Madonna carries the burden of being 57 in a world where Britney is an old maid at 33. But if we ignore Madge’s age, or forget that the current crop of hot, unremarkable young things run the pop industry, we can step back and enjoy the Rebel Heart Tour for the mature spectacle that it is.
Whoa, whoa, I know crucifixes as stripper poles and nuns in short shorts isn’t grown up. But Madonna’s packed TD Garden show last night still seemed so much more adult (in every sense of the word) than the infantilism of Katy Perry’s dancing sharks and Taylor Swift’s cutesy ’80s fetish.
Madonna’s visions have a smart, thought-out feel her imitators can’t replicate. Her dancers’ execution makes her would-be peers look like amateurs — the simple, thrilling choreography of “Deeper and Deeper” reminded that talent beats tech every time. Oh, and her pop crushes all comers.
“At the end of the day the smoke and mirrors don’t matter,” she told the crowd strumming an acoustic guitar ahead of (surprisingly) killer “Who’s That Girl.” “It’s the music that matters.”
Her new songs balanced the Material Girl with a modern one.
She opened with “Iconic” and its bizarre sample of Mike Tyson ranting about his unequaled skills before dropping into a thumping groove that continued into “(expletive) I’m Madonna” and “Burning Up.” Her “Holy Water”/“Vogue” mashup mixed sex and the sacred (and those pole-dancing nuns). “Living For Love,” maybe her best song this century, delivered the hook and gospel harmonies of old-school Top 40 — and had loads more snap and pop than her Grammy performance.
Unwilling to be enveloped in nostalgia, she deconstructed her classics.
Like “Who’s That Girl,” “True Blue” got an acoustic makeover, this one with Madonna on ukulele. Stalking the catwalk alone, she pimped out “Like a Virgin” with a fresh club beat.
The band opened “Music” with some jazz age swagger. She extended the flamenco vibe of “La Isla Bonita” through a medley of “Dress You Up”/“Into The Groove”/“Lucky Star.”
Ignore the constant chatter surrounding her private life and turn your back on the idea a pop star must be irrelevant after 30. Instead dig into her exotic and familiar cocktail until she can’t mix it up anymore — she’s good for at least one more mega-event like this one. Embrace that her blonde ambition continues to make her the genre’s greatest icon.
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