Madonna lived up to her icon status last night in Montreal. [gmedia id=52]
One of the most riveting parts of the show was her performance of Heartbreak City, in which she and a male dancer played embattled lovers, involved in an intimate struggle atop a staircase in the middle of the room, ending with the dancer dramatically falling from the top of the staircase.
Another highlight: the superstar on stage alone, without dancers, singing a remixed version of Like a Virgin. No bells and whistles, just Madonna doing what she does best : dancing around with the energy of a 20 year old and completely owning the stage, without the help of dancers or props, just Madonna and her incredible stage presence.
The entire last act of the show was amazing, ending the night with a bang. Her performance of Rebel Heart was accompanied by a display of fan art on the screens, a nice tribute to the fans who have supported Madonna for years. The song was followed by a cabaret-inspired Music and a classic version of Material Girl, complete with dancers in tuxedos and Madonna in a flapper-style outfit.
While the high-energy choreography was amazing, some of the best parts of the show were the softer moments, like when she broke out the ukulele again to sing Edith Piaf's "La Vie En Rose", to the sheer delight of the crowd. Before starting the song, she shared a rare personal moment with the crowd, divulging that she has had her share of heartbeak and has been "devastated, smashed to bits". She sang the song beautifully and, to her surprise, was greeted with riotous applause from the audience.
Next, she sang Unapologetic Bitch and brought out Diplo (who opened the show). The DJ played along well, dancing, getting slapped on the ass by the Queen of Pop and even throwing down some Whip/Nae Nae action. At the end of the song, Madge handed Diplo a banana as a "prize" for coming up on stage. It was one of the more surreal moments of the show, and it distracted from the song itself, which is not one of the strongest on the album.
For the final song of the night, Holiday, Madonna donned a Canadian flag and performed a fun and celebratory number that got the crowd on their feet. It was a great ending to the show, that left everyone with a smile on their face.
Lowlights: There were not many. My biggest quarrell was her choice of songs. She leaned heavily on new material and neglected to sing some of her most well-known songs including Like a Prayer and Hung Up. Instead she included a couple of headscratchers like Hard Candy's Candy Shop and one of the weaker Rebel Heart songs, Body Shop. Many longtime fans who came for the hits might be slightly disappointed with the show, as she focused mainly on new material, interspered with some of her earliest hits from the 80s. There was a definite lack of middleground, seemingly ignoring the last decade of her career.
If I'm really nitpicking, a couple of the songs, including Body Shop and Ghosttown were slightly forgettable. However, this is unavoidable in a show so jam-packed with songs.
Bottom line: These few songs were the exception in an extremely entertaining show, filled to the brim with showstopper, after showstopper. Madonna was the commanding force in the center of it all who never got lost in the razzle-dazzle of the high-price production. All in all it was an amazing night watching a legend do what she does best.