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

Read more

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.”

To read the full article please visit

Read more

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
Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

Madonna’s ‘Rebel Heart Tour’ dazzles Boston

There’s a long tradition in popular culture of artists who pushed the envelope and redefined the boundaries, but when it comes to pop music, few performers have so gleefully filled the role of iconoclast as Madonna. To say that she’s been a groundbreaker for female music stars would be an understatement, and a short list of current stars who were largely influenced or inspired by her would have to include Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Pink, The Spice Girls and Nicki Minaj.

But the prototype herself was onstage at TD Garden in Boston Saturday night, and her two-hour extravaganza didn’t disappoint. Madonna may have ventured afield into acting, writing, and assorted charity work, but first and foremost she’s a pop star. In fact, to be more precise, she has always taken immense pleasure in being a “pop tart,” thematically pushing up against the societal norms of sex and proper behavior for young ladies, and not least of which, teasing her conservative Catholic upbringing.

Part and parcel of Madonna’s musical identity has been a virtually unbroken string of dance-pop hits, whether they be updated disco, hip-hop-flavored r&b, or techno-driven beat-heavy epics. Her songs are frequently ridiculously infectious dance numbers, and her lyrics have that knack of getting your attention, whether she’s happily being outrageous or making a serious point about empowerment – and sometimes she’s capable of doing both simultaneously. Controversy may be her middle name, but nobody ever accused Madonna of being boring, and Saturday’s 23-song romp surely was anything but boring, and hardly predictable.

Overall impressions of this “Rebel Heart Tour” would have to center on the sheer spectacle of the night, where you could spend a thousand words describing each song, because the staging and dance routines, mini-dramas and quick and frequently humorous sidelights, were so intricate. But there were also a lot of musical styles covered, and if most of the music was dance-club friendly, Madonna proved herself to be an omniverous and laudably versatile stylist.

To perhaps extract a quick soundbite, Madonna’s evening ranged all the way from roaring techno on “Bitch I’m Madonna” to pretty mainstream rock ’n’ roll on “Body Shop” to almost Celtic folk-rock on “Devil Pray” to traditional Spanish on “La Isla Bonita” to a quite lovely acoustic cover of Edith Piaf’s signature tune, “La Vie En Rose,” where the singer’s ukulele, and a very low-key accordion was the only accompaniment. That’s a lot of musical variety, and Madonna, 57, and her four-piece backup band, two backup vocalists, and 14 dancers delivered it all with panache.

To read the full review by The Enterprise click HERE

Read more

Who’s That Girl back in Boston

After cutting ‘Everybody’ from the 80’s medley and suddenly adding ‘Ghosttown’ in Brooklyn, the dearly beloved Who’s That Girl was skipped in Philadelphia and M only sang Ghosttown.

Thankfully last night Who’s That Girl made it’s return to the setlist, but Ghosttown was skipped. It is obvious that the setlist can change any night, according to M is also due to technical issues that might occur.

Let’s hope Who’s That Girl will be performed in Europe, as it is one of her biggest hits to date. In Holland it is one of only five singles that reached the number 1 spot in the charts (the other number ones being: Into The Groove, Hung Up, 4 Minutes and Give it 2 Me).

David was the unapologetic bitch last night, M chose not to swear this time during the segment.

Read more

Still en ‘vogue’: Madonna shows some things get better with age

Madonna carries the burden of being 57 in a world where Britney is an old maid at 33. But if we ignore Madge’s age, or forget that the current crop of hot, unremarkable young things run the pop industry, we can step back and enjoy the Rebel Heart Tour for the mature spectacle that it is.

Whoa, whoa, I know crucifixes as stripper poles and nuns in short shorts isn’t grown up. But Madonna’s packed TD Garden show last night still seemed so much more adult (in every sense of the word) than the infantilism of Katy Perry’s dancing sharks and Taylor Swift’s cutesy ’80s fetish.

Madonna’s visions have a smart, thought-out feel her imitators can’t replicate. Her dancers’ execution makes her would-be peers look like amateurs — the simple, thrilling choreography of “Deeper and Deeper” reminded that talent beats tech every time. Oh, and her pop crushes all comers.

“At the end of the day the smoke and mirrors don’t matter,” she told the crowd strumming an acoustic guitar ahead of (surprisingly) killer “Who’s That Girl.” “It’s the music that matters.”

Her new songs balanced the Material Girl with a modern one.

She opened with “Iconic” and its bizarre sample of Mike Tyson ranting about his unequaled skills before dropping into a thumping groove that continued into “(expletive) I’m Madonna” and “Burning Up.” Her “Holy Water”/“Vogue” mashup mixed sex and the sacred (and those pole-dancing nuns). “Living For Love,” maybe her best song this century, delivered the hook and gospel harmonies of old-school Top 40 — and had loads more snap and pop than her Grammy performance.

Unwilling to be enveloped in nostalgia, she deconstructed her classics.

Like “Who’s That Girl,” “True Blue” got an acoustic makeover, this one with Madonna on ukulele. Stalking the catwalk alone, she pimped out “Like a Virgin” with a fresh club beat.

