Cologne – Berlin – Antwerp – Mannheim (skipped) – London – Amsterdam – Paris – Glasgow
After the hectic release of Rebel Heart plus the fact Guy Oseary was on tour with U2, I never expected Madonna to be touring in 2015 and wait until 2016. I was completely wrong and a Rebel Heart Tour was announced.
On the day of the official announcement of the tour schedule and press release, we were spending the day in a very cold Paris to attend the taping of Le Grand Journal. Once we took a look at the dates it became fairly obvious which ones to book and what to skip.
I have been visiting Madonna’s live shows since the Drowned World Tour in 2001, as a newbie I ‘only’ attended four at the time. That show made such a huge impression on me that I was determined to book more shows on her next tour. So I did. In total I attended 12 shows during the Re-Invention Tour in 2004. This number has stayed with me ever since: 12-13 shows. A good number and affordable (without creating a huge debt), and to keep it fun (for me).
Back in 2004 I was labelled an ‘idiot’, what person in their right mind would attend 12 shows by the same artist of the same tour? How dare I buy all those tickets snatching them away so other fans that were going a lot less than me, didn’t have a chance to get them anymore. To make a long story short; yes I was bullied and to this day I still seem to have to explain myself to non-fans. I always compare it to a nice night out, something you do more than once. As well as viewing a favorite movie multiple times, just because you enjoy it so much.
What occurred to me most during this tour, is how things have changed regarding attending the number of shows. A lot of fans have booked much more shows than I have this time around. Let me start by saying that not everybody has the same priorities or can afford it financially. The number of shows does not indicate at all how big of a fan you are. Whether you attend only one, whether you attend 35. Everyone is entitled to choose how many they ‘want’ to attend, let’s not judge each other based on a number. Madonna keeps on saying during her shows how ‘we are all one’, ‘bow down to love’ and ‘unity’. Something to think about.
Regarding the season, this was a first for me touring with Madonna in the Fall. I have been suffering from a Fall – Winter depression for years now and this year too it truly struck me. I do not take medication for this, but try to make it bearable by taking extra vitamin D. Hans and me decided to not queue this tour, due to the weather conditions in the Fall (rain, wind, cold). If this meant experiencing the show from the back of the arena, so be it. This was our own choice and supported it 100%.
The anticipation was killing me (not that hard to imagine when her last tour was the brilliance that is MDNA). Anticipation only rose when Tony Villanueva (M’s dresser) declared this to be his favorite show of hers and that it used to be the Drowned World Tour. To me Madonna’s Drowned World Tour is her greatest live accomplishment to date; the most theatrical show she’s ever put on. The vibe during those shows back then was magical, every second of that show is my personal Madonna live highlight.
In the middle of the night Jochen Vanhoudt who attended the opening night in Montreal, sent me text messages that the show was about to start. I got up, turned on the computer and was all ready for any updates. The first pictures of the show gave me a Sticky & Sweet deja-vu, mainly caused by her hairstyle, backdrop video’s and stage. This worried me a bit as to me Sticky & Sweet wasn’t a good live show. I posted the first updates and went back to bed around 5.30 in the morning.
The following days I watched multiple live video’s on YouTube, bought the newspapers and tried to form an image of the show. From what I viewed online and I have to be honest here, I wasn’t impressed with it. It didn’t instantly wow me like the MDNA tour had done. But as with every other live show, you can really only judge it once you’ve experienced it in person.
COLOGNE, NOVEMBER 4 2015
Finally the day had arrived of the European premiere and I was quite anxious as to how I would experience it. Together with Hans and Dave we left by car around 5 in the morning on our way to Cologne. We have driven to Cologne before so therefore we arrived without any issues. Quickly located our hotel, as we were too early to check in we decided to head to the centre. It was very cold in Cologne, much colder than expected.
Our hotel was based right next to the Lanxess arena so we had to pass the people queuing outside in order to get to the tram. We decided to take a look at who was queuing but it was freezing, so hopped on the tram asap. We ate and drank something here, but most of all warmed ourselves up a bit. We spotted some posters and billboard advertising the shows. Some local newspapers already posted articles on her arrival in Cologne.
