Madonna’s new tour: Never too old for a stripper pole

NEW YORK — A floor-length, traditional Latin dress blanketed Madonna’s slender frame.

With her hair woven into a french braid, the singer strummed an acoustic guitar and sang to the crowd as a collage of her fans’ artwork played behind her on a video screen.

In this moment, at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, it was hard to believe the 57-year-old mother of four had ever thrusted her way through her “Erotica” phase.

But, it would have been more difficult to imagine if a half-hour earlier, the sultry icon had not flung herself onto crucifix-adorned stripper poles, among a team of scantily clad dancers in nun costumes.

Pop’s most culturally influential female has always seem to follow a pattern of unpredictability like this — a romantic gesture in her music may just as easily be followed by shock or obscenity on stage.

And in that vein, the chameleonic performer showed formidable range and allure on her new Rebel Heart world tour, as she morphed from 21st Century dance-vixen, to nostalgic ’80s pop conjurer, to an ostensibly earnest singer-songwriter.

The two-hour set blasted the sold-out crowd mostly with the thump of her upbeat tracks — particularly the new songs off March’s “Rebel Heart” — and revamped many of her greatest hits amid a bevy of dazzling stage sets. Though the fresh takes on her classics varied in their successes.

Throughout the night Madonna was gracious, good-humored and sharp enough on her vocals and intense choreography to arrest the “does she still have it?” skeptics. She most certainly does.

The epic hit-maker’s 76-date roadshow, which kicked off last week in Montreal (Wednesday’s show was No. 4), hits Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City Oct. 3, and runs through March 2016.

– Eight songs off “Rebel Heart” peppered the set and reminded that after three decades in the game, the singer can still act as a contemporary force. The set’s second number “Bitch, I’m Madonna” — performed in full-on Japanese samurai garb — felt like a jab to any fans who questioned the pairing of Madonna’s sensual performance style with her age.

But the most memorable of her latest crop was inarguably the sacrilegious live version of “Holy Water,” which not only featured the stripper poles and nuns, but recreated a Last Supper table and quickly covered it with dancers pantomiming sexual acts over its surface.

While church-goers might find the choreography and setting somewhat disturbing, Madonna has said before that in her eyes, religion and music are intertwined. In the sea of vapid stage scenes, it was refreshing to see an artist so vehemently represent their work and push the envelope in a grand, shocking format.

– Amid all the tack-sharp choreography and production value were a few more organic, acoustic numbers. Perhaps the strongest was the night’s lone cover, of Edith Piaf’s classic “La Vie En Rose.” Madonna sat center stage and strummed a ukulele as she worked a slow, smooth vibrato over background accordion.

“I still am a romantic at heart,” she said before the song — her level of earnestness is always up for grabs — and during the French tune’s “la la la” section, she called “everyone sing along!” But she seemed to say it mockingly. A cynic at heart, or just a rebel heart, felt closer to her true psyche.

– Madonna’s second costume change, into a matador costume to battle her bull-horn-headed dancers during “Living For Love” launched the night’s most questionable section. The singer continued to wear the getup for “La Isla Bonita,” and then left to again switch clothes. She emerged wearing the aforementioned Latin gown, and launched into a sluggish, Latin-infused medley of old pop hits. The addition of congas to “Dress You Up” was tolerable, but the medley version of “Into The Groove” completely deflated the song.

To read the full review and view pictures by click HERE

Read more

Amy Schumer gets into the groove with Madonna at MSG

Compared to the eye-watering sexual detail that Amy Schumer puts into her comedy skits and routines, watching her flash her underwear to a packed Madison Square Garden and let Madonna feign taking her from behind was practically PG-13 material.

This surreal moment turned out to be a hysterical highlight of the singer’s two-hour gig on Wednesday night. As the dancehall rhythms of “Unapologetic Bitch” bounced around the arena, Madge pulled up Schumer, the two twerked their magic, and the singer then anointed the comic with the title of “Unapologetic Bitch of the Evening.” For this, she was awarded a sock puppet and a banana, which Schumer then pretended to enter into the one part of her body normally reserved for exiting.

