At 57, Madonna is still wears her Rebel Heart on her sleeve.
The provocative Miss Ciccone, who has made a career out of pushing buttons and boundaries, continued to do so during a physically intense, highly theatrical two-hour-and-15-minute show at the Air Canada Centre Monday night.
For the first of two sell-out concerts in front of an adoring crowd of 14,000, the just-christened nominee for the Songwriters Hall of Fame did what she does best - entertain and titillate, with some stunning visuals and a coterie of 20 dancers who often performed breathtaking moves.
After descending from a cage in a costume that resembled an ancient Samurai master for 'Iconic,' one of several new tracks showcased from Rebel Heart, her purest pop album in ages, Madonna ultimately transformed into the sassy chameleon that has charmed music fans and concertgoers for over three decades.
With a stage layout that included a portion of the stage that tilted at a 45-degree angle, and a sword-shaped catwalk that extended three-quarters into the venue, with its 'hilt' stretching into the wings, Madonna literally transformed herself from warrior, surrounding herself with armour-clad dancers, to rock star - strumming a guitar during a molten re-working of her very first album’s 'Burning Up' - to stripping down to a corset and blurring the lines of sex and religion with 'Holy Water.'
As female dancers, dressed in nun’s habits, gyrated around sword-shaped poles - including one that balanced the singer on her back in an incredible feat of strength - and later, transformed the famous Last Supper picture into something of an orgy, you could almost feel Pope Francis looking on with disapproval.
But Madonna has never apologized for being naughty and she wasn’t about to do so in Toronto.
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