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My Madonna Experience

Thursday, March 03, 2016 Jujiin 0 Comments Category : , , ,

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It’s been one week since seeing Madonna in the flesh and I’m still at a loss for words. I recall waking up the next day having hazy mental images from the concert like it was just a dream. I was physically present but my brain kept resisting that reality because no one had ever imagined this! It was plainly and intensely impossible! To say that I have been waiting for this for many, many years is a mistake because a Madonna Live in Manila was a thought locked in fantasy. That conflict in my head broke the entire experience into millions of pieces that is hopeless to rebuild. When I try to revisit that night in my brain I don’t get a linear occurence but only flashes of her costumes, the spectacular stage, how my feet hurt, the fuck yeah’s, the mesmerizing interludes, etc. I had to put my jaw back in place when I watched some clips on Youtube because I couldn’t remember the excellent choreography - not a single one! What I can clearly remember though, aside from the pain of wearing heels for roughly seven hours, are my emotional responses to the whole event that was Madonna Live in Manila (technically, Pasay)!

February 22 - It was around 1PM and I had just gotten home from a spinning class when I found out through Facebook that Madonna’s shoes actually touched Philippine pavement, breathed the same air spiked with jeepney smoke and updated her Instagram using the world’s second slowest internet! Next thing I knew I was on the floor crying like an idiot. I spent the next few hours excitedly texting equally excited friends while half-watching Madonna’s extensive collection of music videos on Youtube. Madonna’s been around for more than three decades so most of her songs come attached to certain moments of my life (I was born in 1982). I had realized that watching her music videos chronologically was also like telling the story of my life and I instantly levelled up as a fan.

Thankfully, all those pent-up Madonna feelings would be released and shared with friends at the launch of #MadonnaCubao1982 exhibit/party at Today x Future that night. #MadonnaCubao1982 was the brainchild of my friend, Shahani Gania aka Super Starlet. I’ve known the bitch since I was sixteen years old and one of the most ancient memories I have of him was seeing him on MTV Philippines as Madonna in Frozen shot at UP Sunken Garden! He’s always been so devoted to Madonna that earlier this year he asked sixteen friends and artists, including me, to create works inspired by the one and only queen of pop and her early downtown underground roots. In the hopes that it might reach Madonna herself, the date was intentional and we were already having the wettest dreams picturing the queen gracing his event. I mean, who knows, the universe might listen.

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Super Starlet and the Madonna artworks at Today x Future

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Kermit Tesoro

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Sharon Atillo

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Ge Mapa

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Queens that slayed the dancefloor!

February 23 - Physically stalking Madonna was an impossible task so I resorted to nonstop online stalking. News articles, chismis from friends, Rebel Heart Tour makeup artist, dresser, dancers’ Instagram posts. It was mostly tedious but whenever we get an update, like when Madonna posted photos of herself at an orphanage on Instagram or even a simple sunset photo taken by one of her dancers, angels would come down from the heavens and bless us with the giddiest, happiest smiles our lips had to form. It was contagious and Manila was under her spell!

February 24 - I went to the gym earlier than usual - 10AM! I ate a really big meal because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to eat until the concert was over. Shahani was already in my house by 1PM. I already had my whole outfit in mind but when I tried it on that day it just wasn’t working! Shahani was finishing his makeup and nearly completing the transformation into Super Starlet. My boyfriend was just waiting for us to finish because he didn’t really have that much to wear and I was not far from having a mental breakdown! I was close to wearing just shirt and pants! My boyfriend helped me calm my nerves and I eventually completed my look. Madonna doesn’t deserve shirt and pants! Madonna deserves all this drama, this chaos! LOL!

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Restaurant (we didn't eat!) where Shahani asked the staff to only play Madonna songs to attract more customers, LOL!
(photo by Loyva)


From the elevator to the streets to our Uber ride to MOA, everybody knew we were going to see Madonna that night. It was festive! I was nervous. I felt like I was going to class and taking the hardest exam of my life. I was excited. I felt like I was going to class and passing the hardest exam of my life with flying colors. I was confused. I felt like the class didn’t exist and there was no exam. I was trying so hard to merge fantasy (seeing Madonna live for the first time in my home country) and reality (seeing Madonna live for the first time in my home country)!

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Before walking to MOA Arena
(L-R) Shahani, Reggie, Aileen, Loyva, me, Paulo, Darryl and Homer
(photo by Acid)

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Forced to talk in front of a camera :/

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We were hounded by a horde of titas and thought that it wouldn't stop, LOL!
(photo from MOA Arena's Instagram)

We all parted ways because we all had different seats. Shahani and I were alone in our areas - lowerbox and patron VIP respectively. The Rebel Heart stage materialized and slowly revealed its massiveness like the most gorgeous sunrise I have ever seen! My knees started to weaken - "fuck, this is really happening!"

