In Lisbon where Madame ❌ began her journey.......thank goodness for my beautiful Vintage cane and most of all thank you to Dino and Victoria and all the amazing Musicians who showed up. 🙏🏼 We went to Church! ON GOD!! #madame❌ #livingroomsessions #lisboa https://t.co/bd2hasKclN pic.twitter.com/SZoMsah0my— Madonna (@Madonna) January 21, 2020
Madame X Tour
Madonna has cancelled another show on her Madame X world tour, as she battles an ongoing, but unspecified, injury.
The star gave fans in Lisbon just 45 minutes' notice that her show on Sunday night was being called off.
'We regret to inform you that Madonna is unable to perform this evening,' an email informed ticketholders at 19:45. She had been due on stage at 20:30.
'Sorry I had to cancel tonight,' the star wrote on Instagram, 'but I must listen to my body and rest!'
It is the eighth time Madonna has had to cancel a show on her current world tour, which sees her playing smaller, intimate theatre venues.
She has not revealed the nature her injury, but told one audience in San Francisco she was suffering from a 'torn ligament' and 'a bad knee' in November.
Madonna began the current stage of her Madame X tour in Portugal's Coliseu Dis Recreios theatre on 12 January, and had seemed to be in good spirits, interacting with the crowd and drinking port on stage.
The star said it was her first drink 'in a month' and that it had 'got her through' the strenuous show.
She also joked about her '25 injuries' and told the audience 'don't pay attention to what goes on from the waist down', reported Lisbon-based music magazine Blitz.
The star also traded high heels for flat shoes during last Thursday's concert.
'They are very ugly but it was either wear these boots or cancel the show,' the star was quoted as saying by the Portuguese website Sapo.
Madonna said she hoped the tour would resume this week, writing on Instagram: 'See you on Tuesday, fingers crossed.'
From BBC News
The Portuguese press were full of Madonna stories today, ahead of the European premiere of the Madame X Tour in Lisbon tonight. Thanks to Dirk for the pictures!
Per doctor’s orders, Madonna is canceling the last North American show of her Madame X tour because of injury.
On Tuesday, the 61-year-old pop legend opened up to fans on Instagram about the pain she has experienced in recent performances on the tour.
Sharing a video of a moment in her show that requires her to ascend a ladder, Madonna wrote that the maneuvers left her in tears.
'As I climbed the ladder to sing Batuka On Saturday night in Miami I was in tears from the pain of my injuries, Which has been indescribable for the past few days. With every song I sang, I said a prayer that I would make it to the next and get thru the show. My prayers were answered, And I made it.'
The singer - who resumed her tour after canceling a few dates earlier this month due to what she described as 'overwhelming pain' - wrote that though she has chosen to power through in the past, she now must take precautions to avoid irreparable injuries.
'I consider myself a warrior I never quit, I never give in, I never give up!! However this time I have to listen to my body And accept that my pain is a warning I want to say how deeply sorry I am to all my fans. For having to cancel my last show.'
I was in tears from the pain of my injuries, Which has been indescribable for the past few days— Madonna (@Madonna) December 25, 2019
With every song I sang, I said a prayer that I would make it to the next and get thru the show.
My prayers were answered,
And I made it.
I consider myself...https://t.co/7KtBktU9VZ pic.twitter.com/SjhwKQYH8g
Fans who were due to attend the last night of the US leg of the tour in Miami last night, found out at very short notice that the show was cancelled. No news yet on what caused the cancellation.
Madonna is hoping a radical new blood treatment will help her bounce back from the mystery pain that forced her to cancel a series of Madame X dates last month.
The pop superstar has turned to osteopath Jean Michel Ete for his autohemotherapy rehab fix, which mixes blood with ozone gas.
The Like A Virgin singer posted video of the process on social media on Thursday - her twin daughters Stella and Estere stood by mom as blood was extracted, mixed with the gas and pumped back into Madonna’s body via an intravenous drip.
'Infusing the blood… Vitamin drip… Tibetan bowls… singing and meditation… Felt amazing afterwards!!' the singer wrote.
She is hoping the treatment will help her complete her Madame X Tour after cancelling three Boston, Massachusetts shows over the weekend.
She announced she was pulling the plug on the concerts on Instagram, writing: 'the pain I’m in right now is overwhelming and I must rest and follow doctors orders so i can come back stronger and better.'
