Nobody puts on a show quite like Madonna! No one even comes close!
With a career spanning 30 years, she is still the undisputed Queen of Pop! An entertainer whose showmanship is unparallelled! Her meticulous work ethic and perfectionism is evident in everything she does and especially evident in her tours, like the one she kicked off in Tel Aviv on Thursday night.
The MDNA tour is a love story. A story of love gone wrong! An exploration of the many sides of love. But especially the dark side. The MDNA show is dark. Very dark. And those rays of light she sprinkles throughout the show come as some much needed relief.
Madonna is exorcising the demon of Guy Ritchie from her spirit. Quite literally! This show is ALL ABOUT HIM, just as the MDNA album is all about her failed marriage. And, understanding Madonna as well as we do, we were expecting her to do many songs off the new record. And she did. That may be something a more casual fan will have issue with. The MDNA tour is light on old school Madonna hits.
The show begins with….. read the rest of our review after the jump!
[Images via WENN.]
Clocking in at an hour and fifty minutes, the show begins with Madonna in a church. Religious themes, which she has explored throughout her career, are also a consistent in this new show.
As monks kick things off with a religious chant that eventually morphs into a chant of her name, the Queen descends from the heavens in a pulpit, as if in confession. She is seen only in shadows. When she is finally revealed and she goes into the first song, Girl Gone Wild, she is dressed in all black and armed with a big automatic weapon.
She is starting off with a bang! Literally. Clearly sending a message here!
The production is the biggest Madonna has ever done. With moveable pieces and blocks, the stage is constantly changing shape. So impressive! We don't think that's ever been done before! Especially not that way!
Girl Gone Wild was peppered with just a dash of Material Girl. And the dance breakdown was killer!
Up next was Revolver. More guns. More violence. More darkness. And a video cameo by Lil Wayne!
Things got even darker, yup, REALLY DARK, during Gang Bang, where Madonna is on the run from the law. A criminal. A cold-blooded murder. Emphasis on the blood. Lots of blood is shown. Lots of backup dancers killed by Madonna.
Some pretty heavy stuff, right?
A full-on fight between Madonna and one of her dancers ensued, choreographed so adroitly. It was exhausting us watching her be so physical! How does she do it? She's superhuman!
She was full-on, all-out and balls-to-the-wall!
What a way to kick off a show with these three songs back-to-back!
There was one thing, though, we did have a troubling concern with about the way Madonna performed these three songs. Clearly a choice, her microphone had an effect on it for these beginning songs that made her sound almost computer-like. It was a bit off-putting for us. Thankfully, that vocal "effect" was only for that beginning segment.
Poppa Don't Preach was next. Only it was just a tease! She only performed just a little bit of the song!
The slackline from the Super Bowl performance came out. And now it was Madonna's turn to use it during Hung Up.
That was followed up by I Don't Give A, featuring Madonna on guitar and a fierce video cameo by Nicki Minaj!
Then came time for a costume change. Heartbeat was the music for the interlude, which had a video accompaniment but was mainly about the contortionists working the front of the triangle-shaped stage. After which…
The first moment of levity!
Express Yourself. Classic Madonna anthem! The queen in her cheerleader outfit! The first time she wore color! White and red.
This was also the first moment in the show where she seemed to loosen up and seemed to be having more fun. This also was the moment in the show where she mashed up Express Yourself with Lady GaGa's Born This Way and her own She's Not Me.
There was baton-twirling! M was having a ball!
Quickly after came Give Me All Your Luvin. There was a flying marching band! Literally! Her dancers were suspended high above and bangin' the drums! It was sick!
The energy during this two-song segment was OUT OF THIS WORLD! It was definitely the climax of the show and a moment that could not be topped.
We think closing with Express and Luvin would have been more effective!
Up next was a video montage of some of Madonna's greatest moments. Outfit change. Back in black. Then came Turn Up The Radio. M on guitar again. The energy was still super high! Those awesome blocks, the moveable stage pieces, were really shown off here.
