REVIEW ’10:45 p.m. start time very much in vogue (and worth the wait) when you’re Madonna’ (Chicago Sun*Times)

The pop music icon delivered a potent three-hour spectacle Wednesday night at the Chicago Theatre where she kicked off the first of seven shows at the venue.

There will be a lot of exhausted people in Chicago over the next week and a half, particularly after attending one of Madonna’s shows during her mini-residency at the Chicago Theatre, which, after Wednesday night’s kickoff affair, boasts six more shows over the next 10 days.

With a 10:45 p.m. start time, and topping nearly three hours, the late-night, cell-phone-free spectacle will no doubt garner the ire of some attendees, but the greater takeaway is just how mentally exhausted the performer leaves her fans after the multi-faceted affair, making the show a worthwhile time investment at any start time.

In support of her new album, “Madame X,” released in June on Interscope Records, the show — like the record — extrapolates the many personas of one of the most polarizing figures in music history through well-rehearsed theatrical bits that blur the lines of performance art. Madonna as an artist, a mother, a global citizen, a New Yorker, a Midwesterner, a feminist, a provocateur, a human — all shine through in very distinct and connected ways under the guise of a secret agent looking to find her true identity.

The album/tour title is the moniker originally given to Madonna by dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, with whom she studied in her late teens. But while Madame X is a nod to the singer’s origin story — with a very concerted effort to bring the concert back to an intimate theater setting much like her very first tour — it’s also indicative of how Madonna is pushing the envelope forward with a conscientiousness demanded in the new world order.

“Artists are here to disrupt the peace” was the proclaimed theme of the night. Taken from a quote from the great American writer-playwright-activist James Baldwin, the words were scrawled across a massive sheer curtain, spelled out one letter at a time, as the pounding of every “typewriter” key stroke became a percussive heart beat introducing the opening number “God Control,” which begged for a new democracy. “Everybody’s hurt. What is important is that you must find some way of using this to connect you with everyone else alive,” the passage continued.

The words also hinted at Madonna’s decision to also ban cell phones throughout the tour. “I want nothing to be between us … be present and enjoy the world of Madame X,” she explained.

Madonna, who now lives in Lisbon, Portugal, gave fans a view into her personal world, talking of how she repressed her loneliness in a new country by venturing out into fado clubs and meeting people who would eventually shape her new record, including the late singer Celeste Rebordão Rodrigues whose 16-year-old grandson, Gaspar, was part of the instrumental ensemble. The two paired up for a sweet fado serenade sung in Portuguese; Madonna would also sing in Spanish throughout the show. In another act, Madonna delivered her new song “Batuka” with a history lesson, introducing her audience to the women carrying on the traditions of the Batuque, a music and dance genre native to the Republic of Cabo Verde.

Through panoramic projections, hi-def video and a brilliant use of light and silhouette to denote set changes, concertgoers were transported to the clubs of Lisbon for a trifecta of “La Isla Bonita,” “Sodade” (a Cesaria Evora cover) and “Medellin” and then to the desert of Marrakesh for rousing versions of “Come Alive” and “Future.” There were easily 25 collaborators who made the vision come to life, including her own children. Seven-year-old twins Stella and Estere were an adorable addition to the live ensemble, while oldest daughter Lourdes was projected on a giant screen in a slow-mo, black-and-white dance montage as Madonna delivered a tender version of “Frozen” that made the two virtually inseparable.

Though Madonna relied way too heavily on Auto-Tune, and her intimate between-act stage banter was incredibly bizarre and disjointed (swigging beer from strangers, selling Polaroid selfies to the highest bidder and making jokes about Trump’s small manhood), when she was on stage all eyes were glued to her and her backup squad, particularly for legacy songs “Vogue” and “Like A Prayer.”

