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Confessions of birthday battles at the Madonna concert

Father forgive me

I tried not to do it…

It’s my birthday, so in the spirit of du jour, I’ve dug out a few pertinent images on social meeja, because as someone ‘sang’, “it’s a celebration”, right? 

I don’t know what was in the air, but both times I caught Madonna’s Confessions shows they became the subject of an avalanche of alcohol-fuelled aggression by heteros. Neither episode instigated by me, I hasten to add.

First, in November 2005, a cheesy Confessions box greeted us at the G-A-Y Saturday night bummers club, when it was at the Astoria on London’s Charing Cross Road. The blessed Mamma Ciccone was the pop tart that night for a promo show to launch her 2005 album of the same name, see.

First, an obligatory photo op with friend Rhos Rowsell — he being Sting’s yoga teacher that ended up selling me my first property in France in 2017 — and a fun snap at said booth taken by my then partner, the eternally soused Scotsperson Jamie.

By the time we made our way to the dance floor, we’d consumed various units of champagne — he more than me, but then he was Scottish — and under the influence, he was his usual obnoxious self. A couple of numbers in, and he got into a bit of a fracas with the adjacent Madge-obsessive straight couple anxiously guarding their prime location right in front of centre stage since the moment the doors opened (probably). 

Once Madge – who’d come for the night dressed as Farah Fawcett on acid – spun herself onto the stage Jamie was pogoing on the spot, oblivious to all and sundry. By this point there was no more than one row of people between us and her Madgesty.

Above the disco thuds, I could just about make out:

“Mate, you’re jumping up and down on my girlfriend’s feet. Can you stop it?”

“Oh, why don’t you shut the fuck up and enjoy yourself!”


The guy knocked the Scottish twot out cold and said bf fell backwards, eyes wide shut with a little trail of blood seeping from one nostril.

I just remember my eyes going from A to B constantly — looking at my motionless prat of a partner and then looking up at the jiggery-pokery Madonna wondering if, no, *when*, she was going to pause the performance and call for help.

This rapid up-down eye moment of mine went on until I realised the rehearse-addicted ruthless mare wasn’t going to stop her show for anyone — or even cast a concerned glance in his direction — least of all a bloodied injured fan, punched in the head by a straight man in a gay club.

Still, he deserved it. Hee-hee!

Instagram will load in the frontend.

The second show took place on Madge’s 48th birthday at Wembley Arena in August 2006 (the one used on the official Confessions broadcast DVD), a sweet 16 years after first seeing the M one at Blonde Ambition at the old stadium next door. 

Surprisingly, this was the first and ultimately only time met my sister Stella and I would attend a Madonna show togather. We met a local friend of mine — Emma, who lived about the Nationwide on Wembley High Road — in a nearby pub garden for a convivial pint, where said sibling looked and sounded like she’d had a stressy day at work.

The amber fix? Stella decided what was required for the evening’s entertainment was not only her favourite female singer but also an endless supply of liquid refreshment — not that she’d ever needed an excuse before or since.

In fact, Stella got so outrageously drunk so quickly that as she returned from the bar a few songs in she spilled her beer all over the fella in front of us, who then decided to warn me in a shouty Aussie bloke accent he would “deal with” me after the show, because I laughed.

I was actually laughing at how inebriated my younger sibling was, because by this point she could barely stand. And I couldn’t help but notice there was a few minutes where she was watching the main stage smiling happily to herself not realising Madge was performing on the catwalk in the opposite direction.

By the end of the show I was emboldened and lightly refreshed enough that the bravado kicked in. I wasn’t in the mood to take any shit, and the moment the lights went on I tapped him on the shoulder and as he turned round I fixed him an unblinking cod-gangster stare and told him “I’m ready for you now”.

We eyeballed each other for a couple of seconds, and up close I could see he was way more wrinkly with laughter lines around the eyes than me. Even though I had a feeling it was the Aussie sun to blame and he was probably a few years younger than me, I stood my ground and went in for the kill.

“Look at you, you’re ancient. If you really want to be a pissy drama queen about this then go ahead.”

It took another couple of seconds for him to realise I meant business and I could see in those crinkled eyes he was having second thoughts.

“Nah, you’re alright, mate. Let’s leave it.”

And with that the cobber and his female companion buggered off with tail most definitely between legs. 

Once Bruce and Sheila had walked a safe distance to the exit, she turned round and bellowed at me

“At least he doesn’t have a fat girlfriend!”

Despite the comedy insult from a non-oil painting herself I couldn’t help but chuckle and be bemused this potty pair actually thought I was one of those hetero types, which explains why he decided I must be the one to pay the price for the actions of my inebriated “girlfriend”.

When I told Emma the story when I got home she thought it was one of the funniest things she’d ever heard, and for what seemed lime an eternity decided, with undisguised glee, to go round telling anyone and everyone I’d ever met through her 

“Steve offered out a straight guy at the Madonna gig!”

Ohm, and good gig by the way. A virtual Neil Tennant cameo, and some interesting reworkings of old chestnuts, particularly Lucky Star and Donna Summer’s I Feel Love.

It was, in fact, the last time Madge was in danger of being interesting, before her divorce from Guy Ritchie and the daily car crash from thereon in.

The show is over, say goodbye.

Steve Pafford

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