The band opened “Music” with some jazz age swagger. She extended the flamenco vibe of “La Isla Bonita” through a medley of “Dress You Up”/“Into The Groove”/“Lucky Star.”

Ignore the constant chatter surrounding her private life and turn your back on the idea a pop star must be irrelevant after 30. Instead dig into her exotic and familiar cocktail until she can’t mix it up anymore — she’s good for at least one more mega-event like this one. Embrace that her blonde ambition continues to make her the genre’s greatest icon.

Click HERE to read more at the Boston Herald

Read more

Tickets for Madonna concert in Taiwan sell out within minutes

Taipei, Sept. 26 (CNA) Tickets for “Queen of Pop” Madonna’s first ever concert in Taiwan went on sale on Saturday and were snatched up within 15 minutes, Live Nation Taiwan, the promoter of the concert, said that day.

The around 10,000 tickets to the concert at the Taipei Arena on Feb. 4 next year were sold in three phases. Some of them were open for purchase to Madonna fan club members on Sept. 17 and to credit card holders from Sept. 21-23.

The rest went on sale at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Ticket prices ranged from NT$800 (US$24) to NT$16,800, with VIP packages sold at NT$30,000 for seated fans and NT$27,000 for standing groups.

The concert is part of Madonna’s 10th worldwide concert tour “Rebel Heart Tour.” It is the first time that the singer will hold a concert in Taiwan.

The tour follows the March 6 release of her album “Rebel Heart.” It began on September 9 in Canada and takes her to Europe and Asia, with the tour concluding on March 27, 2016 at a concert in Brisbane, Australia.

(By Christie Chen)

Read more

Madonna gives Pope Francis her blessing during his first US visit

Madonna may have plenty of past experience tangling with the Vatican, but the queen of pop has given Pope Francis her endorsement during his first US visit.

At a concert in Philadelphia, where the leader of the Roman Catholic Church is scheduled to make the last stop of his tour, a tongue-in-cheek Madge dedicated a section of her show to him.

She later announced: “Rules are for fools. That’s why I like the new pope. He seems very open-minded.”

It was just one of many comments about Pope Francis at a concert that featured lots of religious imagery, including female performers wearing nuns’ habits — and little else — pole dancing on crosses.

“The pope is stalking me,” she said, noting she recently performed in New York, where Pope Francis has also made a stop. “Either he’s a copycat or he’s secretly in love with me.”

After climbing up on a table in a clingy, shimmering dress, the 57-year-old provocateur said: “I made it. Can the pope do that?”

And then: “I’ve been excommunicated from the Catholic Church three times. It shows the Vatican really cares,” she joked.

“Since Popey-wopey is on his way over here, I want to dedicate this song to him,” she said before launching into a heartfelt version of La Vie En Rose.

Madonna, raised Roman Catholic in Michigan, has a long history of upsetting the Vatican. Her 1989 video for Like A Prayer contained imagery that outraged religious leaders, including stigmata and burning crosses.

Her seminal 1990 Blond Ambition tour included simulated masturbation and brought condemnation from the Vatican. And in her 2006 Confessions tour, she staged a mock crucifixion only a few miles from the city-state.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the Vatican has entirely banished the singer. In December, Italy’s singing nun, Sister Cristina Scuccia, met Pope Francis and presented him with a copy of her first CD, which features a remake of Madonna’s Like A Virgin.

Scuccia had won the Italian edition of The Voice earlier that year. The Italian Bishops’ Conference criticised the song’s appearance on the CD, saying it was a commercial ploy.


Read more

Madonna at the Wells Fargo: Entertaining, but doesn’t catch fire

One more night of sin before the Holy Father comes to town: On the eve of Pope Francis’ historic visit to Philadelphia, the woman named after the Virgin Mother, a woman who has used rebellion against the Catholic Church as fuel for her three-decade career as a pop provocateur, served as The Pontiff’s opening act in South Philadelphia.

Madonna brought her Rebel Heart tour to a not-quite-sold-out Wells Fargo Center crowd on Thursday night, with the 57-year-old dance pop superstar attracting a largely female crowd, mainly in her demographic range, that skewed younger and more multicultural among gay male fans.

The show opened with the new album’s overbearing and strained “Iconic,” with a filmed intro in which Madonna copped to “an insatiable desire to be noticed.” Prerecorded video segments featured Mike Tyson and Chance the Rapper, and ill-conceived costuming positioned our heroine as half ninja warrior, half Joan of Arc.

That set the stage for a night of self-mythologizing, which included the new album’s “Bitch I’m Madonna” and “Unapologetic Bitch” – clearly currently her favorite word, often used as a term of endearment to express love for her fans.

The show got better and somewhat less heavy-handed from there. But Madonna is never one for subtlety in her theatrical presentation. She surrounded herself with video screen flames in “Burning Up” – an oldie but goodie from her 1983 debut album, played early in the set – and acted out the double entendres of “Body Shop” while writhing on the hood of a classic hot rod onstage.

