Madonna @ Bell Centre

madonna live2I have been a fan of Madonna’s over the entire course of her 25 year career. Whether I enjoyed her latest song or not I always have enjoyed the performer. Never has a singer been able to make so many people dance while at the same time pushing the envelope and making you think. Kudos have to be given to her for showing that women can be powerful and sexy at the same time. She gave many women the push in the right direction in regards to ownership of their sexuality. I would even venture to say that she is a pioneer in that regards.

Now, her latest tour and album have to been seen as her attempt at 50 (she turned that magic number in August of this year) to be perceived as relevant and young. On “Hard Candy” she surrounded herself with the likes of Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams (who, along with Britney Spears, all join her ‘virtually’ during this tour) who all helped her construct the album’s urban sound. It seems to have worked as the album debut at the number 1 position on the charts and the singles have been played ad nauseum on Top 40 radio stations.

The “Sticky and Sweet” tour follows along that vein of thinking. The woman is in phenomenal shape (I’d like to find out if she has any body fat at all) and is still able to keep up an incredible pace onstage. During “Into the Groove” she even managed to sing while jumping rope. Impressive! While the crowd loved all this kitschy old school ‘let’s just have fun” from the reigning Queen of Pop, I was left a little disappointed.

Yes, the music was great, the sets and costumes were fantastic, the video screens eye popping, the choreography eye catching, and it was cool to see Madonna play so much guitar, but I found myself longing for the intelligence and moodiness of tours like her “Confessions” tour of 2006. With almost every number in that tour you were up dancing, but also wondering about the messages being conveyed and tones she was setting. Mind and body were stimulated. This is a highly intelligent woman and I’ve come to expect that intelligence to creep into her shows. Demanding? Yes, at $100-$350 a ticket, you’re damn straight!

What was fun was her division of the show into four unique themes (Pimp, Old School, Gypsy and Rave) and her reworking of certain of her songs to fit into the theme. “La Isla Bonita” melted into a Romanian folk song, “Borderline” became a Cheap Trick 80s sounding rocker and “Hung Up” became a hard rock number. It is never boring with Madonna.

As far as dance parties go this lady throws the best and this tour is no exception…if that is all you are expecting you will come away very satisfied. There is still a chance for you to catch the second show on October 23 as there are a few behind the stage tickets remaining.

Setlist:
1) Candy Shop (featuring Pharrell)
2) Beat Goes On (featuring Kanye West)
3) Human Nature (featuring Britney Spears)
4) Vogue
5) Die Another Day (video)
6) Into the Groove (with sampling of Jump)
7) Heartbeat
8) Borderline
9) She’s Not Me
10) Music (with sampling of Put Your Hands Up for Detroit)
11) Rain/Here Come the Rain Again (video)
12) Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You
13) Spanish Lesson
14) La Isla Bonita/Lela Pala Tute
15) Doli Doli (Romanian folk song)
16) You Must Love Me
17) Get Stupid (video)
18) 4 Minutes
19) Like a Prayer (with sampling of Don’t You Want My Loving)
20) Ray of Light
21) Hung Up
22) Give It 2 Me

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