Review: Madonna shows plenty of home town heart at Joe Louis Arena

By Gary Graff,,, @GraffonMusic on Twitter for MACOMB DAILY

DETROIT — “Motor City — the home town girl is back!” Madonna declared near the start of her Rebel Heart Tour stop Thursday night, Oct. 1, at Joe Louis Arena.

And it was a proud home town girl at that.

The Bay City-born pop icon, who graduated from Rochester Adams High School, may have ruffled feathers earlier this year when she referred to the area as “provincial” on Howard Stern’s satellite radio show, but she was in Detroit booster overdrive during the two-hour and 10-minute spectacle. Acknowledging the city’s financial problems and bankruptcy she told the exuberant (though not sold out) Joe Louis crowd that, “You’ve got a lot of great things going on in Detroit right now,” noting her own involvement with entrepreneur and philanthropist Dan Gilbert in women’s empowerment and youth boxing programs as well as “some new schools we’re building.”

“Detroit is making a comeback people, so watch out,” Madonna said. “We got heart, baby. We’re in the heart of America. With all of its heart and all of this love we are gonna build this city back up. Believe that!” She also noted that “Detroit made me who I am today” — and so did her father, Silvio “Tony” Ciccone, now a winemaker in Traverse City — who was in the crowd on Thursday. Madonna thanked him “for making me so strong and instilling this drive in me to survive,” dedicating her performance of “Rebel Heart” to him.

She also gave a shout-out to her daughter Lourdes — referring to her as Lola — who’s in her second year at the University of Michigan and was also at Thursday’s show. “She’s the first person to teach me how to love,” Madonna told the crowd, and also credited her for inspiring Madonna to play the ukulele — which she did on “True Blue” and Edith Piaf’s “La vie en rose,” which Madonna also sang in French.

So it was a happy homecoming, and Madonna certainly pleased her fans with her usual dazzling blend of intricate group dance routines and provocative physical and video imagery — from scantily clad nuns and a carnal Last Supper scene during a medley of “Holy Water” and “Vogue” to plenty of sexually suggestive choreography and motifs set in an auto repair garage, a 1920s-style jazz cabaret, a bullfight and carnivale, and a Geisha-flavored routine during “Bitch I’m Madonna.” During “Heartbreak City,” which included a bit of Rose Royce’s “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” she and one of her dancers created an arresting physical dialogue on a spiral staircase at the end of the ramp that stretched deep into the arena floor, while “Material Girl” was performed with a line of tuxedoed suitors who Madonna summarily dismissed, pushing them one down a sloped platform.

Madonna: “Provincial” home town was good for her

You’d hardly call anything Madonna does modest, but the Rebel Heart Tour show was certainly one of her most relaxed productions, less focused on an overarching theme or story arc and more about delivering a bunch of intriguing and, often, boundary-pushing performances. The night’s energy was front-loaded, with the latter third of the show more chatty and ebb-and-flow — and, at times, dragging — but thumping versions of “Music,” “Candy Shop” and the buoyant encore “Holiday” came along in time to regain any momentum that was lost.

And while recent Madonna tours have gone relatively light on familiar material in favor of the then-new albums, Thursday’s show had a more fan-pleasing balance. A generous 10-song sampling from this year’s “Rebel Heart” certainly provided the framework, but Madonna nodded frequently to the past, albeit with new, often spare arrangements of favorites such as “Like a Virgin,” “Deeper and Deeper,” a medley of “Dress You Up,” “Into the Groove” and “Lucky Star,” and a hard-rocking treatment of “Burning Up” that featured Madonna on electric guitar. She performed “Who’s That Girl” acoustically and tossed in an unplugged version of “Frozen” especially for Thursday’s show.

After waving the Detroit flag for much of the night Madonna finished with an American flag as she was hoisted into the rafters at the end of “Holiday.” “My home town,” she said, “It’s so good to be home.” And you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone at Joe Louis whose feelings weren’t mutual.

