LOS ANGELES – Madonna's blond ambition is fading to bland.
That's evident from these exclusive photos of her costumes for the "Re-Invention" concert tour (search), which kicked off Monday night in Los Angeles.
The name "Re-Invention" promised some new and exciting looks, but there was no mojo in her erratic series of guises.
She wore so many kooky looks — from showgirl corsets to combat boots to the inevitable Kabbalah (search) T-shirt — that she apeared to be having an identity crisis. Whatever happened to Madonna (search), the trend-setting icon?
Here's a pop star whose entire career was built on distinct fashion phases: from the black fishnets and torn T-shirts of "Lucky Star" to the white corset and tulle skirt of "Like a Virgin" and the red gown and white gloves of "Material Girl."
Just over a decade ago, when the sassy provocateur created a firestorm by displaying her blond ambition in a pointy cone bra, it would have been insane to suggest she would mellow to the point of wearing buttoned-up army fatigues onstage.
Age, religion and motherhood no doubt have had an impact on the 45-year-old mother of two — and those who attended Monday night's concert took note of the changes.
"I knew there would be a lot of politics and religion tonight. It's kind of like she's grown up, but she's still hot," said Dee Dee Kennedy, 36, a saleswoman for Ketel One Vodka, who saw Madonna 20 years ago.
Instead of a sexy, flashy, fun-filled show, concertgoers Monday night got an endless dose of political and social commentary.
She sat in an electric chair and dances and sang against a backdrop of war images, President Bush and Saddam Hussein. The sound of detonating bombs punctuated the song "American Life."
Onstage, dancers dressed like soldiers did push-ups and calisthenics as helicopters swept in and infernos blazed on the video screens behind them.
And then she sang John Lennon's "Imagine," accompanied by a video of sick and injured children from around the world.
There was religion, too — plenty of it. Madonna's passion for fashion has clearly been usurped by her fetish for Kabbalah, as evidencd by the flashes of untranslated Hebrew text displayed in the background of her performance, which hits New York City's Madison Square Garden on June 16.
In a review in yesterday's Los Angeles Times, critic Robert Hillburn begged Madonna to "bring back the sex. Or at least something with flesh and blood, please."
We just want her to bring back the cone bra.