Oops… she did it again. At a free miniconcert staged Sunday night at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom, Madonna performed several songs live with a band for the first time since ’93’s ”Girlie Show” tour. And she had a sage message for pop’s latest dancing queen, Britney Spears, whose name was written in glitter on her sleeveless, midriff baring, black T shirt. ”I’d like to dedicate this to Britney,” Madonna said before launching into ”What It Feels Like For a Girl,” a gentle ballad about the sacrifices young women make to gain approval and acceptance. ”Strong inside but you don’t know it/ Good little girls they never show it,” Madonna sang in this, the third of five songs she performed from her latest album ”Music.”
And the Britster wasn’t the only celeb Madonna addressed during the 25 minute Western themed spectacle. (Think hay bales, shirtless cowboy boot and spur wearing male dancers, and some Dolce & Gabbana duds that backup singer Niki Haris describes as ”Patsy Cline goes to Mars.”) Madonna told the 3,000 strong crowd of connected industry folk, radio contest winners, and celebrities (including Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Rosie O’Donnell, and Donatella Versace) that her last appearance at Roseland was 18 years ago, when she was the opening act for R&B boy band New Edition. In an apparent reference to the backstage preening of the group’s notoriously arrogant former frontman, she wisecracked: ”I just want to say to Bobby Brown, if you’re in the audience, I have a bathrobe with my name on it too now.” Touché!
Sunday’s performance came after months of rumors about potential club dates that the singer would do in advance of a possible full scale world tour next year. Though the new mom gave no hints about her future plans other than ”I’m so happy to be on stage again,” Madonna’s two longtime backup vocalists, Haris and Donna De Lory — who both spent a week prepping for Sunday’s show — say that they’re ready to tour again as soon as Madonna’s ready. ”If she wants to go, we’ll go,” Haris told EW.com after the show.
But don’t expect things to be as racy onstage or backstage as they were for the Blonde Ambition tour, which was chronicled in the infamous documentary ”Truth or Dare.” Speaking of that early ’90s tour experience, Haris continued: ”We all became women together. We were girls when we met: Donna was 22; I was 24. Madonna was just becoming a superstar. She was spoiled. She threw temper tantrums. But we’re all older now. We’re tired; our hips hurt; there are kids involved. But we have a lot more fun.” Sure, who wouldn’t take diapers and zwieback over cone shaped bras and potty mouthed parlor games?