It was enough to make even the Queen of Shock look a little uncomfortable, and she duly exclaimed “you’re going straight to hell!” In the context of the rest of the show, it was easily one of the most risqué moments. Sure, there were pole-dancing nuns, half-exposed buttocks, and the insinuation of oral sex at the Last Supper, but these aren’t sights that make Madonna fans gasp anymore. The bigger surprise was the sight of the usually inscrutable megastar exposing herself emotionally.

Modal Trigger
Photo: Getty Images

This year’s “Rebel Heart” album didn’t set the charts alight but those who listened close heard the 57-year-old sounding wounded and reflective, and it’s where the “Rebel Heart Tour” is often most arresting. The Catholic guilt (complete with a melancholic priest) came to the surface again on “Devil Pray” and during the delicate ballad “HeartBreakCity,” Madonna let the pain of her failed relationship with dancer Brahim Zaibat flow into night. “I sound cynical about love because I have good reason to,” she explained at one point, and the way these songs were delivered made it hard to doubt.

But even Madonna’s biggest fans don’t pay to watch a pity party, and Madonna (as she always has done since she first played the Garden 30 years ago) put on a show that was entertaining to the last. A giant cross-shaped walkway connected the main stage at one end of the arena, to a smaller, B-stage at the other end, and every inch was well used. The blood and guts approach to her controversial “MDNA” tour in 2012 was nowhere to be seen. Instead, Madonna relied heavily on impressive set-pieces, elaborate costumes, and tightly choreographed dance numbers, the best of which turned out to be a fabulously vibrant, flamenco-themed medley of hits such as “La Isla Bonita,” “Into the Groove,” and “Everybody.” It’s moments like these that prove Madonna’s version of nostalgia is more inventive than most artists’ version of contemporary. That’s why we still need her, now more than ever.

To read the full article by the New York Post click HERE

Read more

Madonna at Madison Square Garden review – ‘There is no other performer like her’

Madonna’s album Rebel Heart was bedevilled by leaks; she fell flat on her backside at the Brit awards; and her Instagram gaffes have made Jeremy Corbyn look like a Rupert Murdoch-style media mastermind. As she arrives in Madison Square Garden on the fourth date of her 10th tour – the last under her 10-year, $120m contract with Live Nation – she should be up against it. Yet Madonna is always at her best with her back to the wall, when the killer instinct that has sustained her through over 30 years in pop rears to the surface, a visceral refusal to be beaten.

Her choice of support act on this homecoming gig – since New York is the place she remade herself – is very Madonna, all wrong on paper but in practice, right on the money. Amy Schumer takes the stage in front of a massive backdrop of Madonna’s face staring at the heavens and clutching a sword to her breast, the massive machinery of pop music concealed behind it. Swigging from a bottle of champagne, and with nothing but a microphone and a stool, the comic of the moment says that she was asked: “‘Who better than you to open up for Madonna?’” “Uh,” she rhetorically answers. “Any band?”

Yet Schumer’s perfect reading of the audience, in which straight men are such a minority as to be non-existent, (“It’s like taking a warm bath in a ton of dick that doesn’t want you”) weapons-grade filth (“We’re here to rethink cum”) and description of the Kardashians as a family who “take the faces they were born with as a light suggestion” reduce the crowd to marshmallow before Madonnahas even made an appearance.

Click HERE to read the full article by The Guardian

Read more

Exclusive = first info regarding the Rebel Heart shows in Amsterdam

-As most of you know, Madonna’s first Rebel Heart show in Amsterdam is on Sinterklaas avond which is a Dutch tradition, very similar to Christmas (kids stay at home with family and get presents from Sinterklaas, an old man who has been watching if you were good or bad this past year). So keep in mind when you come with public transport or by car, that it may get a bit crowded on the road.

