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Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour
a stunning achievement

Gila River Arena
Glendale, AZ
October 22, 2015
Madonna Madonna Madonna

Review and photos by Mary Andrews

Madonna typically starts her shows an hour later than the scheduled time and her longtime fans have come to expect it as all 18,000 fans were here to see the Material Girl live up to her legacy no matter how long it took.

A recording of Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' " got the show started and elevated the restless crowd's mood. Immediately the room darkened and a platoon of dancers dressed in medieval metal costumes, holding poles with crosses at the top marched on the stage to welcome the 'queen of pop' as she descended from the ceiling in a metal cage. The song "Iconic" was followed by "Bit-h I'm Madonna" (both songs are from Madonna's latest release, Rebel Heart). The whole set was heavy on songs from the same album. However, the third song was a rocking "Burning Up" from the Madonna album.

At the age of 57, Madonna still has that hot, titillating, sexual, church irreverence style of her own. The opening medieval pageantry soon gave way to Madonna's rock side with choreography that is not matched by any entertainer in the business today. (Lady Gaga started out trying to deliver this type of show, but has presently ceased since her injury during her last tour.)

Madonna has a huge troupe of dancers from which she can rely upon to keep close and deliver extraordinary acrobatics, dance moves and thrills! Early during the show Madonna was hanging upside down on a pole being carried down the steps. Later she demonstrated she could pole dance as seductively as the youngsters when she suggestively climbed to the top of the cross on the pole. She was picked up and carried on top of one dancer's shoulders during the "Sodom and Gomorrah" part of the show. Madonna displayed extraordinary strength and stamina.

She is still the Catholic girl run wild. There are many references to religion. The runway was in the shape of a cross. There were dancers scantly dressed as nuns pole dancing and simulating the 'nasty' during "Holy Water." They performed a snippet from "Vogue" during "Holy Water." This led into "Devil Pray" that was asking for help from "Mother Mary" and singing hallelujah.

One number led into the next as the show rolled on. The costume changes were too numerous to count. There were a few interludes with recorded music that the dancers danced while Madge disappeared for a costume change. Everything was tight.

There were many Madonna hits interwoven with the new Rebel Heart material. The older songs provided lots of sing-alongs from the crowd like "True Blue," "Deeper and Deeper," "Like a Virgin," and "Material Girl." The encore was the still bubbly "Holiday."

The most thrilling part of the evening was when long, flexible poles were attached to the floor of the runway and some the dancers climbed to the top and they started swinging on these death defying masts. They swung wildly and precariously close to the audience . They got so low to the ground that two of the dancers were able to pick up another performer and continue on their mad, merry way.

The entire show was frenzied entertainment and a complete sensory overload as a sea of thousands of flickering cell phones, recording the show, will never forget.

Related articles:

Madonna - Concert review - Chicago, IL - September 2012
Madonna - Concert review - Chicago, IL - August 2001
Madonna - Music Album review

Set List:
1. Iconic
2. Bitch I'm Madonna
3. Burning Up
4. Holy Water (with "Vogue" snippet)
5. Devil Pray
6. Messiah (video interlude)
7. Body Shop
8. True Blue (acoustic)
9. Deeper and Deeper
10. HeartBreakCity
(with "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" snippet)
11. Like a Virgin
(with "Justify My Love" and "Heartbeat" samples)
12. S.E.X. (video interlude; with " more )
13. Living for Love
14. La Isla Bonita
15. Dress You Up
(with "Into the Groove" and "Lucky Star" snippets)
16. Who's That Girl (acoustic)
17. Rebel Heart
18. Illuminati (video interlude)
19. Music (with "Give It 2 Me" sample)
20. Candy Shop
21. Material Girl
22. La vie en rose (ƒdith Piaf cover)
23. Unapologetic Bitch

24. Holiday
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