Setlist History: Madonna Kicks Off Who's That Girl Tour in 1989

Madonna kicked off her Who's That Girl Tour on June 14, 1989 with a slew of live debuts, nine in total, for the lucky fans in Osaka, Japan,

Even though it was 35 years ago, many of the songs she performed for the first time that night are still loved today.

"Open Your Heart," "True Blue," "Papa Don't Preach," "Causing a Commotion," "Where's The Party," "La Isla Bonita," "Who's That Girl," "The Look of Love," and "White Heat," all got their debuts that night.

The enormous number of live debuts of quality was due to several reasons.

The first was it was only the Material Girl's second major tour. Also, she had been trying her best to establish her acting career instead of performing live.

Thus instead of singing and dancing in front of audiences, she was hitting on the big screen with Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) and then bombing with Shanghai Surprise (1986) and Who's That Girl (1987).

To her credit, Madonna never stopped acting, she has appeared in 22 feature films, so far, and had a hand in five others.

The Who's That Girl Tour was a way for her to remind people that her day job was more than just a song and dance girl, but as a sex symbol, fashion icon, and must-see entertainer.

Far removed from the look and style of her Like a Virgin long locks and multi-bangled locks, in '87 she was sporting a much shorter hair-do and completely different silhouette.

Jane Pauley on NBC News almost couldn't believe that the naughty Marilyn-meets-the Lower East Side video queen could transition to a grown up, classy, but still at times shocking young woman.

It wouldn't be the first or last time the media has tried to put Madonna in a box and keep her there.

Another reason for the vast amount of live debuts that night was because she did not tour to support the True Blue album which had five #1 singles, all of which got love in Japan.

The Osaka show was a warm-up in a way for the Tokyo concert a week later which was recorded for the Who's That Girl: Live In Japan VHS and Laserdisc.

One of the selling points of the video was it was the first to be recorded in Dolby Surround Sound, which back in 1987 meant you could hear the crowd around you, which was... fun?

The VHS and Laserdisc recordings were originally a TV broadcast sponsored by Mitsubishi, who was putting out top notch home audio and video in the '80s, rivaling and sometimes overshadowing another Japanese powerhouse: Sony Electronics.

The tour was relatively short for as huge of a star as she was. Three legs, 38 gigs, in a variety of arenas, baseball stadiums, and football stadiums.

Some shows were as small as the Omni in Atlanta (12k) to as large as three consecutive nights at Wembley (216k).

It was the second highest-grossing female concert tour of '87. Tina Turner beat her, but Tina did a lot more shows.

Madonna is getting much needed rest and relaxation after touring the world for the Celebration World Tour which concluded with her performing to 1.6 million Brazilians.

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Last updated: 13 Jul 2024, 21:28 Etc/UTC