408 million ($486,220,568 in 2019 dollars). Confessions Tour is also recognized as the highest-grossing music tour per concert in the 2007 edition of the Guinness World Records, with $3.2 million ($4,058,369 in 2019 dollars) grossed per concert. It received the "Most Creative Stage Production" at the Pollstar Concert Industry Awards, as well as, "Top Boxscore" from the Billboard Touring Awards.
Reaction to the performance of "Live to Tell"
Madonna's performance of "Live to Tell" faced strong reaction from religious groups. The performance included Madonna being raised from the floor hanging on a mirrored cross wearing a red blouse and velvet pants, with a crown of thorns on her head. During the performance, the number 12,000,000 flashed above her on the stage's backdrop screens, along with images of African children. This was intended to detail the estimated number of children who have been orphaned by the AIDS pandemic in Africa.
German prosecutors in Düsseldorf threatened to sue her for blasphemy, and Protestant bishop Margot Käßmann said that "maybe the only way an aging superstar can attract attention is to offend people's religious sentiments." The Russian Orthodox Church and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) described Madonna's performance as amoral, and urged all members to boycott her upcoming concert in Moscow. The performance at Rome's Olympic Stadium—located near the Vatican—was condemned as an act of hostility toward the Roman Catholic Church by religious leaders. Italian cardinal Ersilio Tonini called the concert "a blasphemous challenge to the faith" and a "profanation of the cross", also calling for Madonna to be excommunicated. Reverend Manfredo Leone described it as "disrespectful, in bad taste and provocative".
Muslim and Jewish leaders also criticized the performance. Mario Scialoja, the head of Italy's Muslim League commented "I think her idea is in the worst taste and she'd do better to go home." Riccardo Pacifici, the spokesman for Rome's Jewish community said "It's a disrespectful act, and to do it in Rome is even worse." Madonna released a statement about the controversy:
"I am very grateful that my show was so well received all over the world. But there seems to be many misinterpretations about my appearance on the cross and I wanted to explain it myself once and for all. There is a segment in my show where three of my dancers 'confess' or share harrowing experiences from their childhood that they ultimately overcame. My 'confession' follows and takes place on a Crucifix that I ultimately come down from. This is not a mocking of the church. It is no different than a person wearing a Cross or 'Taking Up the Cross' as it says in the Bible. My performance is neither anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous. Rather, it is my plea to the audience to encourage mankind to help one another and to see the world as a unified whole. I believe in my heart that if Jesus were alive today he would be doing the same thing.
My specific intent is to bring attention to the millions of children in Africa who are dying every day, and are living without care, without medicine and without hope. I am asking people to open their hearts and minds to get involved in whatever way they can. The song ends with a quote from the Bible's Book of Matthew: 'For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you took care of me and God replied, 'Whatever you did for the least of my brothers... you did it to me.'
Please do not pass judgment without seeing my show."
Broadcasts and recordings
The show was filmed at the Wembley Arena, in London on August 15 and 16, 2006. After plans failed with HBO, The Confessions Tour – Live from London aired on November 22, 2006 on NBC. The television version omitted the performances of the "Sorry" video interlude, "Drowned World/Substitute for Love", "Paradise (Not For Me)" and "Lucky Star". In the United States, the performance of "Live to Tell" was censored, the broadcast displayed the video backdrop shown on the tour instead of Madonna performing on the mirrored cross. She does not appear until she has come down from it. Outside of the US, the performance was not censored. In the UK it was broadcast on Channel 4 and later on E4.
In January 2007, Warner Bros. Records released The Confessions Tour CD+DVD package. After its release, the album reached the top of the official charts in a number of European nations while reaching the top ten in United Kingdom and Canada. It reached a peak of fifteen on the Billboard 200 albums chart in United States. At the 2008 Grammy Awards held on February 10, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the album won an award for Best Long Form Music Video.
A photography book by Guy Oseary, titled Madonna: Confessions was released in October 2008 during Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour. It contains over 250 never-before-seen images from the 2006 Confessions Tour with photographs from backstage and during the show. All author proceeds from the book will be donated to Raising Malawi. On January 13, 2013, MTV broadcast a high definition version of The Confessions Tour – Live from London special for the very first time at 00:00 AM (CET time) with more scheduled broadcasts at 7 AM and 10 AM CET the following days.
