January 18 on a cold winter night at Bridgestone Arena, the pop icon brought her “Rebel Heart” tour to Music City USA, and for one evening you could rightly say it was Madge City USA.
PHOTOS BY MARK JACKSON / TEXT BY TRAE HANCOCK
The Queen of Pop’s first ever concert appearance in Nashville was highly anticipated despite online reports of her “drunken” behavior, crowd bashing and fake hillbilly accent just the night before in Louisville, Kentucky. As the sold out crowd patiently (some not so) awaited her arrival onstage we were musically doused by a tiresome, talkative and an overly “look at me” DJ Mary Mac, who failed at getting the crowd to take a walk “down (her) memory lane”.
So, the stage was set. The restless, yet highly vibrant crowd was beyond ready to “get this show on the road”. Even the Queen of Country Music herself, Reba McEntire, from her box seats, sent out a few Instagram posts expressing her disbelief that Miss Ciccone had eluded us for such a long amount time. “At the Madonna concert. She’s not on yet…really???”. “We’re here!! Where is she???” and “She came on at 10:31” commented Mrs. McEntire on 3 of her Instagram photos.
Not knowing whether to get up and walk around or just stay seated, I was immediately convinced by the blasting sounds of “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” that the ignited fans knew this was about to go down. Finally after a 2½ hour delay, Madonna’s highly energetic entrance to “Iconic” took this crowd to a place they had only anticipated being during the long, antsy wait. The stage placement with adjoining crucifix/cross-shaped catwalk literally made the cliché “not a bad seat in the house” operative. The Rebel Heart Tour 2016 was finally here.
This was a 13-album journey through the entire Madonna spectrum. From an elaborate stage scene featuring the video likes of Mike Tyson and Madonna herself, to her well-trimmed dancers with their highly aerobatic sway pole interlude, everyone in the packed arena was mesmerized. Naturally, it was not possible to avoid cutting some songs down to less than 1+ minute in order to encompass the Madonna discography, but she did, and, managed to complete a 30+ brigade of hot hits on this cold Nashville night.
We were taken on a 22-year musical voyage covering a time frame between 1983-2016, where such hits as “Lucky Star”, “Into The Groove” and “Dress You Up In My Love” were given a sexy Spanish twist. The elaborate costumes worn in the segment added to the positives vibes and energy the artist brought to the stage. Undoubtedly, Madonna is still a master of musical performance, showing us that still has it: tight dancing skills, a sexy body, spot-on vocals. Okay, not all of her notes were hit perfectly, but then again, who’s counting? At times, she did seem a bit tired but understandably so. At 57-years YOUNG, she was raw, real, open and honest, and as expected, it wasn’t an all-music affair, as the iconic artist had much to tell and share with her adoring audience.
During a break in “Music”, and according to Madonna herself, she shared with the crowd her idea of “playing her pu**y” to Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire”, inviting everyone to sing along to… twice! Jack White was among the crowd and got singled out by Madonna herself. He acknowledged her status and blew her a kiss. A fan from Amsterdam even presented her with a diamond ring, to which Madonna said she would “give to her daughter”. She also took the time to express a warm tribute to Martin Luther King for his unequivocal devotion to civil/equal rights. So it was only fitting, that on this date – Martin Luther King Day, Monday January 18th – she close tonight’s set with the 1983 dance hit “Holiday”.
A magical night it was. Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour took these fans by storm and suddenly the 2½ hour wait was just a distant memory…
Bitch I’m Madonna
Holy Water (reprise)
Deeper and Deeper
Love Don’t Live Here anymore
Nobody F**ks With The Queen / Like A Virgin
Living For Love
La Isla Bonita
Dress You Up In My Love
Into The Groove
Dress You Up In MY Love (reprise)
Who’s That Girl
Don’t Tell Me
Ring of Fire (plays her “pu**y”)
La Vie En Rose
Contact: Trae Hancock (firstname.lastname@example.org)