The queen of choreography lived up to that title with evocative interpretations, even though a knee injury that delayed the beginning of the tour prevented her from fully participating. True to character, every song rendition had its share of innuendo, sexual or topical, and Madonna relied heavily on the latter in a good deal of hyper-political moments, using “Papa Don’t Preach” as a platform for pro-choice beliefs and padding “Express Yourself” and “Human Nature” with feminist credos. It was the final song “I Rise” that left a lasting impression as a video reel documenting the students of Parkland, the fight for marriage equality and the Flint water crisis gave way to a rainbow-colored flag as Madonna and her backup dancers marched through the audience with fists raised.

“I ask you to be freedom fighters, stand up for those that don’t have the voice or privileges we have. We won’t always be popular,” said Madonna, “but we have to disturb the peace.”

Selena Fragassi is a local freelance writer.


“God Control”

“Dark Ballet”

“Human Nature”

“Express Yourself”


“I Don’t Search I Find”

“Papa Don’t Preach”

“American Life”


“Killers Who Are Partying”


“La Isla Bonita”



“Extreme Occident”


“Come Alive”



“Like A Prayer”

“I Rise”

More at ChicagoSunTimes

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Review: ‘Madame X’ takes the spotlight during Night 1 of Madonna’s Chicago Theatre residency


The Queen of Pop, The Material Girl, Ms. Ciccone. Madonna has many names and even more personas, several of which were on display during her Oct. 16 performance at The Chicago Theatre, the first of seven sold-out concerts during her Chicago residency.

Of all Madonna’s alter-ego’s, Madame X – the title character of her fourteenth studio album whose roles include a teacher, a mother, a nun, a whore and a spy – spent the most time in the spotlight on Wednesday night as songs from the 2019 release appeared in all five sets of the operatic evening. The show – with its sleep-be-damned start time of almost 11 p.m. – felt like a party attended by old friends, as fans, many clad in Madame X eye-patches, were ready to celebrate Madonna’s 30-plus year career and the music that served as the soundtrack to so many monumental moments in their collective lives.

The words of James Baldwin served as the theme of the evening as the show began with a projection of his quote, “Artists are here to disturb the peace.” Madonna wasted no time in using her art, music, dance, costumes and set design to disturb political and societal norms opening with the body-moving call for truth that is “God Control.” “Dark Ballet” soon followed, Madonna wielding the genre-bending pop composition – complete with an interlude of Tchaikovsky’s “The Dance of the Reed-Flutes” – to lead fans in worship at the altar of art.

Act III found Madonna basking in Portuguese moonlight as her stage resembled a Lisbon street scene inspired by her new hometown where she spends her time as a “soccer mom.” The setting provided the perfect backdrop for the eight-song segment, comprised primarily of Madame X music with traditional Fado songs mixed in. Portuguese guitarra player Gaspar Varela provided intricate accompaniment to Madonna’s soulful vocals on “Fado Pechincha,” while “Crazy” blended styles with irresistible results. Orquestra Batukadeiras – an all-female group of singers, dancers and percussionists – joined the Queen of Pop on “Batuka” propelling waves of pure joy from the stage to the seats.

Along with the track list of Madame X, the set was dominated by candid conversations during which Madonna would riff with the crowd, often taking time out to revel in the opportunity to enjoy a cell phone-free night as fans’ mobiles were safely locked away in Yondr pouches.

“It’s so amazing to look out there and not see a single phone,” said Madonna, adding her intent to perform a show so exciting that fans would forget about their devices completely.

Elsewhere, Madonna’s politics took center stage as she declared “death to the patriarchy” and encouraged audience members to dedicate their lives to being “freedom fighters.” She even inserted the issues of the day into some of her biggest hits most notably “Papa Don’t Preach,” which featured the lyric change, “I’ve made up my mind / I’m not keeping my baby.”

“Are you good with my right to choose,” Madonna asked the crowd noting that she’s neither for or against abortion rather she’s for the “right to choose for ourselves.”

“If men got pregnant, you could get an abortion at an ATM machine,” she scoffed.

