The Queen Of Pop descended upon Manchester, armed with a flank of dancers and a full backing band. Those who doubt Madonna‘s ability to perform any-more seriously need to rethink. Yes, maybe she is not as agile as she used to be, and yes, maybe her vocal ability is a little more limited than it used to be, but my god she is still immensely talented. The 57-year old moves around the stage like a 20-year old would; she can still perform the classics with ease.
The rumours are true, she was late on stage. This was apparently due to a technical malfunction with the video she used to support her performances. At the time I was highly annoyed at having to sit down for an extra hour immediately after the support act had finished. But in hindsight, without the video the performance would have been awful. All the stories circulating about an apparent foul mouthed rant are false, it was a tongue in cheek rant at the audience, who happily clapped and cheered her rather than booing. The support for the evening was provided by Mary Mac, a DJ from New York who made the whole opening of the evening resemble a night out in your local Weatherspoons on a Saturday night.
She blasted out heavy bass songs which sailed right over the audience’s heads. She just spoke too much, every beat or drop in the song would be accompanied by a soundbite from Mary. It just caused annoyance rather than getting the crowd excited. She also felt the need to remind us that we were here to see Madonna and that she will be on soon! Which eventually turned out to be false, causing more annoyance amongst the crowd. Mary left the stage to a polite round of applause, then the waiting game commenced. An announcement was made over the speakers that, “due to unforeseen circumstances, Madonna will be delaying the start of her performance.” This was met by a chorus of boos, the crowd waited and waited, applauding a woman dancing to Chic’s song Le Freak and participating in a Mexican wave.
10 O’clock dawned, and the arena was sent into darkness. A group of dark clerics rose onto the stage and marched towards the large screen at the rear of the stage which was showing a video containing Madonna, Chance the Rapper and Mike Tyson. Madonna descended from the ceiling in a golden spiked cage and opened up the set with ‘Immortal’ and ‘Bitch I’m Madonna’. Despite these being newer and arguably lesser known songs, the crowd were at a fever pitch, just seeing Madonna in the flesh was enough to justify the large amount of money these fans spent of the event. You don’t come and see Madonna for the music, it’s all about the show, and it was phenomenal.
The choreography in place was flawless and so well organised. The dancers that supported Madonna were spotless, and despite the age gap, Madonna was able to keep in time with them with ease. The bass heavy songs that were displayed early on were supported by many religious props, such as a large golden table made to resemble that where the last supper was held. Madonna appeared with her arms tied in a red rope on the table, whilst a video strongly resembling 50 Shades Of Grey was played behind her. She’s never been known as someone who takes a traditional view towards religion, but even people with the scarcest religious beliefs could see this as a tad touchy.
The only complaint people might have had with the evening was the lack of “classics” Madonna performed. The likes of ‘Vogue’, ‘Like A Prayer’, ‘Holy Water’, ‘La Isla Bonita’, ‘Material Girl’ and ‘Music’ appeared, but this was by no means a “Greatest Hits” tour. Many songs from Rebel Heart appeared and, although the crowd may have preferred more classics, it was admirable. It’s commonplace for legends to just come out and play the well known tracks. But Madonna wanted to display her new material, showing she was still a strong force in the modern music scene.
The show was fantastic, Madonna still has it and even managed to de-cape without falling over (she received applause for that). Okay, it is very expensive to see Madonna perform live, and she will more than likely arrive on stage late. But once she is there and performing it is absolutely worth every penny. She rightly justified her title of the Queen of Pop tonight. Only negatives of the night were her lateness and the rather disappointing support act.