Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I'm on the board of Pia, which organized the tickets for the Madonna tour in Japan. It was the first time that the official ticketing agent used an auction system to sell the premium seats.

Yesterday, I went to see the last show of the world tour in Tokyo Dome. We watched from the box seats or "suites". (I was probably supposed to be taking care of our VIP guests instead of playing with my camera phone but...) It as a bit weird having staff in uniforms pouring wine and bringing food while watching Madonna flipping the audience the finger and talking about the "universal 'fuck you' and 'don't fuck with me'"... ;-P In one act, she was wearing a "Japanese do it better" t-shirt. I wonder how many Japanese caught that.

It was quite an interesting event. The audience was very emotional. For me, it was a very weird experience. She mixed covers of lots of tunes from the 80's and 90's that we all grew up with and didn't do many of my favorite Madonna tunes. I'm a big fan of remix and she did a very good job of making a sort of medley of songs down memory lane. She sampled riffs, took bass tracks, melodies, and lyrics from all kind stuff. In retrospect, I guess a lot of her work has been about picking up underground trends and presenting them to the main stream. I did have a weird feeling that in the case of many of the tracks I would have rather heard the original than her version.

She did have a fairly strong "lets all get along and not fight about religion" theme, although I'm not sure how this went over with her fans. However, while waiting for the elevator leaving the stadium, I heard a girl talking about how she cried. I think "dancing with Madonna" for people who have been fans of hers for decades is an experience worth crying about.

It was a bit strange watching her doing a sexy dance on a leather saddle with a pole that moved around in the air while singing "Like a Virgin". I've probably heard more renditions of Like a Virgin by foreigners in Japan trying to find a song to sing in tiny Karaoke bars. She helped me reset the context, albeit positioned slightly off-center from where I remember it being positioned.

All in all, it was a fun concert that brought back lots of memories of being a DJ in Chicago and being a bad boy in New York.

Here are some flickr photos.


Here are some more flickr photos taken from slightly closer to the stage :)

I had the same reaction, that it was fun but disorienting in that she steered clear of the familiar. The ending also bemused me, in that it just...stopped dead. No encore, no goodbye.

My sense was that a lot of the message was going over the crowd's heads. Doubt many people got the added line in "I Love New York" about performing a certain act on a certain part of the US President's anatomy, either.

Madonna's music is great .... BUT .... her antics are cheap and meretricious. Few Christians will burn her in effigy (not as good with matches and rag-dolls as are many Muslims), but she has basically no respect for spiritual values (excuse the tautology here). That is up to her, but to attempt to "proselytize" others to her twisted notions of what is meaningful ... hmm, dire ignorance.

And all that phallic bullshit and, well, ichthyofaunal iconography ... whom are you kidding? If religion is so meaningless (and so meaningless to quarrel over, as the songstress asserts), why does it become the tripod of all your gyrations and striations, Madonna? And what's in a name? Do you hate yourself that much?

I have not thumbed in the Abhidharmakosa, but the karma of that kind of offensiveness is not pretty ... let's hope she reaches puberty soon, though expect the decline into (spiritual) menopause to be rapid!

Cheers from Jakarta,


Oh, the joy of being older. I can drool over diamanda galas and brag about finally seeing Negativland, and think back about Zappa making political statements. Having had to grow up with madonna would be more than I could have taken.

Joi, none of what she is doing is remixing/sampling or any of the buzzwords that the net crowd has recently appropriated. Performance and recording of cover songs is legally protected as long as you pay the appropriate royalties.

Its actually cheaper to hire studio musicians to re-perform a song and then use that new work than to sample an old work. Dr Dre was the first to publicize this business tecnique in the 80s. If Madonna does the same now with her versioning of old hits, its just more pakuri from someone who is way past their sell by date.

DJ in Chicago and bad boy in New York. Now that made me think of my old times with staying up late for concerts and for other kindof parties.

It's fun to remember such things.


Madonna is timeless, the older she gets (is she like 50 now?) the better her music gets.

Hello, Joi! I'm yuki in Japan. My English is not so good that I need your help.


"Japanese do it better!"

Could you tell me what that 'it' ment? What do we have to do better than what???