In the afternoon we met up with Fred and Alex and had a drink together. There were speculations already that some things might be changed to the show during the European leg, we were about to find out that night.
We arrived at the arena even before the doors opened, since it was still very chilly outside this wasn’t really our idea of ‘not queuing’. Once inside we made sure our thick winter jackets were stored away and walked into the arena. First time seeing the stage in person and first time ‘listening’ to DJ Mary Mac. We ultimately agreed that this DJ somehow never found a good flow among all the songs she spinned, making it hard for us to really dance to it. Nice to meet up with the management, dancers and crew again.
Madonna started late, this has been a thing ever since the MDNA Tour so we expected it. Unfortunately we have all aged so our backs and feet already hurt before she even sang one note. We chose to see the show from the left side main stage. The first thing I noticed was how I never got the chills during the opening video of ICONIC. Madonna is known for her incredible entrances. The MDNA Tour was visually so well done that it made it seem like you were actually in that church, it was that good.
Madonna coming out of a cage only reminded me of her coming out of the disco ball during the Confessions Tour. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I never really ‘got’ into the show. I would’ve preferred to hear the album version of Bitch I’m Madonna with a choreo similar to that at Jimmy Fallon which I found much more fitting (especially if done as an encore, much better than Holiday). Burning Up disappointed as I felt it was too similar to the Re-Invention Tour performance. We missed out on basically everything that was performed on the catwalk which was a shame. We didn’t like the 80’s medley. Dress You Up and Into The Groove are such beloved classics, why alter it in such a way that people barely recognize it and find it hard to dance to?
Highlights for me included: Deeper and Deeper (finally the album version), HeartbreakCity, Music (album version!!) and Candy Shop (amazing remix and choreo). Madonna came across different from previous tours. The powerbitch we saw during the MDNA Tour (and every other tour) was gone and here we had this happy cheerful smiley Madonna cracking jokes throughout the night. This is something we really had to get used to, but she did make us smile. The ‘fan’ going on stage during Unapologetic Bitch was given clear instructions what to do and how to dance, we saw it all. Was very obvious that this wasn’t a real fan from the start.
When the show ended we were a bit confused as we didn’t know whether we liked it or not. This show was lightyears away from MDNA. We actually felt the same as after seeing Sticky & Sweet in Cardiff. Perhaps we just needed to see it a few more times to really appreciate it. We didn’t sleep that night due to a certain roommate snoring his way throughout the night. Tried to sleep in the bathroom but the cold of the floor made it impossible for me. So went back to bed and played some Candy Crush until the morning.
COLOGNE, NOVEMBER 5 2015
Hans and me barely slept for one hour so we were completely knackered. After breakfast we checked out and put our stuff in the car as we were driving back home after the show.
We walked passed the queue to the tram, people were already queuing up again for the show that night (respect, I couldn’t do it). We barely had any energy due to not sleeping, we ate and drank something the city center. Madonna stayed in a hotel right next to the Dom, so it was very crowded there.
Walking without any energy made me feel like my feet were touching clouds at one point, I just wanted to lay in bed. That evening we had some great dinner with Fred and Alex at Vappiano’s. Quite a stupid thing I did, a DVD Fred just gave me, was left at the restaurant on a bench (only found out about it the next day). We entered the arena much later than yesterday. We chose to see the show from the heart stage tonight.
We had a good view of the stage and noticed that the floor was really quite empty. No problem at all to move from one space to another. We felt that Madonna was more at ease tonight, making it much more fun for us to watch the show. To our surprise there was no 80’s medley after La Isla Bonita but she suddenly rose from the heart stage with guitar. We were so happy and enjoyed this immensely. Imagine our surprise when she spontaneously sang a bit from the classic ‘Fever’. Our Madonna fever had instantly returned, this had been such a treat.
The song Rebel Heart is simply an instant classic and great to sing a long to. We left during Unapologetic Bitch as we wanted to beat traffic. We unanimously agreed that the second show had been much better than the first. It was addictive seeing Madonna genuinely having a good time on stage.
We hit the road in an instant and our trip back to Amsterdam went well. We first dropped off Dave at the RAI and a few minutes later Hans dropped me at my place around 2 in the morning. I went upstairs and woke up Dirk saying that I was home early.
