11 Classic Madonna Moments From Her ‘Rebel Heart Tour’ Are we dreaming??

Be still my gay heart.

Though Madonna’s latest spectacle, “Rebel Heart Tour,” spotlights her 13th studio album of the same name, the concert queen still reached into her back pocket and pulled out a swoon-worthy collection of classics. Ones she hasn’t touched in years – and an exclusive addition just for her fellow Detroiters.

“Hometown girl is back!” Madonna proudly declared on Oct. 1 in Detroit.

And, oh yes, she was. The icon’s stop at Joe Louis Arena could only be described as the stuff of dreams, a delicious fusion of old and new, writhing nuns and blissed-out fun. “Rebel Heart” was all sweet… not sticky. And nostalgic.

Gays, we have so much to be thankful for.

True Blue

“Baby, I love you,” Madonna gushed, dipping into her back catalog for this adorable 1985 relic. Stripped of its pop sheen, “True Blue” became a finger-snappin’, hand-clappin’ campfire sing-along, with Madonna plucking away at a ukulele. Yes, baby, we love you too.

Deeper and Deeper

In 2004, for the “Re-Invention World Tour,” she took her great disco rave from 1992’s “Erotica” to the cabaret, quieting it down for a lounge-style slowie. Not this time. For “Rebel Heart,” “Deeper and Deeper” retained its original pulse, dizzying the crowd of queers with its dance spins as Madge and her crew worked the heart-capped catwalk with a voguish hustle.

Burning Up

Flame bursts boomed from behind Madonna on a towering backdrop, but the diva herself was the one bringing the heat. As she punched her electric guitar, transforming this 1983 fan favorite into a rockin’ rush, someone probably should’ve called 911.

Like a Virgin

Bitch, she’s Madonna. Owning the stage like a boss during a solo hip-hop take on “Like a Virgin,” Madonna bounced her booty during a ravishing display of agelessness – proof that Pilates and full-powered Beyonce-type fans are a girl’s best friends.

La Isla Bonita

Toro, toro! No, there wasn’t a bull, and this wasn’t “Take a Bow” (sigh). Hand to pelvis, Madonna moved to the Spanish vibes of “La Isla Bonita,” showing off her slow mo gyrations amidst her festively-attired stage gang who came together for a performance that was muy bien.

Dress You Up Medley

If Madonna wants to spoil us, who are we to argue? Not only did “Dress You Up” (in full!) make the cut, but the diva went deep into the ’80s for “Into the Groove” and “Lucky Star,” essentially giving life to all basking in her presence. #Humanitarian

Who’s that Girl

Dusting off the title song from her 1987 film, “Who’s that Girl,” Madonna gave this ditty a guitar-guided makeover – nearly 30 years after last performing it on tour! Despite the fact that Madonna was actually there, donning gypsy attire and taking our collective breath away, it was hard to tell if this was real life.

Frozen

This used to be her playground, which Madonna enthused during her hometown stop, proclaiming that, “Detroit made me who I am today.” And she didn’t stop there. She swapped set-list staple “Ghost Town” for “Frozen,” her stunning “Ray of Light”-era trip to the dark side, stripped to merely the rawness of acoustic guitar and a vocal that left everyone, well, you guessed it: frozen.

Read full article by Chris Azzopardi at Pridesource

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George Harrison, Madonna among those nominated for Songwriters Hall of Fame

NEW YORK—George Harrison, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Madonna, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp are among the A-list contenders nominated for the 2016 Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Blondie, Gloria Estefan, the Isley Brothers, Sly Stone and Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards are also up for the top honour. Winners will be inducted next June in New York City.

The Songwriters Hall of Fame gave The Associated Press a list of the nominees in advance of the official announcement, set for Tuesday.

Non-performing songwriters nominated for the honour include Kenneth (Babyface) Edmonds, Berry Gordy, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Max Martin, who has co-written No.1 hits for Britney Spears, Katy Perry, the Weeknd and Taylor Swift.

Eligible members have until Dec. 11 to submit their votes for three non-performing nominees, two performing nominees and one deceased nominee.

Performing nominees also include Michael McDonald, Tom T. Hall, Jeff Lynne and Steve Miller, while Lionel Bart, Bert Berns and Roger Miller are among the deceased nominees.

