The Rebel Heart Tour has provided Stufish a chance to once again work on a spectacular show by Madonna, where the production value and attention to detail is some of the highest in rock and roll/pop entertainment. The stage and set design for the 2012 MDNA tour were incredible, and still, Rebel Heart tops that.
Stufish have designed elaborate and bespoke statement props for one of the world’s most iconic performers of all time, as well as an intimate experience for the audience to witness one of the greatest shows of all time.
The show is a seamless transition between staging, choreography, scenic props, performers, musicians, lighting and video. All departments work together to create a bold and individual performance that constantly changes throughout the show.
The stage shape is derived from a hybrid of an arrow, a cross and a heart. A long narrow catwalk leading from the main stage divides the audience down the centre and extends deep in to the arena culminating into the heart shaped stage.
The main kinetic feature of the stage is a complex “machine”, which allows for various acrobatic and scenic moments throughout the show. The machine is a 28ft wide x 16ft high video screen deck that assumes numerous positions; It can be flush with the main stage as flooring, act as an 8ft raised platform, a vertical wall that can tilt from flat to ninety degrees in 30 seconds and be an angled wall that performers can ride.
There are specialized bungee points built in to the top edge of the machine which let performers flip, tumble, run and roll up and down the ramp, hang from and free run on the wall in any of these positions.
Half way down the catwalk is the horizontal cross stage spanning almost the entire width of the arena. This stage formation allows Madonna and her dancers to reach more audience, closer up and more intimately than ever before.
Suzy Menkes interviews Alessandro Michele, Madonna's new costume designer for the Rebel Heart tour.
"It's like you're in a temple, going to meet the goddess, and then you discover that the goddess is a big perfectionist and an incredible woman," said Alessandro Michele, Gucci's creative director, about how he met Madonna in rehearsal in New York.
"She is tiny and beautiful," Alessandro continued. "The thing I really loved about her was her eyes - the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen; super green-blue eyes - I think she must have had the same eyes since she was six years old!"
The passionate designer, who has rocked Gucci with his magpie spirit, mixing inspirations from decades and centuries past, was spotted by über-stylist Arianne Phillips as new fashion blood for the Material Girl's Rebel Heart Tour.
Full disclosure: I was the person who suggested to Arianne at Prada's "Iconoclast" exhibition in London in February that Alessandro could create a new romantic look for Madonna.
"Essentially, my job is to be an editor for Madonna," Arianne said, whose list of designers to dress the tour includes Jeremy Scott at Moschino, Prada's Miu Miu, Fausto Puglisi and Alexander Wang. But she was eager to include Gucci's Alessandro.
"I became entranced by his return to craft, the personal and feminine aspects that he has brought into his embellishment to the austere, slick Gucci," Arianne said. "It was like a return to beauty and incredibly inspiring."
Sitting with Alessandro in the Gucci showroom in Milan this week, surrounded by the spring/summer '16 collection of intensely coloured and decorated outfits, wild with frescoes of flowers, he explained his thoughts about dressing Madonna.
"It was an idea to mix Spanish and Latin attitude with chinoiserie, in the exact pink you can see in that skirt," the designer said, pointing to a floral outfit on the rail.
"I thought that if Madonna wore the chinoiserie - a skirt with a super-long fringe - it would be like the divas of the 1920s, when the exotic was mixing Japan and Spain together," he said.
But these fantasies had to pass the eyes and experience of Arianne. She missed Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour's first night in Montreal because she was in Hollywood with Tom Ford. She is working on his new movie, starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal - a film she had been waiting for since working on Ford's A Single Man.
"It's an interesting circle; Alessandro Michele first came to Gucci under Tom Ford, and played the soundtrack of A Single Man at his first Gucci show," the award-winning costume designer said.
Back to Madonna. It was in awe and trepidation that Alessandro - who was promoted to Gucci's creative director after years in the team behind the scenes - walked into the studio on the outskirts of Manhattan at 11 at night to come face to face with his idol.
"They opened the door, and she was having dinner - grilled salmon - and said, ‘Welcome to my restaurant - do you mind that I'm eating?'" Alessandro remembers. "Then she danced for an hour and a half or two. She was ready to work after midnight."
I can imagine Alessandro sitting in the studio - as he was in front of me in the Gucci show room - looking like a Romantic poet, with his beard and his rings that he changes all the time, " because I have a huge box full of Georgian and Victorian jewellery".
But as Arianne knew and Alessandro was about to find out on his midnight visit to Madonna, the art of performance clothes is different from fashion style.
"When they asked me to design, I wanted to give her something super-romantic with the idea of an exotic, dancing Frida Kahlo with ruffles, colour, and a different kind of aesthetic," Alessandro said. "I started with something super-huge, because I did not imagine she would actually want to dance with this dress."
"And then she tried on the outfits, started to move to check that everything is good to dance in. She really is a performer – she doesn't just want to look beautiful – she cares more about the performance. She is obsessive about how to communicate with her audience."
He confesses that he was taken aback by her commitment. "I was completely shocked when I came to the rehearsals; it was in a place you would meet a real dancer, super rough, not a place for a diva, but a place for a real artist."
The Gucci designer also discovered that he would have to create outfits not just for Madonna, but also for all the dancers, making it a marathon job.
"I tried to sketch in my office, to put together an aesthetic like I usually do," Alessandro said, describing one outfit as "Asian, with flowers and ruffles from Spain, something from Mexico, colours and English embroidery."
I interrupted Alessandro's stream of words to ask when he had first registered Madonna and her work.
