“Get into the groove”…why I loved Madonna’s Rebel Heart show so much.

I’ve been a busy lady lately. Last Sunday I was fortunate enough to go and see Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour at Vector Arena in Auckland. I was not disappointed. It felt like a life changing experience.

I could stop there, but I shall explain.

Months ago, my friend was buying four tickets for Madonna. I had just splurged on Robbie Williams’ tickets (two shows), Ed Sheeran tickets…as always, all the tickets go on sale at the same time. I umm-ed and ah-ed. I was one of those voices you saw on social media, “Would Madonna still be good now? Would she still have it?” I was a doubting Thomas.

Don’t get me wrong, I have loved Madonna since I can remember. I remember listening to True Blue and Like a Virgin on cassette tape. I can remember singing into my hairbrush and dancing round my bedroom. I can remember putting on dance shows with my best friend, Maria, for our parents and even at school.

Time moved on. I can remember leg dancing (don’t ask) with my friend Cathy to Like A Prayer. I can remember getting into Prince because of Madonna; only Diamonds and Pearls mind you, that was my era.

I went to university and worked in a bar where every night they would play Beautiful Stranger. I am famous, amongst friends, for my literal dancing to Madonna (I’m available for weddings and birthdays if you’re interested). You get the idea? Madonna was always there in my life, but I needed the money. $200 a ticket is a lot. But then I won $500! I completed a random online survey about cheese, you can’t make this stuff up, and there was my answer!

Yes, I would like a ticket.

Yes, I wanted to see Madonna.

The months passed. I never got round to listening to Rebel Heart (I’ve been listening to it a lot since the gig of course) but it didn’t matter. I was at the arena with three friends who were all equally excited about seeing someone perform who they had been fans of since they were kids. Perfect.

Maybe it is because we went on the Sunday night and we knew she had kept the audience waiting, but honestly the fact that she didn’t come on stage until 10.35pm didn’t bother me. Really, it didn’t and I didn’t see anyone around where we sitting getting annoyed either. We danced to the DJ, we chatted, we got excited. After all, Bitch, she’s Madonna, she can do anything she wants! She’s never played in New Zealand before, waiting an extra hour and a half isn’t going to kill anyone, plus the organisers had emailed that day warning that the show would go on late.

  
The show was everything and more. You think of it, she had it: dancers galore, light shows, circus performers, pyrotechnics. It wasn’t just her singing with a band, it was a proper show. I felt like I was at a saucy version of Cirque du Soleil. This is a good thing.

She played a good mix of old and new material, all the favourites and, from what I have learned since, all the best songs of the new album. She dealt with her collaborations by having effective and excellent visuals on the screen behind her. I recognised a few but am showing my age by saying not all.

Madonna shows off her acrobatic skills.

We were up dancing and singing along. I wish the whole crowd had been as enthusiastic. I always feel for artists coming to New Zealand as often the audiences can be a little reserved. My view is what is the point of going if you are not going to participate? Wait until the DVD comes out and you can sit on the sofa and watch it. Get up and dance!

Over the week I have seen various comments about Madonna’s shows and I have rushed to defend her, even though she doesn’t need it. I feel so passionately about what I saw I want everyone to know. The most ridiculous thing I heard was someone saying they didn’t expect her to be so “overtly sexual.” This is Madonna. She has songs titled ‘Like A Virgin’, ‘Unapologetic Bitch’, ‘Bad Girl’. Madonna is sex. What exactly were you expecting?

So despite any negativity you may have read about the Rebel Heart shows, this fan loved it. Loved it so much she really didn’t care about only have three and a half hours sleep that night before real life began again. For one night only Madonna took me to a world of excess, fun and naughtiness. It was worth the money, the wait and the late night.

Madonna performs her Rebel Heart Tour at the Vector Arena in Auckland - her first concert in New Zealand.

Images by JASON DORDAY / FAIRFAX NZ

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