One has to hand it to Madonna. She is, perhaps, the only performer alive who can make people snarl in disappointment when showing up on stage 50 minutes late and make the same people walk out of the show in awe over what they just witnessed. The Rebel Heart Tour’s Tuesday evening stop at the Forum in Los Angeles was one of the best concerts Madonna has given in her 32-year career.
First, let’s talk about Madonna being casually late for another concert. Starting a show at 10:20 p.m. is just rude, no matter what way you put it. To Madonna’s credit, there were power problems at the venue, which caused her to do a later-than-usual and incomplete soundcheck — at least according to two security people at the venue. Still, for some reason, the crowd had to be punished by DJ Michael Diamond. It wasn’t that he was that bad; the crowd just wanted to see Madonna, and there was no reason he needed to be on stage for 90 minutes — unless the purpose was to help soften Madonna’s delay.
Once the lights went down and the song “Iconic” started, the crowd began to forgive Madonna. The first part of her show didn’t seem to thrill the audience as much as the rest of the show. Perhaps that was the purpose — to warm people up. After “Iconic,” Madonna surged into her latest hit, “B***h I’m Madonna,” which was followed by “Burning Up,” a much-loved hit from her first album.
Madonna made sure to fill the blasphemy quota for the night when she joined stripper nuns and sang a song called “Holy Water.” Though some may call this desperate, it felt more like self-deprecating comedy or, perhaps, just plain self-parody. The audience seemed to find it funny, but the performance didn’t get them out of their seats. By the time Madonna performed her 1986 hit “True Blue,” she had the tough audience in her hands.