“Papa Don’t Preach” wasn’t the only classic Madonna hit of the performance. “Vogue” felt as current as ever – thanks in part to the popularity of the FX series Pose – with dancers capturing the essence of the 1990 hit while wearing larger than life ensembles. “Human Nature” showcased Madonna’s legendary dance moves, including a gravity-defying handstand, as projected shadows pushed and pulled the icon in every direction.

“Like a Prayer” led to one of the biggest sing-alongs of the night – tired fans rallying to make the most of the joyful post-1 a.m. moment – and “Frozen” best demonstrated the tender emotional range of Madonna’s vocals as she sang in the spotlight behind a screen displaying her daughter, Lourdes Leon, dancing with passionate abandon.

After decades of performing at amphitheaters and stadiums, Madonna’s opening Madame X show at the Chicago Theatre was a gift, a chance to experience an artist’s vision in an intimate setting without filters. Her Chicago residency continues through Oct. 28, after which fans can relive the experience through the magic of memories rather than on the tiny screens of their iPhones.

Information about Madonna and the Madame X Tour can be found at

More at RebelliousMagazine

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REVIEW ‘Madonna fears no one at the Chicago Theatre in a late-night, cell phone-free clash between old and new’

Madonna does what she wants, when she wants, for whatever reason she wants. In fact, the Madonna of today may be more stubborn. Yes, she has amassed a trove of hits from each decade of her career. But the hits matter less to the artist than the intention behind her music.

Known as something of a chameleon, Madonna made a case for the interconnectedness of her total body of work during the first night of the Chicago leg of her intimate, cell phone-free Madame X tour. A small number of older songs were carefully intertwined with a heavy selection of tracks off her latest album, “Madame X,” to tell the story of this new character. And who is Madame X?

A freedom fighter, for one. Dance is politics. Music is politics. Madonna laid plain the intentions of each “Madame X” show from the start. On stage was very little in the beginning, just a silhouette of a woman at a typewriter, a large black screen, and a fit young dancer jerking his limbs to the rhythm of each keystroke. Behind him, a 1961 quote by James Baldwin splashed across the screen: “Artists are here to disturb the peace.” Get the picture? This is not a moment of nostalgia for Madonna. But if you’re interested in “waking up,” in getting uncomfortable, then stick around.

The first half of the set blended a mix of old and new tunes, starting with “Dark Ballet” from “Madame X.” Dancers clad in white gowns and riot gear clashed on stage. Behind a brutalist pyramid staircase were projected images of marches for gun control. Clashing — of old and new, of right and wrong, of fun and seriousness — became a theme throughout the set.

During a slowed-down rendition of “Human Nature,” her twin daughters, Estere and Stella, joined the singer and her backup dancers on stage. She asked each girl to make a statement, with one saying “Hashtag time’s up!” in reference to the social movement. Moments later, Madonna fittingly transitioned into an a-cappella sing-a-long to her smash ’90s hit “Express Yourself,” before asking the audience, “This revolution is bloody. Is there a doctor in the house?” Sometimes the fight to be heard can be jarring, just as it was on stage.

For Madge, art is the medium by which she fights for the freedom of others. It is the medium delivering the message, whether audiences understand or like it at all. “Are you good with me not keeping my baby?” she asked the audience halfway through her set after a spirited rendition of “Papa Don’t Preach.” An audience member in the front row expressed his displeasure and she was not afraid to confront him about reproductive rights. “It is my choice. It’s everybody’s choice,” she uttered. The room erupted in applause. She fears no one. The easy choice would be to next play something light, but Madonna chose “American Life,” an oft-forgotten yet underrated single from the aughts. Back then, it was an awkward song, but here, its mashup of genres and conflicted lyrics make sense. It was perfect.

