«The Girlie Show World Tour» (also referred to as simply «The Girlie Show») was the fourth concert tour by Madonna, in support of her fifth studio album, «Erotica».
The tour visited the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Madonna’s inspiration for the name of the tour was a painting called «Girlie Show» by Edward Hopper.
Proclaiming after her 1990 «Blond Ambition World Tour» that she would «never go on tour again», it only took her three years until she hit the road again. After that, she said that if «you ever hear me say again 'I'm never going on tour again', don't believe me.»
The Girlie Show was launched in support of Madonna’s 1992 album, «Erotica». The show had the central visual theme of a «sex circus». Described as «a mixture of a rock concert, a fashion show, a carnival performance, a cabaret act and a burlesque show», the show had a more complex stage than those from Madonna's previous tours: it had a runway that led from the center of the main stage to a minor stage, a revolving elevated platform in the middle of the main stage, balconies in the rear of the stage, and a giant illuminated «Girlie Show» sign above stage, among other features.
The tour was directed by Madonna»s brother, Christopher Ciccone; costumes for the tour were designed by Italian fashion house «Dolce & Gabbana».
The show began with calliope fanfare as a pierrot - who makes several cameos later - appears from the red curtain near a tall go-go pole on which a topless dancer Carrie Ann Inaba performed. Madonna then makes her entrance striking poses in dominatrix gear from a spotlit platform to sing «Erotica». Next came «Fever» where she partially strips and dances suggestively before disappearing among flames.
«Vogue» is performed in a beaded headdress with a Hindu flavor; she serenaded the audience with a Motown-influenced «Rain», complete with a «Singin’ In The Rain» dance interlude which features the pierrot.
Afterwards, she descends from the ceiling on a giant glitterball, wearing a blond afro wig (inspired by the 1932 film «Blonde Venus» which stars Marlene Dietrich) to perform a disco-styled «Express Yourself» and «Deeper And Deeper». Following a simulated orgy, she sings «Why’s It So Hard» and «In This Life»; the pierrot watches Madonna during the latter song.
Another interlude, «The Beast Within», features an apocalyptic dance with sexual overtones.
This leads to «Like A Virgin», where Madonna performed in a classic tuxedo with a Marlene Dietrich vocal accent; the pierrot returns to interact.
She then acts as a sideshow barker, singing «Bye Bye Baby» during a chair routine with her dancing girls; this was done in the same manner as her performance at the «1993 MTV Video Music Awards». After the Hispanic «I’m Going Bananas», she staged a rendition of «La Isla Bonita» before donning military trench coats for a marching, funked-up version of «Holiday»; the circus theme is heard before and after this song. For encores, she appeared in Victorian-themed costumes for «Justify My Love», and finally brought the house down with a minimal «Everybody».
As the red curtain fell and carnival music played, the pierrot emerged yet again, only to reveal its identity as Madonna herself: she closed the show by singing the phrase «Everybody is a Star».
Madonna played an unusually few five dates in the U.S. It was speculated that this was related to the Erotica album's particularly low sales in that country and the extreme negative backlash surrounding Madonna's book «SEX» and film «Body Of Evidence».
The tour was chronicled by the photo book The Girlie Show, which included a CD with three live tracks: «Like A Virgin», «In This Life», and «Why’s It So Hard».
Photography for promotional material, posters and publicity for the show was by Herb Ritts. The same imagery was used on the «Bye Bye Baby» single cover, which was released during the Australian leg of the tour and also on a Brazilian promotional EP, «The Girlie Show» which included the tracks «Erotica», «Deeper and Deeper», «Bad Girl», «Fever», «Rain» and «Bye Bye Baby».