Madonna Gets Surprisingly Nostalgic at First NYC Tour Stop, Then Kicks Amy …

17 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amy Schumer announces she’ll be headlining a Madison Square Garden show next summer.

Strangely, but awesomely enough, Amy Schumer recently opened for Madonna on her Rebel Heart Tour, and on Wednesday night’s stop at Madison Square Garden, which is the first of three shows that the comedian will open, Schumer announced that she’ll be headlining her own MSG show next summer. With her hair woven into a french braid, the singer strummed an acoustic guitar and sang to the crowd as a collage of her fans’ artwork played behind her on a video screen.Madonna’s album Rebel Heart was bedevilled by leaks; she fell flat on her backside at the Brit awards; and her Instagram gaffes have made Jeremy Corbyn look like a Rupert Murdoch-style media mastermind. Tickets go on sale on Thursday at noon, and you can be sure they’ll sell quickly. ”Oh my god this is amazing,” Schumer said. “I thought nobody would be here. But, it would have been more difficult to imagine if a half-hour earlier, the sultry icon had not flung herself onto crucifix-adorned stripper poles, among a team of scantily clad dancers in nun costumes.

As the dancehall rhythms of “Unapologetic Bitch” bounced around the arena, Madge pulled up Schumer, the two twerked their magic, and the singer then anointed the comic with the title of “Unapologetic Bitch of the Evening.” For this, she was awarded a sock puppet and a banana, which Schumer then pretended to enter into the one part of her body normally reserved for exiting. Yet Madonna is always at her best with her back to the wall, when the killer instinct that has sustained her through over 30 years in pop rears to the surface, a visceral refusal to be beaten. Literally any band. … I’ve loved Madonna literally forever.” To prove her lifelong love for the music icon, Schumer posted an adorable Instagram video before the show, featuring her childhood self belting Madonna’s 1989 hit ‘Like A Prayer.’ The Trainwreck star revealed back in June that she would be opening for Madonna’s tour. Pop’s most culturally influential female has always seem to follow a pattern of unpredictability like this — a romantic gesture in her music may just as easily be followed by shock or obscenity on stage. It was enough to make even the Queen of Shock look a little uncomfortable, and she duly exclaimed “you’re going straight to hell!” In the context of the rest of the show, it was easily one of the most risqué moments.

Her choice of support act on this homecoming gig – since New York is the place she remade herself – is very Madonna, all wrong on paper but in practice, right on the money. She explained to Entertainment Weekly that comedian and actor, Chris Rock, called her up and said that Madonna wanted her number. “This is so much more fun than I imagined! And in that vein, the chameleonic performer showed formidable range and allure on her new Rebel Heart world tour, as she morphed from 21st Century dance-vixen, to nostalgic ’80s pop conjurer, to an ostensibly earnest singer-songwriter. Sure, there were pole-dancing nuns, half-exposed buttocks, and the insinuation of oral sex at the Last Supper, but these aren’t sights that make Madonna fans gasp anymore. Amy Schumer takes the stage in front of a massive backdrop of Madonna’s face staring at the heavens and clutching a sword to her breast, the massive machinery of pop music concealed behind it.

The two-hour set blasted the sold-out crowd mostly with the thump of her upbeat tracks — particularly the new songs off March’s “Rebel Heart” — and revamped many of her greatest hits amid a bevy of dazzling stage sets. Swigging from a bottle of champagne, and with nothing but a microphone and a stool, the comic of the moment says that she was asked: “‘Who better than you to open up for Madonna?’” “Uh,” she rhetorically answers. “Any band?” Yet Schumer’s perfect reading of the audience, in which straight men are such a minority as to be non-existent, (“It’s like taking a warm bath in a ton of dick that doesn’t want you”) weapons-grade filth (“We’re here to rethink cum”) and description of the Kardashians as a family who “take the faces they were born with as a light suggestion” reduce the crowd to marshmallow before Madonna has even made an appearance.

