I remember several years ago when everybody who had anything to say gave their two cents worth about Lady Gaga’s impending concert.  The religious, the hateful and the fans took to social media to get their messages across. I watched that show and was impressed at how immensely talented she was.   I even brought my son with me.  There were some racy and suggestive  numbers which prompted me to send my son back to  the lounge at the private box where we watched.  Last week,  the furor was again repeated with the arrival of no less than the Queen of Pop, Madonna.  Manila was chosen as one of  The Rebel Heart Tour’s 80 stops around the world.  It kicked off September last year in Montreal.

Pinoys waited three decades to watch pop icon Madonna perform.

Undoubtedly the most awaited concert  (Tickets were sold out since last year),  the fans could not contain their excitement as they entered the venue.   From her last concert in Macau,  three Boeing 747 planes carried lights,  sound equipment and props to our city.  The stage is really the  first thing to catch your attention.  An elongated cross with a heart attached to the tip and a rectangle stage with protruding balls at the end,  it was an early forboding  of what the show would be.    That show would start almost three hours late – at 11:42 to be exact.
When Madonna finally came out from a cage suspended in the air, the whole  Mall of Asia Arena exploded in shouts and cheers.   Madge mostly sang songs from her newest album.  I so loved when she did Rebel Heart.  “Why can’t you be like the other girls? I said oh no, that’s not me. And I don’t think that it’ll ever be.”   Flashes of  the music icon rendered pop art style flashed on the giant  screens showing her evolution through the years.  It was a visual feast as well as well as a hefty serving of lyrics to awaken the soul.  “So I took the road less travelled by. And I barely made it out alive.  Through the darkness somehow I survived. Tough love I knew it from the start  deep down in my rebel heart.”

Remember this look way back in the 80’s? She will always be our favorite rebel.

Of course, she had to sing her old songs from the 80’s!  The people asked for  “Crazy for You” but  she denied that request and sang other favorites instead. Reworked to sound more appealing to millenials, I wished she sang the songs in their original versions.  Still Madonna’s performance of “Burning Up”  while playing the electric guitar,  literally set the stage on fire.  Audience were treated to  La Isla Bonita,  Just Like A Prayer, True Blue, Material Girl and Music.

She sang old tunes like La Isla Bonita.

The costumes were fabulous! Japanese warrior , Spanish Senorita, Sparkle-clad 20’s girl and Rocker Goddess—all showed her well-taut physique.  How in the world could this woman be pushing 60?!   She had plenty of Asian dancers, aerialists who wowed the crowd from twenty foot poles and a moving stage that kept everybody at the edge of their seats.  The audience lapped up the profanity and applauded all the perfectly choreographed numbers. She ended the first night singing  “Holiday” while straddling a dancer as he carried her on his shoulders.  And yes, she draped the Philippine flag around her body and waved it to the adoring fans.

Madonna with the Philippine flag


Holiday! Celebrate!

The politics and religion I will leave to others to write about.  Was it a show for kids? No it was not .  “ Vogue” had the 12 disciples, Mother  Mary and Jesus both on screen and on stage “posing”.    Some will say that Madonna is  nothing short of crass —  irreverent and unapologetic.   No one , however ,can deny that she is one of the most gifted women performers of our time .   The concert was a brilliant two hour   spectacle — nothing more , nothing less.   Hail to her Madjesty, Madonna!


With a pocketful of glitter,
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