Ten cities in the United States and Europe will receive visits of Madonna’s Madame X Tour in 2019-2020, and one of them is Miami Beach, where her audience — modern, global, stylish and club-raised — approaches her with particular reverence.

While critical assessments of the album on which it is based have been uneven, reviews of the live show have, while acknowledging her glorious weirdness, been vividly positive. On opening night in Brooklyn, Leah Greenblatt in Entertainment Weekly found “not just a pop star and perennial provocateur, but an artist in full.”

The Madame X Tour will offer Madonna like we’ve never seen her before — not in a stadium or basketball arena, but it the intimate surroundings of the Fillmore Miami Beach theater for a residency of seven performances, 10:30 p.m. Dec. 14-15, 17-19 and 21-22.

Here are eight things to know before you go about when she’ll go on (late), ticket availability (yes), the setlist (it has been beginning and ending with a Florida theme) and the latest on her unpredictable physical state (unpredictable).


Can I get tickets?

Opening night on Saturday is a sellout, but tickets remain for several shows during Madonna’s seven-night run at the Fillmore, starting at $99 for the Sunday, Dec. 22, concert. Each online ticket purchase comes with a CD copy of the album “Madame X.” To purchase tickets or for more information, visit FillmoreMB.com.

Bag your phone

Of special mention is that Madonna’s shows are phone-free nights, and you’ll be required to place your device (smart watches and Fitbits, too) in a locking pouch provided by the tech company Yondr, which will have its staff at the venue. Shortly before she comes onstage you may hear Madonna intone, “We want you to be present and enjoy the journey with us.” Personally, I have no problem with this. But we’ll need to save time after the show to navigate the line to unlock the pouch at one of the Yondr stations. If you need to be aware of an important call, set your phone to vibrate, which can be felt through the pouch. There will be phone-approved zones at the Fillmore in case of emergency.

How’s that girl?

All three Boston concerts, Nov. 30-Dec. 2, were canceled due to what Madonna described in an Instagram post as “overwhelming” pain. The cancellation came about three weeks after she injured her knee during a show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, forcing her to cancel a concert there on Oct. 7. She did finish out the remaining shows in the 16-night residency on Oct. 10 and Oct. 12. On Dec. 3, Madonna posted on Instagram that a fever she was dealing with “finally broke … time to start rehab for shows in Philly!” On Dec. 6, she shared a video of herself undergoing autohemotherapy, a blood re-infusion treatment, as her daughters Stella and Estere looked on. She wrote: “Infusing the blood… Vitamin drip… Tibetan bowls… singing and meditation… Felt amazing afterwards!!” Getting old(ish) is a bitch.

The show will go on

As a pop star ages, so does her audience, but not always in the same way. So you have people like Nate Hollander filing a class-action suit in Miami-Dade County after Madonna moved the ticketed start time of her Fillmore shows from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. He is shocked (shocked!) that she would plan to go on so late. Even though she began her 2016 Rebel Heart concert at Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena at 10:25 p.m., which was an improvement over the 2012 MDNA concert in the same venue, which started at 11:20 p.m. The Madame X concerts at the Fillmore Miami Beach are scheduled for 10:30 p.m., but she has consistently been taking the stage at 11 p.m. on this tour, later in some cases. Relax, it’s a party. Your host is upstairs changing.

Snapping Madonna

Befitting the up-close nature of the venues on the tour, the Madame X concerts have been intimate, chatty affairs, with Madonna frequently coming down into the crowd to sit and shoot the breeze with audience members. She has been known to swig a fan’s beer (which may account for the fever) and takes Polaroids, which she auctions off that moment. Fans have paid hundreds of dollars for them — including longtime pal Rosie O’Donnell, who dropped $1,000 for hers on opening night in Brooklyn. With the number of local, high-profile friends Madonna has from her days living in South Florida, she may have a bidding war on her hands at the Fillmore. Madonna has told audiences the money is going to her Raising Malawi charity.

The setlist

Don’t expect “Into the Groove.” Think of this concert as theater, Madonna explaining her life with the music of “Madame X” in five acts — a sort of “Springsteen on Broadway” with more elaborate production numbers and costumes. The setlist leans heavily on music from the new album, spiced with old hits (some in snippets), including “Papa Don’t Preach,” “American Life,” “Human Nature,” “Rescue Me” and “Vogue.” Madonna had been including a cover of “Sodade,” by the great Cape Verdean singer-songwriter Cesária Évora, but dropped it from her most recent shows.

It starts with Florida

The show opens with the words of James Baldwin — “Now, it is true that the nature of society is to create, among its citizens, an illusion of safety; but it is also absolutely true that the safety is always necessarily an illusion. Artists are here to disturb the peace.” — followed by a performance of the first track on “Madame X,” the anti-gun disco jam “God Control.” The song was released as a single in June, accompanied by a controversial video with a graphic depiction of a mass shooting in a nightclub. It opened with a disclaimer: “The story you’re about to see is very disturbing. But it’s happening everywhere and it has to stop.”

That disclaimer should have been more strongly worded, according to Patience Carter, a survivor of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting that killed 49 people in Orlando. She called the video “insensitive” to the potential for renewed trauma for witnesses of that shooting. In a video post at TMZ, Carter said, “I understood what she was trying to do … but I don’t think that was the right way to go about doing it. … It was grossly accurate to what I actually witnessed that night. If I wasn’t as strong as I was … I wouldn’t have been able to make it through the rest of the day.”

It ends with Florida

The final song of the Madame X concerts has been “I Rise,” recently nominated in the Grammy Awards’ best remix category for a version by longtime Madonna collaborator Tracy Young. The empowering anthem is probably most famous for its inclusion of a section of the iconic “We Call BS” speech by Emma González, the Parkland gun-control activist and survivor of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This song, accompanied by video of news clips about other progressive causes, should be a particularly provocative and poignant moment in the tour’s South Florida performances.

But like her young allies in the March for Our Lives movement, González is immune to the transitory allure of the celebrity transaction and calls it like she sees it. Shortly after its release, she tweeted that the video for “God Control” was “f—– up.” So, no, don’t expect to see González onstage with Madonna.

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