Madonna will resume her tour at the Metropolitan Opera House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Saturday.
As a result of the 'highly specialized production elements', the first two Madonna’s Madame X Tour dates in Paris originally slated for Tuesday, 18-February and Wednesday, 9-February have been rescheduled to 10-March and 11-March respectively.
There is no change to the additional performances on 20, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 29-February and 1, 3,4, 7 & 8-March.
Tickets for the 18-February performance will be honored at the 10-March event. Tickets for the 19-February performance will be honored at the 11-March event. Fans who are unable to attend the rescheduled dates may obtain a refund at point of sale prior to 18-February. We apologize for any inconvenience.
The Madame X 2020 tour will relaunch in Lisbon on 12-January where it plays 8 sold out shows through January 23rd. It then proceeds to London whereas a result of the 'highly specialized production elements', the Madame X Tour date originally slated for Sunday, 26-January at the London Palladium will now be rescheduled to Sunday, 16-February becoming the final date in the 15-show run in this city.
There is no change to the additional performances 27, 29 & 30 January and 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 15-February.
Tickets for the 26-January performance will be honored at the 16-February event. Refunds if required will available via point of purchase. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Live Nation is sorry to confirm that Madonna’s Madame X concerts previously scheduled for November 30th, December 1st and 2nd at The Boch Center Wang Theatre are cancelled due to doctor’s orders. We sincerely regret the disappointment to Madonna's Boston fans.
'Please forgive this unexpected turn of events. Doing my show every night brings me so much joy and to cancel is a kind of punishment for me but the pain I’m in right now is overwhelming and I must rest and follow doctor’s orders so I can come back stronger and better and continue the Madame ❌ journey with all of you.'
The Madame X Tour is scheduled to resume on December 7 with three shows at The Met in Philadelphia and then head to Miami at the Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theatre with seven shows starting on December 14. There are no other changes to the remaining 2019 shows in the U.S. at this time.
As we are unable to reschedule the Boston dates due to the tight scheduling through the balance of the year, refunds will be automatically issued to the credit card on which they were ordered.
It's a Monday night and about an hour before I am ready to leave to go see the final night of Madonna's takeover of the Wiltern for her "Madame X" show I get a text from her publicity firm telling me the show is running late due to technical issues and not to arrive at the venue until 11.
Of course the late starts have become a very public issue for an otherwise very private show, where no phones are allowed and you are transported into her incredibly elaborate and unique world. Someone even attempted to sue her for the late starts.
She addressed that during a speech on the theme of the show, "Artists are here to disturb the peace," quoted from, as she put it, "The great James Baldwin." In the speech, as she talks with the audience about fighting for freedom she warns them you won't always be popular, you won't always have the most Instagram followers and you won't always be on time because being a freedom fighter takes time.
"Madame X" is Madonna at her best, unapologetic, uncompromising, unyielding and in complete control. She isn't going to apologize for not finishing until 1:30 on a Monday night. And hell I saw Prince many times where he didn't even take the stage until two. Rock stars, or in the case of Prince and Madonna, pop stars with rock star swagger, adhere to their own rules. And that's what makes them special and why we love them. It is the attitude and their ability to express and do the things we wish we could but often aren't allowed to.
Madonna can start a show after 11 on a Monday. For most people you can't just say, "F**k it," as she does in the show, "I'll start work when I want." This said if you are going to keep people out until two on a Monday night you better have the show to back it up.
"Madame X" is a revelation. It is, in its own way, as revolutionary in live performing as Vegas residencies were when everyone like Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow and others started doing those years ago. "Madame X" feels like a play thanks in large part to the incredible projections that act as another character. It is performance art, and brilliant performance art with a message.
To read the rest of the review by Steve Baltin visit: www.forbes.com
Katy Perry attended one of Madonna’s critically-acclaimed Madame X shows last night and kissed the queen of pop’s ring in tribute. We’d have done the same, to be honest.
In a video posted to Madonna’s Instagram account, Katy is seen having the time of her life at the show in LA’s Wiltern Theatre. Then, Madonna is seen approaching Katy and asking ‘is this an empty seat right here? Do you mind if I sit there? As you can see I do need to sit down.’ The two then reminisced about their relationship and ‘knowing each other’, with Katy, 35, reminding Madge, 61: ‘I’ve put my heel on you before.’ ‘I think I sucked on your heel,’ replied Madonna. Always the provocateur - hope she never changes.
