Concert Reviews

Madonna at Air Canada Centre

She is Madonna. Simply and boldly, just Madonna. When the term “icon” in the music industry is passed around, a few artists come to mind. Names like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Hendrix, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan immediately spring up. And rightfully so. These musicians are original and have had significant influence on many generations of fans and basically all musicians today. Sadly, many of them have long past into history, or simply lost their grasp with modern society. Despite a new wave of sound, one icon has found a way to stay relevant in pop-culture and continue to push boundaries.

Just a few days after the so-called modern princess of pop Taylor Swift sold-out 2-nights at the Rogers Centre, the original queen of pop proved that she’s here to stay. While there was an obvious difference in fan demographic, Madonna brought her Rebel Heart Tour to Toronto for 2 sold-out nights of 14,000 each at the Air Canada Centre

Madonna put on one of the most theatric performances I’ve ever seen. The production team did one hell of a job making sure everything stayed organized. There was no need for an opening act. Instead, we were treated with a grand intro video with Mike Tyson leading into the first song “Iconic” where she declared to start a revolution. 

Entrapped in a medieval cage, she was lowered from above the rafters. Once set on the stage, Madge was unleashed to her fans. Dawning a blood red and black robe, she danced with armoured soldiers. At one point, she did an acrobatic move that ended up with her hanging upside-down. It was jaw-dropping. 

“Bitch, I’m Madonna” pretty much sums up everything about her. She took out hand-fan and pranced back and forth with Asian dancers. Inspirations from Cirque Du Soleil, Chinese New Year celebrations, and Japanese Samurais immediately came to reality. 

So how does Madonna Louise Ciccone stay in touch with a new generation of fans? She collaborates with some of the best musicians today like Nicki Minaj and Chance the Rapper of course. Her latest album, Rebel Heart, in which the tour gets its name, received highly positive acclaim from critics.

She can also still shred the guitar. In “Burning Up”, she strut down the cross-shaped with a heart tip catwalk with confidence. A jet black guitar was handed to her and she got down on her knees performing for the lucky ones in the front row. 

Most of the Rebel Heart album was performed, but she also cherry-picked from her vast catalogue of hits. “Like A Virgin”, “Living for Love’ and “Material Girl” where carefully placed throughout the setlist while still maintaining the circus on stage. At one point, I forgot I was even watching a 57-year old person on stage. Does that even really matter at this point? She’s in the best shape of her career. In total, Madonna had 8 different costume looks through the night. I don’t think any of her loyal fans from decades ago would ever imagine seeing the icon this ambitious all of these years later.

Madonna is still the queen.

About author

Chief Editor & Founder of Live in Limbo. Host & Producer of the Capsule Podcast. Sean is an award-winning photographer and Nikon Professional Services member. His work has appeared on the CBC, Pitchfork, and MUCH. He is an Academy Delegate at the JUNOs (CARAS) and has been involved in the Toronto music scene since 2005. He is also an endurance and CrossFit athlete. You should follow him on Twitter @SeanChin.