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My seat
The ramp cuts through the entire floor of the arena!

I didn’t have any sense of time at this point. DJ Mary Mac just started to play and I was dancing. I was having fun. But it seemed like I was the only one. I scanned the arena and all I saw were titas and lolas, waiting impatiently on their seats. For a brief moment I actually thought I was at an 80’s themed company christmas party, LOL! On the other side of the ramp I saw Homer and Brian dancing. Where were the rest of the gays??? I felt that the DJ was having a hard time because the crowd was deadma and hard-to-please. There were just a couple of songs that they danced to - Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance With Somebody and Hotdog's Manila!
Was the DJ bad? I didn't think so. Some of my friends said it was terrible. I thought maybe because I was so pumped up for Madonna that nothing else could break me.

In the middle of my dancing, I saw Shahani run towards me with one hand on his mouth and tears running down his cheeks! "I got SVIP tickets!", he exclaimed while his voice cracked. My eyes shined like bright ohmygods and gave him the biggest hugs! He then added, "Two white girls approached me outside and asked if I wanted to get better seats. Of course I said yes and I started to cry and I told them about the exhibit and oh my god!" I was genuinely happy for him and hugged him so tight and said, "Girl, you deserve it! I love you! Oh my god!" His new seat was right at the tip of the heart stage - front and center, bitches!

My feet were starting to hurt but nothing could stop me from dancing! There were a few times that I had lost balance but tried to conceal them as dance moves, LOL! I'd complain to my seatmate that my feet hurt for the sake of small talk. She told me to rest so that I'd have energy for later.
Of course I didn't listen.

I saw Shahani walking towards me again.

"Tara, let's look for the white girls outside!", he said.

And the next thing I knew I was holding a new ticket and then saying thank you and then hugging the girls and then running to the tip of the heart stage with Shahani and then I couldn't believe it and then we hugged and then I looked at my new view and it was awesome and then I still couldn't believe it and then we hugged again!

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(L-R) Shahani, me and Vice Ganda
(photo from Globe Telecom's Twitter)

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My boyfriend's sexy ass, Vica Ganda and me
(photo from Tim Yap's Instagram)

A diva can make us wait forever and we don’t get to complain about it. The show was already three hours late when the lights went out. The collective screams of excitement sounded like wailing fairies. I was holding Shahani’s hand firmly with the desire to share with him what being alive was all about. My legs would fold while my hands covered my face.
The opening video started and the only words I knew how to utter were OH MY GOD!
I had forgotten about the past and the future didn’t exist! I only had that moment! But it also felt like I was losing the ability to grasp reality. I WAS GOING CRAZY! All the continents of my skin were crying. Big and unfamiliar feelings exit my eyes as salty water. I suddenly felt Shahani breaking my hands that covered my face and said intently, “Don’t cover your eyes!”
I bawled until the second song that I hardly remember anything! I do remember leaving the physical dimension from time to time especially when she was approaching or charging closer and closer to us.

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I tried not to take too many photos and really be in the moment. There were many times when I had to reassure myself that I was actually in the same room with Madonna. I still found it too difficult to believe that I wasn’t watching a TV special and that that woman singing four feet away from me was the actual, bodily Madonna. That same woman I have loved oh so greatly for almost all my life. That is the same woman. Flesh and blood. UNBELIEVABLE!

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AND THEN THIS HAPPENED

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Shahani was chosen to be the night's Unapologetic Bitch! The stars were perfectly aligned for him. He wanted this. He attracted this. And the motherfucker got it! Earlier that night I told him that if ever they chose me I wouldn't accept and I'd give it to him. He deserved this more than anyone else. And putangina, hinde ko rin alam paano ako aakyat at sasayaw! How did he keep, keep it together? (keep people together forever and ever)

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Madonna left the stage.
I was trying to make sense of the visual tsunami that had just engulfed me.
My feet were the incarnation of pain.
What just happened?
Oh, and how weak was that crowd? Nakakahiya kay Madonna!

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(L-R) me, Karen, boyfriend and the Unapologetic Bitch
(photo from Karen's Facebook)

I didn't have a ticket for the second night.
I didn't sleep until the concert was over - texting friends who were there, living vicariously through Snapchat, constantly checking hashtags and status updates on Instagram and Facebook.
I basically tortured myself.
I'm still high on Madonna.


Sigh.

Wow.


Scenes from #MadonnCubao1982 closing party aka Madonna Hangover party


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