-There will not be a golden circle in the Ziggo Dome, the stage is so big that it will cover the entire floor. A good spot to see the show, wherever you will be standing

-No support act announced yet

-You are not allowed to bring in any food or drinks with you; people with an Early Entry ticket will receive coupons worth EUR 10 for consumptions inside the venue

-The special merchandise item given to people who bought the ticket packages will remain a surprise until the evening of the show

-It could only be as little as two weeks prior to the first show in Amsterdam that time tables will be determined. It is only then that we can inform you what time Early Entry ticket holders are allowed to enter the venue

Read more

Madonna Gets Surprisingly Nostalgic at First NYC Tour Stop, Then Kicks Amy Schumer’s Ass

For an artist who rarely looks back creatively, Madonna was in a particularly wistful mood during her Madison Square Garden concert on Wednesday (Sept. 16) night, the first of three NYC dates on her Rebel Heart Tour.

“I’m feeling very nostalgic tonight,” Madonna said (twice, actually). “I played Madison Square Garden 30 years ago. That’s crazy.” When she trailed off for a moment, you almost thought she was lost in sentimental reverie. But as always, Madonna was laser-focused on the present, even while reminiscing. “You were there?” she asked a fan in the front row who had been talking to her. “Then I gotta give you a kiss.” For the record, a Madonna-on-fan kiss is a controlled affair: She kissed her fingers and touched the fan’s forehead, like a messiah gracing her faithful follower with one touch.

Nostalgia aside, Madonna’s restless creative spirit is on full display on the Rebel Heart Tour. Refusing to coast by playing faithful, familiar live renditions of her hits, Madge recast a number of her classics in different musical molds, with mostly positive results.

Strapping on a guitar, she skuzzed up “Burning Up” to hard rock heights and turned “True Blue” into a ukulele sing-along. For “Like a Virgin,” she lost the original instrumentation, her backup dancers and most of her clothes while turning her breakthrough hit into a sparse, Pharrell-esque jam.

In a lengthy nod to her Spanish-speaking audience, Madonna delivered a Latin-tinged medley of “Dress You Up,” “Into the Groove” and “Lucky Star.” The maracas might have been a little much, but the crisp Spanish guitar successfully made the songs sound newly organic. And while there weren’t as many French speakers in attendance at MSG, Madonna nodded to her Gallic fans with a surprisingly full-voiced version of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose.” (Was it as good asLady Gaga’s recent live “La Vie en Rose” cover? That’s a topic for opposing fan groups to viciously discuss in the comments section.)

Later in the show, Madonna began “Music” as a Jazz Age ballad before kicking the No. 1 hit into banger mode. The presence of “Music” was an effective reminder that while some compulsive naysayers tsk the Queen of Pop for trend chasing with Diplo, she brought techno to the pop mainstream years before EDM was a ubiquitous term.

As always, Madonna will never be everything to everyone. Some were undoubtedly let down to see her make it through the “Vogue” spoken word section during “Holy Water” without segueing into the full song — and to see the lights come up without any “Like a Prayer.”

But the classic tracks Madonna did pull out were judiciously selected, with attention paid to material rarely performed on her live tours. An acoustic “Who’s That Girl?” (not seen on a Madonna tour in nearly 30 years), a pumping “Deeper and Deeper” (absent from her setlist for 11 years) and “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” (which segued out of new song “HeartBreak City”) were all resurrected to huge applause.

Speaking of resurrection, Catholic themes occupied a sizable portion of her stage show, as you would expect — but always with the Ciccone wink. There was a bacchanalian Last Supper, nuns gyrating on stripper polls and famous faces from Renaissance religious paintings projected onscreen during the aforementioned “Vogue” roll call.

Aside from the stunning Minotaur-filled “Living for Love,” the most effective new song in her Rebel Heart Tour arsenal was “Body Shop.” While the song was light to the point of forgettable on the album, its low-key, affable sound worked to the choreography’s advantage as Madonna teased and flirted her way through a stage filled with tires, muscle cars and muscle men.

