What do you do for an encore when your Super Bowl halftime extravaganza is seen (and, for the most part, enjoyed) by 113 million people around the world? Simple: If you’re Madonna, you take the show on the road.
After her 2012 Super Bowl halftime show wowed audiences with its choreography and jaw-dropping projection mapping, Madonna was set to begin masterminding the tour for her new album, MDNA. She decided to bring along the team that made the Super Bowl show possible: the lights-and-magic wizards at multimedia production studio, Moment Factory.
“We had a great relationship, and Madonna was extremely satisfied,” says Johanna Marsal, a producer at Moment Factory. “She chose us to continue in the journey of her new tour, so we accompanied her through the whole process.”
The challenge for the studio, however, was that the team only had four months to develop and execute concepts for 12 songs on the MDNA tour. It was a relatively tight production schedule that required shooting footage in New York, India, and Montreal, not to mention creating photorealistic 3-D animated backdrops and other surprises. “When we create shows for songs or events or permanent installations, all the content that we use is original,” Marsal says. “We don’t limit our creativity with any location, and we were lucky enough to be able to explore different landscapes and countries throughout our conception.”
Marsal and the other artists at Moment Factory taxed the full resources of the company’s unique video configurations on the MDNA set, making each song a self-contained unit complementing the choreography and amping up the theatricality of Madonna’s performance. The main stage surface contains 36 motorized LED cubes, which constantly move during the performance, keeping the audience guessing. “Girl Gone Wild” is set inside an ornate 3-D cathedral, “I’m A Sinner” offers a psychedelic train ride through India, while grand finale “Celebration” is a full-blown spectacle of color and movement.
Many of the collaborators from the Super Bowl halftime show were involved in creating the tour, including show director Michel Laprise of Cirque du Soleil, video technical director Stefaan Desmedt and choreographers Rich + Tone. “Together we would brainstorm a main idea for each song, and then we’d develop mood boards and concept boards that Madonna had to approve,” Marsal says. “We got inspired by her. She would have certain words from songs that came to mind and then we would see how we could develop a concept with the idea.”
Considering Madonna’s famous attention to production detail and the kind of dynamic multimedia environment Moment Factory has become known for, the tour seems set to make good on the promise of this past February’s lauded performance. Have a look at a behind-the-scenes video below, and look through images of the sets in the slideshow above.