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Bitch I’m Madonna
Deeper and Deeper
HeartBreakCity/Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
Like a Virgin
Justify my Love/S.E.X. (Interlude)
Living for Love
La Isla Bonita
Dress You Up (ft. Into the Groove/Everybody/Lucky Star)
Who’s That Girl
La Vie en Rose
by Yagub Allahverdiyev:
by Gustavo de Sá:
by Christian Weger (check out his website HERE):
by Michel L:
Before she could spark a flamenco-tinged Who’s That Girl, a fan’s interjection caught her ear. “Yes, I know I played drums first. But who can see you behind the drums? I’m a Leo. We like to be the centre of attention.”
So she’s still self-aware. And in a spare-no-expense theatrical spectacle that artfully flowed from showstopper to showstopper, she proved once again that she doesn’t just crave the spotlight — she owns it.
Montreal accidentally got the first look at the Rebel Heart Tour after five shows were postponed for extra prep time, and the kinks were ironed out before Wednesday night. (OK, 99 per cent of them were: “This costume is treacherous,” the singer exclaimed when she got snagged by some bejewelled fringe.) Consisting of four loosely thematic sections broken up by costume changes, with almost every song benefiting from its own tailor-made staging and with a small army of dancers gracefully executing intense choreography, the show hit all the marks.
Those included the expected provocation. Anyone hoping Madonna would smash new taboos would have left disappointed; but then, she’s already shattered most of them. Still, the first segment’s slightly confused rebellion was built on a load-bearing mash-up of familiar themes: sex, salvation, religion, oppression.
The introductory film positioned the star as both outsider and leader, with images of Madonna — and, why not, Mike Tyson — in captivity, and talk of “too much creativity being crushed beneath the wheel of corporate branding. … It’s time to wake up.” Ignoring the fact that Madonna long ago became a corporate brand unto herself, it was thrilling to see her descend from the rafters and break out of her cage. With a battalion of armoured warriors falling under her command, Iconic was insanely theatrical, Broadway-worthy, and just the beginning.
There was a backscreen projection of Nicki Minaj motormouthing through the shuddering bass in Bitch I’m Madonna (rarely has a song title been more perfect for pricey shirts at the merch stand), although the virtual cameo was upstaged by a cyclone of geishas. There was Madonna whipping off her skirt and playfully scolding the gawkers (“I’m up here”) as she riffed on a Flying V in an aggressive Burning Up — boiled down to an elemental form, like most of the set list’s vintage pieces.
And there were the stripper nuns. Twenty-six years after Like a Prayer’s video scandalized the Vatican and parents who relied on MTV as a cheap babysitter, the sight of dancers twisting down steel crucifixes while Madonna snapped “bitch, get off my pole” in Holy Water was hopefully intended to be comical. The Last Supper tableau that played out during a rumbling Vogue was more challenging, as was the dance-off in Devil Pray that seemed to advocate for spirituality as the most powerful drug.
From there, the show’s tone was more carefree, helped along by a singer who was clearly enjoying herself. The more modest second segment centred on a certain youthful innocence; in a display of Madonna’s gift for literalism, it opened with her lounging on a car hood, swigging from a bottle and cavorting with her grease-monkey buddies for a whimsical Body Shop. She strummed True Blue on ukulele from atop a tire stack; it was both endearingly quaint and, supersized by an unprompted singalong from more than 16,000 voices, a goosebump moment that felt more grandiose in its way than the showpieces surrounding it.
HeartBreakCity’s intimate drama unfolded on a spiral staircase between Madonna and a solitary dancer, pushed to his doom in an effective climax. A skeletal, click-clacking Like a Virgin was both bigger and smaller, the star left alone to fill the sprawling cross-shaped walkway with her charisma. No problem.
The third block opened with the unsubtle and unfulfilled promise of an R rating, as dancers played out bedroom passions to a tape of S.E.X., before Madonna charged out to fight jewel-faced demons to the techno soundtrack of Living for Love, scalping a pair of horns in triumph at the end. In one of the evening’s minor victories, she made a smooth transition from that sulphur-scented campiness to the Latin romance of La Isla Bonita — one of the only hits to retain its original form, with steadfast cultural references that won’t yield to a restless artist’s hammer and tongs.