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It’s a generally understood notion that songs are meaningless and trite, and that if one wants to be a productive member of society, avoiding music is a prudent choice. Songs are traps, or so goes this common wisdom, filled with, at best, fantasy notions and, at worst, dangerous and destructive ideas; even worse are artists, who attempt to peddle their songs as a means of stringing them together into a narrative arc which, by using a nice beat and/or a catchy melody, can fool an innocent passerby into conflating their own emotions with that of the artist. The master artists, the ones who amass fortunes with multi-decade careers, are experts at this storytelling, creating a proxy persona through the proliferation of recorded songs — often resulting in the creation of a phantom deity, plastered on t-shirts and advertisements and music videos, that speaks to society and culture conveying ambiguous messages within a framework of relatability and emotional resonance. The artist’s perceived drama becomes real within the psychic æther of our shared mental space, our aspirations and fears and fantasies.

Although music is a powerful tool of persuasion, this artist-as-locus-point-of-psychic-power phenomenon is a relative rarity; only a few individuals have managed to punch through the noise of our current electronic lifestyle to overlay their own emotional map onto the waiting cortex of society as a whole. One of the most powerful of these musical artists has entranced, globally, at least three distinct generations of susceptible media consumers: her name is Madonna Louise Ciccone, and she is not just a master musician but a grand wizard able to spin gold out of the dross that is the raw emotional flotsam burbling violently beneath the surface of her haughty persona.

Madonna honored the City of Boston with her presence on Saturday night, September 26, arriving with an intimidating crew of dancers and musicians to a staged piece of formal pageantry fitting to an artist who is a full two-and-a-half decades into the regal phase of her career. Where she was once a scrappy street urchin, a failed ballet student gnawing at the table scraps of late-’70s NYC post-punk culture, by the end of the ’80s she ached to be more than an ephemeral pop presence competing with the likes of Cyndi Lauper or Pat Benatar. Her first taste of fame on the heels of hits like “Everybody” and “Holiday” were narcotic for the budding star — asked at the end of 1983 by Dick Clark what she hoped to achieve in the years ahead, she giggled “To rule the world!” The perversity of our pop culture world, the way that our celebrity machine occasionally lets dream actualization occur through will-to-power, allowed this wish to come true.

On Saturday night, to the opening whump of “Iconic”, amidst a squadron of dancers decked out in samurai-or-is-it-warrior-from-300 uniforms, Madonna, in a cage made of enormous metal spears, was lowered from the rafters. “If you try and fail, get up again/Destiny will choose you in the end,” she lustily intoned, chopping the air with flailing limbs emerging from her red kimono-slash-warrior-outfit. As the first line of the show, it was also the first lie of the evening, sending the audience the message that not only was her ascent to stardom a preordained result of her lengthy incubation period of struggle, but that the obstacles she continues to face as the most popular female musical artist of all time can all be bested by dogged determination.

If this is understood to be at the very least a kind untruth, it is also a bedrock moral foundation of American popular culture — Madonna’s strength as a force and a brand can be conferred to her following if they just allow themselves to be touched by the mental persuasion of determination as a weapon for personal triumph. When an artist such as Madonna is seen as an ’80s artist, it fundamentally has to do with that artist’s adherence to this maxim — if the existence of the cesspool of culture that is the 1990s has taught us anything, it is that basing cultural mores on failure and dispirited ennui tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The lie of determination is the fist in the air that allows musical art to infiltrate our minds and poison our reason, if only by deluding us that we are masters of our own destiny.

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Madonna teases, wows, and stuns Chicago during ‘Rebel Heart’ tour stop

Madonna has been around for three decades, but this doesn’t mean her live shows are predictable (unless you’ve been reading the latest raving reviews). Her latest outing with “Rebel Heart” is a two hour party with lots of stunning choreography, shimmering costumes, a Britney Spears lookalike, and flashy set pieces. Leaning heavily on material from her newest album,Madonna entered the stage from above in a cage and launched into “Iconic” as soon as she was set free. In a flowing red kimono and surrounded by armored dancers, she snapped, locked, and twirled in tune with all her significantly younger dancers. After the hyperactive “B****, I’m Madonna,” she threw longtime fans a bone with an electric guitar rendition of “Burning Up.” Standing in the middle of the crowd on her cross shaped stage wielding a guitar made for a great photo op.

