Madonna & Jon Batiste Lead Impromptu ‘Like A Prayer’ Sing-Along Down the Streets of Harlem
Night owls roaming the streets of Harlem, New York at 2 a.m. on Saturday were treated to a near-religious experience when Madonna and Jon Batiste led an impromptu sing-along of Like a Prayer down 126th Street.
The New Orleans-style street party started nearby at Ginny’s Supper Club in the basement of inventive eatery Red Rooster, where Madonna, Batiste and his band performed a selection of her classic hits and songs from her Billboard 200-topping Madame X album to celebrate the release of her Madame X concert film on Paramount+. “Madame X is born,” Madonna said, tipping to the documentary’s release. “But the fact, is she’s always been here pushing, you inspiring you.”
While the Madame X movie captures M’s intimate 2019 residency at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Belvedere Vodka-hosted event in Harlem made the BAM shows look like an arena in comparison. The Red Rooster basement has a 100-person capacity, which meant everyone in attendance got very up close and personal with Madge as she strummed an acoustic guitar, grinded up against a column while singing 1987’s La Isla Bonita and crooned Dark Ballet (sans Auto-Tune) to an all-smiles Batiste as the Oscar winner tickled the ivories during that beautifully bonkers Madame X standout.
When a trio of gospel singers came out and the Queen got down on her knees, the audience – which included her daughter Lourdes Leon, Drag Race winner Aquaria, Pose star Dyllon Burnside and choreographer and longtime associate Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza – collectively skipped a heartbeat, knowing which song was coming next. But never content with business as usual, Madonna didn’t let the venue contain her – she led the pop-up show’s crowd out onto the streets of Harlem for an unlikely late-night street party.
Megaphones in hand, M and Batiste had the crowd singing Like a Prayer (surprisingly in tune for 2 a.m.) down the middle of 126th Street, with an amiable tuba keeping time and a freestyling saxophone elevating the joyous, jazzy rendition of the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1. Periodically, everyone in the crowd looked at each other as if to say, is this really happening, grateful that in the era of smartphones there would at least be proof of an event that sounds like the raving fever dream of an obsessive pop Stan.
Due to the lateness of the hour, there wasn’t that much traffic for the street party to disrupt. In fact, when a man and woman driving by the crowd realized what was happening, they full-on ditched their car in the middle of the street to hop out and join in the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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