This was followed by a tribal (not in the electro sense) percussive reworking of Open Your Heart, featuring a cameo by Madonna's son, Rocco.
A gypsy moment!
This was very similar to the La Isla Bonita segment during the Sticky & Sweet tour. Yes, a lot of people are stealing from Madonna… and she's even stealing from herself! There were some approaches to songs, the way she presented them, that felt very similar to ways she's done songs on tour in the past.
Open Your Heart started off small and intimate but opened up and ended up growing to be quite huge!
Then, Madonna addressed the audience in Tel Aviv for the first time, explaining why she chose to start her world tour in Israel.
"If there is peace in the Middle East, then there can be peace in the whole world," she said.
She added that: "We are all human beings. We all want to love and be loved. We need to rise above our egos and our titles. Treat every human being with dignity and respect. If we don't, we will never have peace."
She said she hoped beginning her tour in Tel Aviv was a message for peace. "No conflict can ever be resolved by causing pain to another human being," she buttoned her speech as she segued into Masterpiece.
After this moment of slowing things down, another costume change and an AMAZING Justify My Love video interlude. We wish she would have performed the song in the show, though!
Some Jabbawockeez-inspired dancers took to the stage during the Justify video.
Then, it was time to Vogue! Back in black for a costume change, though paired with a balancing white shirt.
This was a super fun, gay, camp version of Vogue. It was very Eyes Wide Shut.
This was the first time M used a head mic. And she even changed her hair up!
Afterwards, it was off to the brothel for Candy Shop. We LOVE Madonna, but that song felt very self-indulgent. This could have been a moment to appease the more average fans with an old school hit.
Candy Shop was fun, though, and even had a hint of Erotica.
Then, she wipes her pussy (in character) - quite literally - and launches into Human Nature, with mirrors all around her.
Nopes, she's still not sorry!
Then, the shirt comes off for a very revealing (in many ways) version of Like A Virgin. With just a piano accompanying her, this was the heart of the show! It's as if Guy Ritchie was standing in front of her and she was singing directly to him.
It was so dramatic!
At one point during the song, a backup dancer puts a corset on Madonna, zips her up and then quite literally sucks the air out of her as he pulls the strings of the corset so tight she can barely breath!
Powerful stuff! Revelatory! Or so we are reading into it! Ha
That was followed by a Nobody Knows Me video interlude, complete with a tribute to Tyler Clementi and other teens lost too soon. Once again, very powerful stuff!
Another costume change. M pops up in a diamond robe. New hairdo too.
I'm Addicted and a Kung Fu moment was next, which was very reminiscent of Sky Fits Heaven from the Drowned World tour.
This was followed by I'm A Sinner, which was just okay. Madonna was on the guitar, wearing a garland of flowers, and gave a very hippy-inspired rendition of the song. Projections were displayed on the blocks to make them look like buses. It all felt very '60s and we wish she would have done Beautiful Stranger here instead.
Three male singers, a vocal group M hired to join her on the tour and a constant throughout the show, came back for this song and they did some chanting.
Then, a big choir and Like A Prayer. While not as epic as her Super Bowl performance, it still went over so well! Such a timeless song! One of the best pop songs ever written!
That would have been a great moment to end the show with (or with the Express Yourself/Give Me All Your Luvin' twofer), but Madonna came back for Celebration, which felt kinda anticlimactic. The audience wasn't that into this song and it kinda fell flat.
Knowing Madonna as well as we do, though, now that she has exorcised the demon of Guy Ritchie out of her system, her next tour will be much lighter and more hits-heavy, like the Re-Invention or Confessions tour.
As we said at the beginning, though, nobody puts on a show quite like Madonna! No one even comes close!
We genuinely loved MDNA! We enjoyed it more than the Sticky & Sweet tour! And we can't wait to see it again! Several times!!!