The singer was up to her old tricks regarding religion and sexuality during songs like “Holy Water,” which had scantily clad nuns twerking and twirling on stripper poles and “Devil Pray” where she rolled and gyrated on a table that was previously used for a sexy rendition of The Last Supper. Some say she was trying to be shocking, but fans knew it was nothing but classic Madonna and they ate up every second. During mellow sections where she belted out “Heartbreak City” mashed with “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” she traversed a spiral staircase, yet never missed a note. It was during these points where you could really hear how much she’s improved as a singer. Take that everyone who thought she was too nasally.

Unlike some of her other tours, this one focused heavily on her latest album with just about half the set list coming from “Rebel Heart.” It was great to hear stellar tracks like “Living for Love,” which recreated the matador vs bull setting from the video, “Unapologetic B****,” and the haunting “Ghosttown.” The magic of Madonna is she made the questionable tracks, such as “Body Shop,” “Iconic,” and “Holy Water,” featuring scantily clad nuns spinning around stripper poles, sound better than they did on the LP. If you didn’t love these songs before the concert, you couldn’t get them out of your head afterward.

To the disappointment of many, there was no “Like a Prayer” or “Express Yourself” and a snippet of “Vogue” during “Holy Water” wasn’t nearly as satisfying as hear the entire song, but she did sing some classics with a new flair. “Like a Virgin” presented one of the few times Madonna was on stage alone, bumping and grinding to its new reggae beat, while “La Isla Bonita” kept it’s original Latin flair, Madonna took the opportunity to apply the flamenco guitars and hard stomps for a medley of hits that included “Lucky Star” and “Into the Groove” that breathed new life into the songs. She performed “Who’s that Girl?” in similar fashion while she played an acoustic guitar. “True Blue” saw her playing a ukulele and “Material Girl” was done in a new jazzy style that both jaunty and a lot of fun.

Madonna proved to be more than physically fit as she never missed a beat with her younger dancers and she sounded so amazing you began to wonder if she was indeed lip syncing. You couldn’t miss the big smile spreading across her face as she twisted and shimmied her toned body. She was in good spirits and showed nothing but love for the Chicago crowd, where she reminded them she filmed a “baseball movie” here once. Though there were slow, heartbreaking moments where she sang “Heartbreak City” mashed with “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” the show ended a high note with “Holiday.” At the end, Madonna was lifted into the air and disappeared behind the LED screen while waving goodbye to the crowd. She may be on to the next stop on her tour, but Chicago is still buzzing from her show.

Four out of Five stars

Visit The Examiner to read more

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Ever Rebellious – Where other stars have faded, the ever-unpredictable Madonna remains atop the pop music world

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


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Madonna still pulling out all the stops as tour heads to Detroit

She may not stir quite as much instant outrage anymore. The Top 10 hits may not come as consistently as they used to. There’s a new generation of pop starlets grabbing the headlines and social-media oxygen.

But don’t go betting against Madonna.

Having kicked off her Rebel Heart Tour earlier this month in Montreal — launching a global jaunt scheduled to run through the spring — the Michigan-born pop star will swing into Joe Louis Arena Thursday, scene of her hometown tour stop in 2012.

At 57, Madonna seems to have moved into the stage of her career where she reigns as a kind of confident, impervious pop matriarch, grabbing what she pleases from the music of the day, still happy to titillate when she can — even if she’s no longer single-handedly reshaping the boundaries of popular culture.

The Joe show brings Madonna home to a region that’s been very much on her mind this past year. In summer 2014, she pledged funding to three Detroit organizations — Downtown Youth Boxing Gym, Detroit Achievement Academy and the Empowerment Plan — after touring a host of community groups in the city.

