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  Madonna | Michael Jackson | Shmuley Boteach | Songwriters Descend on NYC | Dragon and the Stone | Bookmark This Page 

  Madonna's European Shows Skip the Hits 

The first notices are coming in from Madonna's "Drowned World" tour, and they ain't so good. Problem is Madonna wants to perform songs from recent albums, while fans prefer hearing the hits. Tickets are pricey, up to $250, so you can't blame people who've always wanted to see this mega-star live in performance sing things like "Material Girl," "Like a Virgin" and "Into the Groove."

But a set list, posted on the Web site velvetrope.com, tells the story. Here are the songs, in order, with an encore listed as well:

"Impressive Instant"
"Candy Perfume Girl"
"Beautiful Stranger"
"Ray Of Light"
("Drowned World" Seg.)
"Paradise Not For Me"
"Frozen"
"Nobody's Perfect"
"Mer Girl (Part 1)"
"Sky Fits Heaven"
"Mer Girl (Part 2)"
"Transition"
"I Deserve It"
"Don't Tell Me"
"Human Nature"
"The Funny Song"
"Secret"
"Gone"
"Don't Cry For Me" (Instrumental Interlude)
"Lo Que Siente La Mujer" ("What It Feels Like For A Girl")
"La Isla Bonita"

ENCORE:
"Holiday"
"Music"

Personally, after seeing Madonna at her little promo show last winter, I think she's worth it no matter what she sings. But the very astute performer may want to tweak this song list before hitting American cities next month.

Michael Jackson's Big Concert Not Even Set

Remember the big deal Michael Jackson was making over his 30th anniversary concert? He announced that it would take place on Sept. 7 as a tie-in to his new album. You remember, right?

Well, don't cancel any other plans you might have had for that night.

According to Madison Square Garden, no one has booked the main room for that night. There's a hold on the date, but a hold means nothing according to the press office.

"We haven't heard from Michael Jackson, there are no contracts and there are no plans for anything at the moment," the head of public relations told me Monday. "We just know what we read in the paper. Do we laugh when we see it? Yes. If Michael Jackson has plans to come here Sept. 7, no one's told us."

Since Sept. 7 is less than three months away, you'd think Jackson would be busy designing a stage, figuring out a line-up and hiring the musicians and all the people needed to put on such an event. "Three months is not that bad," conceded the rep. "You can book a show for tomorrow if the date is free. But you do need time to sell tickets, etc."

For the record, Sept. 7 is still available if Jackson wants to be starting something, but to add another night he'd have to go backwards to Sept. 6 — Sept. 8 is already set for a Yes concert.

Michael's Rabbi Accused of Absentee Parenting  

Meanwhile, Jackson's rabbi friend, Shmuley Boteach, is being accused of absentee parenting by his former organization.

You may recall Boteach (pronounced Boh-tay-ach) insisted to me that he was still involved with the L'Chaim Society of Oxford, England — even though they've shut down. Boteach also insisted that he was still involved with the remaining branch of that group, the Cambridge Society.

So, in comes an e-mail from the head of the L’Chaim Society in Cambridge. Let me share it with you:

"In brief, our society will only bear the name L'Chaim until the end of this academic year (another three weeks or so). At that point, we will officially combine our forces with the Jewish Chaplaincy here at Cambridge. We do not yet have a name for the centre (perhaps the Yachad Centre), but it will definitely not carry the name L'Chaim any longer.

"I am not sure why Shmuley claims that he's attached to the organization. He is certainly the father of this project, but like too many fathers today, he has left it fatherless. Ask him to explain what he means when he says he is still attached — maybe we should be getting child support?

"All the best.

"Maccabee Avishur
Managing Director
Cambridge University L'Chaim Society
33 Bridge Street, Cambridge CB2 1UW" 

Famous Songwriters on Their Way to NYC  

Leave it to AOL-Time Warner's Linda Moran. You knew if she was planning the Songwriters Hall of Fame dinner for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, that the stars would be coming.

So here's what I know about Thursday night's extravaganza at the Sheraton Hotel. Special guests are going to include Dave Matthews, Clive Davis, Emmylou Harris, Billy Joel, Deborah Cox, Elvis Costello, Dionne Warwick, and The Sopranos' Dominic Chianese.

You know, we're not supposed to have hot events in warm weather.

The Dragon and the Stone  

Absolutely the best story of the month, or any month in recent memory, is the widely reported attack on Sharon Stone's husband by a dragon.

Phil Bronstein, editor of the San Francisco Examiner, had his big toe crushed by a Komodo dragon during a tour of the Los Angeles Zoo. Phil, you see, got in the cage with the seven-foot lizard.

Come on! You can't make this up! First of all, who even knew there were actual dragons, and second, that they were in captivity? One can only wonder what Bronstein and Stone were doing at the zoo anyway. It's not like they had their one-year-old son Roan with them. But it's just like Paul Simon once sang: Everything's happening at the zoo.

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