Perilously perched on rubber poles and bending with the wind in an astonishing display of acrobatics, the dancers nearly stole the show in their employer’s absence during another costume change, set to Illuminati’s woozy thump. After a jazz-club revision of Music’s universal mission statement opened a party-hearty stretch, Madonna stole it back, updating the choreography of Material Girl’s video by sending suitors tumbling down the angled centre-stage platform. (The song was also updated, dragged out of the ’80s by an apocalyptic bottom end.) The device was the linchpin in the elegant stage design, rising from and collapsing into the floor, and serving as both a screen and a playground.
La Vie en rose was another big small moment, prefaced by a speech about believing in love despite being “devastated, smashed to bits” that may become rote in a few weeks but sounded fresh on Wednesday. Delivered atop a circular riser decorated with Valentine’s curtains, the performance was stronger for being vulnerable, and received a resounding ovation that transcended thanks-for-singing-in-French affection.
She risked draining that immense bank of adoration by wrapping herself in the maple leaf during the mandatory celebration of Holiday. (Judging by her star-spangled cloak, it was a temporary substitute for the American flag. Still: were they fresh out of fleur-de-lis at the souvenir shop?)
It was a rare tone-deaf gesture in a nearly flawless show whose polish didn’t mask its spirit. The big production numbers were elevated by a striking joyfulness, the less adorned songs by a genuine warmth.
In the second category, none stood out more than Rebel Heart’s uplifting title track, presented as a statement of identity and gratitude. Before expressing thanks for the fan art that was spliced into the backscreen projection, Madonna asked: “Do we ever really know who we are? It takes a lifetime to figure it out.”
Another interjection from the floor got a laugh. ” ‘Bitch, we’re Madonna.’ Yeah, that’s a start.”
The start, and the end. The song title and the show shared a sense of self-confidence and a sense of play. The first was never in doubt; the second was a minor revelation from an artist whose discipline and perfectionism haven’t compromised a love of serious fun.
And it had nothing to do with religion, though she did offer such token Madonna-esque stunts as nuns on stripper poles and dancers gyrating on holy crosses.
Instead, the surprise of the show came in smiles.
Throughout nearly the entire two hour event, Madonna could barely stop grinning. For anyone who has followed Madonna tours from the start, the sight of it couldn’t help but startle.
Never a warm live performer, Madonna tends to grimace through her concerts, stressing athleticism and discipline over all.
This time, she seemed to having a blast. It made for an infectious night that brought the Canadian crowd to a series of spontaneous, and escalating, standing ovations. It didn’t hurt that she sang “La Vie En Rose,” both in French and in bold voice.
The bright tone of the show made for a striking contrast to the star’s last tour, “MDNA,” a dark and violent affair that often ended up puzzling to boot. “Rebel Heart” had no such pretense. In fact, it may be Madonna’s lightest roadshow to date.
That’s not at all to say it’s unsubstantial. On the contrary, the triumph of the “Rebel Heart” tour is how it finds Madonna taking ownership of her legacy with an unprecedented maturity.
She began that approach on the tour’s nakesame album, which found her in a newly self-referential mode.
Madonna mirrored that here by featuring no fewer than nine of its tracks, including the show’s opener, “Iconic.” For this initial section of the show, Madonna drew on her time-honored mixture of the erotic and the reverent.
Her twenty dancers, dolled up as medieval warriors, bore cross-topped weapons. In a slow, graceful take on “Vogue,” Renaissance images of religious figures replaced movie stars while Madonna and her dancers posed at “The Last Supper” table.
While the star used to position such displays associal commentary, here they seemed to have more to do with reasserting her long history with them.
Madonna delved deeper into her personal story in the second act, which found her on the hood of a ’60s Chevy in an auto repair shop, a clear reference to her Detroit roots. She emphasized a rare sincerity here by singing the unashamedly romantic “True Blue,” while playing a ukulele, of all things.