The latter half of the show was packed with guest artists from across the globe as she performed Latin-inspired selections — including “Medellin” and “Come Alive” — from the new album. A group of Cape Verde batuque singers walked through the aisles and joined Madonna on stage for the “Madame X” cut “Batuka.” During her numerous chat breaks, Madge talked about her move to Lisbon to “become a soccer mom,” and the depression and loneliness that soon set in. It was not until she began frequenting fado clubs that she found herself again. It made sense then that the stage was transformed into a colorful recreation of a fado club. “Get out of your comfort zone!” she cried to the audience. Most people were on board.

The “Madame X” show is not a concert as much as it is performance art and dance theater. This explains some of 10:30 p.m. start time, to the surprise and consternation of some fans worried about a late night (the show ended around 1:30 a.m.). This was also a cell-phone-free show, where attendees had to secure their phones. The entry process was smooth, but expect a post-show bottleneck.

Storytelling framed the evening. Madge is a shifting and growing human urging her audience to do the same, but she’s not afraid to get playful, like when she took a Polaroid selfie of herself and auctioned it off to the audience. The winning bid was $3600, to a man who said he was a writer. “Writer? Bull—- artist is more like it,” Madonna said, in reference to him having that much cash.

“Not everyone is coming to the future because not everyone is learning from the past,” she said before playing the “Madame X” single “Future.” It was a coded message. Casual fans looking for an intimate dance party should stay away. Madonna chose small theater settings for a reason — she is interested in touching and seeing and communicating her message with her audience. Theater breeds emotional risks; the fire of each moment is palpable. Madonna knows this. An arena won’t start revolutions, but a musical confrontation a half-foot away will.

Madonna has six more performances at the Chicago Theatre. For more information and tickets, visit

More at ChicagoTribune

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Madonna covers 1,000th Issue of Hot Press magazine (pre-order now)

Hot Press: The 1,000th Issue. 


It’s a big one…. 


The 1,000th Issue of Hot Press hits the streets on October 17 – and it’s gonna be a big one.

Hot Press started out in 1977 with the avowed intent of making Ireland safe for rock ’n’ roll. Since then the country has been transformed (no, we didn’t do it on our own!). 

70 million words later (give or take a few), this once-in-a lifetime Very Special Edition of the magazine will be jam-packed with extraordinary editorial things…

– brilliant writing from the Hot Press crew

– guest contributions from celebrities and stars 

– major interviews with key figures 

– big think-pieces about what ails – or inspires – us

– great pictures that also tell a story 

– and lots more besides, indeed…

The Hot Press 1,000th Issue is a historic landmark. It is one of those special items to have and to hold – and to keep.

Our 1,000th issue we will publish five covers to choose from

  1.     Rory Gallagher (70’s)
  2.     U2 (80’s)
  3.     Madonna (90’s)
  4.     Amy Winehouse (00’s)
  5.     Hozier (10’s)


To ensure that you get a copy, order here… straight away. 

Thanks to Steve!

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Madonna’s Hollywood single discography online – 31 different pressings

Next up is the discography to the second single taken from Madonna’s American Life album ‘Hollywood’. 

Madonna performed the track on an extensive promotional tour, European performances included: Absolut Madonna (Germany), Jonathan Ross (U.K.), CD:UK (U.K.), TOTP (U.K.), La Chanson Nr.1 (France). Madonna has yet to perform it live during a (world) tour. A remix was used as an interlude during the Re-Invention Tour, with dancers Cloud and Tamara. The music video premiered in Holland on Veronica. 

The most memorable performance is definitely the VMA’s with Britney, Christina and Missy Elliott. In true Madonna style her kiss with Britney made the front cover of various newspapers worldwide. What a shocker!

In our discography we have collected 31 pressings for you to view. Check them out HERE

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An Interview with The Most Sought After Doctor in New York: Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank

Bhavna: It is common knowledge that you work with Madonna. Every time I’ve seen her, she appears ageless. Can you talk a little bit about how you met, how has she changed your perspective on aging and beauty in general and the MDNA skincare collaboration? 

