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acolyte

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  1. Mercy is definitely playing live. Those supposedly "unplayed" notes are actually percussion sounds from the backing track she's playing to. The five or six piano notes heard in the studio recording before the first verse begins are omitted in every single performance on this tour. However, she's not playing an actual acoustic instrument. It's an average-sounding keyboard built into a mock-up of a grand piano body. If you look closely, there's no functioning pedals but simply a standard keyboard pedal hooked to the built-in keyboard she's playing. There's also no hammer and damper movement whatsoever during her performance. To properly mic an actual piano for one single performance would be a nightmare scenario for any sound engineer. In order for an acoustic piano to pick up as little surrounding noise as possible (sound disturbance being immense given the position of the B-stage and the nearly 360 degrees placement of the sound system), the lid would need to be closed at all times. There are specific piano microphones that perform miraculously under such circumstances and are able to bypass a lot of distracting resonance from drums on stage and audience noise, but obviously the lid is wide open for most of the performance. Settling for a MIDI-controlled mock-up makes sense since wheeling around an actual grand piano from underneath the stage wouldn't be economical due to its weight, transport needs and tuning delicacy. In an unstable A/C (or lack thereof ) environment, a grand piano would detune within minutes and sound off very quickly after being tuned. That said, Mercy certainly is a very good and notably skilled player. She's very consistent in her interpretation of Mayer's "Le regret" but she does add a little extra nice grace note here and there from time to time. She also plays with a sense of urgency and fervour that would be nice to hear on a future studio album of the Madonna family band...
  2. I completely agree. She seems more reflective than ever and I can see this culminating in a new body of work sooner than we might expect, whatever form it'll take.
  3. I just saw the speech she gave right before "I Will Survive" and I honestly don't understand why people are so upset that she didn't acknowledge (whatever that even means) Niki and Donna during the show. Clearly M had very different things on her mind last night.
  4. Having seen the tour a few times in person now, I'm not so sure we'll get an album that soon anymore. She seems extremely humbled, somewhat melancholic and still a little shaken by her recent death scare. It's just a feeling on my part that the musical focus may have changed to something entirely different at this stage or that whatever she may have recorded and planned thus far doesn't really represent where she's at emotionally right now...
  5. If I remember correctly, Guram Gvasalia's principal role for the tour was costume direction. I suppose these were perhaps initial ideas given to Eyob Yohannes and Versace for their final execution? Judging by the detail shots on his Instagram, I can see why the mirror catsuit was abandoned. It seems as if his creation is made of actual mirror pieces which would have been far too heavy and inconvenient to perform in. Versace's version appears to be made of more stretchable and lighter PVC. As for the black ball gown: I can see this being intended as the opening outfit and how it could have worked with the height-adjustable circular main stage. The lace detail and material depicted in Gvasalia's design also looks a lot like the material used for the inside of the kimono sleeves designed by Eyob Yohannes. Edit: According to this Vogue piece, "For the most part, Yohannes and Melssen created and designed all of Madonna’s costumes themselves, though they also enlisted designers such as Vetement’s Guram Gvasalia, Donatella Versace, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Dilara Findikoglu to create special one-off looks for her, too. “We wanted to reference everything that she’s done, and make something new out of that,” says Melssen. “We created a whole new world.” So I guess Gvasalia submitted his ideas but they were then further developed by other designers...
  6. Says the one who called everyone on here judging the show by YouTube videos "THAT fucking dumb" but fair enough, I guess.
  7. ...and just as dumb are the people who believe that the heavily engineered front-of-house mix reproduces what is actually being sung and performed. That's the wonderful thing about the devices used for audience recordings: they don't quite capture what the actual audience member's ear is supposed to pick up on.
  8. She may significantly struggle vocally during some portions of the show for reasons that @Lorx explained really well, but I do have to say that I find it remarkable regardless that she's singing live at all on this tour. Yes, her vocal performance for the last ten years or so hasn't been particularly impressive from a technical point of view, but I think we all should bear in mind that three months ago, she didn't only find herself in an induced coma but had also been intubated. Vocal cord paralysis and prolonged hoarseness after intubation are very frequent side effects. I had my doubts as to whether she'd be able to sing at all. Given that she's only three months into her recovery from all this, most of it spent resuming rehearsals and actually kicking off the tour, I'm surprised that she doesn't actually sound worse than she has in the past few years which makes me wonder if she's had specific vocal coaching this time.
  9. Is anyone else getting the vibe that the brief "Crazy for You" moment is meant to be a tribute to the Something to Remember period? I don't know how else to explain her being escorted off the stage by her "Human Nature" persona as well as the tone of the show suddenly softening and turning romantic after the Erotica/"Vogue" segment.
  10. I can actually see why she chose to include the Tokischa bit in the Erotica section of the show. That video is the only time in a long time that she's been outright sexually provocative with that "girl on girl" action and it was a little shocking to the general public when it came out. The way that bit is placed in the show forges a bridge between her being sexually provocative then in her mid-30s and being sexually provocative now in her mid-60s. Segueing into the original version of "Hung Up" was a smart move to lift up the somewhat dark and sombre mood of the "Erotica" and "Justify My Love" performances. At least in theory. My complaint with that whole section doesn't concern the Tokischa part itself, which does make sense to me and works quite well, I think, but the placement of "Hung Up" in that section to begin with. It just feels a bit odd because lyrically and musically it has absolutely nothing to do with her Dita era...
  11. I think that's a genius idea. But I also think that this would work wonderfully in book form!
  12. I should really go to bed because I'm terribly sleep-deprived and my antipsychotics are starting to kick in making me feel a bit woozy BUT I just listened to the Bad Girl performance and it's quite heartbreaking how differently those words hit now following her self-destructive behaviour these past few years AND her near-death experience with her children by her side...
  13. Perhaps the catwalk is being reduced because they're trying to fit more people in to compensate for financial losses caused by the re-routing of the tour? Just a theory.
  14. Besides, I think it's perfectly possible that Stuart could be this tour's MD. He probably won't be out on the road, so it makes sense that Kevin would take on the bandleader position for the duration of the actual tour.
  15. The pictures below are from 2014 if I'm not mistaken. That was seven years ago. If you compare these with the ones from M's Instagram story, you'll find that this is without a doubt the same person.
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