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: October 5, 2015

On October 5 2015, Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour stopped in Toronto for the first of two sold-out shows. Canadian singer, Nelly Furtado, was brought on stage during the show as Madonna’s Unapologetic Bitch.

Madonna had this to say on Twitter after the show:

“Thank you Nelly for being my b**ch tonight!! Hope you put that banana to good use!… #unapologeticbitch in Toronto! #rebelhearttour.”

Today in Madonna History: October 1, 2015

On October 1 2015, Madonna shared a behind-the-scenes photo of her “quick-change” costume station in Detroit, during The Rebel Heart Tour.

Madonna’s caption for the photo:

“Quick Change in the Motor City! ………….Get Ready Detroit!”

Madonna performed for a sold-out crowd of 12,852 fans at the Joe Louis Arena.

Today in Madonna History: September 16, 2017

On September 15 2017, Madonna spoke to Mark Savage (BBC) about how after a career of huge production shows, she’s thinking about a smaller scale residency style show in the future.

“I’ve done so many shows – world tours, stadiums, sports arenas, you name it – that I feel like I have to reinvent that now too. I like doing intimate shows and being able to talk directly to the audience. This is something I’m exploring right now: the idea of doing a show that doesn’t travel the world, but stays in one place and utilizes not only humour and the music in a more intimate setting but other people’s music, as well, and other entertainment. Kind of a revolving door of amazing, gifted, unique talent – dancers, musicians, singers, comedians, me, humour. I don’t know! Like, I’m trying to come up with all those ideas now.”

Here’s part of their interview:

Before we start, there’s one thing I need to know: Did your FedEx package ever arrive?

Ha ha! Yes, it has. FedEx is blaming customs, customs is blaming FedEx and we’ll never know what happened. But I have it now.

So, I saw the Rebel Heart tour when you were in London and the DVD does a really good job of capturing what it was like to be in the audience. How do you go about that?

I was there every step of the way, every day for months and months. It’s really hard to capture the true feeling of the excitement and the passion and the heat and the blood, sweat and tears. I’m pleased with the way it came out.

There’s a particularly touching sequence during True Blue, where everybody in the audience embraces each other.

I know, it’s a very sweet, emotional moment in the show. I didn’t expect it to be, but when I look back at the DVD it almost brings a tear to my eye because everyone seems so in love.

How do you put a show like this together? Where do you get the ideas?

Everything’s based around my song choice. So first, I go through my catalogue of songs with my band and I start working on things that excite me and inspire me in the moment. Some songs I’m sick of doing and I don’t want to do them. Other songs I say, “No, I did that on the last tour, I don’t want to do it again.”

So I try to rotate things and I also try to reflect my current mood and what I’ve been feeling, and what’s been inspiring me artistically or filmically, politically, philosophically. I try to put songs together in groups that have thematic connection, and then I try to tell a story. And then I do the visuals. It’s quite a process.

What are the songs you don’t want to do again?

Well, I tend to not want to do the songs I did on the tour before. That’s what I mean. So if I did Material Girl on the tour before, or Express Yourself on the tour before, then I’ll say, “OK, I did that for 88 shows. I can’t do it again.”

How do you keep a healthy balance between new songs and your back catalogue?

It’s just playing in rehearsal. It’s really hard for me, especially with my older songs, to do them with the original arrangement. Because 33 years later, after doing it for so long, you just have to reinvent things. Well, I do.

And it’s fun for me to take an ’80s pop song and turn it into a salsa song, or turn it into a samba, or make an uptempo song into a ballad.

The DVD also includes the Tears of a Clown show you did in Melbourne. Was that a one-off or a trial run for a different type of Madonna concert?

I like doing intimate shows and being able to talk directly to the audience; to play with them and use humour and pathos and truth, and share my life – and also make up stories. I like the freedom of it and I like the intimacy of it, and I would like to explore doing it more in the future.

Maybe a residency?

Yeah, a residency. If I look back at the Rebel Heart tour, my favourite part was really the last section where I got to just sit on the stage and play my ukulele and sing La Vie en Rose and talk to the audience. [It was] just more intimate. More audience participation and connecting to human beings – I feel I’m craving that more and more.

Did it feel like there was more room for improvisation in that section?

Yeah, I have freedom and I can make mistakes. That’s another thing I do in Tears of a Clown – if I start a song off wrong and I make a boo-boo, I just turn around and go “Stop! Let’s start again!”

When you’re doing a sports arena show, you’re linked up to video, you can’t stop. Once the train leaves the station, you have to keep going.

There’s a certain kind of adrenalin rush to that – but there’s no room for error. So I like the idea of mistakes and free-styling. Free-falling, really. It’s more exciting to me right now.

You can read the full interview here.

Today in Madonna History: September 15, 2017

On September 15 2017, Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour was released on DVD, blu-ray and double-CD.

Here is the official press release:

Madonna today released her long-awaited REBEL HEART TOUR concert film on a variety of formats. REBEL HEART TOUR was recorded around the world and features both live and behind the scenes material, as well as previously unreleased footage culminating with performances at the Sydney Qudos Bank Arena (formerly known as the Allphones Arena) in Australia in March of 2016.

REBEL HEART TOUR is nearly two hours long and features Madonna’s most recent hits from the Rebel Heart album, and some of the biggest classics of her career including stunning reinterpretations of old favourites, which were unique to the tour. Bonus features on the DVD, blu-ray and iTunes version are Like A Prayer and ‘An Excerpt From Tears Of A Clown’ – incredibly rare footage of Madonna’s one-off Melbourne theatre show, which was completely different to the Rebel Heart shows in both scale, content and production. Featuring music, art and mischief, the exclusive fan club show was a celebration of Madonna’s return to Australia after 23 years.

Eagle Vision are releasing the film on DVD and blu-ray (both with an exclusive 14-track highlights CD) and digital download. Also released is a 22-track double CD, which is also available on all digital music services. In addition to the physicaland digital formats, madonna.com have exclusive fan merchandise bundles.

MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR was co-directed by Danny B. Tull and Nathan Rissman, both of whom have worked extensively with Madonna on her feature films and tour movies.

The tracklist for MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR film and live concert album span all decades of the iconic superstar’s illustrious career, including songs from her chart-topping Rebel Heart album to classic fan favorites.

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 the special Tears Of A Clown fan club show in Melbourne.

Today in Madonna History: September 10, 2015

On September 10 2015, Madonna joined Régine Chassagne and Win Butler (Arcade Fire), Diplo and DJ Windows 98, on stage at the PHI Centre in Montreal, after her Rebel Heart Tour concert. The PHI Centre presented a special night, Naïve Melodie, for the benefit of the Kanpe Foundation.

Madonna played the cow bell during a performance of David Bowie’s Rebel Rebel.

Kanpe is a foundation that “stands with the most vulnerable Haitian families towards their financial autonomy.”

Today in Madonna History: July 6, 2015

On July 6 2015, tickets for the Australian and New Zealand leg of Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour went on sale. Madonna had missed Australia for 23 years during her successful tours across the world.

Here’s a bit from the official press release:

Live Nation announced today that Madonna will make a historic return to Australia performing live for the first time in 23 years as well as her first ever shows in New Zealand, with her Rebel Heart Tour. The tour will kick off at Vector Arena on March 5th and 6th in Auckland, followed by the Australian dates presented by Telstra Thanks® and including concerts March 12th & 13th in Melbourne, March 19th & 20th in Sydney and March 26th & 27th in Brisbane (complete itinerary follows). Tickets go on sale Monday, July 6th at 10am.

Amen that Madonna was finally able to find her way back Down Under!

%d bloggers like this: