67. Miles Away (2008)
What’s new, Buenos Aires? This video is made up of concert and road footage of Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet tour performance in Buenos Aires.
When a pop or rock musician spends enough time touring, it starts to get to them and eventually becomes one of two song types. It’s either the rugged road warrior, like Metallica’s Wherever I May Roam (“and the road becomes my bride”) or Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive, in which the tour-weary narrator pretends he’s a cowboy get through the tedium of endless travel. Or there’s the “this distance is tearing us apart!” song, like Shihad’s Home Again, which also mentions the tyranny of being “miles away” from the one you love.
This is the dilemma Madonna faces. There she is, being a part of B.A. Buenos Aires, Big Apple, and yet her sweetie is back in England making shithouse gangster films without her.
Even though, on first appearance, the video seems to be a bog standard concert-based experience, there is a hit of the tension. Madonna’s performance looks a little stiff, a little rote (even though the soundtrack in this instance is the edited-in album version). And we catch glimpses of her in the daily bustle of a touring musician - from car to plane to arena. Never stopping.
There’s a clip of the full live performance too, which has the same stiffness to it in places, but there are also moments where Madonna seems to be genuinely loving the experience of performing in front of the giant arena full of her descamisados. Could it be that Madonna loves touring too much, and the song is not so much about the stress of distance on a relationship, but is lamenting that he doesn’t understand her preference to be away?