before midnight at Madonna’s tightly choreographed and highly entertaining Rebel Heart Tour concert at the Toyota Center on Tuesday, she veered off script, scratching two songs for a heartfelt tribute to David Bowie, who died Sunday after a bout with cancer.
“He was one of the geniuses in the music industry and one of the greatest singer/songwriters of the 20th century and he changed my life,” she told the sellout crowd of cheering fans. “He showed me that it was OK to be different, right? He was the first rebel heart I laid eyes on. So I think we should get this party started.”
She whipped off her senorita dress from a segment of the show that featured “La Isla Bonita” and a samba version of “Dress You Up” to reveal satin gym shorts and sequined bra and launched into Bowie’s classic 1974 hit, “Rebel Rebel,” which replaced “Who’s That Girl” and “Frozen” she had performed in this portion of the concert at previous stops.
For a few minutes, as images of Bowie flashed on a video screen, Madonna sang the song like an excited teenager, sometimes off key, thrashing on the floor in excitement — and it didn’t seem overly planned like much of her concert did.
It was pure magic.
“Let a girl catch her breath, right?” she said afterwards. “Oh my god.”
And then she turned serious again, praising Bowie for “the groundbreaking that he did with his music, his attitude, his style, the way he looked at life, with all of it, you know?
“In a way he opened the door for transgenders and made people feel like it was OK to be different, that it really didn’t matter if you dressed like a boy or a girl. What matters is on the inside. Am I right?”
“I’m feeling a little bit emotional. I am going to miss him. He fucking blew my mind.”
The rest of the nearly 2-1/2-hour concert was typical Madonna in a number of ways:
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