Madonna makes crowd wait, but doesn’t disappoint (San Antonio review)

Madonna’s rebel heart burned brightly until the wee hours Sunday at the AT&T Center at her first-ever San Antonio concert appearance.

About 15,000 fans, some of them dressed like the Material Girl circa 1984, waited patiently through an overly long DJ set for Madonna to finally hit the stage at 10:30 p.m. (the show was scheduled for an 8 p.m. start) and stayed until the very end which was a few minutes before 1 a.m.

he imaginative two-and-a-half hour show was 21 songs of pure Madonna with lots of help from a supporting cast of acrobatic dancers whose choreographed stunts, at times, upstaged the star.

Madonna’s entrance was spectacular with the artist descending onto the massive Rebel Heart Tour stage and runway in a gothic cage right into a horde of dancers dressed as Samurai warriors to sing “Iconic.”

She is incredibly fit, and showed it with gyrating dance moves with her feet on the ground and other times singing while hanging upside down on props or riding on her dancers’ shoulders.

The San Antonio set list and costume changes diverged little from other tour dates, though Madonna seemed especially playful and loose – and provocative.

During “Holy Water,” Madonna danced and pole danced on a crucifix-style pole with scantily-clad female dancers wearing nuns’ religious habits.

Various sections of the show were separated by video interludes and dance troupe routines.

Some of the simpler moments were best. For example, “True Blue” performed on ukulele and delivered in garb inspired by the ’50s.

The dramatic “HeartBreakCity” (and “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”) served as intro to “Like a Virgin,” slightly slower and with a heavier modern beat.

None of Madonna’s early hits were delivered with original instrumentation or arrangements. She opted to give them a Latin flavor or modern electronics. For example, “Dress You Up” came dressed with the same driving acoustic guitar feel as “La Isla Bonita.”

The same was true for “Into the Groove” and “Lucky Star.”

Madonna toyed with fans at the foot of the runway, even throwing a small bouquet of flowers. She was in good humor throughout.

The most rocked up, satisfying arrangement came with “Music,” which added a jolt of energy. A “Deep in the Heart of Texas” moment fell a little flat, but Madonna added a sexual edge. “Material Girl” lumbered with a heavy, if somewhat lethargic beat.

She closed with “Unapologetic Bitch” and returned for an encore, “Holiday,” performed in yet another costume, this one with a patriotic flair.

The highlight of the night: Madonna’s throwback, steeped-in-irony dancing during “Like a Virgin,” which when paired with the heavier beat, looked almost cathartic.

At 57, Madonna remains a goddess of pop for the ages – talented, intelligent, imaginative and determined not to stagnate.

The rebel heart beats strong.

Read more at MySanAntonio

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Madonna: The early years and as icon for generations (article by Manila Bulletin)

It’s hard to believe Madonna is 57. It seems only yesterday when she was this pretty young thing being all seductive on TV, particularly in the video for her 1984 hit “Like A Virgin.” It was the time she skyrocketed to fame. Impressionable girls memorized her songs by heart and tried to copy her look (rag on hair, big dangling crucifix, attitude on sleeves), while boys were only too happy to see them in short skirts and lace tank tops. Do you remember?

Not everyone was happy with Madonna’s success. Critics deemed the artist a flash-in the-pan even after she has had a string of hits. Madonna, even at that point, didn’t seem to have the formula for staying power. Some thought her success was mainly hinged on her image, a “trashy” one, some thought. It didn’t help that she fed that notion, even brandishing such slogans as “Boy Toy.”

Few realized it was all part of a huge plan.

• • •
Madonna was ambitious. Early on, she made clear she would stop at nothing to achieve world domination. She said so in an early appearance on “American Bandstand” right to the face of host Dick Clark.

Note that Madonna didn’t start as a musician. She was more of a dancer, a good one at that. She received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan School of Music where she stayed for a couple of years before dropping out in 1978.

Apparently, the artist got inspired to dabble in music upon working with Patrick Hernandez, who had a big hit with “Born To Be Alive” in 1979. Hernandez told her she can do more than dance – that she could become a recording artist. It wasn’t false hopes but prophecy.

Taking the cue, Madonna tried joining several bands in New York, eventually becoming the drummer for the funk-pop outfit The Breakfast Club. Many believe Madonna only got the break because the band’s singer, Dan Gilroy, had the hots for her. Well, the two became an item.

madonna tours

It was Gilroy who is said to have taught Madonna how to play drums. Later, on Gilroy’s insistence, Madonna became the band’s second lead singer. But even then, Madonna believed she could be bigger than that.

