I've been watching Madonna videos on YouTube, trying to wash away the anger and anguish I feel over the Tyler Clementi story. It's sort of working. I started watching the HQ leaks of the Re-Invention Tour and wow, I had forgotten how good that show was.
There's something about this performance of "Vogue" that really beats all others. Don't be fooled, it sounds live, but it's actually Memorex. She's lip syncing to a newly recorded version of the song. You can always tell - whenever her voice is high and nasal like that, it's a recording. But for the longest time I thought it was live. She had never sung "Vogue" live before (the rap part is ALWAYS lip synced) but when I started downloading various bootlegs of the tour and all versions of "Vogue" sounded identical, I knew something was up. Still, there was a kind of magic about this song being the opening song on what has been her most hits-driven tour of the last 10 years. Being in an arena full of 20,000 Madonna fans all singing "GET UP ON THE DANCE FLOOR" sent shivers up my spine and the memory of it still does. It was a thrilling moment - one of those "moments" in my Madonna fandom I will not soon forget.
And as good as "Vogue" was, with Madonna surrounded by her troupe of dancers, who knew that she'd blow us out of the water with an album track from the critically maligned American Life?
"Nobody Knows Me" was the first of many WOW moments on that tour. Yes, she's still lip syncing. It wasn't till the next song ("Frozen") that she actually sang, but really it hardly matters. As I have said before, when you go to a Madonna show, you go for the entire package and sometimes, you put up with prerecorded vocals. What blew me away during this performance was her dancing. Even as fans, we tend to forget that Madonna was a dancer first, and her performance of "Nobody Knows Me" was proof positive that she still is a dancer. When you're at her show, she commands your attention, but this is one of the most attention-commanding performances she has ever done.
The video of "Nobody Knows Me" is from the I'm Going To Tell You A Secret documentary which contains a handful of performances from the Re-Invention Tour, most of which were poorly chosen or so heinously chopped up you wish they had just not teased you at all. The full concert remains unreleased on DVD and while the leaks are as good as we'll get, I can't help but think about the DVD that wasn't based on the "Nobody Knows Me" clip. I can't quite get the final burn to work on the leaked files I have, but someday...