Madonna ‘Confesses’ To A Million

More than 1 million people paid to see Madonna‘s Confessions tour, which comes to an end at Tokyo Dome September 21st.

Arthur Fogel from Live Nation‘s The Next Adventure, which promotes the seemingly ageless diva worldwide, told Pollstar 1,165,000 punters paid US$193.7 million to see the 60-date run.

John Giddings from London-based Solo Agency, who arranges and coordinates the European legs of Madonna tours, said the 22-date, sold-out run she started at Cardiff Millennium Stadium July 31st drew more than a 500,000 people.

The European leg wrapped at Moscow Luzhniki Stadium September 12th – the biggest show ever staged in Russia – and pulled 50,000 people.

Like any Madonna tour, and almost anything else she does, the European dates were shadowed by controversy as various church leaders threw up their arms in protest over the mock “crucifixion” scene that’s part of her live show.

But complaints from The Vatican, German Lutherans and the Russian Orthodox Church, whose leaders tore up and set fire to Madonna posters in the street, had zero impact outside the media. In fact, her fans reportedly saved a particularly warm response for that part of her performance.

In Moscow particularly, promoter Tim Dowdall from Live Nation’s Budapest office had problems with the press.

What he described as “a litany of rumours and accusations” were fueled by the national and local papers – which spread as far as the U.K.’s The Sun – and included a report that said the show wouldn’t happen because a clairvoyant told Madonna she’d die if it did.

Even some journalists who said it would happen still had a down on the event, saying she’d mime, the production would be a disaster or – even more dramatically – Russian police would beat up the audience.

Some of the scare stories were a result of the show having to be switched from Vorobyovy Gory, an open-air site overlooking Moscow State University, because the local authorities feared 250,000 people would turn up

Not only did the show happen, but Dowdall said the production ran as smoothly as any he’s worked on. He was quick to praise the cooperation from the local police and the “immense help” from Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov.

Fogel was also happy the final European show had gone “really well,” and described the whole tour as “a tremendous success on all levels.”

The only malcontent appears to be Moscow-based JSA Staging, which released a statement complaining about the way it had been treated by Michael Shurygin from local promoter Nord Concert Alliance, based in Petersburg.

JSA claims its role in the production of the show was much smaller than the one it was originally led to believe. The criticism has clearly upset Shurygin.

“I’d actively supported JSA being involved but, on such a huge show, Live Nation and I agreed that we would also need to bring in the company’s own team from Budapest and some other production experts supplied by Steve Todd (Live Nation-Warsaw),” he explained.

Faced with producing the biggest contemporary live music show ever staged on Russian soil, Dowdall called upon all the expertise available to him. Nadia Solovieva’s SAV Entertainment, which is based in Moscow, was also brought in to act as a local adviser.

Having looked at the various quotes and options, he also chose Moscow-based Lightmaster to undertake some of the production tasks JSA appears to think it should have been a part of.

– John Gammon