Dr. Frank: So, we met about five years ago and she came to me on a recommendation of another patient, as sadly the last doctor she worked with had passed away. After working with her for about a year or two, I got involved in developing the skincare line with her and a Japanese technology company. Together, our tools and our formulas created the perfect synergy to defy the boundaries of modern science and deliver game-changing results.

I think that with Madonna – she’s learned a lot from me, I’ve learned a lot from her. To me, she is a perfect example of the ethos of my profession right now. There isn’t one thing that will keep you from aging. It’s a lifestyle combination. Madonna is the example of someone that is so driven in all of the aspects of her life. She takes good care of herself and her body with diet and exercise. So the small things I do make me look very talented as a doctor because she takes great care of herself. She also does all of these other things, from religion to meditation to diet to exercise to spending time with her family. These are the things that keep her looking ageless as you say, and they are working really well.

Before you walk through my doors, your diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, intimacy levels at home, and meditation should all be things that you are working on at home. I’m the icing on the cake – that is my philosophy. I really take a very holistic approach. You can’t inject happiness into someone’s life. However, when someone is taking care of themselves and working on themselves holistically, then it makes my job easy and together we can achieve the patient’s desired results.

Read full article at ThriveGlobal

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Taylor Swift Praises Madonna for ‘Outstanding’ N.Y.C. Concert: ‘M Gave It Everything’

The pop star, 29, was joined by the show’s culinary expert, Antoni Porowski, at Madonna’s final Madame X theater tour show in Brooklyn on Saturday.

Swift documented the fun outing with a selfie of her and Porowski, as well as other friends, on her Instagram Story, praising the “Like a Prayer” singer for putting on an incredible performance.

“Thank you Madonna for an outstanding show,” she wrote. “Shout out to the phenomenal dancers, singers, musicians, set designers, crew, wardrobe, glam and M who gave it EVERYTHING.”

The setlist for the show was packed with tracks from Madonna’s latest album, Madame X, but also included classics like “Human Nature,” “Vogue” and “Like a Prayer.”

After multiple gigs at Brooklyn’s BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, the concert series will have a short residency at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago in late October, then another at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theater in November.


Full article HERE

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WRAPS UP MADAME X TOUR IN NEW YORK … With Possible Dancer/Boyfriend

More at TMZ


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45 of the most iconic music video looks of all time

Madonna put an edgy spin on bridal wear for her “Like a Virgin” (1984) music video.

madonna like a virgin
Madonna pushed fashion boundaries. 

Throughout her career that spans multiple decades, Madonna cemented herself as the queen of pop in a series of iconic music videos, one of the earliest being her 1984 hit “Like a Virgin.”

At the beginning of the video for “Like a Virgin,” the songstress can be seen wandering throughout Venice in a look that would become her signature for the time — a cropped black tank top, mixed rosary beads, a “boy toy” belt buckle, and pops of neon — before donning the ubiquitous lace and tulle wedding dress. 

Madonna would later spark controversy by wearing a version of the wedding dress at the very first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984, before paying homage to her original performance in 2003 with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Missy Elliott, in which the two pop princesses wore similar bridal get-ups on stage with Madonna as their makeshift groom.

Watch the full video here.

Madonna continued to prove she was a style icon in the music video for “Material Girl (1985).

madonna material girl
The singer channeled Marilyn Monroe for the video. 

From the same album, Madonna released a slew of hits back-to-back, the second being “Material Girl,” her ode to riches over romance.

In the video, she pays homage to another blonde icon, Marilyn Monroe, recreating her performance of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” The singer’s pink satin gown and matching gloves, along with a handful of diamonds and a fur coat, helped make this one of Madonna’s most famous videos to date.

Watch the full video here.

Read full article at Insider

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25 candid photos of icons who shaped pop culture (Madonna on the set of Who’s That Girl)

This image of Madonna in 1986 is also one of the photographer’s favorites.



