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Missing tours

Madonna has to her credit nine major concert tours. Let’s have a look at those project which were never completed.

Argentina, December 2012 – Madonna wraps up her eighth worldwide tour – and ninth in overall. Then However, her concert portfolio could be now even more expansive had all the planned projects been realized. Introducing tours you have probably never heard about.


On January 25, 1989, Pepsi announced signing a one-year deal with Madonna. Negotiations took as much as 8 months and the singer received a 5 million dollar salary. The contract included not only promoting “Like a Prayer” on a global scale, but also a worldwide tour in the second half of the year. Following two adverts in support of the drink and the single, another spot was to be produced, promoting the Like a Prayer World Tour.

As the sponsor of the tour, Pepsi had already produced first promotional items – cans, posters, T-shirts. Everything was prepared down to the last detail, however, we all know how the story ended. After the controversies of the “Like a Prayer” video, the concern decided to terminate the contract. While Madonna kept her fee, without such a big sponsor, the forthcoming tour found itself up in the air. The problem was solved when Warren Beatty offered Madonna part in his film Dick Tracy, what automatically prompted her to give up touring in 1989.

Less than a year later, Madonna embarked on the iconic Blond Ambition Tour. As of now, the cancellation of the Like a Prayer Tour seems a good fate. Who knows if the world would have had the chance to see Madonna wearing the famous conic bra from Gaultier had the original plans not been cancelled? It’s worth to add that after the contract with Pepsi was terminated, Madonna’s management were continually approaching other companies with requests to back the tour financially. Sponsorship was being negotiated with the likes of Nike, what resulted in test spots filmed on set of “Vogue”. However, in her own unique style, Madonna refused to wear Nike footwear on stage and the partnership never happened. Eventually, financial side of the project was secured by Pioneer, which reserved the exclusivity to release the concert on laser disc. Due to legal complexity of the contract, the Blond Ambition Tour is yet to be officially released on DVD.


The Sex book scandal resulted in The Girlie Show Tour focusing on Europe, South America and Asia, and visiting only several North American cities. Almost a year later, with Bedtime Stories and its R&B sound, Madonna was regaining the temporarily rocked status. To restore her position, another major tour was scheduled – The Bedtime Stories Tour. Plans were really advanced: biggest concert halls in America were booked for the second half of 1995, along with the two-night reservation of London’s Wembley Stadium. Madonna and her team were also well in talks regarding artistic side of the show, the setlist and stage technology. The tour was to establish Madonna as the absolute leader in terms of art of live performance. According to one of the dancers, “Human Nature” was planned as the opening number, showcasing scenography that would eventually be used in the music video.

It was the footage from “Human Nature” music video set, where Madonna revealed that, although she really wanted to tour, she had to cancel it in favor of working on Evita. Apparently, she couldn’t let herself do a several month tournée and heavily exploit her vocal, when shortly after that, recording sessions for the film soundtrack were due to start. However logical and understandable the explanation is, ironically, Madonna was saying that when... smoking a cigarette.


Madonna’s big comeback with Ray of Light in 1998 again raised fans’ hopes that their idol would treat them to another tour. The artist herself seemed to consider the idea, and in several interviews admitted she’d been intensively thinking about a tournée, but considering Lourdes, the schedule had to be very limited.

With Madonna’s performance at the Grammy ceremony in 1999, Warner Music issued another portion of promotional material for Ray of Light. Right next to excerpts from enthusiastic reviews, attention attracted a short note saying ‘look for her tour this year’. So was the plan – in April, Madonna started shooting The Next Best Thing, and immediately after that was due to start rehearsals for the tour she would embark on in September 1999. Unfortunately, postproduction required more time than originally planned, and Madonna realised that there won’t be enough time for rehearsals.

Is there anything we know about that show? Christopher Ciccone, who earlier designed the Blond Ambition stage and directed The Girlie Show, revealed in his book Life with My Sister Madonna, that already in early 1998 Madonna contacted him regarding new tournée. Christopher suggested that scenography evolved around a tree, with its leaves changing colors throughout the show, just like they do in different seasons of the year. Madonna did like the idea, but it never materialised. In 2001, the singer embarked on the Drowned World Tour, but due to the growing conflict between the siblings, Christopher was not involved, and in his book criticises the concert as too dark and unpleasant.

Reading about the concerts that we never had the chance to see, we can have mixed feelings. On one hand, we’re curious about what might have been and regret that projects which could be a part of history, never happened. On the other, would Madonna’s career be complete if she had never been provoking the world in a cone bra from Gaultier or never starred in Evita? It seems to feel safe to say: it was meant to be.

PG / transl. Matt

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