My phone then rang and I saw it was Hans. When I answered he told me ‘I just crashed the car’, thinking obviously that he was joking (as we had joked about in on our way back in the car), he was dead serious. He was in shock and obviously confused, so I put my shoes back on and went outside as it literally happened just around the corner.
Hans and a different car crashed into each other, the other car flying up against a lantern. Police and the ambulance were already there. Hans thankfully wasn’t injured but the girl in the other car was and was taken to a hospital for a check up. I remained calm, listened to Hans and observed the situation. The lights weren’t working at that cross section, and there was construction work causing for an obstruction of the view. Both cars simply drove 50km per hour, it was a case of simply not seeing one another. Hans had to fill out various forms and had to discuss the details so he sent me home. I did not get into bed until 5.30 and when I did, I just blacked out.
BERLIN, NOVEMBER 9 2015
The tour didn’t start the way we planned it. Hans’ car was total loss and the shock of such an accident (things could’ve been much worse). It was hard to put our thoughts aside and concentrate on the other upcoming Rebel Heart shows. Hans was left without a vehicle but thanks to Dirk with his car we found our way to Berlin.
The road to Berlin is one we have driven a few times before ever since Sticky & Sweet in 2008. Our hotel was fantastic and nearby the Berlin wall and Mercedes Benz arena. Weather wasn’t good, windy and rainy (what else do you expect in the Fall?) We didn’t plan much today, met up with Fred later on the evening.
BERLIN, NOVEMBER 10 2015
Hans won Early Entry through ICON so in the windy weather all three of us (Fred, Hans and me) went up to the Mercedes Benz arena. The organisation was extremely bad, with nowhere to shelter from the rain and the wind the wait took up over 90 minutes in order to acquire the wristband, VIP pass and book. Completely frozen we went back to the hotel and to top it all off the zipper of my coat broke. I was very thankful for the few remaining buttons.
Around 8 we went up the arena again. Rocco was hanging around on the floor as well as many dancers and crew. The floor was much more crowded than it had been in Cologne, so it wasn’t as easy to move around. Idris Elba was the support act and this was a true blessing to our ears. We started the show by viewing it left side main stage again. The crowd was much more into the show here in Berlin than in Cologne. The 80’s medley was back, followed by Secret and Rebel Heart she skipped Who’s That Girl. Idris was tonight’s unapologetic bitch and a lot of fun. It did occur to us that the jokes Madonna seemed to be so spontaneously cracking in Cologne, were repeated every night.
BERLIN, NOVEMBER 11 2015
Didn’t feel well today so I took things easy. We had dinner with Fred later on and went up to the arena around 8. Mary Mac was back as the support act. The floor was again very crowded. Madonna really took her time tonight and did not start ICONIC until 10.20. No 80’s medley but an incredible version of Like a Prayer. This made everyone jump up, dance and sing a long. Rita Ora was standing right next to us while she was being instructed on how to be the bitch on stage. She wore an interesting skirt with a split right at the front to which M responded ‘What’s that? Easy access?’
Berlin was fun, enjoyed these a lot more than Cologne.
ANTWERP, NOVEMBER 28 2015
Arriving home I found out that my suitcase was missing my beloved Sony Walkman. The hotel told me they hadn’t found anything but I know I had it with me 100%, didn’t use it but I remember seeing it in my suitcase. Great.
In the meantime there had been some terrible terrorist attacks in Paris with a lot of people killed and injured, in areas where I have been multiple times. People around me told me not to follow through with the remaining shows and certainly to avoid Belgium and Paris. I immediately felt like going anyway, because if you let this scare you you might as well never leave your house again. Madonna’s speech in Stockholm sealed the deal for me. She was going to cancel the show in Stockholm but realized that that is exactly what the terrorists were after, spreading fear. She decided not to give in to it and perform anyway.
We left for Antwerp with Dirk’s car again around noon. This was our third Belgian Madonna show, the previous two (Werchter 2009 and Brussels 2012) weren’t two of our favorites. Our hotel was located right in the middle of the city center (Billard palace) and wasn’t really ‘taken care of’. We ate some lunch in the afternoon in the company of Dave and husband HJ. After this we weren’t really that hungry anymore so decided to skip proper dinner and eat something at the Sportpaleis.