"I was about 15 - I was a big fan," the 43-year-old said. "She was the first pop musician that I really loved. Because I was in love with the English music, like The Sex Pistols, I was a bit of a snob about pop. But she was the first one who tried to mix a certain kind of punk aesthetic – like black lace - and she put it together and tried to become a new superstar. She really wanted to be a diva."
I wanted to find out more about Alessandro, this designer who seemed to have sprung from nowhere with so much knowledge of history – of fashion and otherwise. He told me about losing his parents, saying that "I had a very beautiful relationship with my mother - she was so funny and intelligent. She died when she was 69 but she was like 20."
Madonna, for Alessandro, has that spirit of eternal youth. "She is 57 but she's like a teenager, and if you're like a teen in your mind you are alive forever," Alessandro said. '"I have to say that Madonna is really open. She is surrounded by people that love art and she has a lot of people around her that are perfectionists. She is very intelligent – that is why she is still at the top after 25 years."
Madonna.com announces extra shows in Asia:
We're thrilled to see fans in Southeast Asia showing their support for Madonna! Due to unprecedented demand, The Rebel Heart Tour has added shows in Taipei on February 6 and in Hong Kong on February 18!
Lifetime Legacy members will receive first access to tickets starting Thursday, October 1 at 10am local times. Public sale follows on October 9 for Hong Kong and October 10 for Taipei, also at 10am local times.
All tickets for Madonna's debut concert in Hong Kong on February 17 sold out within 30 minutes of going on sale at 10am on Friday – setting what is believed to be a record for the fastest Hong Kong concert to sell out.
The concert venue, AsiaWorld-Arena at the airport off Lantau Island, can hold a maximum of 13,500 people. Tickets ranged in price from HK$688 for the cheapest seats to a whopping HK$11,888 for front-row seating.
A woman with plenty of experience tangling with the Vatican has given Pope Francis her endorsement during his first U.S. visit.
At her concert Thursday night in Philadelphia, where Francis is scheduled this weekend to make the last stop of his tour, a tongue-in-cheek Madonna dedicated a section of her show to him.
She later announced: "Rules are for fools. That's why I like the new pope. He seems very open-minded."
It was just one of many comments about Francis at a concert that featured lots of religious imagery, including female performers wearing nuns' habits — and little else — pole dancing on crosses.
"I've been excommunicated from the Catholic Church three times. It shows the Vatican really cares," she joked.
"Since Popey-wopey is on his way over here, I want to dedicate this song to him," she said before launching into a heartfelt version of "La Vie en Rose."
Also: "The pope is stalking me," she said, noting she recently performed in New York, where Francis is until Saturday morning. "Either he's a copycat or he's secretly in love with me."
If Madonna needed further evidence the pope is following in her footsteps, it was announced Friday that Francis is releasing a pop-rock album called "Wake Up!" Available for pre-order on iTunes, it will feature excerpts from papal speeches in multiple languages.
Francis premiered the first single — "Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!" — Friday on Rolling Stone's website.
Madonna, raised Roman Catholic in Michigan, has a long history of running afoul of the Vatican. Her 1989 video for "Like A Prayer" contained imagery that outraged religious leaders, including stigmata and burning crosses. Her seminal 1990 "Blond Ambition" tour included simulated masturbation and brought condemnation from the Vatican. And in her 2006 "Confessions" tour, she staged a mock crucifixion only a few miles from the Vatican.
That doesn't necessarily mean the Vatican has entirely banished the singer. In December, Italy's singing nun, Sister Cristina Scuccia, met Francis and presented him with a copy of her first CD, which features a remake of Madonna's "Like a Virgin."
Scuccia had won the Italian edition of "The Voice" earlier that year. The Italian Bishops' Conference criticized the song's appearance on the CD, saying it was a commercial ploy.
As more music streaming services and social media apps announce their transition into original content, the battle for positioning remains unpredictable.
Power players like Apple Music and Spotify have yet to make a very definitive shift beyond music sharing and discovery to solidify their identity as digital content providers. Snapchat has experienced notable success, as more brands and media partners experiment with different formats that tap into the existing user experience. Netflix and Hulu have mastered their market, creating network-caliber programming designed for the second-screen generation.
While the landscape is still evolving, and such uncertainty builds anticipation, it also presents an opportunity for thriving digital media and social entertainment platforms with an established niche and to remain steps ahead of emerging trends. Announcing a new partnership with mobile entertainment app go90, DanceOn is expecting this move to place its premiere entertainment-focused platform ahead of the pack.
With an expansive network that boasts more than 4 billion total views, 25 million subscribers, and over 40 million fans across platforms, DanceOn stands as the largest entertainment network for dance-related content on any platform. Celebrating music and dance throughout pop culture, the digital media company is a dominant force with tremendous influence amongst a prime millennial audience. Fueling massively viral dance trends tied to chart-topping hits such as "Trap Queen", "Watch Me Whip / Nae Nae", and "Hit The Quan" — DanceOn is widely regarded for its user-generated challenges and docu-series that have featured globally renowned acts like David Guetta, Diplo, and Sia.
Joining go90's list of partners for mobile-first programming, DanceOn will produce and distribute over 80 hours of exclusive original content for their new over-the-top (OTT) mobile video service. Their slate begins with Every Single Step, a new dance competition series executive produced by So You Think You Can Dance creator Nigel Lythgoe, and Chachi's World, a docu-series based around the life of digital influencer and former MTV star, Chachi Gonzales. Aside from both shows, the partnership includes the fulfillment of 27 additional series to be released through 2017. DanceOn will also be launching its own studio that will support production of original content for partners, which accounts for YouTube, Vessel and go90.