After Madonna asks to swig some of Katy’s beer, Katy - who recently released new single Harleys in Hawaii - then quipped ‘we probably have all the same STDs.’
Katy has cited Madonna as having an influence on her career.Afterwards, Katy paid tribute to her hero, saying: ‘You are the queen,’ before kissing the two rings on her left hand and praising her support of women, to cheers from the audience. All in all, a pretty heartwarming moment. Despite the STD chat.
Madonna of course released her 14th studio album Madame X earlier this year. It reached number one on the US albums chart and number two in the UK. She has sold over 300 million records worldwide. She’ll bring her Madame X tour - comprised of 90 shows around the globe - to London in January, where she will play a residence at the London Palladium. The set list includes 25 songs old and new. We can’t wait.
Madonna's rarely-seen sister Melanie was recently spotted in a clip shared to the singer's Instagram account, as the siblings joined together for a group prayer, amid Madonna's Madame X Tour. In the clip, Madonna and her team are preparing for a show, and they've all gotten together for a pre-show warm-up and prayer. Madonna introduces Melanie, saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm so happy to have in this room right now, in this sprayer circle, and in this audience tonight... my sister Melanie."
Madonna also introduced Joe Henry, who is Melanie's "incredibly talented, wonderful, lovely" husband who is an "amazing singer, songwriter, artist, producer, human being." The singer went on to reveal that she has "written a lot of amazing songs with" Joe.
Fans of Madonna are suing the 'Material Girl' over the increasingly late start times for her Madame X Tour, according to legal documents obtained by TMZ.
Both Madonna and events promoter Live Nation were named in a class-action lawsuit filed by Nate Hollander after the Florida ticketholder claimed he lost money when the pop icon pushed back the start time of her concerts from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
The lawsuit alleges Madonna has had issues with punctuality during her current ongoing tour, routinely making concertgoers wait two hours longer initially scheduled.
Hollander claims he had bought three tickets for $1,024.95 in August for Madonna’s Dec. 17 concert in Miami Beach, which at the time of purchase was slated to start at 8:30 p.m., TMZ reported.
The lawsuit maintains that Hollander’s tickets lost considerable value after the singer delayed the start time of her remaining shows by two hours. Hollander said he'd purchased three tickets for the Tuesday night show, but was denied a refund after she switched her start times to 10:30 p.m.
Hollander, who has since assembled a group of similarly angry Madonna fans for his class-action suit, claimed the start time was too late because most concertgoers have work early the next day, TMZ reports.
Meanwhile, entertainment news website Wonderwall reports that more than 500 refunds were issued following Madonna’s scheduled 10:30 p.m. Thursday night show at the Caesars Palace Colosseum in Las Vegas. She did not come onto the stage until after midnight, and the concert did not end until close to 3 a.m., according to the entertainment news outlet.
The class-action lawsuit is pursuing the 'Like a Virgin' singer for damages.
From Fox Business
After touring arenas and stadiums for much of the last four decades, Madonna is experimenting with a new format for her live shows, playing mini-residencies in theaters around the world.
The Madame X Tour kicked off with a sold-out 16-show run at Brooklyn’s Howard Gilman Opera House (the theater is one of many facilities at BAM, the Brooklyn Academy of Music). Averaging less than 2,000 seats per night, Madonna played to intimate audiences over the span of a month. According to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore, the shows combined to gross $9.6 million and sold 31,401 tickets.
Broken out by month, Madonna’s nine shows in September grossed $5.5 million (17,708 tickets), followed by seven shows from Oct. 1-12 that earned $4.1 million (13,693 tickets). That averages out to $601,985 and 1,963 tickets per show.
Playing such intimate shows means that the extended stay at each venue is necessary in order to capture the wide-ranging audience that Madonna has previously been able to reach in just one or two shows per city. Her last venture in New York was a two-show stint at Madison Square Garden, where she grossed $5.2 million and sold 28,371 tickets on the 2015-16 Rebel Heart Tour. Further, she hit Yankee Stadium on Sept. 6 and 8, 2012, pulling in $12.6 million from 79,775 tickets - more than twice the attendance of her 2019 theater run, playing one-eighth of the shows.
