As record release parties go, the one Madonna threw at Roseland Ballroom in New York City on Wednesday night for her new album "Hard Candy" was pretty sweet.
The joint- picture a wider Avalon with a balcony ring- was packed with all kinds from drag queens to soccer moms, some of whom had slept out on the curb overnight to get the first come-first serve free tickets.
After a long set of '80s and current hits by a deejay fond of funky mash-ups- Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," for instance- the mixmaster teased the crowd with a "candy" medley including Fiddy's "Candy Shop," New Edition's "Candy Girl" and Bow Wow Wow's "I Want Candy." Then, as the band took the stage, the deejay platform rotated to reveal Her Madgesty on an "M"-emblazoned throne.
Madonna, clad in black tails, satin track pants and high-heeled, modified boxing boots, kicked things off with the body moving grooves of "Candy Shop" and it didn't take long for the crowd to get into it.
She said a quick hello and segued neatly into "Miles Away" which featured quick cut images of boarding passes, planes taking off, and airports as she sang her melancholy-yet-danceable lament about long-distance love affairs strumming an acoustic with a sparkly silver strap.
As Timbaland appeared on the central video screen the familiar synth riff of "4 Minutes" boomed out of the speakers as the four side stage video screens began to glide across the stage and then swivel around to reveal Justin Timberlake behind one and Madonna behind another. The two pop titans got down with their bad selves and the cadre of dancers.
Madonna then scurried off the stage to grab an electric guitar and began strumming the opening lick of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." She then asked the crowd if they were there to see the Rolling Stones. When they answered emphatically in the negative she said "yeah (expletive) that." She then thanked JT and called herself the "luckiest girl in the world" to have worked with him, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams and Kanye West on "Hard Candy."
She may be turning 50 this year but there wasn't anything wrinkly about either her face or her non-stop dancing. (Which necessitated the use of pre-recorded backing vocals. It was clear she was singing live but she had some assistance.)
"Hung Up" was dedicated to the people who had waited many hours in line for the chance to breathe Madonna's air and featured a noisy, metallic guitar breakdown from Madonna, which she said simulated what waiting sounds like inside her brain. (Turns out patience is not one of her virtues).
The bouncy "Give it 2 Me" featured Pharrell singing along on screen and a fancy multi-colored laser show that couldn't compete with Madonna's own pinpoint dance moves.
She brought it home with "Music" giving her dancers a chance to shine and getting the crowd of 2,000-plus Madonna maniacs finally jumping up and down to her satisfaction.
It may have only lasted a shade over 30 minutes but it was an electric, action-packed set complete with a snazzy stage and a hot band led by the pride of New Bedford, keyboardist Kevin Antunes.
Judging from the sweat-soaked and giddy departing fans, who each got a commemorative poster, their sweet tooth was satisfied.
"4 Minutes" with Justin Timberlake
"Give it 2 Me"
Here's a link to a gallery of photos from last night's show.
About Sound Effects
ContributorsSarah Rodman is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.
James Reed is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.
Jonathan Perry is the Globe's Scene & Heard columnist, covering local music.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.
Julian Benbow is a staff writer at the Boston Globe, covering sports and music.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.