The stage at TD Garden in Boston is at once a cross and a penis with a heart tip. Of course it is. It’s Madonna.
A film plays showing Madonna talking about shaking her ass and then breaking into “Iconic,” which features Mike Tyson. Then Madge herself is lowered onto the stage in a cage, which opens, the crowd goes crazy, she’s singing, steely-faced and in good voice. She looks fabulous. No shit. She’s in a huge red kimono by Arianne Phillips. She certainly puts on a hell of a show, as I learn finally seeing her for the first time at the end of September.
As I’m listening to Madonna’s new album, “Rebel Heart,” I’m trying to hear how much heart and how much rebel is there. Or at least how much it makes me want to dance.
“Bitch, I’m Madonna” with Nicki Minaj is certainly an “I’m-gonna-put-my-big-Madonna-penis-on-this” answer to everything from the club antics of Gaga’s “Just Dance,” to Miley’s “Party in the USA,” to Ke$ha’s “TiK ToK.”
(I just died a little inside as I replaced an “s” with a “$.”)
But “Bitch, I’m Madonna” also lets everyone sing along and get a feel for what it’s like to be her — which is what so many fans would love to know. I also can’t help but love all the cameos in her video of Chris Rock, Miley, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Kanye, and oh the list goes on, saying “Bitch, I’m Madonna.” We’re all Madonna and yet none of us is. Eh, screw it. Let’s dance.
Some of this tour and album feel like she’s in a war with Lady Gaga to see who’s simultaneously a worse and better Catholic (which is actually super fun to watch). Madonna wins with the line in “Holy Water”: “Don’t it taste like holy water? / Jesus loves my ***** best.” Well then.
Lest you think she’s all stripper poles and stage banter dedicating songs to the “Popey-wopey” when Pope Francis is visiting the U.S., I’ll have you know she also sweetly accompanies herself on ukulele and dedicates “La Vie en Rose” to her 10-year-old son, David, for his birthday. She then invites David onstage to dance during “Unapologetic Bitch” and she pretends to spank him and kick him in the butt (during the tour she invites a “new bitch” onstage to spank, like Amy Schumer, who opened for her in New York). David — super cute in a red suit — doesn’t smile at all. Then she tells him he gets a prize but he is disappointed when she hands him a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy with a banana:
“You get lunch and a toy to play with while you eat it,” she says and he rolls his eyes. The audience groans. We’re with her most of the way — from the sexy “Last Supper” set piece with nun strippers to her signature stage-hump during “Like a Virgin” — but she momentarily loses us when she gives her 10-year-old son a banana on his birthday. Something’s gotta give, I guess, when you work it so hard.
Jenn Sutkowski definitely caught some kind of Madonna bug from so many Madonna fans because now she’s Madonna sick and lying in her Madonna bed and having a Madonna sore throat. Find her dreaming of Madonna grandeur at jennsutkowski.com.
(This Full Frontal column appeared originally in the Newport Mercury.)
It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
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