It was the start of what she called a long-term commitment to Detroit, where “a piece of my heart will always be,” as the Rochester Hills-bred star said.

It was about that time when word emerged that her teen daughter, Lourdes Leon, had enrolled at the University of Michigan — the school Madonna briefly attended before heading off to New York to kindle her dance career. (Lourdes and Madonna’s father, 84-year-old Silvio Ciccone, are expected to be on hand Thursday, a source close to the Joe Louis show tells the Free Press.)

And then there was the Rochester Hills dustup in March, when she took to “The Howard Stern Show” and criticized her hometown as straitlaced and stifling. Those remarks — later reiterated in an US Weekly interview — prompted rebukes from the city’s mayor and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell.

Click HERE to read full report at Detroit Free Press

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Ladies with an attitude
Fellows that were in the mood
Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it
Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it


SAT 28 NOV 15




On saturday the 27th of November the Queen of Pop returns to Belgium, no better playground than Antwerp to serve you the best of MADONNA ! The party doesn’t stop… We invite all you rebelhearts to dance the night away at Antwerp’s most exclusive shelter of Pleasure. MAGIC ♥




Chris Jones, Grace Jones Brother and Vogue cover model !
Will serve a very special disco & pop set in honour of the queen of pop.


No better duo to host this warm up than our beloved Bernard Gavillan, Prince of Fashion and Bernard Tournemenne. They will serve you a fashion forward Madonna tribute.


Ready to serve you the best of the past, present and future. Edgy, playfull and unpredictable. A selection of the best 80ies disco, pop and electrorama.






89 EUR for a double room including late check out at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, use the “Magic” password by making your reservation

☏ +32 (0)3 244 82 11



Fore more info click HERE

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More info regarding Rebel Heart Tour Early Entry Paris and Amsterdam

Some fans have spotted a map of the Rebel Heart Tour stage in Bercy Paris with a separate area near the front of the stage for Early Entry ticket holders. However we have contacted the venue and can confirm that there will be no separate area in the venue, this map was created by Viagogo to single out Early Entry tickets.

We can also confirm once again that in Amsterdam there won’t be a golden circle and people with an Early Entry ticket will only have earlier access than the people with regular standing tickets. You will be the first to find a good spot, but you will be standing in the same area.

More info to follow

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Vintage Oregon: Desperately seeking Madonna fans from 1985 Portland show

-cebc140e66e6b07eIn April 1985, Madonna played a pair of sold-out shows at Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Were you there?

As the “Rebel Heart” tour’s Oct. 17 stop at the Moda Center approaches, we’re desperately seeking Portland area residents who were at Madonna’s first Portland shows 31 years ago.

We’d especially love to talk to Danette Dollar, Bart Allen, Kimberly Meade, Michele Uanno, Liz Ephren, Linda George and April Simmons. The Oregonian’s coverage of the concerts included photos of those seven MTV generation teens dressed in “Catholic a go-go,” like their “favorite video performer,” as the newspaper described it.

Look at the photos above. Do you recognize yourself from 1985? Are you out there? I’d love to talk to you?

Are you still Madonna fans? Do you call her Madge or the Material Girl? What do you remember about the shows? Do you still have the outfits you wore? What was she like before the Kabbalah year, the foray into children’s books and fake British accent?

I have so many questions.

Strike the pose and give me a call at the number at the bottom of this post.

Of course, based on the breathless-yet-stuffy coverage by The Oregonian, you would have thought the pope was coming to town.

From stories about teens upset about how tickets were sold to the concerts’ aftermath, the newspaper dedicated 13 stories with photos to the event in less than a month.

Of course, much of the coverage was awash in skepticism, with reporters trying to figure out why children of the 1980s were so obsessed with the Material Girl.

