Madonna continues her reign as the Queen of Pop with a blockbuster concert at Boston’s TD Garden.
She has seen her share of adversity lately, but for her new tour, Madonna is again taking the bull by the horns—perhaps literally.
“Bitch I’m Madonna.” Could there be three words that better nail the essence of Madonna? That proclamation comes six songs into her latest album, Rebel Heart. The one with the cover featuring the singer’s ever-more-porcelain face tightly wrapped in crisscrossing wire—as if Madonna could possibly be constrained. Now in the third decade of her career, she continues to romp with gleeful abandon.
“I just wanna have fun tonight/Pull me under the flashing light/Let me blow up this house tonight,” Madonna insists in “Bitch I’m Madonna.” In the music video she released for the song in June, she bounds, climbs, and prowls her way through a parade of partiers high above New York City—the metropolis that nearly swallowed her in the early ’80s, before she climbed out of its maw and hit it big in the club scene and beyond with her self-titled (of course) debut album. In the video, she’s dressed like she did in those days, too: hot-pink jacket, leopard-print dress, and big shiny earrings. The cavalcade of cameos includes Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry—in other words, the fully packaged pop princesses who can trace their lineage to the Queen of Pop. But heavy is the head that wears the crown.
Madonna may be vulnerable, but she’s also victorious. She continues to fill stadiums, and after the tumble viewed by millions, she got right back up and finished the song.
Madonna brings her Rebel Heart Tour to the TD Garden on September 26 for what’s likely to be a vintage show. Call her the mother of reinvention. The mother of the modern-day pop tart. Or just a mother of four. (For all of you old enough to remember playing “Holiday” over and over on cassette, take a deep breath: Madonna’s oldest is now in college.) Rebel Heart could well have been titled Confessions with Conviction. In one of her best-reviewed albums in ages, Madonna harks back to those early days with an airy, bouncy club beat. But she’s no ingénue now. In the song “Joan of Arc,” she admits she’s as insecure as the rest of us—wounded and vulnerable from years of sniping. And that’s genuinely surprising. After all, she’s the same steely force who literally laid herself bare for an entire book called Sex, who withstood criticism from the pope, and who’s been banned from MTV—more than once.
Madonna rolls up to the Garden having endured a year of indignities. Hackers leaked much of Rebel Heart before it was finished, and those rough tracks were buried under an avalanche of criticism. During a performance at the Brit Awards, she took a nasty tumble, now immortalized on YouTube for the amusement of haters everywhere. And then there’s the rampant ageism: The Material Girl is now a woman in her mid-50s, which, according to many an online arbiter of decorum, is reason enough for her to retire the short skirts in favor of compression stockings and bedpans.
Madonna may be vulnerable, but she’s also victorious. She continues to fill massive stadiums. In a tribute to her ferocious fight for equality, this spring the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus devoted a portion of its concert to her body of work. And after the tumble viewed by millions, she got right back up and finished the song. Because, bitch, she’s Madonna. September 26 at 8 pm at TD Garden, 100 legends way. For tickets, call 800-745-3000 or visit tdgarden.com