Additional non-performing nominees include Teddy Riley, Rudy Clark, Dallas Frazier, John D. Loudermilk, Bob McDill, Chip Taylor, Curly Putman and Rod Temperton, who wrote Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” “Rock With You” and “Off the Wall.”

The 2016 Songwriters Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Gala will take place June 9, 2016.

Read more at The Star.com

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Madonna puts on rebellious show for Toronto fans

TORONTO – Madonna is a rebel at heart and always will be.

No matter she’s now a middle-aged, twice-divorced single mother of four.

The 57-year-old Material Girl, promoting her 2015 Rebel Heart album with yet another big production touring show of the same name, proved she still has the power to provoke, mingling sexuality and religion – as has long been her way – when she arrived at the Air Canada Centre on Monday night for the first of two back-to-back shows.

Would you believe white lace panty-wearing nuns on stripper poles for the song, Holy Water, which eventually morphed into her old dance hit, Vogue, featuring the rest of her dancers acting out a Last Supper scene?

Madonna followed that up by straddling a priest during Devil Pray.

And that was just the first half-hour of a two-hour-and-10-minute show that featured a surprise appearance by a short-haired Nelly Furtado towards the end of the night on Unapologetic Bitch before the encore number Holiday.

Performing in front of a sold out crowd of 13,500, Madge’s eye-popping stage included an enormous red lit catwalk in the shape of a cross, arrow and heart that took over almost the entire arena floor.

The show began with striking visuals on a huge video screen – Mike Tyson naked inside a cage while Madonna writhed around in a white sequined dress evoking the Material Girl of old.

Then the real Madge descended in a cage decked out in Asian-inspired glorious red and black flowing robes while as many as 20 dancers marched around carrying crosses and danced alongside her for the show opening number Iconic.

“Hello Toronto! Are you with me?’” yelled Madonna, who was backed by a seven piece band.

The answer appeared to be a full-throated yes.

Another Rebel Heart song, Bitch I’m Madonna – featuring Nicki Minaj rapping on the video screen – followed before she broke out her first oldie but goodie, Burning Up, while playing electric guitar, sometimes on her knees on that catwalk.

“Come on Toronto,” she said, seeming a little bit impatient. “Let’s start to heat things up. Are you shy?”

She and her dancers certainly were not as they dug right into the S&M inspired Body Shop whose background of cars, tires and chains, evoked an auto shop-meets-dungeon.

“Goodness gracious! Have you ever seen so many gorgeous people in your life?” said Madonna.

In a word, no.

Madge sure can pickup ‘em when it comes to dancers as the tall, thin and graceful Flamenco dudes more than proved during the Spanish-flavoured standout segment of Living For Love, La Isla Bonita, Dress You Up/Get Into The Groove/Lucky Star while she wore both a bullfighters outfit and a beautiful dress with black shawl and black hat.

There was also a cool-looking spiral staircase that appeared at the end of the catwalk for Heartbreak City but I really liked how she playfully danced around to Like A Virgin afterwards.

This Madonna is a smiling, more laid back version of her former perfectionist self and it really suits her.

“I love my job,” she said at one point.

And when she played acoustic guitar for Who’s That Girl she said afterward: “I’m still not sure.”

Also good was the title track for Rebel Heart, and the final segment set in a ‘20s Parisian jazz club consisting of Music (which ended with her walking down the catwalk in a bridal veil and carrying a white bouquet which she eventually threw into the crowd at a male couple), Candy Shop, and Material Girl, before going acoustic one last time and singing La vie en rose while playing a ukulele.

You couldn’t have told me that would have happened at a Madonna concert 20 years ago.

