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iReview :: MADONNA’S Rebel Heart Tour Live!

Just in time to wrap up the summer season the undisputed Queen of Pop: Madonna releases the REBEL HEART TOUR Live on CD (as well as Blu-ray and DVD)!

Masterfully Madonna has demonstrated that in order to succeed in entertainment today, an entertainer must entertain! Record sales (or Digital Downloads) as they are most commonly referred of in today’s market, are only an introduction to what the artist is “thinking”. Tracks are longer referenced to relegated to success by how much radio play they get — (Does anyone even have a radio anymore?) it’s just not the way that musicians really remain relevant anymore.

The live concert stage has evolved into the new and more immediate medium by which an artist can truly rate just what their standing in popular culture is. Appearing on the scene more than 35 years ago and significantly synching her place on MTV proving that indeed “video had killed the radio star”, Madonna thumbed her nose in the face of her critics and revealed her naysayers for the hacks they were. Anyone that perceived her as a pop-tart, one-hit wonder, has eaten their words.

Madonna excelled at reinvention without really jumping onto the scene as such a manipulative commodity; this was an artist that existed for the provocative and edged on the titillating euphoria of grabbing attention! Her talent was always in pushing people’s buttons, and Madonna chose a platform by which she would always be guaranteed a spotlight in. Popular music gave her an audience and MTV a platform, and when that platform no longer was viable, Madonna evolved.

Rebel Heart

By the late 1990 it was evident that Madonna was not going anywhere! She’d just released her most well-reviewed album and critical success Like a Prayer, divorced her first husband and embarked on the most complex endeavor of her career The Blond Ambition Tour and revolutionized the way that pop artists performed live! Nearly three decades later, she continues to push the limits of her stage and arena tours and her most recent endeavor is no exception!

Available now as a digital download audio recording (also on a 2-disc CD) Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour (Live) is a fantastic example of her dominance as a live artist and unrelenting force in popular culture. The recording lifts from the more than 80 stops on this landmark world tour that promoted her most recent studio album of the same name. Rebel Heart may have only appeared a nominal success on the charts, but its accompanying spectacle perfectly played to Madonna’s audience.

Madonna carefully orchestrates her live performances, preferring to refer to them as installations than a concert, and the Rebel Heart Tour is elaborate in its detail. The opening of the show introduces Madonna as a “warrior goddess” — a medieval figure — surrounding by heavily armed guards who fall inline just as she begins with a rendition of the song “Iconic” before entering into the party track “Bitch I’m Madonna”.

It’s a beautifully crafty way of opening up her show in very heavy garb that evolves into a more Byzantine crafted look. Madonna learned during one of her previous forays on the stage that although the new songs beg to be performed, it’s significantly better branding to lace some of the classics throughout the setlist. Early on in the show, she performs “Burning Up” a classic from her very early days, and a pumped up rock guitar arrangement.

The rest of the setlist ranges back and forth from more contemporary hits to the clear nostalgia of “Holiday” which rounds out the end of the blockbuster performance. Among the standouts are of course the club anthem “Living For Love” and the title track “Rebel Heart”, but among the most endearing numbers is the ironically funny “Unapologetic Bitch”. During the show Madonna pulled up a who’s who of celebrities whom she had her way with — unapologetically.

Live Indeed

Anyone who has ever attended one of Madonna’s live shows understands the unrelentingly overwhelming feeling of good will and enchantment that falls over the audience. It’s an experience you wish you could bottle and keep stacked on your shelf like an exotic sweetener you would like to add every morning to your coffee. There’s plenty of that unabashed joy and frivolity all over the Rebel Heart Tour (Live) that many will want to revisit.

There’s an elation that comes over you brought upon by an intoxicating overload of your senses from the music, dancing and the visuals, and especially the feeling that if you reached out you could touch Madonna — you see her smile and you know that she feels the same way!

Rebel Heart Tour (Live) by Madonna is available now for download on iTunes.

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