The security wasn’t bad at all, as we had expected due to the raised security levels. Unfortunately we couldn’t really get a good meal at the Sportpaleis, I settled on pita bread with two small falafels and a bit of lettuce. We decided on seeing the show from the heart stage in the back, the floor was even more crowded than in Berlin. No room to move at all and to top it all off, it was really very warm. DJ Lunice was tonight’s support act, for us a first. It was terrible, no recognizable songs, no flow, no rhythm, nothing but noise. Who is choosing Madonna’s support acts? What happened to good old Paul Oakenfold?
She started fairly on time (21.45) and the crowd gave a good reception, especially from True Blue on. Madonna was very chatty and her now famous jokes were all extended. Madonna seemed to enjoy herself and looked to be sincere. Isaac Sinwani was one of the special guests (known for the song Isaac and performing during The Confessions Tour in 2006). A lot of press was spotted including a lady struggling to keep her eyes open (please if you cannot even make the effort, stay home and send someone else). Isaac wasn’t the bitch that night, this surprised me as it seemed obvious (and he walked out after Rebel Heart). She performed Don’t Tell Me tonight, from all the shows we saw she definitely got the best reception here.
I wasn’t feeling well during the show at all and suspected this had something to do with the lack of good food today. I simply refused to leave the show to get something to eat, so I finished the show being stubborn. However during Holiday I felt so sick that I really only wanted to leave the Sportpaleis as soon as possible. Once I was in the hallway though the room spinned around me and I couldn’t take another step. To make a long story short; yes I was taken to the first aid in a wheelchair where they took my blood pressure, and was way too high. They gave me a lot of sugar and coke and once the world stopped spinning I made my way back to the hotel with Hans, Dave and HJ. It was a combination of not eating well, no rest, no sleep.
If you think I finally got my rest when back in the hotel, you are wrong. Unfortunately many of the other guests in the hotel thought it necessary to communicate (and flirt) loudly in the hallway. I am talking about the very early hours of the next day, there was no response to my request if they could keep it down. At first the receptionist didn’t want to help either, but he eventually had to as their talking turned into screaming. They were silent after the receptionist spoke to them, I however never got to sleep again.
MANNHEIM OR AMSTERDAM? NOVEMBER 29 2015
After another night of no sleeping (this truly was a thing this tour) I was a wreck. We were supposed to be driving to Mannheim today (show and hotel were already paid for), but we were both so done with everything that we decided to go home instead.
When checking out I told the receptionist once again that our stay hadn’t been that pleasant to which he said ‘but they were from your country’. I mean, seriously?! It is a given we will never stay at this hotel again. TERRIBLE.
We got back to Amsterdam quickly and didn’t regret our decision one second to skip Mannheim. We were actually happy when we read she didn’t start the show that evening until 23.00.
LONDON, DECEMBER 1 2015
This just wasn’t my tour. Not even rested from my adventure in Antwerp and the many nights without sleep, flu was getting to me. Take this in combination with my winter depression resulted in a complete and total breakdown. You can imagine I wasn’t at all excited to move my ass to London, let alone by plane. You all know that flying is my favorite hobby and I mean that sarcastically.
I would be lying if I tell you I was good company. If you know someone who suffers from Winter depression they can tell you that this is a truly sucky thing. Our flight to London was OK and were there quickly. We stayed in Hotel St. Giles as we have done so many times before. I was so ill already that I didn’t see much besides my hotel room.
We got on the boat to the O2 at five only to find out the Family & Friends window did not open until 18.30. When we finally got our tickets we went inside to check out our seats. They ended up being front row heart stage seats, this made us very happy. Idris Elba was back, yes yes our ears were pleased (and eyes too). We spoke to Guy Oseary who invited us over for a photoshoot he was doing with tattooed fans, unfortunately our flight schedule messed this up for us. We were in complete and total shock when the show started at nine, this was for Madonna a completely unique time.
