She’s the absolute Queen of reinvention, the Queen of pop who influenced a generation to wear ra-ra skirts in the 80s, footless leggings and an arm full of bangles. Well before the likes of Lady Gaga made the rallying cry that she was Born This Way, our Madge was expressing herself in a pointy bra and masculine suit.

And more than 30 years on Her Madgesty Madonna is still going strong, this time with a Rebel Heart. And she proved that she is still quite the rebel by keeping us waiting for an hour.

The crowd were beginning to boo just before – thank goodness – she took to the stage, in a cage, singing the thumping track Iconic from the album Rebel Heart looking like a female warrior in a red cape and fierce black boots, stalking the arrow shaped stage with her troupe of dancers.

She later defiantly blames her lateness on a broken video player, not on diva behaviour, telling the crowd “if you diva b***** want to keep complaining about it don’t come to my show.” Well that’s us told.

“Alright Manchester. Are you with me?” she screams, her long blonde hair flying with determination. And the answer is yes as the crowd get their dance moves on to the playful B***ch I’m Madonna as this 57-year-old idol snaps a red geisha fan and kicks out with her pointy heels.

In a nod to her punk roots she gets out an electric guitar for Burning Up and she mixes in the classic Vogue with Holy Water, assisted by pole dancers sliding around large crucifixes wearing nun’s habits and white frilly pants. Then we’re reminded of her controversial Like a Prayer days when she belts out Devil Pray, falling to her knees to sing hallelujah. It’s nice to see she hasn’t ever lost the ability to shock after all these years.

“If you diva b***** want to keep complaining about it don’t come to my show.”

Highlights come from the classic pop Like A Virgin, funked up with Madonna stamping across the stage in shiny black dancing shoes like a female Michael Jackson. La Isla Bonita is also given extra oomph and attitude.

Thank goodness the cape flew off at the right moment this time on Living For Love, to a big cheer.

We were expecting to hear a medley of other classics Dress You Up, Into the Groove and Lucky Star but they were switched for an acapella Open Your Heart that had everyone singing along.

We also didn’t get the encore Holiday and the show ended abruptly three songs early after Material Girl, presumably because of the lateness. The attitude was replaced by Marilyn Monroe-like sweetness as she cooed “I love you all.” And then she was gone.

It’s amazing to realise that this pop icon’s first ever performance in this country was here in Manchester at the Hacienda for a live broadcast of The Tube in January 1984. Now with Rebel Heart she is on her 10th world tour and her blonde ambition is still well intact.

Let’s hope there are no technical hitches next time eh?



B***h I’m Madonna

Burning Up

Holy Water” (contains excerpts from “Vogue”)

Devil Pray

Messiah (video interlude)

Body Shop

True Blue

Deeper and Deeper

HeartBreakCity (contains excerpts from Love Don’t Live Here Anymore)

Like a Virgin (contains elements of Heartbeat and Justify My Love)

S.E.X. (video interlude contains elements of Justify My Love)

Living For Love

La Isla Bonita

Open Your Heart

Dress You Up / Into the Groove/ Everybody/ Lucky Star / Dress You Up (Reprise)

Who’s That Girl

Rebel Heart

Illuminati (video interlude)

Music (contains elements of Give It 2 Me)

Candy Shop

Material Girl

Read more at Manchester Evening News