Back in the spring of 1984, the Beastie Boys’ first manager, Russell “Rush” Simmons got a call from Madonna’s manager who asked if the Beastie Boys would be interested in opening for Madonna on her Like A Virgin tour. This was not necessarily a wise move because at the time Madonna’s auidience was filled with young girls and their moms and dads. The whole tour was crazy, because Madonna went from playing CBGB and the Mudd Club to playing sporting arenas. She wasn’t a superstar that everyone now knows, it was the first time she was playing in huge arenas.
The relationship between the Beastie Boys and the audience was synergistic, one feeding off the other. It was like a love-hate relationship type of thing. The Beasties hated the crowd, the crowd hated them.
On April 10 1985, Madonna’s Virgin Tour started at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, the Beastie Boys were the opening act. Madonna had three shows in Seattle – April 10, 12 and 13 – and all three were sellouts by the time she took the stage that first night. The Beastie Boys opened for Madonna and they weren’t well received by the pro-Madonna crowd. “The girls had flap skirts on and the tights cut off below their knees and lace gloves and rosaries and bows in their hair and big hoop earrings.” After Seattle, all of the shows were moved to arenas. “Their 30-minute set got off to a bad start when one of the Beasties declared himself King of the Paramount, and generally made the pro-Madonna audience feel like a swarm of hillbillies.” Shortly before leaving the stage, Ad-Rock facetiously said, “Me and the boys are gonna go backstage and tell Madonna what a great audience you are”…
After the first few dates, Madonna’s management was ready to pull the plug on them, but Madonna stood up for them and kept them on the tour.
“The reaction has been mostly good. Usually they love it or they hate it. There’s always been a reaction, I’ll say that.” Adam Yauch
– One particular show at Madison Square Garden was particularly memorable because more than 15 000 people with there and the crowd booed and jeered the Beastie Boys for their entire set.
– On May 23 1985, Madonna performed her Virgin Tour concert in front of a sold-out crowd of 16,000 fans at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. The show generated $238,264 in ticket sales.
Here’s a great photo of the Beasties chilling outside Maple Leaf Gardens before the show
– Rick Rubin was the Beastie Boys’ DJ (DJ Double R) but after the first week, he had to fly back to NYC and he never came back.
– The Beasties did the entire tour in a rented Lincoln Continental. They didn’t really bring luggage on this tour, they just wore the same clothes all summer.
– There’s been some backstage talk that actor Sean Penn may front a group in New York in the fall with several Beastie Boys picking up their instruments again.
– Their between rap interplay with the audience went something like this:
“You don’t look like you’re having fun.”
“How many of you want to learn a new dance?”
“If you’ve got anything to say, c’mon up here.”
Water gun fight with Madonna on the last night of the tour. It was shot by Ron Galella.
“I don’t know what’s next. We’ll see what happens. We’ll record an album this summer. And we might be doing a movie called “Rap Attack” with Run-D.M.C. and possibly Sean Penn.” Ad-Rock
With Rob Lowe (American actor, producer, and director) at Madonna’s Like A Virgin show, pic by Glen E. Friedman.
“Hey New York, make some mother fucking noise!!!”
With David Lee Rooth (Van Halen) and Sean Penn at Madonna’s Like A Virgin Gold Record party, pic by Glen E. Friedman.
“Ad-Rock, MCA and Mike D were your quintessential buzz band in 1986. After terrorizing audiences as the support act for Madonna’s Virgin Tour, they came up to Toronto just before they released the classic Licensed To Ill. Hanging with former RapCity host Michael Williams, the trio introduced themselves.”