PRELUDE: FACT v FICTION
If you’ve watched any of the televisions news, read any of the ‘reliable’ newspaper reports or social media updates regarding Madonna’s supposedly drunken behaviour, public melt down on stage and erratic displays on throughout the tour, then you may have believed it to be all true. Because if its on the television news or in a newspaper then it most definitely accurate. Well, I can tell you it could not be any further from the truth.
Since Madonna first appeared almost 40 years ago in the music industry, she has been classified as ‘a one-hit wonder’, ‘she won’t last longer than six months’, ‘her time is up’ or a ‘has been’. The woman is used to being written off, more times than a snake sheds it skin.
Over 300 million selling albums and 84 singles later, I think by now she has probably proven herself. Madonna continues to make ground in the music industry and continues to sell out stadiums around the world and still be the biggest selling female singer of all time.
If you have ever been to any Madonna concert you will know that its jam packed with full on tight choreography and intricate moves. There is just no movement for any sort of stuff up. One slight hiccup and the whole concert is completely ruined.
Madonna has been a classically trained dancer since the age of 17 and has been so self-disciplined on health all her life. If Madonna was drunk, the whole two hour concert would be disastrious and the one thing Madonna hates is having no control. She is all about the control (sorry Ms. Jackson. Haha!) and has always been a strict disciplinarian when she is working and also expects others around her to be just as focused as well.
This is an artist that gives 120 per cent. She works harder than any other artist in the industry in obtaining perfection.
So the best suggestion I have in regards to all these media reports is to basically use any newspaper or magazine article that is bad mouthing Madonna (especially more so if it happens to be written by Piers Morgan, because he likes to make it his mission to publicly acknowledge his personal hate/vendetta towards Madonna) use the article for you pet to toilet themselves on it and throw it into the garbage bin. Seriously.
Just don’t buy into any media outlet that prefers to sell fiction rather than fact.
REBEL HEART: A TRUE WARRIOR
This concert has shown why it was worth the 23 year wait for Australians and why she is undoubtedly the best pop star in the world.
Seriously, no one knows on how to put on a show like Madonna. Since the ground breaking Blonde Ambition tour in 1990, which changed the way concerts were ever going to be done, this type of concert has been replicated by female singers world wide repeatedly. Combining vigorous dance performances, with elaborate costumes, giant screen sets and including video imaginary when the singer is quickly changing their costumes. Madonna continues to out do even the youngest female singers stage wise. There is no stopping Ms Ciccone. You couldn’t back when she first appeared in 1983 and you most definitely cannot in 2016 and/or beyond.
Madonna made her grand entrance on Saturday 12th March 2016 (and played again on Sunday 13th March) at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne (Australia) with the song, ‘Iconic’ from her most recent album ‘Rebel Heart’, being descended onto the stage in a gilded cage, dressed in a kimono marching up and down the runway with commandment, authority and power. The performance, which includes Catholic imagery roars with warrior determination and fierceness that is all too well classic Madonna. She has always done things, ‘Madonna’s way’.
At one point during the night Madonna joked that the heart stage, “looks like a penis! I swear I didn’t design it that way but looking at it this way it sure does look like a penis!” Madonna breaks into laughter and the crowd laughs along. The entrance was fierce and showed that this was a Madonna not to be messed with. From here she undresses and heads straight into ‘Bitch, I’m Madonna’, proclaiming it with every ounce of energy of who she is. From here she heads straight to the middle of the runway, straps on a very cool V guitar and plays a rocked-out version of ‘Burning Up.’ The crowd is screaming and jumping up & down going berserk
On this night I could already see that this was a different Madonna to the one I saw on Thursday night last week at her Tears of a Clown show . On that night she was raw, fragile, reflective and emotionally broken because of the continuing saga with her ex-husband Guy Ritchie over custody battles with their son Rocco.
On Saturday, Madonna was full of fire and ready to show Australia and the world why she is who she is: the best.
Madonna said to the audience: “Thank you for your patience, you’ve waited over 20 years. What the f**k is wrong with me? Seriously! Fuck me! No, seriously somebody f**k me!”
Madonna cracks up laughing, the crowd laughs along and many respond with, “yes please!’ Guys AND girls. She isn’t serious about asking somebody to f**k her. Can the media just back off and realise when Madonna is having a laugh and just playing around. When did it all become so politically correct and humor just disappear. Oh that’s right! Newspapers and trashy tabloids need readership but most importantly sell their publications to make some money. Desperate sad low lives.