“Hordes of Portland-area fans of rock singer Madonna, the latest overnight superstar in that volatile calling, are miffed in the extreme,” wrote reporter John Painter Jr.“They came to that state when tickets to the steamy, overtly sexual singer’s two Portland concerts set for April 15-16 in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall were quietly  put on sale last Friday and quickly sold out.”

Click HERE to read the full article and see the vintage pictures by The Oregonian

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Madonna shocks Chicago audience, but not in way they expected

Madonna performed for a sold-out audience at Chicago’s United Center on Monday evening, and judging by comments from people leaving the show, it was the best concert Madonna had given in Chicago during her 30-year performing career. Madonna brought out the best in herself and her fans. Madonna made performers like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Lady Gaga seem like “Beta” pop stars, and that’s saying a lot, since all the mentioned performers are great.
Read more HERE

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Madonna gets personal at United Center

Even before Madonna took the stage Monday at the United Center, the senses hit overload. Warrior dancers hoisted crosses, Mike Tyson issued threats from the video screen, fake blood streamed as if from a tabloid murder photo, and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” provided the soundtrack.

Music isn’t quite incidental to the spectacle that is a Madonna show, it’s more like an ingredient in a multimedia melting pot of outrageous fashion, noir video, theater, dance, performance art and social commentary. There were 20 dancers and three musicians, 22 videos and a whopping 60 people backstage taking care of costumes that ran from Cotton Club fringe to a long, flowing royal cape. There was even a Britney Spears look-alike pulled from the audience.

More difficult to find on many of the singer’s tours was an emotional center. But that wasn’t a problem Monday – the most intimate Madonna tour yet. It’s tough for any pop entertainer, let alone a 57-year-old female artist, to retain her chart appeal for one decade, let alone four. Madonna may still be the most famous woman in the pop world – Beyonce might take issue with that – but she’s had only a few top-10 singles in the new Millennium.

Though she could easily live off greatest hits tours or Vegas residences, Madonna somehow remains engaged. Her latest album, “Rebel Heart,” is a mess, a tangle of proclamations and confessions. She wants it all. There are songs that expose insecurities and fess up to narcissism. And then there are the tunes that basically say, “I’m old enough to be your mom and I can still do anything you can do better – got a problem with that?”

The defiant attitude, the provocative posturing that defined her early rise to stardom played a part in the show, but these poses felt tired – yesterday’s shock is today’s act of desperation. Fortunately, the attitude became more playful and introspective as the show proceeded through its four major set pieces.

Half the set list was drawn from the commercially under-performing “Rebel Heart,” even though the singer has more than three dozen top-10 hits, mostly from the ‘80s and ‘90s. But even the hits she reprised were often reconfigured, from the jazzy “Material Girl” to the ukulele-led “True Blue.” Whereas her 2012 tour flirted with darkness and death – yes, Madonna can do Goth, too – the current two-hour performance had a lighter, warmer, more personal tone. There were smiles and something approaching vulnerability.

To read the full review visit Chicago Tribune

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Dressing Madonna: Gucci’s Alessandro Michele reveals (almost) all

Suzy Menkes interviews Alessandro Michele, Madonna’s new costume designer for the Rebel Heart tour.

“It’s like you’re in a temple, going to meet the goddess, and then you discover that the goddess is a big perfectionist and an incredible woman,” said Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s creative director, about how he met Madonna in rehearsal in New York.

“She is tiny and beautiful,” Alessandro continued. “The thing I really loved about her was her eyes – the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen; super green-blue eyes – I think she must have had the same eyes since she was six years old!”

The passionate designer, who has rocked Gucci with his magpie spirit, mixing inspirations from decades and centuries past, was spotted by über-stylist Arianne Phillips as new fashion blood for the Material Girl’s “Rebel Heart” world tour.

Full disclosure: I was the person who suggested to Arianne at Prada’s “Iconoclast” exhibition in London in February that Alessandro could create a new romantic look for Madonna.

“Essentially, my job is to be an editor for Madonna,” Arianne said, whose list of designers to dress the tour includes Jeremy Scott at Moschino, Prada’s Miu Miu, Fausto Puglisi and Alexander Wang. But she was eager to include Gucci’s Alessandro.