- "Future Lovers / I Feel Love"
- "Get Together"
- "Like a Virgin"
- "Confessions" (Dancers Interlude) (contains elements from "Live to Tell")
- "Live to Tell"
- "Forbidden Love"
- "Like It or Not"
- "Sorry" (Remix) (Video Interlude)
- "I Love New York"
- "Ray of Light"
- "Let It Will Be"
- "Drowned World/Substitute for Love"
- "Paradise (Not for Me)"
- "The Duke Mixes the Hits" (Video Interlude) (contains excerpts from "Borderline", "Erotica", "Dress You Up", "Holiday" and "Disco Inferno")
- "Music Inferno" (contains excerpts from "Where's the Party")
- "Erotica" / "You Thrill Me"
- "La Isla Bonita"
- "Lucky Star" (contains elements from "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" along with excerpts from "Hung Up")
- "Hung Up" (contains elements from "Lucky Star")
|Leg 1 — North America|
|May 21, 2006||Inglewood||United States||The Forum||N/A||40,044 / 40,044||$7,686,380|
|May 23, 2006|
|May 24, 2006|
|May 27, 2006||Las Vegas||MGM Grand Garden Arena||27,528 / 27,528||$7,257,750|
|May 28, 2006|
|May 30, 2006||San Jose||HP Pavilion||27,024 / 27,024||$4,761,555|
|May 31, 2006|
|June 3, 2006||Los Angeles||Staples Center||14,158 / 14,158||$2,804,583|
|June 5, 2006||Fresno||Save Mart Center||20,154 / 20,154||$3,749,800|
|June 6, 2006|
|June 8, 2006||Glendale||Glendale Arena||28,820 / 28,820||$4,890,090|
|June 10, 2006|
|June 14, 2006||Chicago||United Center||52,000 / 52,000||$9,271,790|
|June 15, 2006|
|June 18, 2006|
|June 19, 2006|
|June 21, 2006||Montreal||Canada||Bell Centre||34,940 / 34,940||$5,670,150|
|June 22, 2006|
|June 25, 2006||Hartford||United States||Hartford Civic Center||21,558 / 21,558||$3,451,235|
|June 26, 2006|
|June 28, 2006||New York City||Madison Square Garden||91,841 / 91,841[a]||$16,507,855[a]|
|June 29, 2006|
|July 2, 2006|
|July 3, 2006|
|July 6, 2006||Boston||TD Banknorth Garden||36,741 / 36,741||$6,337,115|
|July 9, 2006|
|July 10, 2006|
|July 12, 2006||Philadelphia||Wachovia Center||29,749 / 29,749||$4,639,775|
|July 13, 2006|
|July 16, 2006||Atlantic City||Boardwalk Hall||12,322 / 12,322||$3,246,100|
|July 18, 2006||New York City||Madison Square Garden||—||—|
|July 19, 2006|
|July 22, 2006||Miami||American Airlines Arena||30,410 / 30,410||$5,368,485|
|July 23, 2006|
|Leg 2 — Europe|
|July 30, 2006||Cardiff||Wales||Millennium Stadium||Paul Oakenfold||55,795 / 55,795||$7,788,845|
|August 1, 2006||London||England||Wembley Arena||N/A||86,061 / 86,061[b]||$22,090,582[b]|
|August 3, 2006|
|August 6, 2006||Rome||Italy||Stadio Olimpico||Paul Oakenfold||63,054 / 63,054||$5,268,886|
|August 9, 2006||London||England||Wembley Arena||N/A||—||—|
|August 10, 2006|
|August 12, 2006|
|August 13, 2006|
|August 15, 2006|
|August 16, 2006|
|August 20, 2006||Düsseldorf||Germany||LTU Arena||Paul Oakenfold||44,744 / 44,744||$5,926,105|
|August 22, 2006||Hanover||AWD-Arena||39,871 / 39,871||$5,218,985|
|August 24, 2006||Horsens||Denmark||Forum Horsens Arena||85,232 / 85,232||$11,435,199|
|August 27, 2006||Paris||France||Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy||David Guetta||67,758 / 67,758||$9,145,832|
|August 28, 2006|
|August 30, 2006|
|August 31, 2006|
|September 3, 2006||Amsterdam||Netherlands||Amsterdam Arena||Paul Oakenfold||102,330 / 102,330||$11,783,254|
|September 4, 2006|
|September 6, 2006||Prague||Czech Republic||Sazka Arena||N/A||37,666 / 38,342||$5,861,668|
|September 7, 2006|
|September 12, 2006[c]||Moscow||Russia||Luzhniki Stadium||37,939 / 37,939||$5,548,998|
|Leg 3 — Asia|
|September 16, 2006||Osaka||Japan||Kyocera Dome||N/A||50,623 / 50,623||$7,379,553|
|September 17, 2006|
|September 20, 2006||Tokyo||Tokyo Dome||71,231 / 71,231||$11,463,877|
|September 21, 2006|
|Total||1,209,593 / 1,210,269||$194,754,447|
- The score data is representative of the six shows in New York City at the Madison Square Garden on June 28, 29, July 2, 3, 18 and 19 respectively.
- The score data is representative of the eight shows in London, England at the Wembley Arena on August 1, 3, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15 and 16 respectively.
- The concert of September 12, 2006 in Moscow, Russia at the Luzhniki Stadium was originally planned to take place on September 11 but was rescheduled due to security concerns.
Personnel adapted as per the Confessions Tour booklet and DVD.
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- "Madonna: The Confessions Tour Live From London". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
- Madonna (2007). The Confessions Tour (CD/DVD). Warner Home Video.
- "Confessions Tour". Madonna.com. Archived from the original on December 27, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
- North American box score data:
- "Billboard Boxscore: Top Concert Grosses". Billboard: 20. June 17, 2006. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- "Billboard Boxscore: Top Concert Grosses". Billboard: 16. July 8, 2006. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- Waddell, Ray (December 23, 2006). "Boxscore Blockbusters". Billboard: 20. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
- "Billboard Boxscore: Top Concert Grosses". Billboard: 18. June 17, 2006. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
- "Billboard Boxscore: Top Concert Grosses". Billboard: 39. August 5, 2006. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
- European box score data:
- Mainville, Michael (September 13, 2006). "In Moscow, Madonna mania". The Guardian. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
- Asian box score data:
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