"We are thrilled to be working with go90," stated Amanda Taylor, CEO of DanceOn. "This partnership gives us the opportunity to build upon our original programming slate, launch new IP with out top talent and further strengthen our platform for the discovery of popular dance and music."
Multiplatinum, and 7-time Grammy Award winning pop icon Madonna co-founded DanceOn, alongside her longtime manager and business partner Guy Oseary, Amanda Taylor and Machinima Chairman Allen DeBevoise. The list of investors includes DeBevoise, AMC Networks, Third Wave Ventures, Plus Capital, and Luminari Capital among others.
What a difference a few decades can make on a relationship.
Madonna and Sean Penn had a pretty tumultuous divorce in 1989, but 26 years later, they're vying for the title of friendliest exes in Hollywood!
On Thursday night, Penn was spotted by an ET insider enjoying the second night of Madonna's Rebel Heart tour at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The 55-year-old actor didn't even appear awkward when the Material Girl performed her hit, "True Blue," which was inspired by him.
In fact, Madonna's former husband had a sweet smile on his face!
Madonna actually dedicated the entire True Blue album to Penn in 1986. "This is dedicated to my husband, the coolest guy in the universe," she wrote in the liner notes.
During her show, the 57-year-old music icon also admitted that she's not sure if she'll ever wed again. (She was married to director Guy Ritchie from 2000 to 2008.) Madonna joked that all the married and in love people in the audience were "suckers." She added, "But I'm still a romantic heart."
Penn wasn't the only famous face at Madonna's concert. Jeremy Scott, Zac Posen, Andy Cohen, Kelly Ripa and her husband, Mark Consuelos, were all in attendance.
Ahead of her 57th birthday in August, Madonna shared a flashback photo of her getting a kiss from Penn. "Its almost our birthdays!! 2 Leo's ❤️#rebelhearts," she Instagrammed.
Penn has also opened up about getting along with his former spouse. He told Esquire U.K. in a January interview, "I'm very friendly with my first ex-wife."
Amid the granular details about her luxurious attire— "Madonna wears an exotic gypsy outfit comprising a lurex-lace-and-jacquard bodysuit with an embroidered belt, lace short sleeves, and multi-colored trimmings, plus a black crêpe de Chine skirt with embroidered patches and black georgette ruffles," goes one such breathless passage—was a section that stood out, but not for the reasons Madonna and her publicity team intended.
Near the bottom of the release was a "by the numbers" section, detailing the exhaustive amount of manpower, time and money being poured into the intercontinental tour, which is scheduled to continue through 2016. (The tour sets up shop at Madison Square Garden for a two-night stand Wednesday, with a Barclays Center date set for Saturday.)
Instead of seeing the reams of information as illuminating—500 pairs of custom-made shoes; 20 dancers; more than 25,000 miles traveled—the litany of facts seemed oddly defensive.
"This tour is a lot of hard work," it seemed to say, "and you should be grateful Madonna even wants to put herself through it."
Out of curiosity, I searched through my email for opening night releases for the Rolling Stones and the Who, two acts on identical superstar footing, just to see if they'd offered up any kind of similar footnotes. The Stones simply proffered a set list, name checked the celebs in attendance and provided some video. The Who reeled off the band's past glories—100 million albums sold; iconic appearances at Woodstock and Monterey Pop—as it also just offered glowing assessments of its 50th anniversary tour, along with a set list.
There, in canned, press release form, was pop music's ongoing problem in a nutshell: women are held to a different standard.
Men can tour until they can no longer remember their own songs—I still feel a mixture of anger and sadness remembering Chuck Berry fumbling through his catalog during a Fort Worth concert three years ago—but female artists like Cher or Tina Turner undertake farewell tours and hang it up, spending their twilight years reflecting.
For all the talk about female pop artists being dominant—the Beyoncés, the Rihannas, the Lady Gagas, the Taylor Swifts—the brutal truth is that once female musicians hit a certain age, there is an ugly, unspoken expectation that they will step aside for the next generation (it's when you start seeing things like VH1's execrable "tribute" series Divas).
It's an interesting moment, particularly as Janet Jackson prepares to mount a comeback of her own with a new album, Unbreakable, and a tour, and Mariah Carey settles into a Vegas residency.
Will pop music finally reckon with this baffling contradiction, or continue pretending it isn't happening? Madonna isn't about to retire and cede her place in the cultural conversation, but is she happy about being held to such a glaringly different standard? Female artists over the age of 40 having to justify a continuing career is nothing new, but it's still infuriating. Pop music, it would seem, would prefer women to skip over a 20-year period, and re-emerge in their 60s, as influential grande dames, sweeping onto the Grammy stage or teaming up in the studio with some young up-and-comer.
The 57-year-old Madonna, in particular, is confronting such hypocrisy head-on by simply engaging the youth.
Her latest album, Rebel Heart, is her best in a decade, not least because she enlisted Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, Avicii and Diplo, among other relative whippersnappers, to give her record a tingling immediacy.
Nevertheless, it must be infuriating to have to collaborate with the same acts that more or less openly update your own work from 25 years ago. (The cruelty of this fact in Google form: the results for "Madonna old" number 70 million, while "Madonna influential" returns just 667,000 hits.)
Yet, she perseveres—and perhaps it is this injustice helping to spur Madonna onward. Certainly, she's accomplished more than many of her acolytes, and even if this Rebel Heart jaunt were her farewell, she would be exiting near the top of her game.
Bound up in all this is the unavoidable truth that, no matter how talented or what gender a performer may be, there comes a point where the spirit is willing, but the flesh is simply too weak.
