Metro Weekly

Rebel Heart Tour: Madonna Takes the Verizon Center by Storm (review)

 

Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour - Photo: Kevin Mazur for WireImage/Getty

Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour (first night) – Photo: Kevin Mazur for WireImage/Getty

“I still believe in love — even if Barack Obama didn’t come to my show,” Madonna teased near the end of Saturday night’s concert at the Verizon Center. “Maybe I’m too provocative.” Like all her tours, Rebel Heart had its fair share of provocation, chiefly through repeated sacrilegious references to God and Catholic iconography.

But that’s always been Madonna’s cross to bear (and her bread and butter). This time out it was confined to the opening numbers. If you could look past it, as well as her overuse of war and violent imagery (Madonna is seemingly forever fighting someone, from God and Gaga to Guy and the media), you probably left charmed by the evening.

The Rebel Heart Tour finds Madonna at her happiest and most personable, and also in her best voice. In past tours she seemed to be performing on auto-pilot, but not on Saturday.

Edgy and sassy and unapologetic, Madonna once again proved her predominance in pop performance. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like her new album, even though it accounted for nearly half of the two-hour set. The truth is, few others working in pop today put on such a compelling and sensory-rich, top-notch theatrical production from beginning to end. Madonna makes her concerts feel like celebrations.

Near the concert’s end, Madonna settled, with a guitar, on a raised platform and sang the French classic, “La Vie En Rose” — which she dedicated to Obama — as if she were a bona fide chanteuse. “Everybody sing along!” she cooed playfully. She didn’t need the audience assist, as she perfectly conveyed the emotions of the song. It was just one example of how significantly Madonna’s musicality has improved over the years, even if her music has not.

9/12/15 Verizon Center Set List

  • Iconic
  • Bitch I’m Madonna
  • Burning Up
  • Holy Water, with an interpolation of Vogue
  • Devil Pray
  • Messiah
  • Body Shop
  • True Blue
  • Deeper And Deeper
  • Heartbreak City, with Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
  • Like a Virgin
  • S.E.X., with Justify My Love
  • Living For Love (Remix)
  • La Isla Bonita
  • Dress You Up, with a flamenco medley of Get Into the Groove / Everybody / Lucky Star
  • Who’s That Girl (acoustic)
  • Rebel Heart
  • Illuminati
  • Music / Candy Shop
  • Material Girl
  • La Vie En Rose
  • Unapologetic Bitch
  • Encore: Holiday
Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour (first night) - Photo: Kevin Mazur for WireImage/Getty

Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour (first night) – Photo: Kevin Mazur for WireImage/Getty

Additional North American stops on The Rebel Heart Tour through 2015:

  • 9/16 Madison Square Garden, New York
  • 9/17 Madison Square Garden, New York
  • 9/19 Barclays Center, New York
  • 9/21 Centre Videotron, Quebec City
  • 9/24 Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
  • 9/26 TD Garden, Boston
  • 9/28 United Center, Chicago
  • 10/1 Joe Louis Arena, Detroit
  • 10/3 Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City
  • 10/5 Air Canada Centre, Toronto
  • 10/6 Air Canada Centre, Toronto
  • 10/8 Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.
  • 10/11 Rexall Place, Edmunton
  • 10/12 Rexall Place, Edmunton
  • 10/14 Rogers Arena, Vancouver
  • 10/17 Moda Center, Portland, Ore.
  • 10/19 SAP Center, San Jose, Calif.
  • 10/22 Gila River Arena, Glendale, Ariz.
  • 10/24 MGB Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
  • 10/27 Forum, Los Angeles
  • 10/29 Valley View Casino Center, San Diego
Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour
Image for Review
Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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