If only Michael had her stamina.
There are some live pop act performances that strike the nail on the head and seal the deal. They have a marketing discourse that is so coherent and well-knit, it’s hard to find a hole in them and not resonate with the act no matter how non-follower of pop music and culture you may declare yourself to be. You may argue that meaning is ultimately a personal issue, still – how can you deny that a powerful message does not help towards generally homogenising perceptions and bringing it home.
My list of pop performances that tick all the marketing boxes [read here the background of PEST and cultural factors, the choice of artist and how these sides blow consumers’ minds apart] include Michael Jackson’s concert in Romania in 1992, because he was the first Western megastar to perform in post-1989 Romania, Justin Timberlake’s performance at Victoria’s Secret in 2006, because he performed Sexy-back at a sexy-packed show, Bon Jovi’s concert in Romania in 2011, because they took the temperatures even higher, and Maroon 5’s performance again at Victoria’s Secret in 2011 – because lead singer Adam Levine and supermodel girlfriend Anna Vyalitsyna hold hands and share a peck on the cheek on the catwalk (I don’t think it could have gotten more divine than that given the context.)
The most recent addition to this list is Madonna’s performance at the Super Bowl XLVI this February. It has already been noted down as the musical show with the largest audience in history, as 104 million viewers tuned in on NBC to watch it. There’s also a video of it on YouTube that stood at 2,702,310 on Tuesday when I started writing this bit, reached 3,650,248 on Wednesday, and will probably score one or two million more by the end of the day.
It must be my literature and marketing background, the M.Sc. readings I’m currently doing and my overall imagination – but I think this act absolutely kicks ass! It’s not just the music performance that builds momentum for this show, the discourses and symbol – intertwining behind it are also pretty amazing. The act projects elements of the ancient cultures against the background of the more modern American one, in an exercise that generates an aura of myth and authenticity around American symbols and their meaning. It is a rejuvenation of American discourse at the time it needs it with Madonna’s pop act as the cork that lets the champagne flow. This time it wasn’t the Budd.