Tickets for the new tour ranged from $757 on the high end to $50. Based on the New York stint’s final figures, the average ticket sold for $306.73 - a sharp increase from her career average of $115.81. For a more comparative look, excluding the 1980s and '90s before ticketing exploded in the new millennium, Madonna averaged $125.46 in the 2000s and $147.33 in the current decade. Averaging as many as 41,000 fans per night on the 2008-09 Sticky & Sweet Tour, Madonna had the flexibility of charging a more reasonable ticket. But with fewer than 2,000 tickets to sell each night in 2019, she’s experimenting with higher prices.
Though reports through Madonna’s 1993 The Girlie Show World Tour remain incomplete, the Queen of Pop has racked up an incredible $1.3 billion gross from 11.5 million tickets over 516 reported shows, making her the second highest-grossing soloist in the history of Billboard Boxscore (she is the highest-grossing female artist, while Bruce Springsteen is No. 1 overall).
The Madame X Tour continues with seven dates in Chicago through Oct. 28, followed by multi-show runs in six additional U.S. cities and three European legs. With about 75 shows to go, smart math projects the tour to wrap in the $50 million-$55 million range. But as many of the upcoming venues are larger than the theater at BAM (Chicago Theatre holds 3,500 and The Colosseum at Caesars Palace tops 4,000 seats), the final gross could stretch past $60 million before its March 8, 2020, close at Paris’ Le Grand Rex.
With the highly specialized visual and production elements, Madonna’s Madame X Tour at The Wiltern in Los Angeles will now begin on Wednesday, November 13. The additional nine performances November 14, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24 and 25 will proceed as scheduled.
Due to scheduling limitations, we are unfortunately unable to reschedule the November 12th date. Patrons who purchased tickets for that performance will be automatically refunded. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Just one day after hanging out with Jonathan Van Ness, Taylor Swift linked up with another member of the Queer Eye cast.
The pop star, 29, was joined by the show’s culinary expert, Antoni Porowski, at Madonna’s final Madame X theater tour show in Brooklyn on Saturday.
Swift documented the fun outing with a selfie of her and Porowski, as well as other friends, on her Instagram Story, praising the 'Like a Prayer' singer for putting on an incredible performance.
'Thank you Madonna for an outstanding show,' she wrote. 'Shout out to the phenomenal dancers, singers, musicians, set designers, crew, wardrobe, glam and M who gave it EVERYTHING.'
The setlist for the show was packed with tracks from Madonna’s latest album, Madame X, but also included classics like 'Human Nature,' 'Vogue' and 'Like a Prayer.'
After multiple gigs at Brooklyn’s BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, the concert series will have a short residency at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago in late October, then another at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theater in November.
Madonna herself has published this message about the Monday night show being postponed:
Its Hard for Madame ❌ to admit that she is also a human being made of flesh and blood and she must rest for the next 3 days to insure full recovery for her knee.
I am not a quitter. This hurts me more than you can imagine. Its time to take those heels and fishnets off for a few days! 👠. Thank you for your understanding. ♥️. See you very soon !! #recovery #madamextheatre #nevergiveup #ongod
Its Hard for Madame ❌ to admit that she is also a human being made of flesh and blood and she must rest for the next 3 days to insure full recovery for her knee. I am not a quitter. This hurts me more than you can imagine. Its time to take those... https://t.co/JoicIGgM4k pic.twitter.com/BEOWGUOSMd— Madonna (@Madonna) October 7, 2019
Unfortunately, Madonna’s Madame X concert Monday evening at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House is postponed.
Madonna is currently dealing with a knee injury and has been advised rest for the next three days to assist in her recovery.
Fans are encouraged to hold onto their tickets pending information on rescheduling.
The Madame X concerts this Thursday, October 10th and Saturday, October 12th are expected to proceed as scheduled.
We regret the inconvenience to fans. Thank you for understanding.
With highly specialized production elements, Madonna’s Madame X Tour date originally slated for Tuesday, October 15th at the Chicago Theatre will now be rescheduled to Monday, October 28th becoming the last date in the 7-show run in this city. There is no change to the performances scheduled for October 16, 17, 21, 23, 24 and 27.
Tickets for the October 15th performance will be honored at the October 28th event. Refunds if required will available via the original ticket purchase link accessed either via desktop or mobile.