To read more and view the photo gallery visit the Toronto Sun

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Madonna’s most ambitious tour yet: review

Charismatic singer puts on physically intense, highly theatrical two-hour show at Air Canada Centre Monday night.
Air Canada Centre. Monday, Oct. 5, 2015.
At 57, Madonna is still wears her Rebel Heart on her sleeve.
The provocative Miss Ciccone, who has made a career out of pushing buttons and boundaries, continued to do so during a physically intense, highly theatrical two-hour show at the Air Canada Centre Monday night.
For the first of two sell-out shows in front of an adoring crowd of 14,000, the just-christened nominee for the Songwriters Hall of Fame did what she does best: entertain and titillate.
After descending from a cage in gear that resembled an ancient overlord during “Iconic,” a new track from Rebel Heart, her purest pop album in ages, she went to work blurring the lines of religion and sex with “Holy Water,” featuring gyrating dancers dressed as nuns pole-dancing around giant swords, and Madonna at the centre of the action.
A few minutes later she had transformed the stage into an auto body shop, delivering a ukulele-driven version of “True Blue.”
No matter what she did, the charismatic singer, songwriter and dancer constantly proved that she has lost none of her edge.
This is probably the blonde’s most ambitious tour yet, and maybe even her most rewarding.

(Nick Krewen/Thestar.com)

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Madonna looks back, but on her own terms. And she also leans heavily, rightfully so, on her latest album, “Rebel Heart”

“Are you here to take risks?” Madonna posed this question to a packed crowd at her concert Saturday Night (October 3), noting that they were, after all, in Atlantic City (the show took place at Boardwalk Hall). Whether or not the audience were feeling risky — and many of them surely were not — Madonna certainly was.

At this point in her career, she could play to that crowd, and do it in her sleep: it would be the easiest thing in the world for her to do a greatest hits show, and add a perfunctory song or four from her latest album, throw in a few dance routines, and let the money roll in.

But bitch, she’s Madonna.

Complete article HERE

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Madonna strikes gold with Rebel Heart Tour in Atlantic City

A storm descended on Atlantic City Saturday night, and it didn’t have anything to do with rain or winds.

Madonna lit up Boardwalk Hall in lights, pyrotechnics and a team of extremely talented dancers. Nothing less was expected from the Queen of Pop on this stop of her U.S. leg of Rebel Heart Tour, presented by Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

People streamed into the hall wearing rain boots, heavy jackets and umbrellas, but were undeterred in their devotion to the singer. The crowd filled in on the floor around the cross and heart runway that extended the stage a couple hundred feet.

Complete article HERE

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Madonna’s music, culture, fashion influences spans decades

Madonna’s career has had an effect on nearly every aspect of pop culture and has been a pattern that female pop stars still follow. It’s hard to come up with something she has not accomplished during her career.
Ahead of her “Rebel Heart” tour concert at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday, here is a timeline of the pop queen’s career.
1983 – Releases her debut self-titled CD, a groundbreaking dance pop effort, including three top-20 singles,“Holiday,” “Lucky Star” and “Borderline”

(…)

Complete article HERE

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Madonna exclaims ‘B!#%$ I’m from Detroit’ at ‘Rebel Heart’ hometown show

Madonna performs at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit during her Rebel Heart Tour, which stopped in her home state Thursday evening, Oct. 1, 2015. (Tanya Moutzalias | MLive Detroit)
Tanya Moutzalias | tmoutzal@mlive.com

DETROIT, MI – “Motor City, your hometown girl is back.” Madonna made sure she let fans in Detroit know she’s from the Detroit area and she’s proud of it.

Madonna was born in Bay City and raised in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills.

Madonna at Joe Louis Arena, Rebel Heart Tour

Quick summary:
Madonna put on a visually stunning and energetic show at Joe Louis Arena on October 1, 2015, featuring numerous costumes and dancers who also performed some physically demanding stunts between Madonna’s costume changes.

Madonna has more top 10 hits (38) than any other music artist in history. On this tour, you would never know she is 57 years old. She performs at a very high level not many artists can duplicate.

Madonna looks like she’s in incredible shape. And, she has to be to dance and sing as much as she did, looking like a woman half her age. She also pulled off some very difficult dance moves. Her voice still sounds terrific, as heard clearly on the numerous ballads throughout the show.

Madonna Detroit quotes:
“Motor City, your hometown girl is back.”

After singing “Body Shop:” “If anyone can understand the trials and tribulations of working at a body shop, it’s the Motor City.”

“Detroit made me who I am today.”

“They told me I have two hours, so get in, get out. Umm, bitch, I’m from Detroit.”

“I’m very proud to be part of the going-up process in Detroit. I’ve been involved in a lot of projects with Dan Gilbert. From the Youth Boxing Program, to the Women’s Empowerment Program. Detroit is making a comeback, so watch out.”