Regardless what her age is, she is an inspiration for all women to aspire to. And what I mean by that, is by believing in yourself, in your sexuality, not allowing what society dictates on how you should act and be once you reach a certain age. Not allowing your gender to be a determining factor on how your life should be decided by others and most of all, to stand up for whatever it is that you believe in. They don’t need believe in it, only you do. Do what makes you happy. Madonna has always done this since she arrived in the entertainment industry and always had the courage to challenge what seemed “appropriate” for a woman at any age.
The first section of the theme ends with ‘Holy Water & Vogue’. You have scantily clad sexy pole-dancing nuns and at one point its an incredible vision of Madonna, straddling the back of one her near naked dancers dressed up as nuns whilst spinning at the top of a pole. Obviously if yo’ve heard the lyrics of the song you would know that its about oral sex. When the album was released earlier last year, two of the songs I didn’t really take to were ‘S.E.X.’ and ‘Holy Water’. Over time as I listened to the album regularly, they both started to grow on me and now are one of my (many) favorites on the album. Remember she does things very tongue in cheek. To watch both songs actually performed live, takes the them to a whole other level that I am now obsessed with these two songs. On the night those two performances were simply visually stunning and the choreography so on point, that it was beyond INCREDIBLE! Massive applause to the choreographer for these dance routines. So intricate, tight and freaking sexy as hell.
Year after year, comments in the media and by certain prudish society sectors keep commenting on how ‘Madonna needs to start to cover up’, ‘act her age’, ‘just tone it down’ and to ‘cover up grandma’.
My question is why?
Is society simply that afraid of a woman who is self assured, self confident in her own body and skin, and in her sexuality?
Does that mean from the age of 40 EVERY woman in the world should be wearing grandma underwear, wear dresses or skirts down to their ankles and sit on a porch and knit dollies?
Are women supposedly meant to age gracefully, be silent and lurk behind the shadow of a man?
While male entertainers are commanded and applauded from the (extremely) much younger women they date to continuing on working the worlds stage still at the age of 70 plus. They are labeled as heroes and legends but whereas if its a woman, she’s called a haggered, a has-been and should be put out to the retirement village.
Madonna has always been about testing and pushing the boundaries, little bit by little bit. Setting the motion for discussion amongst all of us. Opening up our eyes and minds to a whole new world. And she succeeds. Whether if the topic is too controversial for its time, it is guaranteed that it will be spoken about when it’s universally ready. Sex and religion has always been her main game and she is the best one at playing it.
Madonna’s stage craft in each section of the show is absolutely brilliant. Each set is elaborately staged and travels from one theme to another. You are taken on a journey of thoughts, feelings, education and visual master pieces. It’s done in a way to evoke a spirit in each of us all. The show is a theatrical experience. From the elaborate sets, to the choreography, to the acrobatics from her dancers (especially when they are flying back and forth on the poles – absolutely incredible!) – when Madonna does a concert, this is how a concert should be done.
The selection of songs for this tour I feel have been perfectly selected. Unfortunately there has been a few fans that have been disappointed with the set list and have preferred if she had played more greatest hits rather than material from the current album.
What we need to realise is that Madonna has a huge back catalogue of material: 84 singles in total. There is just no way she would be able to fit almost 40 years of hits into a two hour show, unless you wanted one minute and thirty second length versions of each song. Then there would still be someone out there that would fault even in that.
Some fans need to understand that if any artist (regardless if its Madonna, Beyonce, Rihanna or even Justin Timberlake) when they play a concert, they will add in some of the fan favorite past hits but also need to promote their latest material. Whether you like the current album or not, if you want the greatest hits… honey just go through your iPod or CD collection, and put it on, if that’s what you only want.
With this tour, Madonna has added in 9 of the songs from ‘Rebel Heart’ and still played 9 – 11 songs of her past hits. ‘Rebel Heart’ has had mixed reviews since it was released but was generally well received. I personally think it’s her best album since ‘Confessions on a Dancefloor’. Unfortunately the leaked version ruined the anticipation of the album before it was released and took away a lot of the hype and brilliance of the album. But I still love it and play it regularly (sorry to any passing vehicles that may hear my car go past with the sound turned up EXTREMELY LOUD!).
The moment Madonna sat on the steps playing the ukuele singing ‘True Blue’, the crowd went completely bonkers. Madonna hasn’t played this song since the ‘Who’s That Girl’ world tour and it just brought back those teenage years and melted our hearts. It was pure true love. ‘Deeper and Deeper’ sounded better than I had expected and then to see Madonna, dance around on parts of the stage to ‘Like A Virgin’ (which she sang alone) was just pure happiness and magic. You could see the enjoyment on her face and how much fun she is having with this tour (even though her heart is breaking, she has those two hours which she is able to forget about the pain).