Noel Gallagher from Oasis who was also assigned front row heart stage seats in the center, couldn’t get to his seat as fans were blocking it (and they didn’t have front row heart stage seats). Guy Oseary had to intervene as they simply wouldn’t budge and Noel Gallagher was just standing there confused what to do. Guy had to ask the fans to please move to make room for Noel, I felt terribly ashamed for them especially since these weren’t their seats to begin with.
The show was fantastic, Madonna in her element. We loved experiencing the show from the front row and thoroughly enjoyed it. Madonna felt I wasn’t singing along loud enough during Who’s That Girl so she gave me a ‘you can do better than that’ look. The audience was fantastic, singing and dancing to everything not sitting down once. It was interesting hearing Madonna speak and a fraction of a second later hearing it in her microphone, the things you notice when you’re up close. She spoke about World Aids day and was visibly touched. Who’s That Girl and Like a Prayer were performed, the latter causing for a dancing frenzy. Graham Norton was the bitch of the night, I actually expected Stella McCartney to be the bitch so this was a surprise to me.
LONDON, DECEMBER 2 2015
Took the boat to the O2 again, were assigned seats between the main and cross stage tonight, another different view again. No Idris but Mary Mack was back. Show started at nine, the crowd wasn’t as much into the show as last night’s crowd and M seemed to notice this too. M spoke about David Collins who passed away one year prior and dedicated No Substitute For Love to him. Couldn’t believe my ears when she actually sang this song, completely new and unique to the setlist of this tour. Thought I was back at the Drowned World Tour for a second, the nostalgia! Beautiful and my personal highlight. Stella was tonight’s bitch but seemed to not really want to be in the spotlight and came across as shy. The press was extremely positive.
One day later we took the plane back to Amsterdam, good flight nothing to comment about it. Unfortunately the boat trips had secured the flu for me and it hit me hard.
AMSTERDAM, DECEMBER 5 2015
Madonna in my backyard! Very different from the MDNA Tour Madonna arrived only shortly before the first show and there were no sightseeing stops. During MDNA M experienced a few nice relaxing days in Amsterdam, visiting the Anne Frank house and taking a trip through the canals. The weather was obviously very different, windy, rainy and cold. My voice had gone completely and the flu was still very much present.
It was the first time for Dirk to witness a Madonna show. Before the show we had a drink outside the venue and then got to queue for 40 minutes until we were finally in. Hans had a photo pass for tonight’s show so would be photographing the first three songs professionally. Fred, Alex and Amon were there too so we made sure we had a good time. Decided to view the show from right side main stage. The bar over there was closed so I sat on the bar giving me an excellent overall view. Even though I reported the floor in Antwerp was super crowded, here in Amsterdam it was even fuller. It even looked like more tickets had been sold than they could actually fit people. And they still say that Madonna can’t sell out a show anymore.
Show started around 10, crowd got into the show around True Blue. The 80’s medley was performed followed by Secret and Don’t Tell Me. Tonight’s bitch was a crew member to the disappointment of many genuine fans in the audience.
AMSTERDAM, DECEMBER 6 2015
As ill as I was yesterday, today was even worse. The only sound coming out of me was a hoarse whisper instead of a proper voice. That afternoon I received a request by e-mail stating that M was looking for challenging Dutch reviews, if I could gather some. So I did, found them, translated and sent them through. Later that day Jochen Vanhoudt gave me some newspapers from Belgium, I was also very happy with the ‘BIM’ hair he created for me, applied to my hair by my mother.
When entering the Ziggo Dome I fell out with one of the security members who searched my bag. He told me that the camera I had with me could not be taken inside. I told him, that he was wrong that I knew the rules, had discussed them with Live Nation many times and that the camera was approved everywhere else. He only responded by saying that if he caught me inside with it he would remove me. I said I wouldn’t accept any threats and went up to his supervisor. His supervisor told me that indeed my camera was fine and then spoke to the asshole to tell him about it. Such a prick.
