A little more than three months since it kicked off at the O2 Arena in London, Madonna’s Celebration Tour arrived at Madison Square Garden this week. While the Celebration Tour previously hit New York City in December for three dates, those were all at the Barclays Center – a venue that opened in Brooklyn 12 years ago. Madonna and Madison Square Garden, however, have an extensive history, reaching back to when her debut concert tour, The Virgin Tour, wrapped there in 1985.
So for The Celebration Tour — which is a career-spanning look back on her hits, personal struggles, pop culture impact and enduring influence — it only made sense that the Queen of Pop had to hit MSG despite playing NYC just a month earlier. And sure enough, her Tuesday night (Jan. 23) show (the second of three MSG dates, with her final one slated for Monday, Jan. 29) felt a bit more special than her Barclays gig.
First off, the sound was better. Madonna shaded Barclays as an “echo bowl” when she played it last month, and it’s likely her dissatisfaction with the sound was what caused her to (now infamously) begin one of those shows so late that some disaffected fans filed a class-action lawsuit against her, which she’s fighting. (Their frustration is understandable, although thinking a rock star will hit the stage on time is a bit like expecting a cat will do what you tell it to do – both do what they want when they want to, and that’s why we love ‘em.)
Secondly, and more importantly, the shared history between Madonna and MSG made this already spectacular tour feel elevated. So much of her legend – arriving in NYC at 19 with $35 in her pocket; struggling to make ends meet while getting her career off the ground; making those initial musical waves at iconic NYC venues such as the Danceteria – is wrapped up in the fabric of New York City. No wonder she cops to still feeling “butterflies” when she plays in Manhattan.
From a tribute to two nurses who bucked the stigma of AIDS/HIV in the ‘80s to her “Vogue” guest star, these were the best moments of her Tuesday night show.
Powered by Billboard.