Today marks the 16th anniversary of a truly unforgettable Madonna concert experience that I will forever cherish. It was a dream come true for any devoted Madonna fan! In 2004, Madonna embarked on her Re-Invention Tour, and after a 14-year hiatus since her last visit, the one and only Queen of Pop graced the Netherlands with her presence, performing two sold-out concerts at the Gelredome in Arnhem. Her previous visit to the Netherlands had been in 1990 during the Blond Ambition World Tour, which happened to be my very first Madonna concert, held at the Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam. I was just 10 years old at the time.

For her subsequent tours, The Girlie Show Tour in 1993 and the Drowned World Tour in 2001, she had skipped the Netherlands, leaving me disappointed. However, in early 2004, when the Re-Invention Tour was announced with two Dutch dates, I seized the opportunity not only to secure tickets for the Netherlands shows but also for concerts in London and Paris. In total, I attended four shows during that tour. The first was at Earl’s Court in London, UK, on August 18. The second took me to Bercy in Paris, France, on September 2nd. The final two shows brought the excitement home to my own country, at the Gelredome in Arnhem on September 8 and 9.

The last show held a profoundly special place in my heart. My dear friend Gisela was the fortunate winner of VIP tickets through MTV for the final Gelredome performance. These tickets granted access to the coveted ‘dance pit,’ a unique section within the stage itself. The stage featured two such pits on the left and right sides, allowing only a limited number of people to stand there. Securing these special tickets was no easy feat, as they could only be obtained through various radio and online giveaways. You can imagine my sheer excitement when my friend won those tickets, and, naturally, I was the only person she had in mind to accompany her. I practically screamed with joy when she shared the exhilarating news!

That entire week, I was in the throes of Madonna mania, preparing to attend two consecutive shows. The first of the pair was simply spectacular. I joined some former colleagues who shared my admiration for Madonna, and we had regular floor tickets that brought us tantalizingly close to the stage. We had an absolute blast.

Then came the time for the last show of the tour, and what an unforgettable way to conclude my Re-Invention Tour journey! Our group entered the venue through a different entrance, all of us fortunate winners wearing special wristbands. A tour manager guided us inside, leading us past crew members and tech personnel behind the stage, ultimately placing us in one of the special pits on the right side, which was situated within the actual stage. I could hardly believe my eyes – hours before the show even began, there I was, standing within the stage itself! We were informed that everyone in the dance pit would be an integral part of the show and encouraged to get super hyped and excited when the performance commenced. That was hardly an issue for me, given that I had been overflowing with excitement for days.

To cut a long story short, it was the most extraordinary Madonna experience of my life. For two full hours, Madonna was just a stone’s throw away from me. Positioned in one of the dance pits, all the stage lights shone upon us, creating a truly magical atmosphere. During “American Life,” she knelt in front of me, and I actually made contact with her knee – I touched Madonna’s knee! And during “Like A Prayer,” she even high-fived me. It was as if I had to pinch myself – it was an unbelievably surreal moment! What a way to conclude my personal Re-Invention Tour. It’s truly mind-boggling to think that it’s been 16 years to the day. Unbelievable! I will never, ever, forget it; it’s a memory I will treasure forever.

I’ve included some pictures from that remarkable night that I found on the Internet. I’ve kept them on various hard drives all these years. I wish they were of better quality, but these were the only ones I came across. I’ve circled myself in them so you can see just how close I was to my ultimate idol!

I highly doubt that anyone possesses superior pictures from that unforgettable night. Nevertheless, if there happens to be someone who also attended the September 9, 2004 event and can offer higher-quality photos, I’d appreciate it if you could reach out. I was in the dance pit on the right side of the stage.

To this day, I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing Madonna in concert on 10 occasions. My very first concert was the Blond Ambition Tour in 1990 when I was a mere 10 years old. I attended four shows during The Re-Invention Tour in 2004, spanning London, Paris, and the two Netherlands performances. Then came The Confessions Tour in 2006 in Amsterdam, followed by The Sticky & Sweet Tour in Amsterdam in 2008 and Werchter, Belgium in 2009. The MDNA Tour brought me to Amsterdam in 2012, and the last tour I attended was the Rebel Heart Tour in Amsterdam in 2015. Regrettably, I couldn’t make it to any of the Madame X shows, which was disappointing. I’m eagerly anticipating Madonna’s return to the stage and, with any luck, a visit to the Netherlands. Rest assured, I’ll be there when that day comes. Should she not return to our shores, I may have to explore the possibility of attending one of her shows abroad. We’ll see when the time arrives!