Read full review at

Read more

Madonna’s DanceOn Strikes Distribution Deal With Go90, Producing Over 80 Hours Of Original Content

As more music streaming services and social media apps announce their transition into original content, the battle for positioning remains unpredictable.

Power players like Apple AAPL +0.88% Music and Spotify have yet to make a very definitive shift beyond sharing and discovering music to solidify their identity as digital content providers. Snapchat has experienced notable success, as more brands and media partners experiment with different formats that tap into the existing user experience. Netflix NFLX -0.39% and Hulu have mastered their market, creating network-caliber programming designed for the second-screen generation.

While the landscape is still evolving and such uncertainty builds anticipation, it also presents an opportunity for thriving digital media and social entertainment platforms with an established niche and unique approach to remain ahead of the emerging trends. Announcing a new partnership with mobile entertainment app go90, DanceOn is expecting this move to place its preeminent entertainment focused platform ahead of the pack.

With an expansive network that boasts more than 4 billion total views, 25 million subscribers, and over 40 million fans across platforms, DanceOn stands as the largest entertainment network for dance-related content on any platform. Celebrating music and dance throughout pop culture, the digital media company is a dominant force with tremendous influence amongst a prime millennial audience. Fueling massively viral dance trends tied to chart-topping hits such as “Trap Queen”, “Watch Me Whip / Nae Nae”, and “Hit The Quan” — DanceOn is widely regarded for its user-generated challenges and docu-series that have featured globally renowned acts like David Guetta, Diplo, and Sia.

Click HERE to read full article by Forbes

Read more

Madonna wows adoring fans at Centre Vidéotron in Quebec City

With over 300 million records sold worldwide and recognised as the best-selling female recording artist of all time, Madonna Louise Ciccone was back in Quebec City.

Hard to believe this woman is 57 years old. She doesn’t look it, doesn’t act it, and has more energy than some people thirty years her junior.

After performing on the Plains of Abraham to mixed reviews back in the summer of 2012, Madonna was back in Quebec City for a show at the Centre Vidéotron.

12,000+ fans came out to see the ‘Queen of Pop’ and they got everything they could have hoped for.

The show kicked on after an early faux pas – Madonna, displaying a momentary lapse in concentration by confusing Quebec City with Montreal before quickly correcting herself. ‘My brain is burning up’ she joked.

The show was magic, the sets elaborate, the costume changes outlandish, and the woman herself raunchy, energetic, and constantly on the move.

She delivered an (as expected) expletive-riddled performance. ‘Are you with me motherfuckers?’

The dancers, of which there were many, added to the experience. It has to be said they probably have the most demanding boss in the business. Some of these dancers would be 30-35 years her junior but they needed to be fit to keep up with one of the hardest working artists out there. And they did, and didn’t stop.

Toughest dancing gig out there. You bet.

n her Rebel Heart Tour, The Queen of Pop performed songs from her latest album including Bitch I’m Madonna, Iconic, Body Shop, Immuninati, Unapolgetic Bitch, Devil Pray, and Holy Water.

The crowd remained seated for most of those tracks, but did get to their feet when the older songs were given an airing. Like a Virgin might seem like an odd choice for a woman in her mid-50’s, with four children of her own, but this is Madonna, and it worked. There was plenty of swearing, gyrating, and interaction with the crowd.

True Blue, Who’s That Girl, La Isla Bonita, and Material Girl were performed to much appreciation.

Who’s That Girl was particularly special. We already know this woman can sing (over 300 million records sold worldwide attest to that), but the acoustic version of this track was spectacular. Just the woman herself perched on a bar stool with her ukelele.

She brought the house down with her version of the Edith Piaf classic ‘La Vie en rose.‘ Singing in French with the crowd joining in, this woman knew her audience.

The acoustic versions of her songs showed Madonna‘s true talent.

Although not to the taste of some, perhaps an acoustic tour might be on the cards down the line.

There were three ladies in front of me, roughly the same age as Madonna, and I’d hazard a guess had perhaps taken advantage of the refreshing beverages on offer, who were there for some more physical activity. Powerful, acoustic offerings not for them. ‘Awaille, on veut danser’ they exclaimed as they slumped further into their chairs in no fit state to dance at all.

I think they’d have liked a prayer. The didn’t get one and neither did we.

With the stage full of dancers and the audience on their feet, the icon, initially draped in a Canadian flag and then a Quebec one ended the evening with Holiday.

Click HERE to read full article by

Read more

10 Things I Learned at Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour

Over 30 years into her career, Madonna is still acting like a virgin. “I’ve never performed in Brooklyn before,” she coyly told a sold-out crowd at the Barclays Center in Prospect Heights Saturday night. The Rebel Heart Tour, which kicked off in Montreal two weeks ago and landed in the borough for one night after two performances across the river at Madison Square Garden, is the singer’s 10th stage show. While she’s finally warmed up to her ’80s hits after years of ignoring all but a handful, she still insists on challenging her fans, who, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to see, are still dressing up like her. Only now it’s the men. Here are 10 other things I learned at the show.

@Sal Cinquemani / Slant Magazine complete article HERE

Read more