“My grandma always said, ‘If it’s got tits or tires, it’s going to give you trouble,'” Madonna said in a faux Southern accent after the song. “Sorry, I know I’m not as funny as Amy Schumer, but I’m trying.”

Schumer, incidentally, killed her opening set (last night was her first of three opening slots for Madonna in NYC). Repeatedly mocking the flowering falsehood that it’s a new Golden Era for women in Hollywood while still making jokes about the First Lady taking a hot load, Schumer’s ability to pivot between the bawdy and the incisive proved the perfect fit for a Madonna opener.

“I thought I was gonna bomb so hard for months,” Schumer said when her set was over. “This is the best feeling ever.”

That feeling might’ve been one-upped (or quashed?) later on in the evening when Madonna brought Amy out during “Unapologetic Bitch,” bent her over and literally kicked her ass (in addition to pretending to penetrate it). Schumer was ecstatic and surprisingly rhythmic while dancing with Madonna onstage, but the Queen couldn’t let her go without some hazing.

Before Schumer left the stage, Madonna put a sock puppet on Amy’s hand and made it tell her, “Hi Amy — I’m a sock, bitch!” Waiting a few beats for an actual joke to follow, Schumer exploded into confused laughter when it became clear that was pretty much all Madge had to offer with the skit. Madonna might be good at changing creative lanes, but her attempt at improv was like switching lanes by means of rolling out of a moving car.

When the show came to a triumphant close with “Holiday,” New York’s favorite adopted daughter paraded around in an American flag while her dancers — dressed for a Gatsby-style rager at this point — paraded about with jubilant relief. It was clear they felt the rush of owning Madison Square Garden and relished it. Madonna, on the other hand, kept her composure. Clearly, failure to dominate MSG on Wednesday night was never an option for her — just like failure to dominate New York City was never an option for Madonna more than 30 years ago.

To read more visit Billboard

Read more

Amy Schumer brings laughs to Madonna’s ‘Rebel Heart’ tour

Yes, it was a night of controversy. But it was also unexpectedly filled with joy.

Madonna’s tour features half-naked nuns on stripper poles, and her opener Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, raucous Rockville Centre-raised comedian Amy Schumer, star of the summer smash “Trainwreck,” threw in some jokes about the sex lives of the Obamas and the drinking habits of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, Madonna’s “Rebel Heart” tour, which continues Thursday night at Madison Square Garden and Saturday night at Barclays Center, may also be her happiest tour in decades.

The lovely acoustic version of “True Blue” was a rare bow to romance, the sweetest of Madonna sentiments. “I’m feeling very nostalgic,” she said, adding that she first played the Garden 30 years ago.

Though the two-hour show is her attempt to give her underappreciated album the chance it deserved, it also recasts her older songs in a new light, from Latin versions of “Lucky Star” to an acoustic take on “Who’s That Girl?”

“Rebel Heart” was plagued by a series of leaks that forced Madonna to push up its release several months, but many of its songs find her at her most resilient. The title track was a pretty stripped-down declaration of survival, while the speeded-up remix of “Living for Love” was dramatic and inspirational.

Schumer talked of her incredible year in her 35-minute set.

“I don’t know why I’ve been labeled a sex comic,” said Schumer, who announced that she will headline the Garden on June 23. “It’s not fair.”

Schumer said she had worried about opening the show for months, joking: “Who better to open for Madonna than me? The answer: literally any band.”

However, Schumer won over the crowd, who gave her a standing ovation at the end. “That is the best feeling I have ever had,” she said.

To read the full article by Newsday click HERE

Read more

Madonna’s New Tour Reveals a Sickening Double Standard in Pop Music

Hours after Madonna opened her “Rebel Heart” tour in Montreal, a press release trumpeting the performance arrived in music writers’ inboxes the world over.

There, in canned, press release form, was pop music’s ongoing problem in a nutshell: women are held to a different standard.

