Arts & EntertainmentFront Page A&EMusic

Madonna Tour Hits Houston—March 28-29 at Toyota Center

Super Fans speak about The Queen of Pop’s Time-Traveling Show

Madonna

Madonna will come to town later this month for her first retrospective tour, offering her fans more than four decades of pop hits.

The superstar’s twelfth concert tour, The Celebration Tour, comes to the Toyota Center in Houston on March 28 and 29—complete with a giant disco ball, giant screen projection cube, and a carousel-like glass window with large crucifixes depicting a chapel. The tour features multiple costume changes and more than 30 songs from the Queen of Pop’s discography.

Madonna kicked off the US leg of her rescheduled Celebration Tour back in December, then postponed the remainder while she recovered from a serious bacterial infection that kept her in the ICU for several days.

But now, it’s time to celebrate, and Houstonians of every sexual and gender identity will be getting into the groove as Madonna hits the stage.

Three members of Houston’s LGBTQ community spoke with OutSmart about the Queen of Pop’s impact on their lives and the gay community, as well as what they’re anticipating most about the concert.

Thomas Degnen

Pronouns: He/him
Age: 55
Profession: Human Resources Business Partner

Thomas Degnen

Why is Madonna important to you?

It was not easy being gay in high school in the early-to-mid 1980s.  Music was always an escape. MTV was also new, to see the music. Madonna provided a visual and audible escape. But then she became an advocate for us. She spoke out early in the fight against AIDS. She called out injustices. She made people feel included before inclusivity was even a discussion or incentive. She represented the unrepresented groups. And it was damn good dance music. “I know a place where you can get away, it’s called the dance floor.” Indeed.

Why do you love her?

There is a joke that every 14-year-old gay boy is assigned a musical muse, and that one muse will stay with you for life. For me, I’d have to say that is not a joke but a reality. My musical tastes have changed over the years, ranging from hair metal headbanging, to rap, to country, to showtunes. But Madonna has always been the constant. Her music was always woven into my life tapestry. She herself has also dabbled in all those genres. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not, but she brushes it off and goes back to her dance roots again. She’s a metaphor for living: try something new and keep growing but don’t forget your roots.

Madonna is known to be late to her shows sometimes. Do you mind an “Unpunctual Diva”? Do you mind a tardy diva?

“A queen is never late; her subjects are just early.” At this point, it is to be expected if you are going to her show. It strays a bit from her work ethic of always being professional. This is a newer trend for her, which started with the MDNA Tour. I think her tardiness to some shows got people talking, so of course she was going to jump on that and capitalize on that press. Madonna is, was, and always will be a marketing genius. She knows the press. She makes it work for her. But I don’t think it is having the effect she was looking for. Sure, it makes the critics say, “Oh look what she is doing now, how unconventional,” but it is the fans that are getting the collateral damage there. Not everyone can afford to take the next day off work to recoup. And you know the older fanbase doesn’t rally like we used to; there is a reason why the “disco nap” is a thing!

If you could meet Madonna, where would you take her in Houston?

I don’t think there is much that Madonna has not already seen or done at this point in her life.  But… I do know she is all about her kids and they are touring with her. Space Center Houston and maybe a behind-the-scenes tour at NASA. Unique, memorable, and distinctly Houston.

Given Houston’s food scene, where would you take Madonna to dinner?

My mind says something with amazing food, super difficult to get in. Maybe Navy Blue in Rice Village. Then walk around and shop. But my heart says Whataburger!

What moment in her concert are you most looking forward to?

That’s a tough one. I have seen her live so, so, so many times. I still lose my mind upon her entrance, “Holiday” is always a showstopper, and I get weepy on her finale, wondering if this is the last we see of her. But I would have to say, I really look forward to “Open Your Heart.” For a couple reasons. It was her opening number for the Who’s That Girl Tour, and it just brings that feeling back again of being 19 and carefree. But also, because it is her one song that still makes me gasp when it comes on the radio. Even 38 years after it first premiered. Music can really bring you right back and that song was always a good time for me.

Madonna has been around for 40 years. When did you become a fan? Why do you think she’s endured the test of time?

For sure I am one of the old timers. Been around since she came on the scene. But as far as becoming a fan? July, 1985. I remember that because that was the day we were due to go on our annual family vacation. I begged my parents to wait a day because the MTV premiere of “Dress You Up” was going to air that day. Thankfully, my parents allowed it, so I had a watch party at my house. From there, even though she is ten years older than me, we had the same phases.  When she got naughty in the 90s with Erotica, I was discovering my wants and desires. When she got ethereal with Ray of Light, I too mellowed. She adapts, she changes with her audience. She tries new sounds, but always remembers her “club kids” and gives us remixes. As for enduring, the lyrics to her song “Rebel Heart” sums it up perfectly: “Outgrown my past and I’ve shed my skin, letting it go and I’ll start again, start again. Never look back, it’s a waste of time. I said, ‘Oh yeah, this is me and I’m right here where I wanna be.’ I said, ‘Hell yeah, this is me. Right where I’m supposed to be.’” Me too, Madonna, me too.


Patrick Magee

Pronouns: He/him
Age: 34
Profession: Creative director

Patrick Magee

Why is Madonna important to you? 

