Madonna: The Celebration Tour

March 28, 2024

Madonna is back in town for her two-night ‘The Celebration Tour’ in Houston at the Toyota Center this Thursday and Friday. Despite rescheduling her original 2023 date due to a sudden medical scare, her first night in Houston drew a sold-out crowd. Devoted fans paid homage to the Queen of Pop, arriving in a variety of looks covering her entire chameleonic career in fabulous costumes. From Boy-Toy tutu shirts and fishnet gloves to John Paul Gaultier’s golden corsets and Madonna faces printed on t-shirts.

The show opened with Bob the Drag Queen, the MC for the evening, emerging from among the crowd in regal Marie Antoinette regalia. Flirting with the crowd, declaring her love for Texas, and even picking out a “cute” bear from the audience, Bob guided us through Madonna’s origins in gritty clubs like CBGB’s and Danceteria from the ‘80s to her evolution into a hip It-Girl and sexual provocatrice in the ‘90s, finally becoming the dance-infused pop queen of the 2000s.

Cloaked in heavy black robes and wearing a crown of stars, Madonna set the tone, beginning with her dance hit ‘Nothing Really Matters,’ extolling to the crowd that ‘love is all we need.’ During a raw, punk-rock rendition of ‘Burning Up,’ she shared how hard her early years were in New York City, partially giving up dancing to start her musical career. With an electric guitar strapped to her shoulder, she confessed to composing the song after learning a few chords.

Madonna shared with fans her artist statement for ‘The Celebration’ tour, which tells her life story through songs. She introduced the latex effigy that would follow us through her most honest portrayal. The marionette alter ego was described as her best friend who accompanied her during renditions of ‘Erotica’ and ‘Papa Don’t Preach,’ to name a few.

A joyous rendition of ‘Holiday’ mirrored the iconic chair dance moves from the music video. A Peep Show was set on stage with projections on the screens of the artwork of radical, bohemian bisexual artist Tamara De Lempicka.

In a solemn turn, ‘Live to Tell’ brought religious iconography to the show, honoring and remembering the AIDS/HIV crisis within the LGBTQ community in the ’80s NYC club scene and culture, with portraits of people impacted by the epidemic such as Martin Burgoyne, Keith Haring, Christopher Flynn, and Anthony Perkins, among hundreds of others.

During ‘Vogue,’ special guest RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 alumna Gottmik helped Madonna judge dancers in a stage-turned-ballroom. In an iconic moment, Madonna’s daughter Estere stormed in during her mother’s famous song, scoring 10s across the board.

In a heartfelt moment, Madonna, during an unexpected deep cut of ‘Mother and Father,’ reflected on her mother, Madonna Louise Ciccone, and the mother of her adopted son David Banda, Lolita, who, according to her, passed away during childbirth. She mentioned her joy from performing with her children every night. Some of the highlights of the evening included Madonna being a self-confessed “Champagne-Rosé kinda girl,” debunking the idea that she would be drinking beer. She even joked she would be in the Guinness World Records book as the person most excommunicated by the Catholic Church—three times—more than Joan of Arc.

Draped in a Pride Flag, Madonna invoked her Evita era, performing ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ while in the background, portraits of artists who inspired her such as David Bowie, Marlon Brando, James Baldwin, and Sinead O’Connor could be seen.

An unexpected shadowplay occurred during ‘Like a Virgin,’ with a mashup of Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ while the silhouettes of both artists intertwined in choreography. Pictures of the one-time couple were shown on the screens, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Overall, besides admitting to her fans that she was ‘a little tired,’ Madonna delivered a solid,  true-to-form 2.5-hour performance, flawlessly weaving four decades of chart-topping hits that defined pop culture. Wrapping up the show, a parade of iconic “Madonnas” descended upon the catwalk proclaiming, ‘Bitch I’m Madonna,’ and so are we.

WHAT: Madonna The Celebration Tour
WHEN: March 29
WHERE: Toyota Center
INFO: Toyota Center



Alex Rosa

Creative director
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