Using that metric—can you still perform?—might be a better way for pop music to stop sidelining its female artists. Don't justify your tour with reams of data about the clothes and trucks and light rigging. No one wonders what Mick Jagger wore, or the size of the Who's stage.
Imagine a pop landscape where talent trumps any other considerations. Now that would be rebellious.
Interviewed by Wendy Williams, Neil Patrick Harris talks about working with Madonna on The Next Best Thing, remarking that she had no attitude on the set and that he's a "massive Madonna fan, she's great!"
Watch the video at the 10:50 mark.
Just days after the launch of Madonna's highly-anticipated Rebel Heart Tour, Live Nation announced today that Madonna is adding more tour dates in Asia and North America. The new dates added to the 64-city world tour include first ever concerts by the Material Girl in Taipei, Hong Kong; Macau; Bangkok; Louisville, KY; San Antonio, Tulsa, OK, TX; Nashville, TN; as well as her first concerts in Tokyo in a decade and additional dates in Mexico City; and Houston, TX. A full list of dates can be found below.
The Rebel Heart Tour launched to two SOLD OUT nights and rave reviews in Montreal, Quebec on September 9th and 10th and will continue throughout North America and UK/Europe through the rest of 2015 and into 2016. The Montreal Gazette proclaimed "in a spare-no-expense theatrical spectacle that artfully flowed from showstopper to showstopper, Madonna proved once again that she doesn't just crave the spotlight — she owns it;" and Associated Press raved "Pole dancers dressed like nuns, Mike Tyson and nonstop theatrics. Welcome to the church of Madonna,"
Tickets for the Rebel Heart concerts in North America will go on sale on Monday, September 21. Tickets in Hong Kong go on sale September 25 and in Taipei on Sat. Sept. 26. In Bangkok, tickets on sale on Sat. Oct. 3 and in Tokyo on sale Sat. Oct. 10th. On sale dates for the concert in Mexico City and the 2 performances in Macau to be announced.
Icon is Madonna's official fan club. Lifetime Legacy members of Icon will receive first access to tickets and VIP Packages. Fans may purchase an "Icon Live Pass" today, which gives them access not only to ticket & VIP Package pre-sales, but also a free membership to Icon, the official Madonna fan club, access to a tour devoted forum and an exclusive tour gift. Fans who are already registered simply need to upgrade their account with the Icon Live Pass on Madonna.com.
In North America, Citi® cardmembers will be eligible for a presale opportunity beginning Thursday, Sept. 17th at 10am through Friday, September 18th at 5pm.In Asia, Citi® cardmembers will have access to a pre-sale opportunity in Taipei, Bangkok & Hong Kong.
Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour is produced by Live Nation Global Touring.
DATE - CITY - VENUE - ON SALE
Jan. 06 - Mexico City, MX - Sports Palace - Details to follow
Jan. 10 - San Antonio, TX - AT&T Center - On Sale Sept 21
Jan. 12 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center - On Sale Sept 21
Jan. 14 - Tulsa, OK - BOK Center - On Sale Sept 21
Jan. 16 - Louisville, KY - KFC Yum! Center - On Sale Sept 21
Jan. 18 - Nashville, TN - Bridgestone Arena - On Sale Sept 21
Feb. 04 - Taipei, Taiwan - Taipei Arena - On Sale Sept 26
Feb. 09 - Bangkok, Thailand - Impact Arena - On Sale Oct. 3
Feb. 13 - Tokyo, Japan - Saitama Arena - On Sale Oct 10
Feb. 17 - Hong Kong - Asia World Arena - On Sale Sept 25
Feb. 20 - Macau - Studio City Event Center - Details to follow
Feb. 21 - Macau - Studio City Event Center - Details to follow
Several possible tour dates are circulating on different Asian media channels:
Please keep in mind these dates have yet to be confirmed by Madonna's team.
Though there's no press release on Madonna.com yet, Pitch.com claims that new dates have been added to the Rebel Heart Tour schedule. These include dates in the Southern states of the US as well as a date in Mexico.
Jan. 6 — Mexico City, Mexico, Sports Palace
Jan. 10 — San Antonio, TX, AT&T Center
Jan. 12 — Houston, TX, Toyota Center
Jan. 14 — Tulsa, OK, BOK Center
Jan. 16 — Louisville, KY, KFC Yum! Center
Jan. 18 — Nashville, TN, Bridgestone Arena
Meanwhile, there's a rumour that Madonna will perform at the Impact Arena in Bangkok on February 9th 2016. If everything works out and Madonna does come to Bangkok, tickets should go on sale Octobre 3rd and start from THB 2,000.
As expected Madonna's Rebel Heart tour is a visual extravaganza!
Kicking off her world tour in Montreal, Canada the reviews are rolling in and so far so very good!
Check out a sneak peek of what Australia and New Zealand can expect when she lands on our shores in 2016 and read on for a few facts and figures (they're fun ones we promise) about what it takes to get this show on the road.
Rebel Heart Roadshow In Numbers
ONE specially designed crucifix shaped stage which flows directly through the audience with a heart shaped "Rebel Heart" at the end of the runway.
2,500,000 Swarovski crystals adorn Madonna's costumes.
2,150,400 LED Pixels light up the rear screens on the Rebel Heart stage
63 kilos of lights, sound and video equipment necessary for each night's performance.
25 kilos the weight of the moveable stage ramp used throughout the concert.
10,000 hours of workmanship have gone into creating costumes from Alessandro Michele forGucci, Alexander Wang, Fausto Puglisi, Jeremy Scott for Moschino, Nicolas Jebran, Miu Miu, Prada and Swarovski for the Rebel Heart Tour.
1000+ wardrobe pieces are required for all the performers onstage.
