Tue. Aug 9th, 2022

Friday night in New York City, Madonna, along with Jon Batiste, his band and a small group of fans, held an intimate cabaret performance in the basement of Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant Red Rooster, before spilling out into the Harlem streets for a 2:00 am parade set to “Like a Prayer.”

The Midnight Cabaret revolved around the New Orleans-style street party in Friday’s release of “Madame X,” a documentary concert film from Madonna’s 2019 tour, released by Paramount Plus.

“Obviously Madame X is born,” Madonna said to the basement crowd, dressed in a black cocktail dress, lace gloves and long blonde wig. “She was always here. She has always been by your side, encouraging you, pushing you, inspiring you, I hope.”

As she took the stage in the dimly lit dinner club just after 1:40, Madonna, who was on top of Batiste’s piano like Marilyn Monroe, sang and climbed up the basement columns to paint up and down the wall, singing lounge renditions of “Dark Ballet, “” La Isla Bonita “and the Portuguese” Saudade. “

“Do you feel that something is missing in your life?” she asked the crowd, gently into the microphone while Batiste played under her. “So what’s our job? What’s our fate? To go out and find it,” she said. “I was talking to Jon on the way here, and we said to each other: Here’s the big question: How bad do you want it?”

The evening was almost impossibly intimate, attended by a crowd of about 100-200 friends, family and fans, who sank into the club’s lavish banquets awaiting her arrival.

During the performance, after falling to his knees in a contemplative adaptation of “Like a Prayer,” Madonna grabbed a nearby megaphone, gestured to the musicians to pick up their instruments, and told the audience to take to the streets. The partygoers blindly committed and climbed up the basement stairs – driven by the rhythm of Batiste’s band and the sheer excitement of unpredictability – and entered 126th street.

Tambourine in hand, Madonna led Batiste and a modest group of partygoers through Harlem’s early morning streets and joined together as the group sang an antemic “Like a Prayer” into the night sky.

Traveling a few blocks down the street, the congregation ended outside a nearby church, where Madonna, framed by the church doors behind her, offered a summons. “The Lord is with us all,” she said. “Sometimes you just have to pray.”

At the Red Rooster, where most of the partygoers returned after Madonna’s sermon on the street ended, the venue groaned well into the morning, training down the dance floor while the open vodka bar continued to flow. Nearby, along with queer icons like Aquaria, the queen of pop sank into the same lavish banquets and looked far from how space danced loudly and carried away.

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