Lunice was back, because we wanted to secure a good front row main stage spot we were obligated to listen to his entire set. We saw the show from this point up until Deeper and then went up to the heart stage. She also spoke about ‘dating’ Dutch guys. No 80’s medley, but a stern and not very cheerful Madonna started to speech. My ears listened to Madonna quote the exact words I translated that very afternoon. That was funny, I knew she wanted to read the reviews, but wasn’t aware she would be using them in tonight’s show. She wasn’t in a good mood and it showed. It was also telling since she didn’t post anything on her Instagram while in Amsterdam, no ‘thank you Amsterdam’ or anything.
Tonight’s bitch had to be a man by Madonna’s request, so during Candy Shop a guy was randomly selected from the left side main stage. He got his instructions throughout Material Girl and La Vie En Rose.
Dirk liked the shows but concluded that two was more than enough for him.
PARIS, DECEMBER 9 2015
Okay it’s starting to be predictable but yes I was even sicker than in Amsterdam (if that is even possible). I had the flu, fever, no voice, couldn’t open my mouth without coughing like crazy. Hans and me boarded the Thalys and coughed our way through the three hour trip to Paris. I have to be honest in saying I should’ve stayed at home as my body really needed to rest badly in order to get rid of my flu. But my dear friend Fred was in Paris and also didn’t want to disappoint Hans.
I can be short on my Paris experience; the hotel room was small and humid. Hans was ill as well and coughed along with me. We ate at Bercy village that evening with Fred and went inside around 20.30. I expected a very strict security check, but they barely checked my bag. How in the hell is there no wardrobe in Bercy? We experienced the show from the sounddesk, a lot of VIP’s and invitees tonight. Jean Paul Gaultier of course, but also spotted Mirwais and Natalie Portman.
The shows in Paris were said to be very special due to what happened a few weeks prior. After the 80’s medley M got her son David on stage and they sang Give Peace A Chance together. M spoke about the attacks in her speech saying we must not bow down to fear, but only to love. Without question we knew that Jean Paul was to be tonight’s bitch and he did an excellent job. After the show we took a picture with him.
Once back in the hotel room we read Madonna’s Instagram message about singing songs on the freedom square. Knowing that even grabbing a cab would not get us there in time, we decided not to risk it and stay in our beds. Had we known about this back at Bercy, things would’ve been different.
PARIS, DECEMBER 10 2015
The morning started for me barking my way through breakfast after another sleepless night. Hans and me were coughing so bad that we kept each other awake. We were completely ignored by the lady working in the breakfast area, later we found out it was because we didn’t speak French. Absolute rude behavior, we won’t be staying here again.
Hans took a walk outside, I tried to catch some hours of sleep. Day two in Paris was spent in bed as well. We ate pizza in the evening and entered Bercy around 20.30. I was so ill that I remained in the back, playing Candy Crush and left after Rebel Heart. Hans and me both felt horrible, had no energy and really had to focus on our health now. David performed with Madonna again, this time singing Like a Prayer.
PARIS – AMSTERDAM, DECEMBER 11 2015
On our way to Gare de Nord in the cab I found out that my money was missing from my wallet. Money I made sure I had the night before in order to pay the cab fare. The only time I left my wallet was during breakfast that morning.
Sweaty and nauseous I boarded the Thalys and only slept when I got back home. I fell asleep at 15.00 in the afternoon, was woken up at 19.30 to eat only to fall asleep again. I awoke the next day at 12.30, you do the math. I never slept this much in my entire life, says a lot about the state I was in at that point.
GLASGOW, DECEMBER 19 2015
On our way to the last show in Europe! I finally felt better. The flight to Glasgow was quite turbulent so I was stressed out. Flying above Glasgow the weather conditions were quite bad, making the plane sway from left to right. Right before the plane hit the ground it suddenly took off again, rising high above the clouds and no one knew why. It took a long while before we finally heard that there had been a warning in the cockpit and they would be trying for a second landing in five minutes. The landing was successful but they had to step on the brakes quite a bit.
Hans who is not afraid to fly at all, thought this wasn’t a good experience too. We quickly took the bus to the city center where our hotel was. Of course we got off on the wrong stop making us walk 30 minutes to find our hotel. Our hotel came straight out of classic horror movies such as Psycho, Dolls and Amityville. Old and mysterious, I loved it. The view was good, looking out on a dark abandoned building, didn’t spot any ghosts though. Did some sightseeing in Glasgow, ate at TGI Fridays and Pizza Express.
