Madonna was on time and on-point for her first Sydney concert in 23 long years — but she still found time in her expertly-choreographed 2.5 hour show to address the controversies that have plagued her Australian tour.
If you’d believe the bad press, Madonna’s been a drunken, unstable trainwreck on this tour. In truth, the only issue we can really hold against her is her less-than-stellar timekeeping — which reached its zenith at her first Brisbane show, kicking off hours after the advertised start time.
Her first of two AllPhones Arena Sydney shows began a mere 15 minutes past the promised 10pm start — no doubt Madge was hurried along by the fact that the evening was being filmed for the inevitable tour DVD.
It was an eclectic setlist, mixing an ample selection of songs from her latest album, the mammoth hotchpotch Rebel Heart, with golden oldies largely taken from her earliest years.
Like A Virgin, Burning Up, Like A Prayer, Deeper and Deeper and Music were all present and accounted for. No such luck for Ray Of Light, Frozen Hung Up or Express Yourself — and world-conquering hits like Into The Groove and Vogue were offered up only in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-form.
But thats’s what you get with Madonna. She’s never one to take the obvious crowd-pleasing route — and yet her spectacular show couldn’t be more of a crowd-pleaser.
While the tightly choreographed concert went off without a hitch, all eyes were on Madonna during the more off-the-cuff moments, when she took the opportunity to reference the fuss she’s caused during her last week-and-a-half in Australia.
Bending one of her female dancers over her knee, Madonna joked: “How old are you? 15 or 16?”
“14,” came the reply.
“Good. I’m doin’ good with minors these days,” said Madonna, before she and the rest of her dancers delivered a few spanks.
The quip, of course, was in reference to just the latest controversy to befall Madonna’s tour, after she invited a female audience member up on stage an proceeded to pull down her top. Problematic enough, and made even moreso when it was revealed the girl in question was underage (she’s gone on record describing it as the incident as the “best moment of her life,” so make of that what you will).
“Here’s the thing: I don’t even drink. But because I’ve been accused of being an alcoholic so many times, I’m gonna start drinking. So f**k you!” she announced during another unscripted moment.
“I just get myself into trouble when I say things! I should just learn to be quiet like my dad taught me.”
Later in the show, she made reference to her ongoing custody battle over 15-year-old son Rocco, who is living in London with his father Guy Ritchie.
“I don’t wannna be accused of having a meltdown… God forbid a mother should miss her son,” she said.
“I’m glad you all have a sense of humour, because if I didn’t have one I wouldn’t survive.”
Outside of these pointed references to the controversies that have chased her in Australia, Madonna’s was an expertly polished, spectacular production: an at-times overwhelming display.
Pole-dancing nuns! A flapper speakeasy! The Last Supper reimagined as a pansexual orgy! It was all there — and, just when we thought we couldn’t get any more, the very tall and thoroughly up-for-it Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie, who was the night’s Unapologetic Bitch, took to the stage to dirty dance with the Queen of Pop.
Madonna has one last show left of her Rebel Heart tour. Like tonight’s show, it’s being filmed for a future DVD release, so expect her to bring the goods (and start on time). She’s been vocal these past few days about wanting Kylie Minogue to join her on stage — whether or not that will happen remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure: She’s going to go out with a bang.
Source : News.com.au