How can you not love Madonna? The iconic music, the oftentimes over-the-top fashion, the envelope pushing messages. It’s hard for me not to be drawn to her. No one can use pop culture to change minds like she can. This is the woman who at the height of the AIDS epidemic released an album called Erotica and handed out condoms at her shows. She’s always authentically been herself and isn’t afraid to take risks. I’ll admit, she can be eccentric, for sure, but at the end of the day she’s expressing herself in that moment, and if it’s an eye patch and a grill, let her! Most importantly, decades before “Born This Way,” she was standing, often alone, with the gay community.

Why do you love her?

Growing up gay in Katy, Texas, she expanded my mind a bit and encouraged me to be brave, be myself, showed me not only is it okay to be different but it’s valuable. I’ve also always respected her work ethic and dedication to perfection. She went to the hospital last summer and by all reports nearly didn’t make it. So this Celebration Tour truly is a celebration of a woman who inspired me and countless other young men growing up in small towns all over the world through the joys of music and dance. It also helps that we have the same birthday!

Madonna is known to be late to her shows sometimes. Do you mind an “Unpunctual Diva”? Do you mind a tardy diva?

Listen, Madonna has been coming on late since before I was born. If the most important thing to you, when you’re going to see a living legend, is that she comes on exactly at the ticketed time, then this isn’t the show for you. I don’t understand all the hubbub surrounding this tour, but it’s worth the wait to see the queen. If you can’t stomach it, then there’s surely a lesser diva’s concert you could see.

If you could meet Madonna, where would you take her in Houston?

I would take her to La Colombe d’Or. We could have dirty martinis in the bar. She loves an eccentric hotel photoshoot, so we could take photos in her suite while we get dressed for dinner: think her in a bathtub wearing something definitely not age appropriate! Then go back downstairs to dinner and dish on Lady Gaga or Britney’s wedding to Sam Asghari.

That moment in her concert are you most looking forward to?

She performs three songs that I absolutely love but assumed I would never hear her perform live because they’re not hits. These are for the real ones: “Bad Girl” (remember when Christopher Walken played her love interest in the music video) and “Mother and Father,” a song about losing her mother at a young age from my favorite album of hers, American Life. One of my earliest exposures to Madonna was the Reinvention Tour in 2004. She opens the show with this amazing video shot by Steven Klein to “The Beast Within.” At a young age, I found the artistry and message to be incredibly salient and inspiring. YouTube it! She performs this as an interlude between songs with footage from the original Steven Klein video, so I’m beyond excited to see it in a stadium setting because I still love the visuals.

Madonna has been around for 40 years. When did you become a fan? Why do you think she’s endured the test of time? 

She’s written children’s books, she’s been a dominatrix, she’s been a cowgirl, she’s been a virgin, she’s masturbated on stage. The girl’s done it all. Do I love the hip hop version of “Hung Up” where she’s making out with Tokischa in the back of a U-Haul? Not particularly. But I respect her for taking the artistic risk. Her legacy is long and important. Her influence on pop culture, gay rights, AIDS/HIV awareness is unmatched. Her influence on my life is meaningful and full of joy and inspiration and for that, I’ll always be grateful. Long live the queen!


Rick Adame

Pronouns: He/Him
Age: 54
Profession: Program Coordinator

Rick Adame

Why is Madonna important to you?

Madonna’s music has always been the soundtrack to my life since her debut. Her pop songs have made me dance and her ballads have made me reflect. In a way, she’s helped me to evolve and mature as a human and fan.

Why do you love her?

I love her ability to be unapologetic. For being unafraid of constantly being herself, she empowered me to be myself at a time when being homosexual was taboo. I love how she has always been there for the gay community. She was my outlet to come out of the closet and to accept myself and realize that it was going to be okay.

Madonna is known to be late to her shows sometimes. Do you mind an “Unpunctual Diva”? Do you mind a tardy diva?

Her tardiness is not a factor. I have seen Madonna every time she tours. I don’t mind her being late, and actually, I am prepared that she will start late. That actually gives me time to enjoy myself with my friends who are also in attendance.

If you could meet Madonna, where would you take her in Houston?

I would show her how beautiful our city is. I would take her to South Beach club, as she loves dancing and the nightlife.

Given Houston’s food scene, where would you take Madonna to dinner?

I would take her to Mantra. Since Madonna is a vegan, this would seem like the ideal place.

What moment in her concert are you most looking forward to?

Her tribute to all the great ones we have lost.

Madonna has been around for 40 years. When did you become a fan?

I have gone to every concert since The Virgin Tour. However, I’ve got to say 1990’s Blonde Ambition Tour at the Summit is what did it for me. I have never witnessed a concert like hers in my lifetime.

Why do you think she’s endured the test of time?

Madonna continues to always reinvent herself and nobody else does it like her in the music business. She opened the door for so many of today’s artists, such as Taylor Swift, Pink, et cetera.


WHAT: Madonna The Celebration Tour
WHEN: March 28 and 29
WHERE: Toyota Center
INFO: Toyota Center

Comments

Connor Behrens

Connor Behrens is a communications graduate from the University of Houston. He has written for the Washington Post, Community Impact Newspaper and the Galveston County Daily News (the oldest newspaper in Texas). When he's not writing stories, he is likely watching the latest new release at the movie theater.
Back to top button