This year’s “Rebel Heart” album didn’t set the charts alight but those who listened close heard the 57-year-old sounding wounded and reflective, and it’s where the “Rebel Heart Tour” is often most arresting. Twenty-five years from her apotheosis, 1990’s Blond Ambition tour, Madonna’s vision of the pop concert – in which music is combined with dance, video and costume, in order to reconceptualise familiar hits into an overwhelming sensory bombardment – has now been copied by generations of pop stars. Throughout the night Madonna was gracious, good-humored and sharp enough on her vocals and intense choreography to arrest the “does she still have it?” skeptics. Assuming Schumer’s MSG show sells out, she’ll become the very first woman to do so, while joining the small and (mostly) illustrious list of comedians who’ve accomplished the feat: Eddie Murphy, George Carlin, Andrew Dice Clay, Chris Rock, Russell Peters, Dane Cook, Kevin Hart, Louis C.K., and most recently Aziz Ansari.

But even Madonna’s biggest fans don’t pay to watch a pity party, and Madonna (as she always has done since she first played the Garden 30 years ago) put on a show that was entertaining to the last. At first the signs aren’t promising: the show starts with film of Madonna writhing in a sequinned dress in a cage, while her voiceover chunters that creativity is being threatened by corporations (ironic, given that Madonna is a formidable corporation in her own right). The epic hit-maker’s 76-date roadshow, which kicked off last week in Montreal (Wednesday’s show was No. 4), hits Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City Oct. 3, and runs through March 2016. The set’s second number “Bitch, I’m Madonna” — performed in full-on Japanese samurai garb — felt like a jab to any fans who questioned the pairing of Madonna’s sensual performance style with her age. Instead, Madonna relied heavily on impressive set-pieces, elaborate costumes, and tightly choreographed dance numbers, the best of which turned out to be a fabulously vibrant, flamenco-themed medley of hits such as “La Isla Bonita,” “Into the Groove,” and “Everybody.” It’s moments like these that prove Madonna’s version of nostalgia is more inventive than most artists’ version of contemporary.

But the most memorable of her latest crop was inarguably the sacrilegious live version of “Holy Water,” which not only featured the stripper poles and nuns, but recreated a Last Supper table and quickly covered it with dancers pantomiming sexual acts over its surface. While church-goers might find the choreography and setting somewhat disturbing, Madonna has said before that in her eyes, religion and music are intertwined. One of her earliest records, it amounts to a manifesto (“I’ll do anything, I’m not the same, I have no shame”) and all these years later it still grabs you by the throat. In the sea of vapid stage scenes, it was refreshing to see an artist so vehemently represent their work and push the envelope in a grand, shocking format.

Unmediated and undiluted, she’s the ringmaster of her own circus, connecting with her hardcore in a totally instinctive way, regardless of the choreography, pyrotechnics and fancy costumes (created by a battery of top fashion designers – but really, who cares?). Perhaps the strongest was the night’s lone cover, of Edith Piaf’s classic “La Vie En Rose.” Madonna sat center stage and strummed a ukulele as she worked a slow, smooth vibrato over background accordion. “I still am a romantic at heart,” she said before the song — her level of earnestness is always up for grabs — and during the French tune’s “la la la” section, she called “everyone sing along!” But she seemed to say it mockingly.

That gives her almost a full year to wreak more havoc across the world’s elite circles, beginning on Thursday night when she opens for Madonna again at the Garden, before the pair move on to Barclays Center on Saturday. – Madonna’s second costume change, into a matador costume to battle her bull-horn-headed dancers during “Living For Love” launched the night’s most questionable section. HeartBreakCity, performed atop a spiral staircase, morphs into her mid-80s, yearning cover of Rose Royce’s Love Don’t Live Here Anymore, before she tears into Like a Virgin, given a 21st-century update, but performed solo, with all the allure and aggression with which she infused it when it was first released. The following section has a Mexican theme, Madonna in full Day of the Dead finery, and of course performing La Isla Bonita, the only song from her past she revisits on almost every tour, along with Dress You Up, Into the Groove and Who’s That Girl? – a song, she says, about “not knowing who the fuck you are”. The title track of Rebel Heart is performed against a morphing backdrop of fan art depicting her many image changes, though the show actually reveals how consistent she has been underneath it all, endowed with an unswerving belief in the transformative power of pop.

The final straight is pure pleasure, Madonna in a flapper’s outfit, performing a jazz-era take on Music (in visuals alone – musically it still packs the robotic punch that made it irresistible 15 years ago), then going into a showstopping Material Girl, performed on an upended video screen titled 45 degrees, in which Madonna pushes the top-hatted dancers down the slope, one by one, in a reboot of the famous video. The crowd ate it up, and when she finished, Schumer received a standing ovation. “Best feeling I’ve ever had,” said the New York native during the applause.

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