BOSTON – If the devil has a place for performers who have blasphemed against God, it’s a safe bet there’s already a human-sized hibachi with Madonna’s name on it waiting for her in hell.
And, if so, Saturday night in front of 13,000 screaming fans at the TD Garden, Madge sealed the deal for eternal damnation, while putting on one hell of a show for her devoted fan base to cherish for years to come.
Then again, this is Madonna, the same risk-taking, taboo-breaking, button-pushing pop provocateur who has never bowed to the heat of controversy or apologized for her indiscretions.
And after 30-plus years in a business in which pop stars burn out and fade as fast as matchsticks, Madonna has not only outlived most of her musical rivals, she has proven to be practically immortal. In the end, she will probably outlive us all.
Madonna, the grand dame of the pop concert stage, knows how to put on a dazzling show. She also knows how to make a memorable stage entrance. And when she wasn’t pushing societal buttons during her spirited 21-song set that lasted nearly two hours Saturday night, she was playing the hits, sometimes unrecognizable and totally revamped, other times faithful and capturing the spirit of the original.
The concert was broken up into four mini-musical vignettes – the over-the-top samurai-sacrilegious part; the down-to-earth, loose and carefree part; the spirited Spanish fiesta part; and the roaring ’20s jazz club part.
On the elaborate opening number, which looked like “The Last Samurai” meets “Game of Thrones,’ Madonna’s dozen male dancers came out on the stage dressed as a squadron of cross-carrying, armored warriors suited up for battle, while voice-overs played of the singer pontificating about using her female attributes to get ahead in the world, her “insatiable desire to be noticed” and “too much creativity being crushed beneath the wheel of corporate branding.”
Despite the last mantra being a case of the pot calling the kettle black, an incarcerated Madonna, inside a steel cage made out of pointy spears, was lowered from the rafters. Wearing a red and black ceremonial kimono adorned with black furs, Madonna broke out of her imprisonment and into “Iconic,” the first of nine songs from her latest, “Rebel Heart.” As a song it was secondary to the stage antics, but the audience didn’t seem to mind.
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