Monday, November 12, 2007

The Evolution of Hung Up

Madonna first rocked the music world [and the world in general] in 1983 when she released her first album Madonna, with hit singles such as Everybody, Burning Up, Holiday, Borderline, and Lucky Star. And now, 24 years later, Madonna still knows how to turn the world into one huge dancefloor with the 2005 release of her 10th studio album, Confessions on a Dancefloor.

Hung Up is undoubtedly one hell of a song, and I bet you agree with me. If you do not, it's either you do not have taste, unaware of true fabulosity unless it bites you on your flat ass, or you have lived like a hermit somewhere in Nepal during the last two years. I kid, I kid. If you are not in the know, Hung Up is the first single from Madonna's Confessions on a Dancefloor album, and to say that the song is phenomenal would be an understatement. The evolution of the song’s live performance would be the focus of this blog entry.

Confessions on a Dancefloor was released on November 15, 2005, and Madonna simultaneously performed several of its songs at various clubs, discos, and other venues to promote her new album. On the same date of the album's release, Madonna performed at KoKo Nightclub in London, England. This is the first live production of Hung Up, which would pave the way for future performances.

Just several months later, Madonna was tasked to open the 48th annual Grammy Awards on February 8, 2006 with the animated group Gorillaz and De La Soul, and together, they wowed the world with a medley of Feel Good Inc. and Hung Up. Madonna's performance of Hung Up was similar to the one on her Hung Up promo tour, but her dancing here is stellar to say the least, especially her entrance number with Gorillaz.

On May 21, 2006, Madonna embarked on her Confessions Tour which proved to be very successful. Although it sparked numerous international controversies, the world tour set the record for the top-grossing tour ever by a female artist in history. In her US shows alone, she grossed $80 million throughout the summer. On April 8, 2006, Madonna sold 30,000 tickets in under 40 minutes in Montreal, breaking a record previously held by U2. On July 9, 2006, 50,000 tickets went on sale for Madonna's Osaka and Tokyo shows. The tickets were sold out in a record 5 minutes. Her performance of Hung Up, which closed her shows, has completely evolved from her KoKo and Grammy performances, complete with gold balloons that floated down from the ceiling during the end.

On November 2, 2006, Madonna opened the 13th MTV Europe Music Awards which was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her performance, which took place after the Confessions Tour, surprisingly was identical to those of her first productions. What I love about her performance here is the energy of the crowd. You can practically feel the orgasmic frenzy as Madonna delivered the hypnotic lines of the cult song.

The latest, and hopefully not the last, performance of Hung Up was on July 7, 2007, at the Wembley Stadium, London, England for the London leg of Live Earth, a series of concerts that initiated a three-year campaign to combat climate change. Madonna was among 150 musicians who performed on the luckiest day of the millenium [07-07-07], and she performed Hey You, Ray Of Light, La Isla Bonita, and of course, Hung Up. Her perfomance of Hung Up was similar to her Confessions tour, except this was not as grand as her finale in the tour. It was shorter, but so far, I like this mix better.

Also, we must not forget the official video, the visual apotheosis of the song that turned the world into one huge dancefloor. The video had its worldwide premiere on October 27, 2005, and it was well-received. It was nominated for 5 MTV Video Music Awards in 2006 [Video Of The Year, Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, Best Pop Video, and Best Choreography in a Video], and 1 MuchMusic Video Award in the same year [Best International Video]. The video was an homage to the film Saturday Night Fever. Her scenes in the rehearsal studio are reminiscent of a scene in the movie when John Travolta's character Tony Manero approaches Karen Lynn Gorney's character Stephanie Mangano. Madonna proved her tenacity and resiliency in the making of this video because just a few weeks before shooting, she broke 8 bones in a horse-riding accident [which she embraced in her Confessions tour, especially in her Like A Virgin performance].

Like wine, it just gets better and better. But of course, we must not forget the essence of her fantastic productions. The song. The song that is considered by many to be one of the biggest hit singles in Madonna's career, ranked by the United World Chart as the 3rd most successful song of the decade and the 43rd most successful song in music history. Due to the single's worldwide success, it currently holds the record of reaching the number-one position in the most countries [45 countries] for a single. This record was listed in the 2007 edition of Guinness Book of World Records. Hung Up is also the 3rd biggest-selling dance single of all time. With this song, Madonna achieved her 25th gold single, surpassing the Beatles for the most gold singles of all time.


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