Courtesy of Oscar Abolafia

In 1986, Madonna was filming the movie “Who’s That Girl” in New York, and production closed off one of the city’s blocks. To get close, Abolafia lied and told the officials he lived on that block, so they let him through. He then knocked on a random apartment’s door and asked to be let inside to use a window for a better view.

“I was very lucky to be in the right spot when she was taking a break,” he said. “She was chewing gum and blowing bubbles, and I got that picture.”

Read full article at BusinessInsider

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The Mix: Madonna live, Chicago Film Festival and more cool things to do Oct. 11-17

Looking for some cool things do to and see in Chicago in the week ahead? Here are some highlights:

Into the Madonna groove

Leave it to Madonna to always shake things up. Her Madame X tour, a series of multi-night residencies in smaller venues than usual, began with 17 nights at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Gilman Opera House and is now headed here for seven shows at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. The iconic performer celebrates her 14th studio album while also performing hits and fan favorites. Rolling Stone says the tour is “a testament to the genius in her madness” and that Madonna is “as gloriously weird as ever.” An Oct. 15 show has been rescheduled for Oct. 28. Other dates: Oct. 16-17, 21, 23-24, 27. Tickets begin at $98. Visit

More at ChicagoSunTimes

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Parlor Social ‘Not Giving Up On You Tour’ dates (don’t miss out)

Don’t miss out on any of the Not Giving Up On You live shows by Parlor Social (Ric’key Pageot + Dessy Di Lauro)

The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage
Santa Monica, CA, United States

‘Not Giving Up On You’ US & Europe Tour
Chicago, IL, United States

‘Not Giving Up On You’ US & Europe Tour
San Francisco, CA, United States

‘Not Giving Up On You’ US & Europe Tour
Los Angeles, CA, United States

‘Not Giving Up On You’ US & Europe Tour
London, United Kingdom

Click HERE for more information + tickets

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The Real-Life Diet of Loic Mabanza, Madonna’s Secret Weapon

As Madonna’s lead dancer, Loic Mabanza, tells me about the scripts he’s working on, as well as his nightly journaling habit, he almost passes for another chic Brooklyn creative. He’s sitting in a coffee shop in Fort Greene, sporting a ribbed short-sleeved turtleneck and a silver chain necklace—think the Rock but couture-ified—along with sleek black pants, suede Chelsea boots, and a healthy collection of chunky silver rings. He looks so at home that I briefly forget he spends most of his waking hours with one of the most famous and beloved pop musicians ever.


Across the street from the coffee shop is BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House, where Mabanza has been dancing at the fore of Madonna’s Madame X show for the past month. The tour, an intimate no-phones affair set to hit 11 cities over the next six months, is a sort of musical revue/performance art hybrid, more “no-holds-barred fever dream of Madonna’s most outlandish impulses” than “concert.” It’s a chaotic, occasionally self-indulgent, damn good time, and it’s the third world tour Mabanza has been on with Madonna—a rarity for her dancers.

man in a dance studio wearing a black hoodie and silver jewelry stretching in a lunge position

Mabanza can’t recall exactly when he actually started practicing his chosen profession, but by age 13, his nights were spent dancing with friends in the underground hip-hop scene of his Paris-adjacent hometown, Persan (population: 10,000). He’s never been formally trained, but anyone who’s watched him lean his entire body into a 45-degree angle to the floor can tell you he most certainly knows how to move. Nine years ago, he was dancing in international competitions when he was introduced to Madonna at an after-party in a London club. Once she saw him dance, she asked him to join her for performances here and there, and soon enough, he found himself on her 2012 MDNA tour. He followed that one up with the Rebel Heart tour in 2015, then accompanied Madonna on her charity trips to Malawi supporting her non-profit organization, and now he’s here, in New York for Madame X.

Read full interview at GQ

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