Madonna kicked off her Celebration Tour in London this weekend and it was indeed – for Madonna a celebration of past and present, particularly because, fortunately for all of us, she is still in our present. This she acknowledged early on in the show, telling the audience that she and her medical team weren’t sure if she was going to make it, referring to the health scare she had a few months ago that resulted in her pushing back the show.
But the look-back is also significant, because Madonna has always seemed to be resistant to revisiting her back catalogue. That is not the case now, not on this tour, as she promised early on that she’d be honouring herself and her career. And what a career it has been. We throw around the word “era” so often now, but wasn’t it Madonna who really seized upon the idea of “eras” almost 40 years ago by reinventing herself with every album?
The show is a reflection through all of these eras, Madonna telling her own story through song, on the stage. Which is why, at least from what I’ve seen on social media, the concert also feels like a movie – and this may be how she’s pivoting from the now-scrapped biopic starring Julia Garner that she’d been working on. Instead of putting those experiences on film, she’s incorporated some of those narratives in the tour production. This is the kind of creative vision and strategy that Madonna has been known for and it’s so smart for her to make this adjustment, to make use of the work that was already done for another project but reinvent it for another platform.
The Celebration Tour doesn’t arrive in Toronto until January, which is when I’ll be going. But I do wonder whether or not these same elements will remain in the show by the time it gets here. Like her children’s involvement, with Mercy on piano, Stella dancing on “Don’t Tell Me”, Estere voguing for Mother and Lola, and David on guitar:
Madonna has her kids come out on stage during her tour ðŸ¤— . (@adelesremedyy) October 16, 2023
Estere is voguing during Vogue, Stella dancing during Donâ€™t Tell Me, Mercy playing the piano, and David on the guitar. pic.twitter.com/OT056yKZ0j
Speaking of Toronto, she also brought back this.
During The Blonde Ambition tour, and I’m sure we all remember it because she included it in Truth or Dare, the Toronto police threatened to have her arrested if she did the masturbation simulation. When she was told about it she replied, “I’m not changing my f-cking show”. And then during the prayer circle before the show, she began with the line that will always make me laugh:
“Dear Lord, this is our last night in the fascist state of Toronto.”
At 65 years old, Madonna is still masturbating, using the same choreo from the era, and with someone dressed as herself, from the era. As if to say…I get off on me. I please me. This is what she’s always been about: self-love, self-pleasure, literally!
Yours in gossip,