The Girlie Show World TourThe Girlie Show World Tour (also referred to as simply The Girlie Show) was the fourth concert tour by American singer and songwriter Madonna, in support of her fifth studio album, Erotica. Comprising 39 dates, the tour began in London on September 25, 1993, and ended in Tokyo on December 12 of the same year. The tour is estimated to have grossed over US$70 million. Additionally, it marked Madonna's first shows in Turkey, Israel, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Australia.
Madonna's inspiration for the name of the tour was a painting called "Girlie Show" by Edward Hopper. The show consisted into four sections: Dominatrix, Studio 54, Weimar Cabaret, and an encore.
Two separate television specials were broadcast during the tour, one made during the Japanese leg of the tour and shown only on Japanese television; Madonna Live in Japan 1993 – The Girlie Show, and an HBO special Madonna Live Down Under – The Girlie Show which was later released in 1994 by Warner Music Vision on home video.
BackgroundProclaiming after her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour that she would "never go on tour again", it only took her three years until she hit the road again. After that, she said that if "you ever hear me say again 'I'm never going on tour again', don't believe me."
The Girlie Show was launched in support of Madonna's 1992 album, Erotica. The show had the central visual theme of a "sex circus". Described as "a mixture of a rock concert, a fashion show, a carnival performance, a cabaret act and a burlesque show", the show had a more complex stage than those from Madonna's previous tours: it had a runway that led from the center of the main stage to a minor stage, a revolving elevated platform in the middle of the main stage, balconies in the rear of the stage, and a giant illuminated "Girlie Show" sign above stage, among other features. The tour was directed by Madonna's brother, Christopher Ciccone; costumes for the tour were designed by Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana.
Madonna played an unusually few five dates in the United States. It was speculated that this was related to the Erotica album's particularly low sales in that country and the extreme negative backlash surrounding Madonna's book Sex and film Body of Evidence. The tour was chronicled by the photo book The Girlie Show, which included a CD with three live tracks: "Like a Virgin", "In This Life", and "Why's It So Hard."
Photography for promotional material, posters and publicity for the show was by Herb Ritts. The same imagery was used on the "Bye Bye Baby" single cover, which was released during the Australian leg of the tour and also on a Brazilian promotional EP, The Girlie Show which included the tracks "Erotica", "Deeper and Deeper", "Bad Girl", "Fever", "Rain" and "Bye Bye Baby". Other images from the same shoot were also included in The Girlie Show book released in 1994 and also on the 1993 single release, "Rain".
Some venues forbade nudity, so dancer Carrie Ann Inaba wore a halter top at those shows. Uproar developed in Puerto Rico after Madonna rubbed the Puerto Rican flag between her legs on stage. Trouble in Israel occurred when Orthodox Jews staged protests to force the cancellation of the singer's first-ever show in that country. The rallies were unsuccessful as the show was sold out and went on as scheduled.
The first act, Dominatrix, began with calliope fanfare as a pierrot – who makes several cameos later – appears from the red curtain near a tall go-go pole on which dancer Carrie Ann Inaba performed. Madonna then makes her entrance to sing "Erotica". Next came "Fever" where she removes some of her attire and dances with two male dancers before disappearing among flames. Next, "Vogue" was performed with a Hindu flavor and Madonna wearing a beaded headdress. The act concludes with a Motown-influenced version of "Rain".
Madonna exits and "Singin' in the Rain" plays as an interlude. The next act, Studio 54, sees the singer descending from the ceiling on a giant glitter ball, wearing a blond afro wig to perform "Express Yourself" and "Deeper and Deeper". Following a simulated orgy, she sang "Why's It So Hard", and then the pierrot joins her during the performance of "In This Life".
A second interlude, "The Beast Within", features an apocalyptic dance with sexual overtones. The third act, Weimar Cabaret, opens with "Like a Virgin", where Madonna performed in a tuxedo with a Marlene Dietrich-inspired accent; while doing a comedic act with the pierrot. Next is "Bye Bye Baby" which features a chair dance routine, similar to her performance at the 1993 VMAs. After a Hispanic remix of "I'm Going Bananas", she sang a rendition of "La Isla Bonita" before donning on military attire and singing "Holiday", before leaving for a final costume change.
The encore saw Madonna, in Edwardian-themed clothes, perform "Justify My Love" in a style evocative of the Ascot Gavotte from My Fair Lady, followed by a performance of "Everybody". As the red curtain fell and carnival music played, the pierrot emerged yet again, only to reveal its identity as Madonna herself. The singer closed the show by singing the phrase "Everybody is a Star" as the curtain falls.
Commercial receptionThe single concert at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio Janeiro attracted 120,000 people. It remains the third largest paying audience ever for a female artist, behind Tina Turner's 1988 Break Every Rule World Tour on the same venue (180,000 people) and Madonna's 1987 Who's That Girl World Tour in Paris (130,000 people). Madonna set the record for the biggest ticket sales in Australia with 360,000 tickets were sold, worth US$21,9 million. This feat was later broken by the Rolling Stone's Voodoo Lounge Tour in 1995. Madonna's show at the Adelaide Oval stadium attracted 40,000 people, which remained the biggest attendance on the venue for 17 years until AC/DC's concert in 2010.
Broadcasts and recordingsThe broadcast was produced in association with HBO and was titled Madonna – Live Down Under: The Girlie Show. Initially, the November 20 show, the second of two dates at the Sydney Cricket Ground, was to be filmed and aired. However, a massive storm forced the cancellation of the show, so the November 19 show, which had been filmed as a "safety show", was aired instead in USA (HBO) and Germany (Premiere). A month later an edited version of this original broadcast was shown on Sky in the UK. A re-edited version of this concert was released worldwide on VHS and LaserDisc on April 26, 1994, as The Girlie Show: Live Down Under. It was nominated for the Grammy Award of Best Long Form Music Video in 1995.
On December 9, additional video recordings were made during the Japanese leg of the tour and shown only on Japanese television, Madonna Live in Japan 1993 – The Girlie Show and the October 7 show at the Inonu Stadium in Istanbul was aired on ATV in Turkey. UK radio station, BBC Radio 1, broadcast the entire second show at Wembley Stadium on September 26 and Brazilian radio broadcast the show at Maracanã stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with live commentary.
Set listSet list adapted from The Girlie Show: Live Down Under.
# "The Girlie Show Theme" # "Erotica" # "Fever" # "Vogue" # "Rain" # "Express Yourself" # "Deeper and Deeper" # "Why's It So Hard" # "In This Life" # "The Beast Within" # "Like a Virgin" # "Bye Bye Baby" # "I'm Going Bananas" # "La Isla Bonita" # "Holiday" # "Justify My Love" # "Everybody Is a Star" / "Everybody"