Cougar? That doesn’t quite capture Madonna being back on the market. How about maneater? The queen of pop doesn’t meow, she roars.
Yesterday morning Madonna announced – through a publicist, of course – that she and hubby Guy Ritchie were splitsville. But the Sticky & Sweet tour must go on. So last night at her first of two sold-out TD Banknorth Garden shows (the second is tonight) the Material Girl proved divorce – and increasing age – are no match for her blonde ambition.
There was plenty of time for Madonna to rip Ritchie or talk about how much she loves her kids, but that ain’t her style. Instead she filled any free space with commands her fans to vote for Barack Obama – without the British accent, guess she’s losing that in the divorce.
The tour’s set list was planned months before yesterday’s announcement (yet maybe not before the couple knew the marriage was doomed). But cynics could read loads into her choice of songs: Beat Goes On, You Must Love Me (from Evita), “Borderline” – as in, you keep on pushing me over it – and, best of all, Human Nature.
But it was hard to read anything into her stage demeanor. While Madonna may have wrinkles, she’s a live perfectionist who isn’t about to show cracks in her pop-star facade.
Madge may forfeit her Scottish castle to Ritchie, but she’s not going to forfeit a single fan. Her talent for staying current and recycling her classic hits kept her Boston fans enraptured.
The evening opened sweetly with Candy Shop, one of eight songs she pulled from new album, Hard Candy. Tops from this was Beat Goes On, in which she and her stellar dancers rolled out a vintage Rolls-Royce down the catwalk and got busy on the dance floor.
Up close it was clear that, at 50, she’s still stunning. You can bounce a quarter off, well, any part of her toned physique. The 40-year-old Ritchie may be loosing more in the split than he thinks.
Between new songs, Madonna dropped big lumps of pure pop sugar into the set with plenty of ’80s hits. Vogue set the hyper-speed tempo early. Into the Groove punched it up a notch. And Borderline got a power pop makeover with Madonna showing off her fresh guitar skills.
All these confections came wrapped meticulously in a stage show no one can touch – not JT, not MJ, not Pink Floyd: epic lasers, moving video screens, fast and flawless costume changes, all done with grace and energy.
Madonna may not make great movies or marriages but she makes great music. And even in her (almost) golden years she’s still a ray of light.