GLASGOW, DECEMBER 20 2015
Shopped and visited some second hand record stores. Went up to the SSE Hydro that night, a long walk but good for our condition. We had to pick up our tickets at the Family & Friends window, however this was the same window as general box office causing for a long queue that did not move at all. When we were finally presented with our tickets we saw our seats were in row Q, no idea where they were so we asked someone working there.
To our surprise they turned out to be front row cross stage seats, on the side where she ‘plays’ with the fan during Like a Virgin. I was so happy with these seats as they were exactly what I had wished for, with the best view to date. No one in front of us, no one pushing in our backs. She started the show later than expected around 21.45. They changed her hair a bit and she looked stunning, we loved it. Did notice right away there were issues with her ear or mic. She kept making signs and mouthing words to the technicians. During Burning Up they checked out her soundpack and it made her miss her ‘walk’ for Holy Water. More stuff went wrong, she also rose from the stage too late for Living For Love almost running on the catwalk.
During her speech she spoke about Ghosttown being voted the number 1 song of 2015 by Rolling Stone readers. In honor of this she finally performed the track live. She surprised us by completely skipping the 80’s section. Our view was so good, we could see it all and up close, I was overjoyed. After Unapologetic Bitch the lights suddenly went on. Hans said ‘no Holiday’, but I found that hard to believe as I saw the band was still on stage and the start of the video to Holiday could be seen on the screens. However the lights stayed on, the doors were opened and the power was off. Madonna still came on in her Holiday outfit with Santa hat on. Even though we couldn’t hear her sing or hear the music, the crowd sang the song to her. This was an absolutely unique way to end our tour.
GLASGOW – AMSTERDAM, DECEMBER 21 2015
Our flight back started a lot less turbulent, until we got to Amsterdam. It stormed in Amsterdam causing the small KLM cityhopper plane to land in very turbulent weather. I felt like being on a rollercoaster. Thankfully we landed at the first attempt. The Rebel Heart Tour was done for us. Happy that our last show had been a very memorable one.
Every Madonna tour is an adventure, a party, a special event. There is no other performer like her, she is unique, fabulous, indescribable and cannot be duplicated.
I am a very honest person and never afraid to speak my mind, no matter how much shit I get for it. I am not one of those fans that automatically loves everything she does, when I don’t like something I will say it and won’t pretend to like it just because ‘it’s Madonna’. To me there was something missing in this show, some ingredient that I can’t quite put my finger on. The excitement, the magic, I don’t know. Of course everyone experiences her shows differently, a lot of fans and most of the press absolutely adored this show. I am one of the few that think her Drowned World Tour was her best live show ever (closely followed by MDNA). We all have different tastes and we need to, life would be so boring if we all agreed on everything. We are all entitled to our own opinion, there is no need to discuss that. Our opinions are our own.
Unfortunately many elements in this show I have seen in her previous shows. Some choreo and tricks have been used before, it was a very clear Jamie King show. I became a fan of Madonna the powerbitch back in ’91. The ultimate performer not taking shit from anyone. The performer that pushed people’s buttons and wanted to wake people up. This was something that I couldn’t find in Rebel Heart. Reviews wrote about this, saying she does not need controversy in order to perform a good show. To which I agree, but it is also a matter of what kind of live show you prefer to experience. I prefer a theatrical storytelling on stage such as Blond Ambition, Drowned World and MDNA.
There were definitely some highlights in Rebel Heart and I thoroughly enjoyed the shows in Berlin, London and Glasgow. Mainly due to the excellent seats. I have to be honest and say that I prefer her previous tours (minus Sticky & Sweet). Of course I am very curious how her next tour will play out to be, how the set up will be. Will it be very different from the huge productions we are used to?
Also, luck hasn’t been on our side this tour. If it hadn’t been for the car accident, the loss of my Walkman, the stealing of my money, the sickness throughout the tour and the Winter depression we might have had a very different conclusion regarding this tour. If this tour would’ve been scheduled in the Summer and we hadn’t had all those setbacks, we for sure enjoyed it so much more.
It is not just the show, it is the entire experience.
Kimberly van Pinxteren