This CD/DVD package drawn from Madonna's 2008 tour makes for an instructive comparison with last week's White Stripes release – a similarly-formatted package, but otherwise as far removed from this experience as their Canadian locations are from the Argentina show documented here.
This is entertainment as rally, a spectacle which presumes that if you pack in enough dancers, props and videos, it would be downright rude for the audience to remain unentertained. But "Vogue 2008" reveals the deception: for all the multitude of crotches (literally) spread about the stage, this is as unenticing as pop gets, utterly lifeless despite the fervent activity. For the first hour, the show relies heavily on Madonna's crotch, which she thrusts and strokes assiduously, as if she had only just discovered it. The saving grace of the two-hour performance comes when she's joined by the beardy, fiddling geezers of the Romany folk group The Kolpakov Trio, for a sequence incorporating "La Isla Bonita" and Lloyd-Webber's "You Must Love Me" and "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" – the latter unaccountably omitted from the CD, but lapped up by the Buenos Aires crowd. For a few minutes, it's as if real life had intruded upon her fantasy world – even though the rustic presentation is just as much artifice as all the other set-pieces.
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