Also, the show originally slated for Thursday, October 31st at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco will be rescheduled to Tuesday, November 5th. There is no change to the performances scheduled for November 2 and 4.
Patrons who purchased for the originally scheduled October 31st event will receive tickets with the new performance date of Tuesday, November 5th. Fans who are unable to attend the November 5th performance and prefer a refund, please email email@example.com and include your order # or call BroadwaySF at 888 746 1799. We apologize for any inconvenience.
On Thursday night the Madame X Tourbook was finally available to buy, madonnalicious reader Rob sent in pictures of the tourbook and this report from the show.
Hi there-wanted to give you a quick update on tonight's show. It started at 11pm, ended around 01:30. Sighted in one of the box seats: downtown nightlife personality Amanda LePore.
Madonna's 4four kids from Malawi all appeared in the show, including David Banda who made a cameo during Medellin. Show was flawless. Madonna sounded great, all were on point.
There was an emotional moment during the section where she sits down next to an audience member in the front row. Madonna joined Oklahoma native Kevin for a mid-show chat and he opened up to her about how her music meant to so much to the people who died from AIDS and then he opened up about how her music helped him through difficult times. She gave Kevin a big hug and seemed genuinely touched.
The other big news is that this show was the first night that the concert program book was on sale ($40) and it is FANTASTIC. There are pages and pages of beautiful photographs, some cut-out dolls, a set of 4 Madame X postcards in an envelope attached to the inner back page, as well as a full page of credits of the crew on the tour.
Madonna’s ‘Madame X’ residency in New York: a colourful riot of rebellion, politics, and high camp theatrics
The queen of pop's intimate Brooklyn residency is powerful, empowering, stunning - and one of the best gigs of the year
Madonna has always done what she wants. Roll around the VMAs stage in a wedding dress? Of course. Forego a traditional record deal and sign up with a promoter instead? Sure thing. Skip merrily from sound to sound, even when people tell her she’s “too old” to make whatever genre she dabbles in next? Absolutely. So when Madonna decides to not put herself out on a typical tour - a different arena every night, the whole thing done and dusted in a matter of weeks – you go right ahead and book her residencies in different venues across the globe, allowing her to perform for weeks on end, in one location, in rooms far smaller than anyone in 2019 has any legal right to witness her in.
Pop’s most rebellious star does just as she pleases during the first round of the ‘Madame X’ world tour at the plush Howard Gilman Opera House too. You might expect the world’s biggest pop stars to have their audience out the door by 11pm but, by the time the clock strikes that hour in Brooklyn, Madonna’s only just come on stage. Not that anyone minds - there are a few outbursts of impatient claps and cheers in the time leading up to her arrival but the overriding atmosphere in the venue is one of pure excitement as people - in their finest gowns, tuxes, and vintage Madonna merch - sip wine from plastic beakers and hover in the select zones were phone use is allowed (all mobiles are locked in pouches for the entirety of the show).
The late start is immediately worth it. The show is a mind-blowing riot of theatrics and powerful political messaging, opening with a quote from James Baldwin being banged out onto a screen laid over the stage by a silhouetted woman at a typewriter. Each key press thuds like a gunshot and is accompanied by a dancer jerking and flinching as if he’s been hit by a bullet. “Artists are here to disturb the peace” the message ends before the queen of pop emerges and launches straight into the autotune-heavy anti-gun anthem ‘God Control’.
Later, a man wearing a gas mask sits down to play a piano, from the top of which Madonna is dragged by two dancers dressed as truncheon-waving policemen while she screams “Death to the patriarchy!” Women’s rights are a constant theme throughout the show, from the moment she’s joined on stage by a host of women - including daughters Stella, Estere and Mercy James - to chant “I’m not your bitch” to her, changing the lyrics of ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ to “I’m not keeping my baby”.
Read the rest of the review at: www.nme.com/reviews/live/madonna
madonnalicious is pleased with the no-phone rule. Previous tours have seen me being focussed on getting pictures for this site, now I can just be selfish and enjoy the show for me! (although I would like to have my phone available to keep occupied while waiting for Madame X to arrive!).