Madonna came the closest she’s ever going to get to a “greatest hits” display in the third act, where she offered touchstones from “Lucky Star” to “Everybody.” The latter she hasn’t performed live since the early ’90s.
Even so, none of the older songs sounded anything like they had on their albums. To suit the matador-themed theatrical accompaniment, Madonna reimagined them as Spanish-tinged ballads.
Madonna included in her run of oldies “Who’s That Girl,” which she delivered as a solo acoustic ballad. After singing it, she admitted that it took her a hell of a long time to answer just who this particular girl may be.
Then, she went into “Rebel Heart,” a song about the joy of self-discovery. That theme allowed Madonna to run through a wide range of characters in the show — including a ’20s French cabaret star — while maintaining a solid through-line.
It also helped her pull off what may have been the show’s most stunning move. When performing “Like a Virgin,” she appeared on the gaping stage entirely alone, dancing with a freedom and innocence that made her, at 57, seem once again new.
Madge’s stage was swarming with soldiers and swordplay for much of the evening, threated together with her contemporary choreography.
Images flashed around the arena of Madonna and Mike Tyson being held captive in steel cages with the singer wanting to come across as a leader and an outsider.
The 57-year-old pop chameleon took the time to stand in front of the audience and sing a song while playing guitar, giving the crowd a flasback to “where it all began” with a latino-laced rendition of Who’s That Girl.
Madonna hits the UK this December, with two dates at the London O2 on the 1st and 2nd of December, Manchester on the 14th, Birmingham on the 16th and finally playing Glasgow’s Hydro on the 20th December.
During her two-hour show in Montreal, Madonna wore outfits inspired by samurais, matadors and at one point even became a rock chick (though the less said about that the better, if we’re being honest).
Her show was as elaborate as you might expect from the Queen of Pop, boasting pole-dancing nuns as backing dancers, a cabaret-inspired dance routine and a seriously impressive cage, which descends from the ceiling at the opening of the show.
The pop icon’s setlist was compiled of a mix of her old hits and newer offerings, with ‘Vogue’ and ‘Material Girl’ sitting comfortably alongside ‘Living For Love’ and ‘Bitch I’m Madonna’ (oh, and a curious cover of ‘La Vie En Rose’, originally performed by Edith Piaf, one of M’s idols).
The show opened with a performance of ‘Iconic’, preceded by a lavish opening video featuring a cameo appearance from Mike Tyson, who performs a monologue at the beginning of the track.
And like a true #UnapologeticBitch, one portion of the show even saw Madonna throwing on another cape to recreate her infamous Brit Awards performance, which saw her accidentally pulled to the ground by one of her backing dancers, in one of the year’s most toe-curling live TV moments.
Madonna’s ‘Rebel Heart’ tour will arrive at London’s O2 Arena on 1 & 2 December, with performances in Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow scheduled for later in the month.
Descending from the heavens in a giant cage, the Queen of Pop kicked off her 24 song set wrapped in a red kimono – but it wasn’t long before the clothes were coming off.
At one point the 57-year-old was joined on stage by strippers dressed as nuns and promptly began to thrust back and forth on a giant cross, opting to use the religious symbol for a spot of late night pole dancing – as you do.
But if that offends you then you better stop reading now as what Madonna did next left us speechless.
Ever the queen of shock tactics, Madge made her way to an altar to simulate an oral sex act with a man dressed as Jesus.
While the incident is far too rude for us to show here, her lyrics, “Jesus loves my p***y best” give you a good idea of what was going on.
But it wasn’t a complete sex-fest, the show also included M rocking a veil in a faux wedding as well as a nod to her infamous Brit Awards fall with the inclusion of that epic Armani cape.
Back in March Madonna was yanked backwards down a flight of stairs during the showbiz bash in London.
Previously speaking about the incident, the mum-of-four said: “My two lovely Japanese dancers they basically strangled me off the stage.
“I had two choices, I could either be strangled or fall, and I chose to fall.”
The 57-year-old belied her years as she charged through the 22-track setlist with her usual brand of slick choreography and energetic dance moves.