So limited musical abilities notwithstanding, Madonna formed her own outfit named Emmy And The Emmys (with drummer Stephen Bray, who was actually her replacement in The Breakfast Club). The Emmys wrote punk and new wave songs, which many (including Madonna) thought didn’t suit her. She convinced Bray, who by then had become her boyfriend, to help her write and arrange a couple of dance tunes. Among these would be her first dance hits, “Everybody” and “Burning Up.”

Madonna pushed these songs to anyone she believes would let her through the door of a mainstream career. She eventually met Mark Kamins, a DJ from a New York club she used to frequent. Kamins, who had connections in Sire Records, gave her songs a shot.

They entered into a relationship when her debut single, ”Everybody,” released in 1982, and “Burning Up” released in 1983, became minor hits.

Soon, and to no one’s surprise, Madonna dropped Kamins. Before long, she hooked up with producer John “Jellybean” Benitez, who would help her achieve the next step: Crack the upper heights of the Billboard charts with the songs “Holiday” and “Borderline.”

The one-two punch prompted Sire Records to let her cut an eponymous debut album, which peaked at number eight on the Billboard 200.

Still, it was just the start.

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Madonna shows Sean Penn PDA at Haiti benefit: “I love him as much as I did when I met him”

Madonna was ex husband Sean Penn’s date tonight at Penn’s annual Haiti fundraiser. After the revelation that Penn has interviewed international criminal El Chapo, it seems like he can handle his ex. They are thick as thieves, very affectionate, posing for pictures with two of Madonna’s children on the red carpet.

But the real excitement in the Montage hotel ballroom was Madonna’s surprise acoustic performance of “la vie en rose.” She accompanied herself on ukulele, and impressed everyone including Leonard DiCaprio and Justin Bieber (who stopped in briefly but lost interest). Madonna told the crowd, referring to Penn, “I love him as much as I did when I met him.” That was 30 years ago.

Are they back together? No one can say for sure, but the formerly married couple put on quite a show Saturday night while millions were being raised for Penn’s J/P Haiti foundation. They sat almost on top of each other at the main table, with DiCaprio across from them.

Last year, Penn’s date was Charlize Theron, and there were certainly many more celebs. But this year, aside from the main table, Pamela Anderson was the main attraction.

For a short time, when Madonna sang, pop twerp Justin Bieber ambled in and plopped down to watch her performance with a couple of friends. But when Madonna was finished, so was the Beebs. He hopped up and exited. A waiter told me Bieber basically “lives” at the Montage, as well as at a house in Beverly Hills.

Madonna later contributed the ukulele to the live auction. She told the auctioneer that she’d sign it, “lick it,” and “kiss it” when her tour was over in March. She also said she’d put something secret inside it for the highest bidder. “It will be wet inside and dry inside,” she said. When the auctioneer asked who’d made the ukulele, Madonna replied: “None of your f—ing business.”

A lunch with Penn and DiCaprio, plus a night at DiCaprio’s Palm Springs spread, went for the bargain price of $200,000. Of course, many in the room may not have known that Penn had interviewed El Chapo, and might have good anecdotes from that experience.

Penn is devoted to Haiti, and is clearly making progress down. He’s so passionate about it tears came to his eyes twice talking about getting health care for a dying teen. If he’s diverted Madonna’s attention from Kabbalah into this worthy cause, then he’s really scored points. Bravo!

Read more at Showbiz411

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Madonna and Sean Penn Reignite Romance Rumors at Oscar Winner’s Annual Haiti Benefit Gala

Madonna and Sean Penn just can’t stay away from each other.
The pop music queen came out tonight to support her ex-husband at his annual Golden Globes eve Help Haiti Home gala benefiting J/P Haitian Relief Organization. They posed for pictures with Madonna’s kids Mercy and David before walking inside.
Once the program began, the pair was spotted sitting next to each other at a table in the center of the ballroom. When asked what brought her out tonight, Madonna told me, “Haiti.”
She surprised the crowd by performing “La Vie en Rose” while strumming her ukulele. “I want to say Sean that I love you from the moment that I laid eyes on you and I still love you just the same,” Madonna said.
The evening raised $7 million for J/P HRO.