“We are going to build this city back up.”

“Detroit has some good looking guys. Why did I leave?”

Unique to Detroit:
Madonna wanted to do something special for her hometown crowd, so she performed an acoustic version of “Frozen.” She said this was a special performance just for Detroit, and from what I’ve seen from her other tour dates so far, she did not perform that hit song anywhere else.

To read the full review and view the photo gallery visit MLive

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Madonna brings spectacle — and new affection — to Detroit

After three decades of this, you thought Madonna might start taking it easy?

Certainly not this Madonna, the one who brought ageless energy, flamboyance and flash Thursday night to a packed Joe Louis Arena, homecoming stop on the pop queen’s Rebel Heart Tour. These days, the 57-year-old star seems eager to drive home a point: In a world brimming with pop contenders, there’s still only one of her.

With her father and daughter looking on, Madonna also served up the most Detroit-centric show we’ve ever seen from an artist who for years has been accused of spurning her roots. There were pep talks about the city’s resilience, celebrations of the city’s comeback (“Watch out!”), even a shout-out to developer and “incredible guy” Dan Gilbert.

The spectacle had started with a big helping of new “Rebel Heart” fare to go with Madonna’s latest foray into erotic religious imagery, her male dancers costumed as cross-bearing knights and their female counterparts as pole-dancing nuns. From there on through the euphoric “Holiday” encore, the two-hour-plus show kept up the brisk pace — a whirl of set changes, outfits that quickly went from lavish to skimpy, and tight, intricate dance numbers that often found their way down the lengthy catwalk.

In a defiant assertion of her relevance, Madonna has long used her tours to emphasize her latest music, and Thursday was no different: The set was loaded with “Rebel Heart” material, and when she did tap the older stuff, it got unapologetically reinvented. She strapped on a guitar to dial up the riff wattage of 1983’s “Burning Up,” and turned “Dress You Up” into a colorful, festive number complete with some rumba and a conga line. She and guitarist Monte Pittman doubled on ukuleles for “True Blue,” and teamed up again with acoustic guitars on “Who’s That Girl.” “Like a Virgin” was stripped into a spare, throbbing number in a rare scene that saw Madonna alone on the stage, a shared moment of intimate nostalgia between artist and audience.

Elsewhere, the classics got nipped and tucked inside other numbers, leaving fans with brief tastes of songs like “Vogue,” “Into the Groove” and “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore.”

Thursday brought a lean-and-lithe Madonna who balanced seriously intense performances with a lighthearted, sometimes mischievous spirit. For all the sizzle — the dazzling set pieces, the splashy visuals, the eye-popping interludes by her supremely skilled dance crew — it was a show that planted some genuine heart in the proceedings.

That was certainly the mood as she deposited ample Detroit devotion throughout. More than a year after providing financial support to several community organizations, Madonna name-checked two of them (the Empowerment Plan and Downtown Boxing Gym) from the Joe Louis stage, and spoke enthusiastically about her working relationship with Gilbert, the Quicken Loans magnate and downtown developer.

“Detroit made me who I am today, so I want to say thank you with these next few songs,” she said while easing into a stretch that included “Rebel Heart,” dedicated to her dad somewhere out in the crowd, 84-year-old Silvio Ciccone.

She also veered from her tour’s stock set list to present a Detroit exclusive: a gentle version of 1998’s “Frozen.” The Motor City is “the heart of America,” she explained, thus transforming the song’s open-your-heart lyrics into a plea to the country to unlock Detroit’s potential.

 

To read more and view the photogallery visit Detroit Free Press

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‘Hometown girl is back’ Madonna tells The Joe

Madonna returned home to Detroit on Thursday, bringing with her a joyous celebration of love, her hometown and her very favorite subject, herself.

The Material Girl’s Rebel Heart tour stop at Joe Louis Arena was a pure wowser of a show, an extravagant pop showcase only Madonna can pull off. While drawing heavily from this year’s “Rebel Heart” album, it pulled liberally from all corners of her career, and found Madonna dusting off hits and second-tier gems from her more than 30-year catalog.

There’s a reason legacy artists such as U2 and Madonna are still must-see concert acts, and part of it is the vast catalogs they have in their back pockets. They’ve put in decades of work and have a deep well of material, made up not only of those career-making global smashes everyone knows but those lesser known hits that are ripe for revisiting.