Madame ❌ so appreciates all who came to the theatre and enjoyed the show with their. eyes and ears only——However she is mystified and bewildered that their are others who refuse to honor her wishes and continue to sneak in recording devices or tear... https://t.co/u2c8CYhhbL pic.twitter.com/ZnuoASc4T1— Madonna (@Madonna) September 21, 2019
Madonna has never shied away from taking chances. Thirty years after she set fire to the Eighties with the disco basilica Like a Prayer, she’s as gloriously weird as ever. Hence her excellent new Madame X tour, a testament to the genius in her madness. Instead of a full-blown tour, she’s doing these shows as residencies in intimate venues, starting with 17 nights at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House. The tiny rooms are the perfect place for Our Lady to strut her stuff. Like her Madame X album, the show is messy, but anyone who’s scared of a mess should avoid Ms. Ciccone entirely, because as any fan knows, her weirdness is where she finds her greatness.
The show follows Madonna’s adventures around the globe. “Everybody knows I moved to Lisbon to become a soccer mom,” she said on Thursday night. “I found myself alone, without friends, a little bit bored.” So after too many Sundays at her son’s soccer games, she started going out to Lisbon clubs and flipped for Portugal’s fado rhythms, which got her creative juices flowing again. As she announced, “From now on, I’m Madame X and Madame X loves to dance!”
The show started extremely late - she didn’t go on until nearly 11 p.m., which she kept joking about all night. “Forgive me if I kept you waiting too long this evening,” Madonna purred seductively, stretched out on top of a piano. “I don’t like to keep you waiting. But I have an injury. I have six kids. I have a LOT of wigs.” Then she had a couple of her dancers help her off the piano and improvised a pop melody: “I bet you had more sleep than meeee!” No rest for the wicked, indeed.
It was a cellphone-free show, with the audience’s phones locked into Yondr pouches that got unsealed at the end of the night. (Honestly, all shows should be this way.) Madonna kept mentioning how much she enjoyed looking into the audience and seeing our eyes as opposed to screens. “The eyes are the window of the soul. But there’s one window you’re forgetting.” She opened her legs, to a blast of orchestral music. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is what it’s like to have Mozart coming out of your pussy! I am one classy broad!”
To read the rest of the review visit: www.rollingstone.com/music-live-reviews
The press were finally allowed into the Madame X Tour on Thursday night and we now have the first pictures from the show...it looks amazing staging!
The joy of being a Madonna fan is that she’s a true artist, an incisive creative eye who embeds meaning and shades of emotional grey into her work; the other great thing about being a Madonna fan is that she’s an artist who also happens to be a pop star. So when she has something to say, it’s in the details, yes - but wait long enough and it’ll also be bludgeoned over your head.
“Freedom is the theme of this show,” Madonna told an enthralled, intimate crowd at the Thursday (Sept. 19) night show of her Madame X Tour at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. “And the theme of my life, for that matter.”
She might have explicitly spelled out her mission statement during the show, but when it kicked off just before 11pm ET, she eased into the theme with a characteristically unabashed mixture of high art and high camp. As a silhouetted typist hammered out a James Baldwin quote at a desk, a lithe dancer mimed dodging bullets, eventually succumbing to the barrage. After that, Madonna hit the stage, staring out from beneath a Revolutionary War-style tricorn hat as a battered American flag fluttered via video projection. There probably isn’t a more deliciously kitschy way to introduce a show speaking to what personal freedom - and danger - means to the America-born pop artist.
The first song, Madame X’s lush disco standout “God Control,” turned the focus from national mythology to personal history, demonstrating exactly where Madonna found her freedom - on the sweaty floors of New York City discotheques in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s - and how she sees it, quite literally, under fire (the gunshot-punctuated musical odyssey explicitly nods to the 2016 Pulse massacre).
From there, the Madame X Tour moves on to other freedoms she sees under duress: The freedom to act and the freedom to speak. With regards to the former, “Dark Ballet” found her playing out the persecution of Joan of Arc surrounded by a visually compelling mixture of Christian iconography and pagan pageantry, while a cool jazz take on “Human Nature” fulfilled the latter, allowing her the opportunity to tell off critics projecting their hang-ups on a woman who dares speak of sex without a coquettish blush (while treating the crowd to a spread eagle that would put Veronica and Charlie to shame).
