Charismatic singer, 57, puts on physically intense, highly theatrical two-hour show at Air Canada Centre Monday night that shows age is just a number
Music, Published on Tue Oct 06 2015
AIr Canada Centre. Monday, Oct. 5, 2015.
At 57, Madonna is still wears her Rebel Heart on her sleeve.
The provocative Miss Ciccone, who has made a career out of pushing buttons and boundaries, continued to do so during a physically intense, highly theatrical two-hour-and-15-minute show at the Air Canada Centre Monday night.
For the first of two sell-out concerts in front of an adoring crowd of 14,000, the just-christened nominee for the Songwriters Hall of Fame did what she does best — entertain and titillate, with some stunning visuals and a coterie of 20 dancers who often performed breathtaking moves.
After descending from a cage in a costume that resembled an ancient Samurai master for “Iconic,” one of several new tracks showcased from Rebel Heart, her purest pop album in ages, Madonna ultimately transformed into the sassy chameleon that has charmed music fans and concertgoers for over three decades.
With a stage layout that included a portion of the stage that tilted at a 45-degree angle, and a sword-shaped catwalk that extended three-quarters into the venue, with its “hilt” stretching into the wings, Madonna literally transformed herself from warrior, surrounding herself with armour-clad dancers, to rock star — strumming a guitar during a molten re-working of her very first album’s “Burning Up” — to stripping down to a corset and blurring the lines of sex and religion with “Holy Water.”
As female dancers, dressed in nun’s habits, gyrated around sword-shaped poles — including one that balanced the singer on her back in an incredible feat of strength — and later, transformed the famous Last Supper picture into something of an orgy, you could almost feel Pope Francis looking on with disapproval.
But Madonna has never apologized for being naughty and she wasn’t about to do so in Toronto.
After being groped by a dancer throughout “Body Shop” — on a set that resembled an auto body shop, Madonna brought out her ukulele and strummed out an acoustic version of her chaste pop classic “True Blue.”
At one point, she asked the crowd if they were on anti-depressants.
“I have some anti-depressants for you,” she chimed. “Sing and dance. Dance and sing. There are your anti-depressants.”
Madonna also doesn’t settle for simply serving up the hits in an expected manner. Wearing a matador’s costume for “Living For Love,” she kept the flamenco theme going for “La Isla Bonita” and “Dress You Up” (which incorporated brief forays into “Dress You Up” and “Into The Groove”), turning the party into a fiesta where mini-shots of Jose Cuervo were launched into the crowd.
Her fans, some older, some costumed members of the LGBT community, lapped it all up.
No matter what she did, the charismatic singer, songwriter and dancer constantly proved that she has lost none of her edge — even performing a rendition of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose.”
The show wasn’t perfect: the dance she performed during “Like a Virgin” was a bit goofy and unintentionally comical, and there were moments throughout the show where she sang a little flat.
But considering she bookended the Toronto appearances by another pop queen — Taylor Swift — and staged a performance that physically ran circles around her younger competitors, age ain’t nothing but a number as far as Madonna’s concerned.
This is probably the blonde’s most ambitious tour yet, and maybe even her most rewarding.
Postscript: The special guest that Madonna brought to the stage for their “spanking” was Nelly Furtado.