If you haven’t seen Madonna’s Half-Time performance yet, click here to fully enjoy the analysis
Madonna reigned supreme at the Super Bowl last night. Sports fans, and Madonna fans alike, cheered for their the conquering queen as she entered the arena lavished with golden ornaments and majestically pulled by a band of Greco-Roman soldiers (dancers).
For a total of 13 minutes, Madonna, as much as her fans, enjoyed the anticipated performance. All eyes glued to the visually enticing array of shots from Greta Garbo to the All-Seeing Eye.
Much have been said about the half-time highlight. A few have even commented on how fabulous she was and how her guest stars (Nikki Minaj, Cee-Lo, M.I.A. and LMFAO) incredibly handled their respective acts without upstaging the central star. Survey showed that her performance got more ratings than the actual game itself.
But I think there’s more to Madonna’s 13-minute extravaganza than meets the eye. Knowing her incredible concepts in the performing arts, Domeng and I are pretty sure, there’s a lot to say about the the themes presented in this quickie.
First things, first: I have never been a fan of the Super Bowl. First, I’m a Filipino. Second, I don’t watch cable sports. And third, I’m gay. I’d rather read or watch DVD., than watch an endless tossing and kicking of balls. But when it came to me that Madonna will be spreading her wings at the Super Bowl half-time, I made sure that I have all my tasked completed by Sunday to catch the Monday madness on cable TV in Manila.
But what about the real men who have dedicated all their lives to the Super Bowl? In their steroetypical existence of beers, buffaloo wings and pepperoni pizzas, how can one straight man appreciate a Madonna appearance on their much respected arena?
The Conquering Queen (VOGUE)
Madonna knew how to surprise them. Much more, she has prepared an entrance that shattered stereotypes and the man in all of us.
Like Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra (1963), she entered the Super Bowl as a Conquering Spartan Queen. Historically, Sparta was the city of athletics, sports, and warfare, and Madonna made use of this chance. As early as the first glance, we know, deep in our hearts – that there’s nothing we can do but to stand up and cheer for the upcoming spectacle of colors, style, androgyny and most of all – FASHION.
Note that the concept on Taylor’s entrance as Queen of Egypt in Cleopatra was similar to how Madonna started the number. A clear manifestation of girl power, through leadership.
And what are Royalties for without laws? As early as the front act, Madonna chanted her mantra on style (Vogue). The Queen, unapologetically laid down her rule and deconstructed the stereotypical macho with an inital chant, whispering: “What are you looking at? Vogue. Vogue.” And in an imperative/commanding voice, she sang: “Don’t just stand there!,” finally calling the gender of the night: “Ladies, ladies!”
On the LCD screen, flashed a Vogue cover design with Madonna lying down with her Human Nature video-design on, flipping, twisting and rolling. Bringing to life such concept only goes to show that Fashion and Style is a part of every man’s nature.
If there’s anything that Madonna is good at, I’m sure most fans will agree when I say that she’s at her best when it comes to breaking the rules of “game.” In her show last night, she was at one of her greatest.
A Call for Unity (MUSIC)
We always have been divided by rules, color, religion, gender, among many others. A leader’s first step is to ensure that margins thin out to give us a chance to experience each other. Thus, the Queen shouted a call singing “Music, makes two people…come together!”
A creative way of paving way toward oneness in a manner that she knows best.
“Take Me. Love Me.” (GIVE ME ALL YOUR LUVIN’, OPEN YOUR HEART, EXPRESS YOURSELF)
What gave the performance more relevance was the fact that the show made use of the gym bleachers and American cheerleaders – typical to almost any U.S. sports that we know.
Digging deeper, however, there was something in her songs which caught my attention. I know she has already gained more attention than Lady Gaga these days. But the Queen’s imperative tone took another level on musical leadership when she, in a commanding voice shouted: “Open you heart, I’ll make you love me.” These, as we all know, is a common line among leaders and politicians, alike. A manifestation of the superficial maneuvering of the masses (Marx, 1848).
Much more, to reiterate a similar political point, she incorporated a newly-released single in her upcoming album (M.D.N.A ). The repetitive chants: “L-U-V, Madonna! Y-O-U, You wanna!” incorporated the common notion of what George Orwell called Positive Nationalism (1949). A familiar practice among democratic-socialists, where love for leaders is essential in maintaining order and peace.
Peace? Oh, we’ll talk more about it later!
Closing Hymn (LIKE A PRAYER)
Critics and fans have been arguing if this was the only part that the Queen sang using a live microphone. I couldn’t care less. She has already established a strong socio-political point, that even if she just danced toward the end, everything would still have been perfect.
On a different perspective, a closing prayer was necessary, and Madonna has one song in her sleeves to properly end the celebration of leadership, unity and equality, our common themes in athletics.
She sang, soulfully (to the best of her ability and age) with Cee-Lo, and even knelt during the bridge. One noticeable stunt was a portion of the stage elevating, which brought the two leads upward – a familiar theme in spiritual awakening and nirvana.
A constellation of small lights, magnified in the entire arena, came to a visual climax of the universe on the LCD stage and eventually rolled into a magnificent All-Seeing-Eye. Symbolic of a Higher Being, it looked upon us, as the Prayer (or something like it) was sang joyfully, depicting the beginning of the world and at the same time preparing us for rapture.
With all the visual hullaballoos, I can’t help but agree when she sang: “Life is a mystery.”
The stage, unknowingly started to become cross-like, a common symbol of religion (pagan or non-pagan), a reminder that in the center of everything is man’s spiritual sacrifice and oneness with himself. Still a political thought, don’t you think?
Finally she moved up. Center stage. Faced half of the audience behind her. The camera paned her majestically, as her background showed cellphones-illuminated darkness. After all that was sung and done, her subjects hypnotically submitted to the Queen’s bidding, flasing their little lights to illuminate her dark-filled stage.
She has reigned supreme. Her call for unity, apparently has one goal: World Peace.
How campy can you get?
And before the lights went out, she declared: “I hear you call my name, and it feels like…”
We all saw her disappeared. Downward. A dramatic irony, if one would make the assumption that spirituality is synonymous to moving heavenward. Where did she go? Hell? Back to nature?
One thing is for sure: she broke ALL known stereotypes.
It was a 13-minute ride, and it was thrilling, empowering and majestic.
Nothing more can be said.
Long live the Queen!
Special thanks to Mother Domeng for his insights. This is all for Mama Cris!