Madonna has always been controversial. She’s the true Queen of pop and there’s no denying that fact. She has sustained a long and successful career heavily influencing some of the industry’s biggest names. She hasn’t been to Australia for over 20 years so it’s safe to say it was quite an overwhelming experience being in her presence and her show lived up to all the hype and anticipation. But before I get to the show, I should address the controversial lateness that surrounded this night. With an advertised performance time of 9pm, and the fact that Madonna is late to all her shows I was already pre-empting a late start but I thought maybe 10-1030 at the latest. Once we got to the venue we were warned from the parking guards and the ticket scanners that the show wouldn’t be commencing until after 1030 *eye roll*. Walking into the arena it quickly came apparent that this show wasn’t a sellout event with a scatter of empty seats and a whole empty row to myself, I was worried. The crowd were silent, restless and I was yawning left, right and center. At 1120 the lights finally dimmed and the show begun but the crowd didn’t seem enthused. With minimal screaming or singing the crowd was quite hostile towards one of the biggest names in music. Like look, I was tired and pressed that she went on stage late but it’s MADONNA. Descending from the roof in a giant cage Madonna opened the 2 and a half hour extravaganza with “Iconic” exclaiming that she wants to start a revolution. Surrounded by a troupe of dancers she bounceD across the stage to “Bitch I’m Madonna” before playing the guitar to show off her inner rock star with an amped up version of “Burning Up”. Noticing how quiet and reserved the crowd was she kept referring to everyone as her bitches and asking “do you want to join my gang?!” and encouraging everyone to reply to all of her questions with the enthusiastic “fuck fuck fuck yeah”. This slightly worked to excite the crowd, emphasis on the slightly. The most controversial segment of the show saw her female dancers dressed as nuns and pole dancing on crosses during “Holy Water” with her grinding against them. “Devil Pray” saw the re-enactment of the “Great Supper” but it got a little Madonna spin with her tied up and sexual connotations fulfilling the track. The big theatrical numbers kept on coming with “Body Shop” having a big car set up while “Heartbreak City” was a beautiful contemporary dance piece and “Living For Love” re-enacted her infamous performance minus the fall.
However this show was quite an intimate affair and had her stripping it back a lot, interacting with the crowd and giving them some rare performances of “Deeper And Deeper”, “True Blue” and “Take A Bow”. She seemed very comfortable and to genuinely enjoy her time on stage. It was moments like “Rebel Heart” and “La Vie En Rose” that really showed off her vocal range while the first half of the show heavily relied on auto-tune that honestly just sounded bad. Closing the show with “Material Girl”, “Unapologetic Bitch” and “Holiday” she finally had the crowd dancing and embracing her blunt and on point humor. I walked away from that show tired, exhausted and wanting to be angry about that part of the experience but I couldn’t because of how incredible the show was. It’s a 2 and a half hour show that felt like it was only under an hour. It was seamless, beautiful, controversial and so much fun. It was a shame the 7000 people in attendance had the atmosphere of a funeral but I decided to check out her second Brisbane show as well and that’s where the real party was.