Madonna has always had a love affair for all things that are latin and the song ‘Living for Love’ and the classic favourite, ‘La Isla Bonita’ were incredibly strong performances that incorporated the latin spirit and firery passion.
It wouldn’t be a Madonna show if the F word wasn’t said. Saying f**k became a frequent part of the show. Throughout the show there was a lot of ‘f**k yeahs, ‘f**k f**k yeahs’ and ‘f**k f**k f**k yeahs’ and the entire crowd ate it up! They loved it! Continuing on from her ‘Tears of Clown’ show, Madonna said a few more jokes such as, “What’s a deer with no eyes?”…“No eye deer” and “How do you get a pop star pregnant?” … “You f**k her!”. It was endearing and simply it was the classic Madonna we have all loved: the wise cracking girl with a dirty mouth.
The part of the show I found to be quite touching and intimate was when Madonna spotted Molly Meldrum (Australian icon music presenter and journalist) in the crowd. She let the crowd know that Molly Meldrum was here and that, “he was the first Australian man to fall in love with me.” At that moment the entire crowd repeatedly chants, “Molly! Molly! Molly!“. Then Molly grabs Madonna’s microphone and screams, “I f**king love you!”. The whole audience erupted into applause and screams. Madonna smiled and said back to Molly, “I love you too. I love you too!” and dedicates, ‘Take A Bow” to the man, thanking for his decades of support.
Now, lets get another rumour out of the way: Madonna handed a hip flask to Molly. Insinuating that there was alcohol. Once again, the media ran with this and headlines around the world screamed that Madonna was further drinking on stage and there was proof! Molly Meldrum has recently admitted that the hip flask was filled with water.
– SETLIST –
Joan of Arc/Samurai section:
Bitch I’m Madonna
Rockabilly meets Tokyo section:
Deeper and Deeper
Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
Like A Virgin
Living For Love
La Isla Bonita
Take A Bow
Send In The Clowns
La Vie En Rose
Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend
Once upon a time the music world used to be thought provoking, artistic, imaginative, fun and had such amazing brilliant pop songs… now its all about tits, ass and pants hanging in the middle of your ass with the underwear showing (so not cool OR attractive. Serious hard-on killer). Madonna’s concerts always make you question about the theme (future discussion topics) that she presents to you. Whether you like it or not.
Unfortunately, Kylie Minogue wasn’t the ‘Unapologetic Bitch’ of the night as many Australians had hoped and prayed for. Kylie wasn’t able to attend the show and had to return back to London. So instead we had a past reality contestant, Courtney Act be the ‘unapologetic bitch’ for the song ‘Unapologetic Bitch.’ Oh well. Many were desperate (myself included) to see Kylie and Madonna together on stage. Perhaps one day in teh future we may get a Madonna and Kylie duet (cue in me kneeling down on the floor and saying the ‘Our Father’ prayer.. I’m deadly serious, guys).
She ended the show with the classic party anthem, ‘Holiday’. The Australian flag was draped over her body and the crowd went berserk.
The Rebel Heart tour is far greater and better than what the ugly news media troll/outlets are wanting you to know. They have tried to undermine Madonna and try to drive her legions of dedicated loyal fans and the general public away. Trying (desperately) to poison Madonna’s reputation and tour. Sure the tickets were expensive as hell. But this is one artist you want to pay the big bucks for and with the shows that I attended and saw, you got your value for money back in ten fold. Let me just tell you, this is one of the greatest shows you will ever see. Madonna is better than ever. Forget about the age. Pffft! Like the saying goes, ‘age ain’t nothing but a number.’ And when I get to her age one day and I freaking have her body and her stamina??! Hell, I would be owning it too! Remember this woman works out every day for hours. She is a health maniac. She is the owner of her temple and there is no way that she would be intoxicating it in any way. Maybe, she is a better actress than everyone realises…
If you’re expecting a greatest hits show, seriously give your ticket to someone else who just wants to see Madonna and enjoy her for her music, talent, performance and showmanship. Like I said just before, Madonna is better now than she ever has been. She is all about the theater, music, choreography, entertainment and journey that music and concerts give to you.
Madonna is still at the top of her game and she will still be there for a very long time to come.
Don’t f**k with the Queen.
Madonna plays Brisbane March 16 & 17 and then plays the final leg of the Rebel Heart Tour in Sydney on March 19 & 20.