There is only one word to say after Madonna's extravaganza, spectacle and concert Tuesday night: Respect.
Madonna tore it up on the dance floor at the age of 54. She shot her dancers up in a dance sequence rivaling the video game "Call of Duty." She bared her butt — with "Obama" written across her back. But she is nobody's baby.
For many women, she is the one, the beginning and possibly the end.
Even rapper Nicki Minaj, in a video segment at the concert, acknowledged, "There is only one queen and that's Madonna."
Madonna showed us that a woman didn't have to be nice to succeed, even as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to struggle with her icy image. Madonna had children and marriages but was never defined by her partners, unlike Elizabeth Taylor and Angelina Jolie. Madonna is a singer who became a brand. There have been many women who tried to imitate, but fell short: Britney Spears, J. Lo, Lady Gaga. Most importantly, she is a megastar who did not self-destruct, unlike Marilyn Monroe.
Some women behave like men to get ahead. They wear pants. They talk like men. Madonna used her sex to succeed, and she did it Tuesday, stripping down to a bra, then pulling her pants down below a thong and baring her cheeks to the Key. "My ass belongs to Obama, even if he is a Christian. When he is in the White House for a second term, I will take my pants off all the way." (The religion reference was the diva's comeback to an earlier comment when she joked that he was a Muslim.)
Some fans wore t-shirts supporting same-sex marriage and approval of Referendum 74. We probably would not be voting on the issue on Nov. 6 without Madonna. She championed gay men, bringing them into mainstream pop culture with the song "Vogue," her movie "Truth or Dare" and her book "Sex."
And to those who were shocked by the shooty-shooty-kill-kill scene at Madonna's concert, it's only shocking because she's a woman. Men have been shooting people up in movies and on television for decades. Besides, I would be disappointed if she failed to produce any outrage. It would be like going to a U2 concert and not getting an education about government oppression in some corner of the world.
The shooting was one segment in an extravaganza that included a marching band suspended from the ceiling, Irish stepdancing (think "Riverdance"), a Jabbawokeez-style dance troupe, Parkour leaps across rising and falling pedestals and dancer contortions worthy of a Beijing acrobatics troupe. If Madonna was stiff in the opening numbers, by the middle and end, she was outdancing her band of androgynous, multicultural dancers 30 years her junior.
As opening DJ Martin Solveig said, "You all have the best seats that ever existed." KeyArena felt like an intimate arena on Tuesday, far better than the Tacoma Dome. It's worth saving, ahem, Seattle City Council and Mayor Mike McGinn.
In two hours, Madonna showed us the uselessness of Seattle's passive aggression. I bow down to her Madgesty, and deliver her message to those who missed the concert.
What are you looking at?
Strike a pose.