She even braved a cape complete with train in a nod to her now infamous Brit Awards performance which saw her dragged off the stage by two dancers earlier
The show was not without controversy with the singer dressing as a scantily-clad nun gyrating on a pole to perform Holy Water.
She also delivered a splattering of old hits including True Blue, La Isla Bonita and Vogue to the delight of the 20,000-plus audience.
Fans had started queuing from early afternoon to see Madonna take to the stage for her 10th world tour which hits the UK in December.
Many arrived kitted out in Madonna incantations from years past with Montreal’s Bell Centre filled with wedding dresses, conical bustiers and cowboy outfits.
Fans did not contain their excitement with many claiming Madonna had delivered her best performance in years.
The star herself seemed pleased with the show tweeting afterwards “Montreal you had me down on my knee’s! [sic] Thank you a memorable night! #rebelhearttour”.
Madonna arrived on stage descending from the ceiling in a cage made out of spears to perform ‘Iconic to backdrop featuring video clips of boxer Mike Tyson.
Donning a Japanese-style geisha outfit she went on to sing B**** I’m Madonna, Burning Up and Holy Water.
The show contained several costume changes and was split into five trademark sections – Joan of Arc/Samurai; Rockabilly meets Tokyo; Latin/Gipsy and Party.
Her 20-strong posse of dancers dressed as medieval warriors with cruciform weapons while the star donned an elaborate geisha outfit before several costume changes including flapper girl, Spanish Flamenco dancer and the notorious cape.
The singer, who has undergone a rigorous diet and fitness routine to prepare for the tour, showed off her muscular figure to cut impressive dance moves.
And she did not disappoint with many fans commenting on how relaxed and happy she looked with Rebel Heart one of her “best performances ever”.
The queen of pop had delayed the start of her North American dates because she wanted the show to be “perfect” for fans.
So she was determined to put on a spectacle when she stepped out in Montreal, Canada, for the first of 64 dates around the world, with a stream of costume changes and dance routines.
The 57-year-old Material Girl took to the stage in a dramatic red and black cloak, “imprisoned” in a cage made of spears.
She was joined by dancers dressed as warriors, who carried her hanging upside down on a pole, despite the elaborate nature of her costume.
The star later stripped down to a more streamlined Chinese-style coat, performing with dancers holding striking red fans. She later showed off her “axe” skills, picking up her guitar and kneeling before her adoring fans in true rock goddess pose.
Madonna’s bullfighter cape made the headlines earlier this year when she performed on the Brits stage. As she struggled to unfasten it, she toppled backwards in a nasty fall.
However, Madonna was undeterred as she donned a remarkably similar Spanish-style get up for the first night of her Rebel Heart Tour in Montreal, Canada on Wednesday.
The 57-year-old singer started her 64-show global arena trek with typical showmanship.
The Material Girl was uncharacteristically covered up in the red and black bullfighter traje de luces costume – one of eight different looks during the show – designed by Spanish tailors Zaragoza.
She wore her chest-length blonde tresses in perfect tousled waves, framing her immaculately made-up facial features.
The Vogue singer – who is the best-selling female recording artist of all time – seemed to be travelling the globe one stage outfit at a time as she changed into a Chinese-inspired fitted coat, carrying an open fan for her dance number.
The Queen of Pop wears lavish designs from Moschino’s Jeremy Scott, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, Alexander Wang, Prada, Miu Miu and Swarovski during the high-energy show.
She’s seen encased in a cage, as well as saucily performing on a stage full of beds, and performed pared down acoustic versions of some her perkier 80s classics including Who’s That Girl.
The mum-to-four is seen in a video taken at the show and posted to Instagram in impressive toned shape and back to her usual outrageous self, dressed in a tassled corset and play-spanking one of the male dancers.
The lead up to Rebel Heart was beset by difficulties; most of the album was leaked online last December resulting in an emergency release of six tracks earlier than planned, followed by her painful fall at the Brits.
Then, the tour – her tenth worldwide – was originally scheduled to start in Miami on August 29th, but the first five dates were postponed after Madonna said they weren’t ready.
In a statement the star said: ‘As my fans already know, the show has to be perfect. Assembling all the elements will require more time than we realized. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause my fans’.
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