When reviewing a Madonna show, where does one even begin?
So many things happened, it’s somewhat hard to process all at once.
First off, it was a visual spectacle of spectacles – multiple gorgeously designed sets that featured trapdoors, rising stages, massive HD screens and enough LED lights to power up several African countries. It was ridiculous, but this is my first real pop show, so I don’t know if these things are standard.
It will now be a strange world when the lead singer doesn’t rise from the bottom of the stage for a song. Just sayin.
The show was broken up into different themes, each with their own impressive sets and choreographed dances (all the choreography was top notch as you would expect), here are some notes
The show started off with a bang, literally, as Madonna’s dance moves for tracks Revolver and Gang Bang involved her shooting and fighting her dancers, it was all heavily choreographed and surprisingly, heavily auto-tuned/effects heavy. Part of this set included a surprisingly disappointing version of Hung Up, which was also effects heavy. Considering Hung Up is probably her best/most popular track from the past decade, it was a surprise that it came out sounding like it did.
Marching drummers being air/ropelifted on to the stage was one of the more impressive sights of the night. Dressed up as a cheerleader, Madonna launched into Express Yourself which cheekily included excerpts from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. Well played.
Despite TIFF being in town, there were no cameos, but when you can have 50 feet versions of Lil Wayne and Nicky Minaj, why bother with the actual thing?
While frequent Madonna concert goers might have appreciated the piano-lounge version of Like a virgin, I was definitely expected a version closer to the original, maybe with her in a wedding dress, rolling down a flight of stairs. However, Madonna is Madonna and she does as she pleases, which included among other things – a large speech telling WASP’s to be less WASPY, stripping down and unveiling FREE PUSSY on her back and maybe even cutting the track Holiday a bit short due to a weak call and response sequence with the crowd.
While much of the earlier sets were effects heavy/autotuned, Madonna did keep it real when delivering the classics. Tracks like Open Your Heart, Holiday, Vogue and Like a Prayer stayed true to form and as you can imagine, were all completely epic live. Like a Prayer is one of those tracks where you don’t really know how much you like it until you hear it live and when it comes on, you just get hit with it and the next thing you know, you are singing it out loud. It’s okay though, because so were the other 16,000 people in the crowd.
Overall, it was a one of a kind experience. The sets were gorgeous, the dancing and choreography were exceptional and the music, well, when the music was good, it was great. It’s a pretty safe thought to say that there will never be another performer like Madonna. That’s one cross off the bucket list.
Girl Gone Wild
Papa Don’t Preach
I Don’t Give A
Give Me All Your Luvin’
Turning Up the Hits
Turn Up the Radio
Open Your Heart
Like a Virgin
I’m a Sinner
Like a Prayer