500 pair of custom made shoes.
200+ pair of fishnets will be worn by Madonna by the time the Rebel Tour wraps.
180 people working and traveling on the Rebel Heart Tour.
121 days of rehearsal before the opening night of the tour in Montreal.
60 people make up the costume staff dressing, sewing and adjusting the costumes night after night.
25 string instruments are used during the show.
23 songs are on the Rebel Heart Tour set list each night.
22 videos play on the rear screens during the concert.
20 dancers join the Material Girl on stage every night.
17 make-up brushes and 5 powder puffs used on Madonna each night.
13 drums make up the drum-kit.
7 bouncing sway poles extend over the audience during the performance.
6 custom designed sets of lashes are used each night.
Madonna kicked off her Rebel Heart Tour Wednesday at the Bell Center in Montreal, and not surprisingly, the inaugural concert was filled with a number of haute-couture costume changes!
The fashion-forward Material Girl wore looks designed by Alessandro Michele for Gucci and Jeremy Scott for Moschino as well as custom ensembles fromAlexander Wang and Fausto Puglisi's eponymous lines. Per WWD, who spoke in depth with Madonna's costume designer Arianne Phillips, the singer also modeled creations from featured Miu Miu, Prada and Swarovski on the
We pulled together seven of Madonna's dramatic looks from her Rebel Heart opener, all of which seem to (loosely) be in line with a few different concert themes...
With each outfit, it's important that the outfit will enhance Madonna's performance and not inhibit it. If forced to choose between fashion and function, she would choose the latter, but because she's Madonna, she works with the pros to get the best of both worlds.
"For her, the performance comes first," Wang explained to WWD. "She has to be able to dance and move and feel comfortable in it."
Phillips, the stylist for her Rebel Heart tour, agreed, explaining, "[Madonna] doesn't really finalize any of the designs until 100 percent of the choreography is set...It's a real back-and-forth conversation and it's a brutal process for most fashion designers. You're hanging in the balance while all the practical aspects are worked out, like the choreography and the quick-changes."
The end result certainly looks amazing! One of Madge's costumes might need a little tweaking, though. According to the Montreal Gazette, the singer exclaimed, "This costume is treacherous," when a bejeweled fringed got snagged on something mid-performance!
Hey, mistakes can be fashionable.
While Madonna surprised Diplo by inviting him on stage at the end of opening night, she's now surprising her fans. During the same song on the second night in Montreal, Madonna invited a FAN from the audience to join her on stage.
Madonna announced that she'll invite a "bitch" on stage every show, so you better have your cheeky dance moves ready!
Unapologetic bitch (RH Montreal September, 10) - Madonna danci...
Unapologetic bitch (RH Montreal September, 10) - Madonna dancing with a fan :)Posted by Madonna Minute on Friday, 11 September 2015
Madonna surprised her opening night crowd by bringing Diplo on stage -- and then super surprised Diplo by making him bend over and accept a banana.
That's pretty much what happened Wednesday night in Montreal ... where Madge kicked off her "Rebel Heart" tour. Diplo seemed shocked he was expected to bust out dance moves -- but his parting gift was what really got his attention.
Future special guests on Madonna's tour, beware.
This is the setlist that was performed at opening night in Montreal.
Check out our Facebook page for the first pictures of the show.
Joan of Arc / Samourai Segment
Iconers! Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour will open this Wednesday in Montreal before traveling the world. As always, our girl wants to make it a little special for her beloved Iconers and we are excited to announce that we have 2 pairs of front row tickets to give away to each of the North America based shows, starting with the Sept 16th one in New York City!
For a chance at an unforgettable night, just take a picture of you posing with your Rebel Heart Tour tickets and post it to your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page, along with the date of the show you'd like to attend front row (see this week's available shows below), your Icon Display Name, as well as the #BitchIWantFrontRow and #RebelHeartTour hashtags before 11:30am EST on September 15th, 2015. We'll pick winners on a random basis and will e-mail them to confirm their prize.
This week, you are good to enter for the following shows: Sept 16 (NYC), Sept 17 (NYC), Sept 19 (Brooklyn), Sept 21 (Quebec), Sept 24 (Philadelphia).
- You must be a Lifetime Legacy ICON member.
- You must be at least 13-years-old to enter.
- Entrants must take a photo of themselves, posing with their Rebel Heart Tour tickets.
- Photos must be posted to your own Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page.
- One entry per member and per show.
- Your social post also must contain: date of the Rebel Heart North America Tour show date you wish to attend, your Icon DISPLAY NAME (verify on your profile page!), and the hashtags: #BitchIWantFrontRow and #RebelHeartTour.
- Finalists will be selected on a random basis.
- Each qualified winner will receive 2 tickets to the Madonna Rebel Heart Tour performance of their choice.
- Qualified winners will be provided details to collect their tickets on the evening of their show date.
- This is a tickets-only promotion. Travel, parking and accommodations are not included and are the responsibility of each winner.
- DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES: TUES., SEPT. 15, 2015 @ 11:30AM EST.
Good luck to you all and check out Madonna.com next week for "Bitch I want front row!" #2!
The Icon team
Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour kicks off tonight (Sept. 9) in Montreal. But for those of us not lucky enough to be there in person (or for Canadian fans who just can't wait), Madge is sharing a few previews of her tour via Instagram, her go-to social media platform.
The video clip shows Madonna pushing against a cage, passionately embracing a shirtless man (both familiar images in her canon), as well as a troupe of fashionable soldiers marching -- perhaps for the glory of the Queen of Pop?
