Dear Gossips,

One of the reasons I enjoyed Madonna’s Rebel Heart so much – twice! – is because unlike the shows she’s been putting on the last 15 years or so, this time it’s not just strobe lights and jump squats for two hours. Yes, there’s choreography. Of course she dances, and hard. But there’s also a lot of time to breathe. And talk. It’s the most engaged she’s been with her audience in a long time. Rebel Heart Madonna is really happy. She’s having so much fun. She’s letting herself have fun, instead of focusing on whatever dance move is coming up next. You remember that? When she’d be so fixated on the perfection of the routine, she completely disconnected from the crowd? Rebel Heart isn’t like that. Rebel Heart, as I wrote yesterday, is about as close to Blonde Ambition as she will let herself get, even down to the family feel relationship between M and her dancers.

And just like Blonde Ambition, there’s a theatricality to Rebel Heart that’s been missing from her recent tours. In the staging, in the costumes, and especially in the storytelling, she stopped trying to turn her concerts into night clubs. Instead, this is proper drama. And I really loved how she’d pick recognisable pieces from her own narrative and slide them in unexpectedly. The dance sequence during Deeper and Deeper is actually lifted from Don’t Tell Me. Just when you think it’s Fever she gives you Music. She shows you a body shop and a guy with his hair greased back wearing a t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up but it’s not Papa Don’t Preach, it’s True Blue. And that turns into a real moment of joy. An entire arena singing “true blue, baby I love you”.

I would go again if I could. If you go, or if you’ve already gone, let me know what you think.

Yours in gossip,