The world has known Madonna for over three decades, but she’s showing audiences a side that she herself barely remembers.
On her Rebel Heart tour, Madonna is just as likely to be dancing on top of a pole dancer (yes, you read that right) as she to be solo in a spotlight, playing a guitar. Her voice remains in top form, while the show wisely leaves the physical theatrics to her spectacular backup dancers.
Don’t think Madonna is going indie singer-songwriter though; Rebel Heart crams in every place on Madonna’s fantasy itinerary. The new album, plus back-catalog hits like “Music” and “Material Girl,” take her through India, Mongolia, among Japanese geishas and a bullfight in Spain, the Gatsby-era splendor of New York and smoky 1950s Parisian nightclubs. The Material Girl certainly hasn’t lost her penchant for excess, but Rebel Heart shows she’s found what’s at the root of it: love.
After the show gets some raunchy soul-searching out of the way — because what’s a Madonna concert without erotic blasphemy? — Rebel Heart mellows into a casual weekend on Madonna’s NYC stoop, whiling away the end of summer with good friends and songs we’ve all been singing together forever.
Whether living for love brings happiness or heartache, Madonna makes clear that she’s going to keep doing things her own way: The concert's big opening and closing setpieces are bookended by "Bitch, I’m Madonna” and “Unapologetic Bitch.” (This is the song to watch for Taylor Swift-style cameos). And seeing her Rebel Heart beat only for Madonna is a joy for everyone.