LIVE REVIEW: Madonna

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE: The O2

WHEN: 1/12, European tour including 4 more UK shows runs to 20/12

SETLIST: Iconic; Bitch I’m Madonna; Burning Up; Holy Water; Vogue; Devil Pray; Body Shop; True Blue; Deeper and Deeper; Heartbreak City; Love Don’t Live Here Anymore; Like A Virgin; Living For Love; La Isla Bonita; Dress You Up/Into The Groove/Lucky Star medley; Who’s That Girl?; Rebel Heart; Music; Candy Shop; Material Girl; La vie en rose; Like A Prayer; Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend; Unapologetic Bitch; Holiday.

‘Nobody f*cks with the Queen.’ It’s the Queen of Pop’s 1st show of a two-night residency at the venue which last saw her defeated by a tied-too-tight cape at The Brits earlier this year and she’s taking no prisoners.

Piaf’s La vie en rose towards the end of this two hour-plus tour de force can’t help but bring to mind Madge’s nemesis, Lady Gaga, (currently so stiff in TV’s American Horror Story she’s being out-acted by the scenery) who also incorporated it into her last tour with legend Tony Bennett.

You can tell Madonna has reached the conclusion of her three-tour deal with Live Nation because of the ticket prices (not much change out of an eye watering £200 a head), the almost arena-length catwalk means there’s plenty of photo opportunities and for the first time in a long while Madonna is giving her back catalogue free rein.

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To those who said she wouldn’t play True Blue until she was over Sean Penn, she waves a eukelele as she tackles it acoustic style and the appreciative O2 crowd joins in acapella in a fashion that is quite moving. We’re also treated to an unexpected Like A Prayer to mark World AIDS Day.

This is our 6th Madonna gig and there’s no doubt she’s doing her utmost to be at her most crowdpleasing. Last album Rebel Heart (with its unashamed Madge back catalogue samples) always seemed designed with this tour in mind.

Tonight Graham Norton joins Madonna on stage as her Unapologetic Bitch before the anthemic Holiday sends us all home happy. Is 4* too tight? Madonna’s such a back catalogue of riches we could all tracklist our own perfect Madge gig and, although this comes close, there’s too much guitar/eukelele.

Lady Gaga’s clearly forced the Queen of Pop to raise her game. Her crown’s in place and she even managed to toss aside the cape fear that defined her earlier this year to rapturous applause. She’ll be 58 next year and continues to prove that women of her age are in no way invisible.

  • Tickets for the 2/12 O2 gig here. Picture (top) via Facebook courtesy Madonna. Picture (middle) Neil Durham.
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham. Email neildurham3@gmail.com

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