Madonna holds surprise concert for Clinton

Madonna played a surprise concert in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Manhattan on Monday, the eve of Election Day.
Madonna played a surprise concert in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Manhattan on Monday, the eve of Election Day.PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK • The words "Madonna" and "concert" hardly conjure images of an intimate gathering, but on the eve of Election Day in the heart of Greenwich Village, that is what a few hundred people got.

On Monday evening, the singer announced online a surprise concert in Washington Square Park in Manhattan, with just enough time for fans to drop their forks, reroute their taxis and arrive to see her sashay onstage in a bomber jacket with fluorescent green sleeves and a winter hat sprinkled with stars.

She stood in the middle of the round fountain at the centre of the square, holding a red guitar and pledging her support for the Democratic presidential nominee. She welcomed everyone to "a surprise, impromptu rally for Hillary Rodham Clinton". And the crowd, who had been huddled around the edges of the fountain, leapt to their feet.

She then broke into her song Express Yourself, modifying the lyrics to say "Make her express herself".

The Material Girl's message was decidedly feminist and anti-Donald Trump, the Republican nominee.

"Women are marginalised, let's face it," she said between songs. "As far as I'm concerned, we still live in an extremely chauvinist, sexist, misogynist country. And that's why Hillary Clinton needs to be president."

The show was just five songs long: Madonna's own Express Yourself, Like A Prayer and Rebel Heart, as well as Imagine and If I Had A Hammer.

It was mainly a sing-along, in the folk music tradition of the Village. People held signs, shouted "I'm with her" and appeared to know all of the words.

Those in attendance included unsuspecting tourists in the right place at the right time, wellconnected New Yorkers who had received texts while leaving work, and volunteers for Mrs Clinton, many of them young women, who had spent the day calling and texting voters in battleground states.

There were also some super fans. "I literally stalked this for 48 hours," said Mr David Yontef, 46, who works in advertising. For more than a day, he said, there had been false leads on the location of the secret concert.

"I was going to hop on a train to Philly; then it seemed like it might be in Michigan - I was refreshing the browser every 10 minutes," he said. "Then suddenly at 7pm, they said 7.30 here. We left dinner on the table, threw money on the table and jumped in a cab. This is history. This is Madonna and she's trying to get the first woman in the White House."

Was he satisfied with the show?

"Oh my God," he said, "it was everything."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2016, with the headline 'Madonna holds surprise concert for Clinton'. Subscribe