O2 Arena, London
In a shock-and-awe spectacular that deftly blends past with provocative present, the queen of pop is charm itself.
There is something strangely comforting in the blasphemous stage extension on this first night of Madonna’s UK tour. It’s a crucifix crowned by a heart that actually looks like the head of a penis.
Madonna’s is a Rebel Heart, after all, one that has long relished conflating the Passion of the Christ with the more lurid human urges the church fails to sublimate. 'Things always get heated up when I get here,' Madonna jokes from her position on a stool near the tip of the glans, in one of many often spontaneous-sounding asides tonight.
This most famous of lapsed Catholics recently referred to the pontiff as 'popey-wopey' on the Philadelphia leg of this tour, a show that finds Madonna returning to themes she (and we) know well: religion, sex, provocation, heartbreak, the romance of Spain. In short, it’s a little like 1989 all over again, when Madonna’s Like a Prayer video found the singer getting steamy with a black saint.
This time, Holy Water - to be perfectly clear, a Rebel Heart song about cunnilingus and vaginal juices, 'Bless yourself and genuflect', it goes - features pole-dancing nuns in their frillies. At the end, it finds Madonna and her many dancers in a tableau suggesting the Last Supper. Only it’s more like the Last Bacchanal, with all sorts of simulated sins of the flesh instead of dessert.
To read the rest of the review visit: www.theguardian.com/madonna-o2-arena-london-live-review-rebel-heart-tour