At long last, a professionally shot, high quality video of Madonna's 2004 Re-Invention Tour has surfaced. If you asked fans to list the things they want most from Madonna, an official DVD release of Blond Ambition would probably top the list, but a DVD-quality recording of Re-Invention would almost certainly be in the number 2 slot.
Madonna had the Re-Invention shows she performed in Lisbon, Portugal filmed for broadcast on CBS and an eventual DVD release. This never happened and many reasons for this have been put forth by both Madonna's management and her fans. Rumor has it that Madonna didn't like how it turned out and therefore blocked its release. It's also said that CBS refused to air the show without commercials (which was Madonna's request) so the whole thing broke down. There's also this business of a lawsuit that the guy who filmed the Lisbon show brought against Madonna. So the ultimate answer is to the question "why has Re-Invention not seen the light of day on DVD?" is "who the hell knows?"
Oh sure, there are clips of it in I'm Going To Tell You A Secret, the Re-Invention Tour documentary filmed Truth or Dare style and released in 2005. While the documentary is good (it's home to Madonna's TMI "I can't stop shitting!" moment), the problem with those clips is that they are all edited in some way - opening number "Vogue" most heinously - and rather than satisfying fans it just whet their appetites for the full, unedited show, a show that looked like it would never ever turn up on DVD.
Yesterday, raw footage of the entire Lisbon show leaked to the internet. I won't link to it here, but it was 3.82 GB of downloads, split up into 10 different files of roughly 380 MB each (Update: It's gone now anyway.) Each segment took roughly 20-30 minutes to download, and I had to wait a half hour between each download. I was helped not one little bit by the flickering power during yesterday's ice storm, but as of this morning, I had downloaded all 10 parts, hooked them together and finally, after years of waiting, saw "Vogue" as it was intended to be seen. It's still raw footage (you can see a cameraman roll by MST3K style during "Deeper & Deeper") and THANK GOD the vocals are not autotuned. Overall, it's miles better than the shaky audience recordings with crappy audio we have had up to this point.
Warner Bros. and Madonna both completely missed the boat on this one. No matter what the reason is regarding the lack of DVD release, it's kind of a moot point now. Sure if one were released, I'd probably buy it, but at this point, this will do just fine for now. I don't feel one iota of guilt in downloading something that they are not selling, because if it were available for purchase, I would have bought it years ago.
Now I just need to find a way to rip the audio from as my only copy of this concert is a cruddy (but passable) bootleg from Atlanta.
(my original post after seeing Reinvention in D.C. in 2004)