Madonna gets right to the point during the opening of her “Rebel Heart Tour,” which makes an A.C. stop 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, at Boardwalk Hall.

The Material Girl starts with two tracks from her new “Rebel Heart” album — “Iconic” and “Bitch I’m Madonna” — and follows them with “Burning Up,” one of her earliest hits from the ’80s.

The not-so-subtle message from Madonna seems to be, “I’m still a pop superstar who can collaborate with trendy hit-makers, while still finding relevance in my catalog of past hits.”

Meanwhile, many of her ’80s diva peers have hung up their heels or gone missing from the lineup.

Tina Turner has retired. Cyndi Lauper is still performing and recording, but has won more note of late as the composer of the Tony-winning Broadway musical “Kinky Boots.” Janet Jackson has emerged with a new album and tour, but her impact is not yet known.

Even some younger pretenders to Madonna’s throne such as Britney Spears have retreated, with the former Disney star now going the Vegas residency route.

That Madonna can (rightfully) make legit claims to the throne at the relatively old pop-diva age of 57 is testament to her unique combination of talent, ambition and sheer will. (She probably also owes a shout out to a legion of cosmetic surgeons, personal trainers and massage therapists.)

Madonna is at the point of her career where she could be logging a victory lap, by cashing in on her many hits, or even “retiring” as a touring artist. See: Cher’s seemingly endless “farewell” tours.

Instead, Madonna is putting herself out there once again, with an entirely new production inspired by her latest album. For the album “Rebel Heart” she tapped the talents of a who’s who of producers, including Diplo, Avicii and Kanye West, winning much better reviews than for her two previous releases “Hard Candy” and “MDNA.”

The live show peppers new tracks such as “Living for Love,” “Holy Water” and “Devil Pray” throughout the set, but will also satisfy Madonna’s diehard fans with a good sampling of her favorites such as “Like a Virgin,” “Material Girl” and “Music.” Some old songs get new treatments, such as an acoustic version of “True Blue.” Others, surprisingly, have gone missing from the lineup. What? No “Like a Prayer,” “Express Yourself” and “Vogue”?!

Whether you’re a fan of the ’80s synth of early Madonna, her star-making “Like a Virgin” phase, her explorations of Catholicism and attempts to push the sexual envelope, or her latter day determination to remain a force in club land, it’s all there on the virtual dance floor. The only period missing from the setlist are her late ’90s, New Age-style ruminations from her “Ray of Light” album.

Where Madonna goes next as she closes in on being pop’s most rebellious senior remains to be seen. But my guess is that she will cling to her moment in the zeitgeist for as long as she credibly can.


WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3

WHERE: Boardwalk Hall, 2301 Boardwalk, Atlantic City

HOW MUCH: Tickets, priced at $49.50, $160, $260 and $360, are available at the Boardwalk Hall box office and TIcketmaster