In the midst of an a cappella “Express Yourself,” Madonna brought out three of her children - Stella, Estere and Mercy James - to shimmy with the dancers and read a few quotes of empowerment she’d provided for them. Later in the show, eldest daughter Lourdes arrived for the highlight of the evening, dwarfing even her mother. Well, only literally speaking. While stark, three-story-high footage of Lourdes dancing played on a translucent screen in front of her, Madonna delivered a soul-scraping rendition of her 1998 classic “Frozen.” Seeing the Queen of Pop, illuminated by a pinprick of light, engulfed in her daughter’s dancing was a visually stunning moment in an evening full of them.
Another unexpected setlist choice (well, at least for those who didn’t catch her incendiary Pride Island performance) arrived via “American Life,” the unjustly maligned title track from her 2003 album (which was more a victim of the politically paranoid era than any creative deficiency on her part). Her arms snaking above her head as she ran down the list of capitalist concessions that fail to satisfy, Madonna looked exceptionally invested during this glitchpop gem - probably because this is one throwback song she hasn’t delivered ad infinitum.
That fresh, loose (okay, loose for a notorious control freak like Madge) attitude permeated most of her Madame X songs -- which were the lion’s share of the setlist. Naturally, that was bad for anyone expecting a greatest-hits parade, but excellent for those open-minded enough to turn off their phones, their expectations and allow an artist they trust and adore the freedom to indulge in what’s getting her off at the moment.
After moving to Lisbon for her son’s soccer aspirations, she’s currently inspired by the music she heard there: Fado, morna, salsa and more. Aside from playing the Madame X tracks that dabble in those genres, her non-album original song “Welcome to My Fado Club” (mashed-up with “La Isla Bonita”) gave her a chance to moonlight as the beguiling hostess of a hole-in-the-wall Latin club, which - considering her affection for Golden Era Hollywood - is certainly within her wheelhouse. But unlike most ‘40s productions on a Beverly Hills lot, Madonna bothered to include the authentic talents she was paying homage to, bringing out Gaspar Varela, the grandson of fado singer Celeste Rodrigues (whom she sang with prior to the legend's 2018 passing), for several numbers, in addition to an all-female orchestra from Cape Verde for her rousing, thunderous Madame X highlight “Batuka.”
“I’m not worried about being popular,” Madonna told the crowd (which, to be fair, was hanging on her every word) near the end of the show. For the Madame X Tour, she means it. At BAM Thursday night, the would-be soccer mom was free of setlist demands, time constraints (she took the stage late and skillfully bantered with the audience as long as she felt like it) and the impersonal glow of an arena-full of cell phones desperate to capture a 30-second snippet for a social account.
The Madame X persona might be a spy, a teacher, a saint, a whore, a cha cha instructor and a mother, but she’s also something not listed in the album lines notes - she’s a more authentic version of Madonna Veronica Louise Ciccone than we’ve seen on stage in some time.
Madonna made the kickoff to her intimate Madame X theater tour a family affair.
For the first of her 17 shows Brooklyn’s BAM Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, the singer, 61, had three of her children - Mercy James, 13, and twin daughters Estere and Stelle, 6 - appear onstage to lead the sold-out crowd into a sing-a-long of Madonna’s 1989 anthem “Express Yourself.”
And during her performance of her 1997 classic “Frozen,” the Material Girl was joined by her eldest child, 22-year-old daughter Lourdes, who appeared digitally via a video projection, dancing to the song.
Also in the room were Madonna’s good friends Rosie O’Donnell, Anderson Cooper, Spike Lee and Debi Mazar. O’Donnell even factored into the show: When Madonna took a selfie with a Polaroid camera and offered it to the highest bidder in the room, the actress and comedian walked onstage to offer her cash.
For her Madame X tour debut, Madonna enforced a strict no-cellphone policy that had attendees seal away their devices in pouches that were unlocked at the end of the performance.
The only two photos from the tour that have been released were posted by the singer herself on her Instagram page. “Madame X thanks you for coming,” she captioned the shots showing her in a dark wig. “So Happy to finally have an audience!”
Madonna’s longtime manager Guy Oseary posted a backstage photo after the show, showing Madonna alongside filmmaker JR, O’Donnell, Mazar, Lee and Cooper. “The show was so good!! Congrats to the incredible Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone,” he captioned the pic. “You were amazing!!!”
The setlist leaned heavily on tracks from her latest album, but also included classics like “Human Nature,” “Vogue” and “Like a Prayer.”
The tour includes multiple shows at the BAM throughout September and October, plus a short residency at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago in October, then another at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theater in November.