Additionally, Madonna shared two very dramatic images, one of which finds a man jumping in the air against a solar explosion of orange color. The other shares the same stark black-orange color scheme, and shows a dancer caught in a balletic moment, her white robes trailing behind her.
Based on this (not to mention Madonna's entire career), it's safe to assume the Rebel Heart Tour will be an explosive visual feast.
In her column today, Liz Smith wishes Madonna good luck with the kick-off of her tour, saying it might just be her greatest yet.
Today, in Montreal, Madonna kicks off her Rebel Heart Tour. Those who have seen the show in rehearsal say it is her greatest yet, simply magnificent. But don't tell her that. She is never satisfied. Once she is done with an album, a movie, a concert tour, a man she's done. But while she's working on something, she is constantly tinkering, re-doing, re-playing, re-thinking. And when it's over, it's over. No complaining or explaining. The present and the future exist for Madonna. The past holds no interest. Nostalgia is just a nine-letter word.
Good luck, tonight, honey!
Liz also shares her opinion on Swept Away:
IN writing about "The Man From U.N.C.L.E" the other day, I forgot to mention the director, Guy Ritchie. While I watched the movie, I thought there was something familiar about the "out-there" style. I've seen most of his films. Some are great, some are fascinatingly incomprehensible. I recall sitting through a number of versions of "Revolver," by request of Guy's then-wife Madonna, who was nothing if not supportive. And frankly, I never did quite understand what the hell was going on in "Revolver." But it was fun trying to figure it out.
Speaking of the one-time couple, a friend of mine gave me a copy of Ritchie's 2002 movie "Swept Away," starring Madonna, as " a joke." This re-make of Lina Wertmuller's 1974 movie about a privileged woman shipwrecked with her now-empowered deckhand, was a terrible flop. (I don't know that Lina's original was screaming for a remake, actually.) I saw the Ritchie/Madonna version when it opened. I thought it wasn't nearly as bad as critics said, although it wasn't good. It seemed to me like a Lifetime Movie for TV, with Madonna, as usual, stiff one moment, charming the next. (She is best in supporting roles. For some reason, the burden of carrying a film seems to overwhelm her. Maybe if her music career hadn't been so successful, she would have devoted more time to acting — most of her best performances are in her classic music videos, using her expressive face.)
Ritchie photographed her horribly in "Swept Away," and I had to wonder, what he was really trying to say with this tale of a wealthy and famous woman brought low? He had previously directed her in a short, about a spoiled star being abused, and also one of her music videos, "What It Feels Like for a Girl," in which she — again — plays an abused woman.
It reminded me — rather sadly — of Richard Burton directing Elizabeth in "Dr. Faustus." Elizabeth never realized what Burton was conveying in the final scene, as Taylor drags him —as Faustus — down to hell. By then, he was tired of that roller-coaster Life With Liz, but it was too late, and too profitable, to jump off.
Madonna and Guy were a good match for a while, and I know she was deeply in love with him. In any case, "Swept Away" is a fascinating, if not a brilliant, peek into public people working out personal issues through their work. That's how I see it, at least.
The costume designer Arianne Phillips was in London in late February when she heard through the grapevine about a designer who was just beginning to get people's attention: Alessandro Michele.
The 42-year-old Roman had just shown two collections in quick succession after his appointment as Gucci creative director and suddenly found himself the toast of the fashion world.
Meanwhile, Phillips, an in-demand costume designer for the movies, a veteran of Tom Ford's "A Single Man" and an Academy Award nominee for "Walk the Line," had just started preparing for her biggest project of the year: the months-long, all-consuming head trip known as a Madonna world tour.
In a nice bit of kismet, or a psychic connection, Michele himself was somewhere in Florence working, unprompted, on a gift for Madonna when Phillips reached out to Gucci to contribute costumes to the tour.
"The energy was just out there," Phillips says.
When Madonna opens her "Rebel Heart" tour on Sept. 9 in Montreal, she will do so in Michele's Gucci. And Prada and Jeremy Scott's Moschino and Alexander Wang and Fausto Puglisi. Pop stars "collaborate," to borrow an overused phrase, with designers all the time, mainly on red-carpet appearances.
But few can command at will, or use as prominently, marquee designers like these quite like the Material Girl, a unique position she's enjoyed ever since she made a certain Parisian enfant terrible synonymous with a cone bra. More so than her peers, or her wannabes, Madonna has made high fashion an integral part of her music videos and tours, bestowing on designers the full force of her megawatt celebrity. Has anyone else worn Givenchy to the Super Bowl? When she calls, designers listen.
"She opened the door for all the pop girls out there today, many of whom I dress and who do respect her and give her props," says Scott. "We all owe her a debt of gratitude."
Plus, haven't you heard her latest single? "She's Madonna!" says Alexander Wang. "It goes without explanation, she's iconic." Michele adds simply: "I am crazy about her."
A couple of weeks ago, Phillips was on her way to Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, N.Y., where Madonna is rehearsing, to work on costumes that were still not quite finished. Wang, for instance, was making alterations to his look, a long-sleeve mini in basketball mesh, because of last-minute changes in the production. Gucci had its last fitting a week later.
"For her, the performance comes first. She has to be able to dance and move and feel comfortable in it," Wang says.
"[Madonna] doesn't really finalize any of the designs until 100 percent of the choreography is set," Phillips says. "It's a real back-and-forth conversation and it's a brutal process for most fashion designers. You're hanging in the balance while all the practical aspects are worked out, like the choreography and the quick-changes."
Not that Phillips sounds concerned. She's gone through five of these marathons, each one larger than the last — this one has 28 performers; an average of 10 costume changes for 20 dancers, six for the background singers, four for the band and Madonna's own eight full looks — and she knows it always comes down to the last minute.
