Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Wednesday March 16:
Madonna is not late. She arrives precisely when she means to and not a moment before or after. For anyone who knows what to expect at a Madonna concert knows that she never arrives on time and that her lateness is legendary.
When she does arrive she is unapologetic and she introduces the show with a short film featuring a cameo from Mike Tyson, as she thrusts around in a cage, highlighting the controversial theme that the music industry churns out artists and talent and spits it out.
She enters the stage via a cage lowered into the arena dressed in a kimono with soldiers flanking her to open with ‘Iconic’ as she battles with dancers. She spins and dances, choreographed moves timed immaculately and is perfectly in sync.
She makes no apologies for her lateness, instead chastising the crowd for showing up too early. We just showed up too early and ” Should have stayed at home doing your hair” and not come out so early so that she didn’t have to show up early.
What she does do is perform a lot of new material from her Rebel Heart album, including ‘ Bitch I’m Madonna’ ‘Unapologetic Bitch’ and ‘Illuminati’ to a host of costuming themes including Spanish flamenco, flapper, and a Joan of Arc sort of Samurai theme. She changes costumes quickly and effortlessly allowing the crowd to be entertained by musical interludes featuring very talented dancers.
Of course there is always time for some of the older material as well, including ‘Material Girl’, ‘ Music’ , ‘ Deeper and Deeper’ ‘ Like a prayer’ and ‘ La Isla Boninta’. A definite highlight is when she climbs a stair case to sing a mournful version of the classic ‘Live to tell’.
Madonna is a definite presence on stage, demanding the audience to be a part of her gang, cementing the allegiance with a ‘fuck fuck yeah’ and calling us her ‘ bitches’ and ‘ mother fuckers’ with a loud response from the crowd, the dedicated fans jumping the highest trying to reach out to touch her. She is energetic, funny and always timed perfectly.
Choosing to offend almost every religious group she can the performance overly sexual and erotic, as at times she thrusts herself up against a priest and gyrates provocatively.Female dancers appear topless, shamelessly parading around yet blending in. She refuses to buy into the ageist ideals that she should tone it down for a woman her age. This is a woman that has always shocked crowds and it is fantastic that she refuses to fit in to the constraints that society attempts to put on her.
It’s been a long time since Madonna last toured, 23 years in fact and as the final act draws to a close Madonna slows it down dressed in a gorgeous Jeremy Scott for Moschino flapper dress sparking with thousands of Swarosvki crystals. She spots a member of the crowd dressed identically and drags the girl on stage for a good spanking. Taking a seat she slows it down for a rendition of Edith Piaf’s La Vie En Rose, a softer side coming out for a moment.
As she closes with ‘Holiday’ dressed in an Australian flag/ cape she has the crowd dancing in the aisles the inconvenience of her lateness somewhat forgotten for the time, we can all but hope that she does not leave it another 23 years before she visits again.