Before They Were Stars: Madonna’s Virgin Tour in Seattle

To warm up for the Material Girl’s concerts at KeyArena this month, we flash back to 1985.

By Brandon L. Bye September 19, 2012 Published in the October 2012 issue of Seattle Met

At 54, Madonna is still a “Girl Gone Wild” who’s selling out stadiums from Santiago to St. Petersburg. She’s even bringing back the cone bra as she tours behind her 12th studio album, MDNA. Remember when Madge was just a fledgling Material Girl? In April 1985, she performed the inaugural shows of her wildly successful Virgin tour in a three-night run at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre—capacity just shy of 3,000. Shortly after that, the tour switched to arenas for good. 

For Mike Miles, the Paramount’s longtime technical director, Madonna’s breakthrough Seattle performances were just another day at work. A long day at work. “It was a big long day, like, a 36-hour day,” he recalls, “and we had hardly heard of her. We knew she was doing her New York and LA club thing, and then all of a sudden it’s like, Madonna, wow. The shows were good, what I recall of them. I know she started up center, silhouetted behind a white screen. She posed, and then finally came out with a psychedelic housecoat on, which came off quickly, and [cross] earrings and necklaces and boots.… I remember a huge crowd of girls outside screaming and yelling for her. Madonna look-alikes. And she wore a fur coat when she left in her limo. 

“The Beastie Boys opened…nobody like them at the time. Funny story: One of them got locked out in the alley. I hear the guy pounding and pounding on the back door, so I go up there and let him in, me and another guy Dennis…. The Beastie Boys guy tells Dennis, ‘We’re gonna get you a job when we get big.’ Never heard from him.”

Oct 2 & 3 at 8 $170–$355, KeyArena, 305 Harrison St, Seattle Center,

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