By now, she's been working on the tour on and off since December, when she organized her design team. She didn't reach out to designers until April, when a working set list and the show's usual four-act structure began to take shape.
Madonna's conduit to the industry, Phillips is a longtime insider who can play the boss' eyes and ears on the street and intuit her wishes. It was her job to design most of the show and then figure out the flourishes, which old collaborators to leave out and which new ones — accessories designers Lynn Ban and the Brit Rachel Freire — to bring into the fold.
"A stylist is like being a yenta. My job is finding out what's relevant and what's appropriate for the story Madonna's trying to tell," Phillips says.
She took the reins of the first act — a Joan of Arc-inspired section similar to the Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott-lensed cover art of the "Rebel Heart" album — and devised a series of costumes referencing liturgical fabrics and a recent exhibition of samurai armor at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Dancing nuns on stripper poles also make an appearance during this act. It wouldn't be a Madonna show otherwise.
Miuccia Prada, who created original Prada and Miu Miu footwear for previous tours, was asked to design costumes as well this time around for the show's second section. Her response? Rockabilly meets Tokyo.
"Nothing we do is literal. Everything is a mash-up," Phillips says.
It's in the third act, the Latin quarter if you will, that things get really twisted. Puglisi and the Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran created more of the same matador-inspired looks that appeared in the music video and live performances of single "Living for Love." But then, there's the showstopper: Michele.
After finding out about him, Phillips inhaled his first two collections for Gucci: "I was completely blown away. I love his hand. His clothes are lyrical and feminine and they tell stories. I didn't know him, but I felt there would be this synergy to have them together." Boy, was there.
Michele imagines Madonna in full-blown "La Isla Bonita" mode, a mysterious gypsy wrapped in her fringed manila shawl, hiding behind her flamenco hat, lace and jacquard bodysuit and multicolor skirt.
"That's a real highlight," Phillips says breathlessly. Michele might have been working on his spring show simultaneously, but he had to make time for Madonna: "Now that I have had the chance to see her working, I truly understand why she is so grand!" he says, just as breathlessly.
To end things with a bang, Madonna enlisted Jeremy Scott, fashion's resident club kid, for the party section. She has worked with Scott intermittently since the early Aughts, but perhaps picking up on his ascendance in the public eye since his appointment at Moschino — not to mention his relationship with Miley Cyrus, et al — she brought him back into her orbit to work recently on several high-profile looks, including ones for her "Bitch I'm Madonna" music video.
"Madonna is often like a director," he says, comparing her to younger pop starlets. "She has a vision and you get behind her to achieve that vision."
Scott's mandate was to come up with an homage to Harlem-flapper-meets-Paris-in-the-Twenties and several weeks after their joint appearance at the Costume Institute gala, he had the look: a blinding finale dress employing thousands of Swarovski crystals because, Scott says, "no showgirl would be complete without crystals."
Phillips has finished recounting all the costumes and late nights in the run-up to the opening when she arrives on Long Island. Before she goes in, she pauses to savor the spectacle of that Moschino sparkler.
"We don't need a disco ball," she says. "We have Madonna in costume."
Tomorrow is the day we've all been waiting for the past couple of months: Madonna will open her Rebel Heart Tour at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada! It's promising to be one hell of a ride. Are you ready?
Madonna and her entourage arrived in Montreal earlier this week. She was seen leaving the St. James hotel. Fans at the Bell Centre reported about rehearsals, with songs like Material Girl, Love Don't Live Here Anymore, S.E.X., Justify My Love and La Vie En Rose being rehearsed (though it isn't always clear if the audio snippets are real or fake).
Dancers and Madonna herself have posted several teasers on their social media. Madonna's Facebook page will also be posing more information about the tour and its dancers, starting Thursday:
The #RebelHeartTour opens this week in Montreal! Make sure to visit this page on September 10th and every Thursday to meet the tour's dancers and to learn more about their experience while on the road!#RebelHeartDancers
Her Madgesty's reign over concertgoers could go a long way toward landing her next big recording deal.
The curtain goes up on Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour on Wednesday, and those who have seen rehearsals at the Nassau Coliseum call it brilliant. That should come as no surprise considering what the Material Girl has riding on the 64-show global arena trek.
Her 10-year partnership with concert-promoter Live Nation expires in 2017, just nine months after she wraps up her third and final tour under the deal. And no one expects the soup-to-nuts 360 deal that guaranteed Madonna an unprecedented $120 million in 2007 to be renewed in its current incarnation.
"[The 360 contract] is a relic," Albert Fried analyst Rich Tullo said of the deal pioneered by Live Nation that, in exchange for providing marketing, promotion and touring support, gave the promoter income streams from merchandising, performing and recording.
But consuming patterns have changed drastically in the past decade. Music lovers often stream or pirate their favorite tunes as US album sales have cratered to 257 million units last year from 501 million units in 2007.
"Only a half-dozen artists make more than $10 million from any one album anymore — not nearly enough to justify the upfront expenses of a 360 deal," Tullo said.
That places unprecedented emphasis on an artist's concerts, at which Madonna has historically excelled. Her Sticky & Sweet tour in 2008 raked in $408 million, the biggest box office ever for a solo artist, while her MDNA tour in 2012 netted $305 million.
Arthur Fogel, Live Nation's chairman of global music and president of worldwide touring, believes the Rebel Heart Tour will reinforce Madonna's place in the performing-artist pantheon.
"We have a great and successful touring partnership with one of the greatest artists in music history and have no doubt it will continue," he told The Post.