Amid the granular details about her luxurious attire—“Madonna wears an exotic gypsy outfit comprising a lurex-lace-and-jacquard bodysuit with an embroidered belt, lace short sleeves, and multi-colored trimmings, plus a black crêpe de Chine skirt with embroidered patches and black georgette ruffles,” goes one such breathless passage—was a section that stood out, but not for the reasons Madonna and her publicity team intended.

Near the bottom of the release was a “by the numbers” section, detailing the exhaustive amount of manpower, time and money being poured into the intercontinental tour, which is scheduled to continue through 2016. (The tour sets up shop atMadison Square Garden for a two-night stand Wednesday, with a Barclays Center date set for Saturday.)

Instead of seeing the reams of information as illuminating—500 pairs of custom-made shoes; 20 dancers; more than 25,000 miles traveled—the litany of facts seemed oddly defensive.

“This tour is a lot of hard work,” it seemed to say, “and you should be grateful Madonna even wants to put herself through it.”

Read full article by The Observer here

Read more

Five reasons you still need to see Madonna (Time Out NYC)


1. Her newest album, Rebel Heart, is solid.
For someone who’s made a career of genre hopping and appropriating cultural trends, Madonna does a good job of floating above the fray on Rebel Heart. The album includes collaborations with Diplo, Avicii and Kanye West, with the best songs split between vocally driven tracks about love and heartbreak (“Joan of Arc”) and no-holds-barred party tunes (“Bitch, I’m Madonna”).

2. She’ll still play the hits.
The set will draw mainly from Rebel Heart, but you can still count on the singer to dip into classics like “Material Girl,” “Holiday” and “La Isla Bonita.”

3. Expect an unmatched stadium spectacle.
On 2012’s MDNA tour, Madonna opened the show by blowing away her backup dancers in a bloody motel tableau like something out of a Tarantino movie (her professed inspiration for the set piece). Look for moments here to be equally out there.

4. The costumes won’t disappoint.
We’re not sure she’s ever been able to top her Jean Paul Gaultier cone-bra look, but that doesn’t mean she won’t try. For this tour, she’s tapped designers including Alexander Wang, Jeremy Scott and Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele.

5. Madge will be bringing it for her adopted hometown.
Don’t hold your breath for any onstage Drake-out sessions, but considering how closely Madonna’s career has been tied to the city, you can expect some special treatment. One thing that already we know: She’ll have New York native comedian Amy Schumer opening these three Gotham dates.

Madonna plays Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, September 16th and Thursday, September 17th and Barclays Center on Saturday, September 19th at 8pm. $45–$360.

Read more

Princely sum for the ‘Queen of Pop’: Madonna fans to pay up to HK$11,888 to see ‘material girl’ in Hong Kong

Fans of controversial queen of pop Madonna, who makes her Hong Kong debut in February as part of her Rebel Heart world tour, may need to start saving now as tickets will cost as much as HK$11,888 per person.

The “Queen of Pop” will play her first concert in the city on February 17 in the main hall at the AsiaWorld-Expo. Tickets go on sale at 10am on September 25.

She will also be heading to Macau for two concerts at the new Studio City on February 20 and 21, as well as visiting Taiwan.

In 2013, local entertainment mogul Peter Lam Kin-ngok said Madonna had turned down the opportunity to perform in Hong Kong, saying the city’s venues were too small,

While Hong Kong fans will be excited at the news, those planning to get close to their heroine might be left out of luck after ticket prices were announced.

Full article HERE

Read more

Madonna Announces New performances in the US & Asia

Just days after the launch of Madonna’s highly-anticipated Rebel Heart Tour, Live Nation announced today that Madonna is adding more tour dates in Asia and North America.  The new dates added to the 64-city world tour include first ever concerts by the Material Girl in Taipei, Hong Kong; Macau; Bangkok; Louisville, KY; San Antonio, Tulsa, OK, TX; Nashville, TN; as well as her first concerts in Tokyo in a decade and additional dates in Mexico City; and Houston, TX. A full list of dates can be found below.

