Madonna at her 1985 concert in St. Paul.

David Brewster, Star Tribune

I'll remember: Madonna's local concerts

  • Article by: JON BREAM
  • Star Tribune
  • November 2, 2012 - 6:30 PM


We dug into the Star Tribune archives to remember her two Twin Cities performances, which came during her first and second tours -- back in the days when it seemed the "M" of MTV stood for "Madonna."


The only thing virginal about Madonna's Virgin Tour was her lack of experience on the big stage at the St. Paul Civic Center (torn down in 1998 to make way for Xcel Energy Center). But she filled the place with her personality, giving a flashy, sexually teasing, contemporary burlesque performance.

With two hit albums to her name, Madonna offered a thin, shrill and largely emotionless voice but proved to be an energetic and nimble dancer. And she didn't do any lip syncing, a concert trick that became popular in a later era.

The sell-out crowd of 17,000 was dominated by young girls dressed up like Madonna, with teased hair covered with gel, lots of lace, bracelets and necklaces and bare midriffs.

The opening act was an unknown rap trio out of New York City called the Beastie Boys who were loud, foul-mouthed and obnoxious. They didn't even have an album out. Who knew?


Originally scheduled for the Metrodome, this extravaganza was moved to the St. Paul Civic Center because of slow ticket sales. Back then, I speculated that the high price of $22.50 kept the crowd to a modest 12,000.

Fans got their money's worth, with the best arena show since Prince's Purple Rain Tour three years earlier. Madonna mixed Broadway musical drama and Las Vegas glitz, infused with rock 'n' roll attitude and energy. Her dancing -- part aerobic, part striptease, part modern -- was fabulous.

Madonna oozed glamour and raw sexuality, demonstrated a sense of humor about herself, and seemed slimmer and more sophisticated than in her Twin Cities debut. It was one of the year's top shows.


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