Richard Conlon, the founder of music consultancy Rights Management Holdings, said the tour has taken on added significance — and is "emblematic of the new music business" — after she treated her 13th studio album as a concert tie-in, giving a free 25-song digital version of "Rebel Heart" to online ticket buyers.
"It's now about selling a show for $500 a seat, obviously, and no longer about selling an album for $20," Conlon said.
Only a fool would bet against Madonna who could re-invent the music business just as she has re-invented herself. But early signs aren't that encouraging. The March album release of "Rebel Heart" marked her slowest sales start in two decades.
As of Friday, tickets were still available for all 21 US dates of the Rebel Heart Tour. And even though her official site claimed the tour's Wednesday opener in Montreal was sold out, tickets could still be obtained from authorized sellers on Friday.
That overhang is already wreaking havoc on scalpers, who've historically considered Madonna a sure thing. Even the concerts at Madison Square Garden, which hosts her Madgesty on Sept. 16 and 17, aren't screaming success. Mark's Tickets is showing 10 percent price declines in tickets up for resale on the first night.
"If a show is not sold out on Ticketmaster, it's difficult to sell on the secondary market," a music insider said. "And Madonna's just not delivering on this tour."
Another clip with great footage from the Rebel Heart Tour dance workshop was posted online. It features interviews with several of the dancers and choreographers.
Madonna also posted some pictures from the tour rehearsals and background videos. Only 3 more days now!
Madonna shared an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of the Rebel Heart Tour dance workshop.
Industry sources say the "Queen of Pop" is likely to fit Hong Kong into the Asia-Pacific leg of her Rebel Heart Tour next year.
Madonna will play two shows in Manila on February 24 and 25, followed by March dates including her debut in Auckland, New Zealand, and her first Australian gigs in 23 years, in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Tour organiser Live Nation declined to comment, but it has been reported that the Grammy-winning star would perform not just in Hong Kong but also in Taiwan and Macau.
Industry insiders say Hong Kong has missed out on a host of big-name musicians, with the likes of Paul McCartney, Depeche Mode and John Mayer passing on visits to the city. The lack of a suitable venue is understood to be a major reason.
McCartney played Seoul's Jamsil Olympic Stadium, which holds 69,950, and Tokyo's Budokan arena and Tokyo Dome - seating 20,000 and 50,000 respectively - earlier this year.
"The venues in Hong Kong aren't big enough to cater to large-scale performances," said one concert promoter who declined to be named. "The Coliseum only has about 10,000, and you cannot stage an all-standing concert. AsiaWorld-Arena has a maximum capacity of 14,000."
Concerts at the ageing Hong Kong Stadium have long been ruled out on noise grounds.
Without a massive venue, local organisers' only option is to pay a fortune to bring artists and their entourages over. Last year, Forbes reported a leaked list of artists' rates that revealed it cost US$1 million to get Madonna to play just one concert.
Since her 1983 debut, Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide, making her the best-selling female recording artist of all time, according to Guinness World Records.
Reports said tickets for the show would cost up to HK$4,000.
Hong Yiu-sun travelled to Osaka in 2006 to catch Madonna's Confessions Tour at the 36,477-capacity Kyocera Dome.
"It was a once-in-a-lifetime concert experience," Hong recalled of the show, for which he paid HK$2,000 for his ticket. "From the production to the quality of the music, stage design and atmosphere, it was nothing like I had ever experienced before. It was worth making a trip just for one concert."
Interview is taking inspiration from the "selfie" and fashion's obsession with social media for its September issue. The magazine, which was founded by Andy Warhol, has melded its heritage of the portrait with technology, to create an Instagram-themed issue featuring eight alternative covers that are essentially self portraits of some of today's most popular social media celebs. The magazine asked Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez, Zayn Malik and Mert Alas to take their own cover shots. In addition, Interview tapped 150 social media stars from fashion, entertainment and music to do the same thing for a portfolio inside the magazine.
"We just asked people to imagine their ultimate self portraits — whether it was highly produced or a simple selfie," explained Interview editor in chief Keith Pollock. "We wanted to see how they see themselves and how they want to be seen. We allowed each subject to imagine their own shoots."
The magazine will go on sale this week, and images from the portfolio — including covers — will be posted on Instagram starting today. Using the hashtag #InterviewGang, Interview will roll out images over the course of the month on its Instagram account. Meanwhile, the subjects involved in the portfolio will post their own photos on their personal Instagram accounts today using the same tag.
"The intention of the portfolio was not to boost our Instagram followers or generate Web traffic — it will be a result of what we've done but it wasn't the origin," said Pollock, who explained that he and editorial director Fabien Baron derived inspiration from Warhol, himself.
"We are conscious of our heritage. Andy did selfies 50 years ago. He'd be doing selfies if he were alive today."
The team tapped Instagram chief executive officer Kevin Systrom to write a piece that includes an interview with senior editor Chris Wallace, as well as thoughts on social media and Warhol's legacy. (Pollock noted that there's no sponsorship between Instagram and Interview but expect a partnership down the line.)
Baron told WWD that the idea of branding oneself through social media, coupled with the fashion industry's fascination with Instagram, was at the heart of his decision to focus on this theme for the issue.
"You really understand what people are about," Baron said, referring to the kinds of pictures that came back; some were highly produced, while others were "raw."
"It's interesting for Madonna because she didn't give a sh-t," he said, noting that she snapped a few quick selfies between rehearsal breaks while she was on tour.
This contrasted with Jennifer Lopez, which took a more glam selfie of her posed seductively looking in the mirror.
For Cyrus and Kardashian, two extremely active Instagrammers, Interview did Facetime photos, instead, in order to add a more surprising element.↑ Back to top of page