I finally bit the bullet and bought a DVD that I have been regularly renting for years. Thank you eBay.
By 1985, Madonna was the biggest thing in popular music and had hit the road with the "Like A Virgin" tour. A DVD released that year captured the show in her hometown Detroit. (Actually a VHS tape back then, but now on DVD.) I can't get enough of it.
Over the years, Madonna's live shows have grown increasingly elaborate, but back on her first tour it was just the Material Girl herself with two dancers, who also sang back-up, and a kicking six-piece band.
Why does this performance elate me so? Geez, I don't know. A guilty pleasure, for sure. But one thing's certain: I want to be one of the back-up dancers. I'm not certain of this, but it seems like Madonna was the first to use dancers in quite this way. Yes, the Motown groups had gorgeous, elegant choreography, but not the complex and exuberant choreography of this performer.
The audience is filled with what they used to call Madonna wanna-be's, all these young girls dressed like their heroine, with the nearly rasta-style blond locks, the shin-length stockings with the tears, the full-length gloves and dangling crosses. And who could begrudge them their desire to emulate this woman? Madonna projected a fearless self-assertiveness, a model of both full-bodied fun and female power.
With the now decades-long Zeitgeist-vortex surrounding this performer, it's nearly impossible to hear and view her with fresh ears and eyes. But, in the beginning of her career, when it was all fresh and new - man, this woman was thrilling!
Here's a youtube clip from the concert. (The really cool dancing kicks in at about three minutes.)
Gonna dress you up in my love, gonna love you, boy . . .