Madonna: Who Needs Album Sales When You Have Dubai?

Dan Gibson | May 30, 2008 11:45 am

Dubai has become the tour stop for those with enough fame to draw the big checks for one-off shows and the desire to see another zero added to their checking account balance. And Justin Timberlake, Elton John, Pink, Aerosmith, and Destiny’s Child have been getting paid thanks to Dubai’s riches, so it would figure that Madonna would get in line with them.

Who cares about playing Madison Square Garden or the Hollywood Bowl these days? It’s time to rock the casbah for a million plus a show!

Flush with oil dollars, Dubai is no longer satisfied with being just a business, tourist and sports mecca. It’s trying to boost its prestige further by pouring money into entertainment to lure the music industry’s priciest stars.

Santana’s February concert in Dubai was sold out. Last week, Jon Bon Jovi performed in Abu Dhabi, the Emirates’ capital just a short ride down the coast….

But a Madonna concert — if it happens — would take the musical glitz to a new level.

Earlier this month, the Dubai-based Gulf News daily and the tabloid 7 Days reported that the pop diva would come to Dubai this year on a tour organized by a Los Angeles-based events company, Live Nation, to promote her new album, “Hard Candy.”

Madonna might perform twice, the newspapers reported, citing event organizers familiar with the plans — at a public concert and at a private party, a first in her decades-long career. The price tag for the performances: more than $20 million, the papers said.

It might sound like I’m faulting acts for taking the easy paycheck, which is far from the truth. (If any sheiks or oil magnates out there need a playlist put together for their next pool party or some music blogging, feel free to drop me a line.) However, is this the final step in Madonna’s transition to a nostalgia act? I mean, is she really “promoting” Hard Candy at this point, or just making a cash grab? Two nights and a really expensive meet-and-greet in the U.A.E. would seem to foreshadow a lean toward the latter.

Dubai goes from business to music mecca [Associated Press]