My sister and I decided to go 'all in' this year and purchase the Ultimate VIP Ticket Package for MDNA in St. Louis. There were so many confusing reports about stage configuration when tickets went on sale, that we just didn’t want to mess with disappointment. The VIP party was a great way to relax while waiting for M to go on stage. With all the merchandise, parking and food, I would say the 'Row 2-10 Packages' at $675 are actually not a bad deal.
Sometime during the party, I went down to scope out our seats. They were 'Section 3, Row 1, Seats 15-16.' We had been to New Orleans in Row 3 and were curious to see if we would be part way along the catwalk, etc. We knew only Sections 1 and 4 were toward the very front stage/GT area. When I made my way to the usher and she walked me to those two glorious seats at the very tip of the triangle stage I could not believe it. There were no chalk seat numbers, so I asked again if she was sure. I ran upstairs to tell my sister the good news.
The concert was amazing from those seats, of course. Whether she was on the mainstage and we were getting an awesome view of all the visual elements she had planned or she was on the catwalk and we were able to see her up close and personal, it was just the best seat in the house. During the long speech, she was very interactive with the fans in the Golden Triangle. Before Like A Virgin, when she was stripping off her shirt, she was out on the very tip of the stage near us. I remember videoing her striptease without even realizing she had nothing written on her back.
Then she began chatting about how she usually has something written and tonight she needed inspiration. I had a Sharpie clipped to my shirt (for sign-making) and my sister shouted to her 'She has a pen!!' (about me) That is when the banter on the video starts with 'I have my own pen' and 'Mine is bigger than yours.' I remember when she said that last line giving her just a really bright smile like 'Good one, Madonna.' What happened next was all like a dream to me. I shouted into the mike because I’m so used to shouting at an M concert. She mocked me; it was hysterical.
It was like everything she said I was hearing 10 seconds too late. When she went to hand me the towel I was reaching for the marker because it took me a second to realize that not only was I going to be writing a message, but actually wiping off HER SWEAT. I must say that despite how hard she works up there, the sweat was simply a light glimmer of moisture on her flawless skin. I’ve seen many messages on her back and wasn’t sure if she would direct me to the top or bottom, so I was carefully wiping away both above and beneath her bra line and mike pack.
My mind was racing with ideas of something powerful to say about the universe in general, but when she directed me to write how I felt about her, it became simple. She was actually pointing and chatting and in my way because I knew immediately what I wanted to write. It was the same message she and I had sung to each other in 2004 at the Re-Invention Tour in NYC and it was the same message I had written in a letter for the 'Justify Your Love' contest for ICON. You’re the one. U R the ONE. She is the one.
I didn’t even realize until I saw the video that the crowd agreed with my message even before Madonna could see what it said. That made me feel great – like I had spoken for all of us. When it was all over, my sister had the good sense to ask the bodyguard if I could keep the towel. He said 'of course!' and handed it over. I clutched that thing until the end of the concert.
The icing on the cake was when she walked right toward me during Like A Prayer and had me sing into her mike. She even nodded or said something (I can’t recall) to acknowledge that I wasn’t f@#king it up. Hopefully I didn’t scream the lyrics the same way I screamed my name. All I can say is, I now have a video of her saying 'Thank you Martha' and when she calls my name, it totally feels like home. Huge thanks to the fan who posted this video on YouTube. My sister was too dumbstruck to get her phone out early enough. She was so selfless asking Madonna to come to me instead of her. What a great sister and BFF.
As we left the concert, the funny part was every fan encountering me and saying 'Hey! There’s Martha!' It was weird… in an awesome, I-got-to-have-a-once-in-a-lifetime-encounter-with-Madonna sort of way.