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Material girl: Madonna

Material girl: Madonna

Apr. 21, 1985: Madonna performs for 19,000 fans at Costa Mesa’s Pacific Amphitheater.

A big selling point at the concert, according to Times staff writer Randy Lewis, was the Madonna merchandise – at prices that today seem very inexpensive. In an April 23, 1985, article in the Calendar section,  Lewis reported:

Material girl? Madonna????

Let’s put it this way: at the Orange County debut of pop music’s latest sensation Sunday at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, anyone with the inclination (and the bankroll) could have headed home with a shopping cart full of Madonna memorabilia.

And make no mistake, there were plenty of fans with both the desire and the money. Even while most of the 19,000 Madonna lovers who filled the Pacific were being enthralled by the pop upstart’s performance, the real action was taking place as half dozen merchandise stands outside the amphitheater.

Not only were there the usual buttons ($2), posters ($4 to $7), T-shirts ($10 to $4), sweat shirts ($20 to $24) and concert programs ($7), but also various items from the “Madonna Designer Jewelry” line, including heart-shaped rhinestone earrings ($10), star and crucifix-shaped earrings ($10), brightly colored plastic hoop bracelets ($10). And for $14, there was even a black lace crop top just like the one Madonna wore on stage.

How did it all fare?

“I thought people were going to get crushed it got so crowded,” said one young woman behind a counter who declined to give her name. While the concert was in progress, the pace had slowed somewhat, but she said, “It’s going to get really bad after the show. I’m not looking forward to that.”

Most fans didn’t just walk away with a single purchase, but typically spent $35 to $45 on a variety of products.

Times staff photographer Robert Lachman covered Madonna’s concert and  three other photos of his were published in the Calendar section accompanying the Lewis story. But this image is Lachman’s favorite and is included in his Who We Are Framework gallery.

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