Full article HERE

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Madonna wins Favorite Music Icon at People’s Choice Awards 2016

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Winners for PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS 2016 were announced during a live broadcast hosted by Jane Lynch (Angel From Hell) at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, January 6th (9:00 PM-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Furious 7 took top honors for “Favorite Movie,” accepted by star Vin Diesel, while Sandra Bullock, Johnny Depp, Chris Hemsworth, Dakota Johnson and Melissa McCarthy were among the big acting winners in film. In the TV categories, The Big Bang Theory took home “Favorite Network TV Comedy” for the 4th consecutive year, while its star, Jim Parsons, nabbed “Favorite Comedic TV Actor.”Grey’s Anatomy scored “Favorite Network TV Drama” and Ellen Pompeo was chosen as “Favorite Dramatic TV Actress.” In music, Shawn Mendes was on hand to accept the award for “Favorite Breakout Artist” and perform with Camila Cabello of Fifth Harmony, and Jason Derulo took the stage to perform a medley of his hits. And, for the first time, digital category winners were announced including Britney Spears for “Favorite Social Media Celebrity” and Matt Bellassai for “Favorite Social Media Star.”

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS 2016 featured the presentation of the fourth annual award for “Favorite Humanitarian,” presented by Walgreens, to Ellen DeGeneres. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was selected as the beneficiary of the donation. Past winners of this award include Sandra Bullock in 2013, Jennifer Hudson in 2014 and Ben Affleck in 2015. DeGeneres also won “Favorite Daytime TV Host” tying the all-time People’s Choice Award winning record with 17 trophies.

Waterford, a heritage brand synonymous with celebration, is the maker of the 2016 People’s Choice Awards. For seven years, Waterford artisans in Ireland have designed and hand-sculpted these bespoke, sparkling crystal trophies that will have a new home with each talented winner. This year, Waterford also designed custom trophies for the “Favorite Humanitarian” and “Favorite Music Icon” categories. Ms. DeGeneres’s award will feature a pop of Crimson color on the crystal, and Madonna the Favorite Music Icon, will receive a custom award with a touch of a Sapphire Blue in the center of the flame.

Interviews from the red carpet and pressroom, exclusive photos from backstage and behind-the-scenes action is available at

Favorite Music Icon
Paul McCartney
Steven Tyler
Stevie Wonder


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Madonna’s R18 show will be adjusted to comply with MDA guidelines (no Holy Water in Singapore)

Madonna will not be allowed to perform the song Holy Water at her upcoming first Singapore show at the National Stadium on Feb 28, says the Media Development Authority (MDA).

An MDA spokesperson says in a statement: “Madonna’s upcoming Rebel Heart Tour concert has been rated R18 as it contains sexually suggestive content which is more suitable for adults. This is reflected in the consumer advice so that the public can make an informed choice.

“In determining the rating, MDA had carefully reviewed the proposed setlist and consulted the Arts Consultative Panel. Religiously sensitive content which breach our guidelines, such as the song Holy Water, will thus not be performed in Singapore.

“The concert organiser must comply with the terms of the license, which states that the concert should not contain content or materials which offend any race or religion, and that the performance overall must fall within the guidelines of the R18 rating.”

According to a statement from Live Nation Lushington, one of the parties involved in arranging the Madonna show for Singapore, “the artiste management and tour management worked closely with MDA on providing show, video and lyric content and the suggested set list for Singapore”.

The North American and European shows in Madonna’s current worldwide Rebel Heart tour include a segment in which she performs a medley of Holy Water, a song from her latest album Rebel Heart, and 1990 hit Vogue while scantily clad nuns pole-dance on cross-shaped stripper poles.

Live Nation Lushington’s statement adds that the organisers acknowledged the “overtly sexually explicit” and “religious content” deemed unsuitable by MDA .

“Minor adjustments were made to ensure R18 licensing conditions could be met without compromise to the delivery of a first-rate and world-class performance.”

However, the statement also stresses that the concert’s setlist is not set in stone and that Madonna will have final say in how the show turns out.

“The final running order and set list for the Singapore performance will be determined by the artiste and revealed at the show itself within the set guidelines.”

Besides Singapore, Madonna’s other regional stops include Hong Kong, Thailand, Macau and Manila.

In 1993, the 57-year-old American singer’s controversial Girlie Show World Tour was banned here when police said her performances in the tour show “border on the obscene… (and are) known to be objectionable to many on moral and religious grounds”.

Read more at StraitsTimes

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