Today in Madonna History: December 9, 2016

On December 9 2016, Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour premiered on SHOWTIME, on-air, on-demand and over the internet.

Here’s a snippet from the press release for the broadcast:

MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR was shot around the world and features a collection of live and behind these scenes footage culminating in performances at the Sydney Olympic Park in March of this year. The film is co-directed by Danny B. Tull and Nathan Rissman, both of whom have worked extensively with Madonna on her feature films and tour movies. Madonna will be honored later this year as Billboard magazine’s 2016 Woman of the Year award, at a star-studded event held in conjunction with the publication of Billboard’s Women in Music list, which identifies the 50 most powerful female executives in the industry each year.

“When it comes to putting on a show, there is only one Madonna – an iconic performer that we’re thrilled to have on our air,” said David Nevins, President and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc. “With her unique creative vision and unmatched stage presence, our viewers will see an arena show packed with visual theatrics, stunning costumes and intricate choreography, featuring new hits and beloved classic songs.”

The set list for MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR spans all decades of the iconic superstar’s illustrious career, including songs from Rebel Heart (the No. 1 dance hits “Living for Love” and “Bitch I’m Madonna“) to classic fan favorites like “Material Girl” and “Holiday” and a “Dress You Up” medley that included “Into The Groove,” “Everybody” and “Lucky Star.” Memorable highlights from the tour include her first-ever live concert performance of “Take a Bow,” acoustic versions of “Like A Prayer,” “Secret” and “Don’t Tell Me.”  At each tour date during the song “Unapologetic Bitch,” Madonna would bring someone up from the crowd to dance with her during the song. Some nights it was a fan, another night it was Katy Perry. Other guest dancers included: Amy Schumer, Ariana Grande, Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Diplo, Gwendoline Christie, Graham Norton and Anderson Cooper.

Produced by Live Nation Global Touring, the Rebel Heart Tour kicked off on September 9, 2015 in Montreal and visited arenas in 55 cities on four continents over seven months. Madonna performed 82 shows, plus a special fan club show in Melbourne. The tour grossed $169.8 Million with 1,045,479 in attendance, making her the top grossing touring female artist in the history of Billboard Boxscore with over $1.31 billion in ticket sales sold over the course of her career. Madonna is also the fourth top grossing touring act (behind The Rolling Stones, U2 and Bruce Springsteen) since tracking began in 1990.

The Rebel Heart Tour was directed by Jamie King with musical direction by Kevin Antunes (the band’s keyboardist Ric’key Pageot, drummer Brian Frasier-Moore, guitarist Monte Pittman, and background vocalists Kiley Dean and Nicki Richards), lead choreography by Megan Lawson, hair by Andy LeCompte, makeup by Aaron Henrikson, and costume design by Arianne Phillips.

Today in Madonna History: February 23, 1985

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On February 23 1985, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna joined Prince onstage to sing Baby I’m A Star at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

No photos or live concert footage has ever surfaced from this rarest of rare performances.

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Today in Madonna History: January 29, 2015

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On January 29 2015, Rob Sheffield reviewed Madonna’s Unapologetic Bitch for Rolling Stone magazine’s singles review section (even though it was never released as a single):

Bitch, she’s Madonna. The queen of queens has given a taste of her upcoming album, Rebel Heart, with a few songs dropped in advance after an early leak of unfinished versions. And the girl’s in a feisty mood these days – Madonna writing herself a theme song called “Unapologetic Bitch” is like Springsteen doing one called “Jersey Guy Who Sweats a Lot.” These new songs range from the Nicki Minaj collabo “Bitch I’m Madonna” to the gospel-house pieties of “Living for Love” to the Yeezus-style industrial Kanye grind “Illuminati.” But “Unapologetic Bitch” is the standout: a breakup rant over a Diplo-produced dancehall groove, with Madonna shooting a few poison arrows into the heart of some dude who’s done her wrong.

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