The Celebration Tour in The Press
The press mostly reacted to the opening night of The Celebration Tour with very positive reviews. Here’s a selection of the ones we loved the most.
Madonna live in London: Queen of Pop shows why she still owns the crown
Much like the singer herself, tonight’s opening show is two hours of overblown, indulgent fun that refuses to dance to the beat of anyone else’s drum. She owns this mantra herself late on, with a montage that looks back at all the detractors – Cher to name but one – who have slung insults at the Madonna throughout her career.
After all, she’s the one still standing after 40 years. In a year when Taylor Swift’s own look back at her career is proving the biggest tour in a generation, here’s a true icon, who for the most part at least, is determined to show that her throne as the Queen of Pop remains roundly intact. A celebration, well and truly delivered.
Madonna’s Celebration Tour Proves the Material Girl is Still the Reigning Queen of Pop Music
“It’s been a crazy year,” she says, during a rare pause for breath. “I didn’t think I was going to make it and neither did my doctors.”
But thankfully, she did and, by the end, all the different iterations of Madonna from across the decades are on stage, the lookalikes hugging each other with delight during “Bitch, I’m Madonna,” while the real deal stays center stage and supremely focused.
Still dancing, still singing, still the one and only Madonna.
Madonna Celebrates Four Decades of Hits With Career-Spanning Spectacle
For Madonna, the 78-date Celebration Tour is a chance to assert her star power in a year when live music has been dominated by Swift and Beyoncé — women who, like Madonna before them, have used talent and deep media savvy to remake pop stardom in their own image. In July, Beyoncé acknowledged the debt, when Madonna, making one of her first public appearances after her hospitalization, attended Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour in New Jersey. “Big shout-out to the queen,” Beyoncé called out during a performance of the “Queens Remix” of her song “Break My Soul,” which blends in Madonna’s 1990 smash “Vogue” — another hit that mined, and honored, gay dance culture of that period.
Madonna returned the acknowledgment on Saturday, playing a bit of the same remix during an interstitial moment.
Madonna’s Celebration Tour review: The Queen of pop brings out her crown jewels
“You will be crucified, you will be vilified, because to age is to sin,” she explained, in a replay of her speech at the 2016 Billboard Women In Music Awards.
“I think the most controversial thing I’ve done is to stick around.”
It’s a valid statement, but it somehow overlooks her impact on music – the constant reinvention and re-contextualisation of pop, and what it can represent.
When Madonna started out, she made party music. Now, those same songs can be anthems of protest, self-discovery, allyship and freedom.
That’s a radical legacy – and a true cause for celebration.
The Celebration Tour review: the Queen of Pop remains as unpredictable as ever
Over the course of her forty years in pop, it’s certainly true that Madonna has ruffled a few feathers. From being condemned by the Vatican, to being threatened with arrest by the Canadian police for simulating masturbation on a velvet bed during the Blond Ambition tour, few other pop stars are as provocative, and one of the best things about Madonna is how much she clearly enjoys prompting a bit of pearl clutching.
Little has changed in this regard when it comes to this run of retrospective shows at The O2; opening night incorporated writhing masses of bodies, rings of fire, oily-torsoed dancers crucified on a spinning carousel, half-nude dancers, and a variation on the famous bed sequence for a snippet of Papa Don’t Preach. This time, she shared it with a companion wearing a flesh-coloured latex mask, who appeared as a foil to the star frequently during the show.
Often, the set was peppered with these kinds of throwbacks; for opener Nothing Really Matters, she appeared in a replica Gaultier kimono in a nod to the original music video. Her famous cone bra corset also made a return, alongside Stetsons, glimmering gowns, mirrored Versace jumpsuits, and a total of 17 archive looks.
Life might be a mystery – but there’s no question Madonna is the true Queen of Pop as Celebration Tour kicks off
Surrounded by dancers dressed in some of her most unforgettable looks, Madonna’s energy never faltered from start to finish, as she ended on a high note while wearing an electric blue corset and a long white veil.
Perhaps surprisingly, there was no encore for the star, leaving audience members in a state of startled wonderment as Madonna disappeared from the stage and the lights abruptly came back on, bringing us all back to reality.
For just a few hours, we were utterly absorbed in Madonna’s world of unbridled empowerment.
If we were to take away one lasting message from her Celebration spectacle, it would be this – there’s no stopping her enduring reign as the undisputed Queen of Pop.
Madonna live in London: pop queen grapples with her legacy
The whole thing is a thrilling reminder that Madonna isn’t just a pop star, but also a cultural force who genuinely changed the world by chafing against what society expects from women in the public eye. That’s something worth celebrating in the dazzling, dynamic and at times slightly discombobulating way she presents it here. Really, you wouldn’t have her any other way.
Tour of hits reminds us why the Queen of Pop still reigns
It’s a shame so few young people appear to be in the audience tonight because this is a show that proves Madonna still matters… We should never forget how much Madonna changed the world — hers is a life and a legacy worth celebrating.
The Celebration Tour review: Cements M’s legacy as the undisputed Queen of Pop
‘Celebration’ is as much about Madonna’s unwavering credentials as a live performer as it is her legacy on the generations of young stars that followed her. Her impact on popular culture is scattered throughout, with the inclusion of adoring soundbites from the likes of Britney Spears and Ariana Grande. With that said, the show is a reminder that there is – and only will be – one Madonna.
Celebration Tour, O2 review – spectacular, ambitious and occasionally bemusing
As usually happens with shows at the start of their run, there may be fine-tuning to do on Celebration. Its tone is not consistently on-point, and engaging action sometimes gives way to incongruous conceptualism. But it is eye-catching and fascinating, remarkable even, and, at its heart, Madonna’s driven creativity and ambition are ramped-up and on display.