The Rebel Heart Tour launched to two SOLD OUT nights and rave reviews in Montreal, Quebec on September 9th and 10th and will continue throughout North America and UK/Europe through the rest of 2015 and into 2016. The Montreal Gazette proclaimed  “in a spare-no-expense theatrical spectacle that artfully flowed from showstopper to showstopper, Madonna proved once again that she doesn’t just crave the spotlight — she owns it;” and Associated Press raved “Pole dancers dressed like nuns, Mike Tyson and nonstop theatrics.  Welcome to the church of Madonna,”

Tickets for the Rebel Heart concerts in North America will go on sale on Monday, September 21. Tickets in Hong Kong go on sale September 25 and in Taipei on Sat. Sept. 26. In Bangkok, tickets on sale on Sat. Oct. 3 and in Tokyo on sale Sat. Oct. 10th. On sale dates for the concert in Mexico City and the 2 performances in Macau to be announced.

Icon is Madonna’s official fan club. Lifetime Legacy members of Icon will receive first access to tickets and VIP Packages. Fans may purchase an “Icon Live Pass” today, which gives them access not only to ticket & VIP Package pre-sales, but also a free membership to Icon, the official Madonna fan club, access to a tour devoted forum and an exclusive tour gift. Fans who are already registered simply need to upgrade their account with the Icon Live Pass on

In North America, Citi® cardmembers will be eligible for a presale opportunity beginning Thursday, Sept. 17th at 10am through Friday, September 18th at 5pm.In Asia, Citi® cardmembers will have access to a pre-sale opportunity in Taipei, Bangkok & Hong Kong.

Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour is produced by Live Nation Global Touring.


Jan. 06 – Mexico City, MX – Sports Palace – Details to follow
Jan. 10 – San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center – On Sale Sept 21
Jan. 12 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center – On Sale Sept 21
Jan. 14 – Tulsa, OK – BOK Center – On Sale Sept 21
Jan. 16 – Louisville, KY – KFC Yum! Center – On Sale Sept 21
Jan. 18 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena – On Sale Sept 21

Feb. 04 – Taipei, Taiwan – Taipei Arena – On Sale Sept 26
Feb. 09 – Bangkok, Thailand – Impact Arena – On Sale Oct. 3
Feb. 13 – Tokyo, Japan – Saitama Arena – On Sale Oct 10
Feb. 17 – Hong Kong – Asia World Arena – On Sale Sept 25
Feb. 20 – Macau – Studio City Event Center – Details to follow
Feb. 21 – Macau – Studio City Event Center – Details to follow

Read more

32-year wait is over: Madonna’s Hong Kong debut announced

Pop queen Madonna’s first concert in Hong Kong has been confirmed for AsiaWorld-Arena on February 16 next year.

Tour organiser Live Nation declined to comment earlier this month on talk   that Madonna would finally be making her debut in the city, but today announced a concert in Hong Kong would be added to the Asia-Pacific leg of her   Rebel Heart Tour.

Catching the appropriately named Material Girl in concert won’t come cheap – ticket prices range from HK$688 for the cheapest seats   all the way up to a whopping HK$11,888 for what organisers are calling the “ultimate front row VIP package”.

Read more: Madonna in Hong Kong: Will the Queen of Pop finally get into the HK groove and, if so, where will she play?

Shows in Manila, Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane were   already   on the Rebel Heart schedule. Apart from the Hong Kong show, dates     in Taipei, Macau, Bangkok and Tokyo were announced yesterday.

The Rebel Heart Tour kicked off in Montreal, Quebec, on September 9 and will take in 64 cities before it wraps up in Brisbane on March 27, 2016. The tour follows the spring release of Madonna’s Rebel Heart album, the singer’s 13th studio album.

Since her 1983 debut, Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide, making her the best-selling female recording artist of all time, according to Guinness World Records.

Ticket sales start at 10am on September 18 through HK Ticketing.

To read more by South China Morning Post

Read more