“I became entranced by his return to craft, the personal and feminine aspects that he has brought into his embellishment to the austere, slick Gucci,” Arianne said. “It was like a return to beauty and incredibly inspiring.”

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Madonna’s rebel heart on proud display at TD Garden

Truth or dare?

Truth: Madonna’s performance at TD Garden on Saturday night was a crowning achievement in a year that has unjustly denied her such moments.

Let me put it this way. The narrative surrounding Madonna in 2015 has not exactly been kind to the 57-year-old pop icon. You would think by now she has earned the right, and the public’s trust, to be whomever she wants. And yet the older she gets, the more she has to counter sexist questions of why she’s not acting her age (“I am,” she has said) and what is left for her to do.

Those critiques faded inside the Garden as Madonna reasserted a longstanding hallmark of her career: She is at her best and fights her hardest the minute you count her out.

“Tell me I’m no good/ And I’ll be great,” she sang on the opening “Iconic,” a battle cry from this year’s “Rebel Heart,” a very good pop album that deserved to sell more than it did.

The accompanying Rebel Heart Tour reveals a softer, more reflective Madonna who’s celebrating her legacy while forging her future in the genre. There is no blueprint for her trajectory, so, critics be damned, she’s blazing her own.

And she’s obviously having so much fun right alongside her fans. This new tour is a window into Madonna as both deity and human being. It was heavy on spectacle brought to life by a band, her many elastic dancers, glitzy costumes, and streamlined set pieces that kept the production stylish and fluid.

The show also allowed Madonna to appear exposed. Three songs in, she stalked the runway extension of the stage alone with an electric guitar as she sang “Burning Up,” an early club classic. My jaw dropped when she dug into “Like a Virgin,” once again by herself on the catwalk, simply dancing and singing and making eye contact with the audience. It was poignant to see an established artist revisiting her roots and engaging with them all over again.

She also found fresh ways to enliven hits that are now decades old while connecting the dots to more recent work. A matador theme set the tone for “Living for Love,” her latest hit, which segued into the flamenco beat of “La Isla Bonita.” It was a seamless setup for a Mexican-tinged revamping of “Dress You Up” that mashed in snippets of “Into the Groove” and “Lucky Star.”

Fans will forever quibble with the set list, but this tour gets the balance right, from the thumping groove of “Deeper and Deeper” to the closing euphoria of “Holiday.” Madonna opened the vaults, dusting off favorites she hasn’t performed on tour since the mid-’80s. On acoustic guitar, she reclaimed “Who’s That Girl” as an introspective ballad, and with Madonna strumming ukulele, “True Blue” featured her most stirring vocal of the evening.

To read the full review at the Boston Globe click HERE
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Madonna pushes hot buttons in raunchy TD Garden concert

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.

To read the full review by click HERE

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REBEL HEART TOUR | Stufish entertainment architects

The Rebel Heart Tour has provided Stufish a chance to once again work on a spectacular show by Madonna, where the production value and attention to detail is some of the highest in rock and roll/pop entertainment. The stage and set design for the 2012 MDNA tour were incredible, and still, Rebel Heart tops that. Stufish have designed elaborate and bespoke statement props for one of the world’s most iconic performers of all time, as well as an intimate experience for the audience to witness one of the greatest shows of all time.

The main kinetic feature of the stage is a complex “machine”, which allows for various acrobatic and scenic moments throughout the show. The machine is a 28ft wide x 16ft high video screen deck that assumes numerous positions; It can be flush with the main stage as flooring, act as an 8ft raised platform, a vertical wall that can tilt from flat to ninety degrees in 30 seconds and be an angled wall that performers can ride. There are specialized bungee points built in to the top edge of the machine which let performers flip, tumble, run and roll up and down the ramp, hang from and free run on the wall in any of these positions.

Click HERE to view all of the incredible pictures on

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