One of the great pleasures of U2’s 360 Tour was when the band pulled out the “Achtung Baby” album track “Ultraviolet (Light My Way)” during the encore, and Madonna had several of those moments Thursday. Some of her biggest hits were ignored – no “Like a Prayer,” no “Express Yourself,” no “Ray of Light” – while underappreciated fan favorites such as “True Blue” (reinvented as a campfire-style singalong), “Burning Up,” “Deeper and Deeper,” “Who’s That Girl,” “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” “Candy Shop” and “Frozen” were all given center stage. It was a night designed for and tailored to superfans, but it played to the masses. No one was left out of this dance party, and Madonna was a gracious host.

She shouted out Detroit early and often, announcing, “Motor City, are you ready to party? The hometown girl is back!” after opening the show with the highly-charged “Iconic.” Her father and daughter were in the audience and both got name checked, as did Dan Gilbert, whom she said she’s been proud to partner with in Detroit’s revitalization efforts. (Detroit’s Downtown Boxing Gym and the Empowerment Program were also given props.) “Detroit is making a comeback, so watch out!” she said late in the show, rousing the crowd. “I said watch out, get excited! Come on!”

There was plenty to get excited about. Madonna’s team of dancers – the best in the business, hands down – were never less than thrilling, especially in one sequence where they bobbed up and down on flexible stilts like the swinging polecats in “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

As always, Madonna toyed with and tweaked themes of sexuality and religion, combining them in ways designed to provoke and push buttons. During “Holy Water,” dancers dressed in modified religious habits danced on stripper poles that doubled as crosses, and the performance built to a recreation of the Last Supper with Madonna sprawled out on the table as the main course. (A bit of “Vogue” was mixed into the song, with religious iconography flashing on the video screens during the song’s roll call of Old Hollywood stars.) That led to “Devil Pray,” where Madonna’s arms were bound in red rope as she begged for forgiveness from a priest-type figure.

As if sensing things were getting a bit heavy, next up was “Body Shop,” which unfolded in a playful recreation of a mechanic’s garage. “If anyone can understand the trials and tribulations of working at a body shop, it’s the Motor City,” Madonna said.

Where Madonna’s last tour, the MDNA outing, was a heavy and often violent affair, there was a lighthearted tone in the air on Thursday. And Madonna seemed as loose and freewheeling as ever, cracking jokes with the crowd and going off script several times.

Meanwhile, the 130-minute show was a pure delight to watch unfold. It was a masterful production, tightly choreographed and precise, a study in exactitude. Anytime your eyes fixed on one thing on stage, something else was happening or getting ready to happen at the other end. A long catwalk stretched nearly the length of the arena and lit up the venue, bathing it in pink while Madonna sang “La Vie En Rose” (in French! While playing the ukulele!) late in the night. (She dedicated the song to her daughter.)

“Like a Virgin,” which has been given numerous stylistic overhauls over the years, was reinvented Thursday as a mid-00s hip-hop jam — think Ciara’s “1, 2 Step” – and it worked amazingly well. The show’s undisputed highlight was the gypsy-style, Cuban flavored “Dress You Up,” which segues into “Into the Groove” and “Lucky Star.” “Pretty good for a small town girl from Detroit,” Madonna said, boasting the city “made me what I am today.” (She worked overtime to distance herself from the negative comments she made about her Michigan upbringing earlier this year, at one point even calling Michigan the “heart of America.”)

It was another heart on display the rest of the night. During the intro to “Rebel Heart,” Madonna proudly categorized herself as one, saying, rebel hearts are “not always popular, but we will survive.” Madonna’s been a survivor her entire career, and Thursday’s concert showed her rebel heart is still tick, tick, ticking away.

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

To read more and view the photo gallery visit The Detroit News

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

By Gary Graff, ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com,, @GraffonMusic on Twitter for MACOMB DAILY

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

And it was a proud home town girl at that.

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

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

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

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

Madonna: “Provincial” home town was good for her

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

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

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

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LIVE REVIEW: AT THE ALTAR OF POP WORSHIP WITH MADONNA AND THE PHANTOM DEITY

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

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

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

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

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

Visit Vanyaland.com to read the full review

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