Bitch, She’s Madonna: NYC Stop Showcases Genius of Rebel Heart Tour
“You know what they say — it’s lonely at the top,” Madonna told the crowd near the end of her New York show last night. “But it ain’t crowded!” And on the second U.S. show of her hotly awaited new Rebel Heart tour, Our Lady spent three hours proving what a goddess she is, not to mention what an Unapologetic Bitch. Damn right it’s not crowded, because there’s nobody else near her throne. The whole night was a tour of everything only Madonna can do. She’s not the same. She has no shame. She’s on fire.
She sang the Edith Piaf ballad “La Vie En Rose” in French, alone on the stage, strumming her ukelele. (“It’s en français, though, okay? So try and sing along if you can.”) After “Material Girl,” she tossed a wedding bouquet to a gay couple up front, then snickered, “Suckers!” She used crucifixes as stripper poles, doing the “Vogue” rap while writhing against a dancer clad in a nun’s wimple and feathery hot pants. Her cassocked dancers simulated a group-grope orgy at the Last Supper while the guest of honor chanted “Yeezus loves my pussy best!” And all night long, her banter was the toppest of notch, like when she introduced her gorgeous new acoustic country-hoedown version of “True Blue.” “No swear words in this song,” she announced. “This is a song about true love. I didn’t know what I was talking about when I wrote it.” Glad you’re the one who brought that up, Madonna.
She hasn’t reached so far onstage, musically or emotionally, since her 2001 Drowned World extravaganza. Her last couple of tours had spectacular performances, but dodgy set lists. This time Madonna has much stronger new songs to play with, from Rebel Heart — and she brilliantly revamps the hits. She played a Flying V for a punked-out “Burning Up,” dropping to her knees for her guitar solo — the first time she played Madison Square Garden, 30 years ago, she got on her knees in front of the male guitarist while he played a solo, and don’t think she doesn’t remember these things.
Opening act Amy Schumer helped set the tone — when was the last time you saw a stand-up comedian slay in an arena? Schumer was clearly right at home in a room full of Madonna fans: “I know who’s here. It’s like taking a warm bath in a tub full of dick that doesn’t want you.” She talked abut how hot Bradley Cooper’s girlfriend is (“She’s like a panther fucked a gazelle and they fucked Gisele”) and how hot Bradley Cooper is (“you would just grab your ankles and say ‘any hole’s fine'”). For the encore, she came back out to let Madonna kick her in the ass, right before “Holiday.”
But it was Madonna’s night. “Body Shop” was a Fifties-style dance routine where she rolled in on the hood of a vintage Chevy, just like Christie Brinkley in Billy Joel’s “Keeping the Faith” video,” then frolicked in glitter ankle boots with a harem of hot greaser mechanics, all looking like the boy who knocked her up in the “Papa Don’t Preach” video. (So true: Italians do it better!) Then she sat her dancers down on a pile of tires and adopted a Dolly Parton twang to tell them, “Like my grandma always said, if it’s got tits or tires, it’s gonna give you trouble.”
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