IMG_0737Sex is out, love is in. In an initially overcrowded show, with running samurai, pole dancing nuns, waving fans and flashy video, the theme of Madonna’s Rebel Heart-tour slowly became clear: the yearning for true love. Alternately ironic and sincere Madonna sang or spoke out on the subject. During Material Girl, she appeared as a lonely bride with veil but no husband. She was looking for a suitor in the hall, but dropped out when he had no driver’s license, “Sorry, I don’t sit back on your bike.”

The concert Saturday night, the first of two sold-out concerts in Ziggo Dome, began with a series of folkloric scenes: Oriental dancers kneeling ‘Muslims’ and Madonna in kimonos. They formed a rather aimless frame for new songs as Iconic and Bitch I’m Madonna.

Slightly more austere than in the MDMA-tour (2012), the two-hour performance smart was filled with theatrical moments and rapid movements. The stage setting was spectacular. Thanks to the long cross-shaped catwalk looked around her room podium. Vital, funny and wacky dances (like lame horse during Like A Virgin) played Madonna, now 57, the platform.

Musically there was a dichotomy: the tempered dance songs first, where her voice was electronically distorted and supported by background singers. And on the other restrained, often acoustic versions of well-known songs from the eighties, as Lucky Star, Dress You Up and Into The Groove.

The Rebel Heart performances lack transvestites and sweaty club mood. Madonna found new style examples flowered Mexican wardrobes and Spanish flamenco dancers, who danced wonderful interludes.

So there was more emphasis on Madonna as versatile culture connoisseur than on her disco style – though there were fabulous dance numbers retrieved from her catalog, including the sensational, rarely played Deeper And Deeper. “Music” was an exciting glamor scene full of silver outfits in twenties-style Madonna with bowler hat knieheffend on the wing.

About “True Blue” she said it was about love, a subject she thought I knew a lot, but it was still wrong. She sang “Love Do not Live Here Anymore” and a poignant version of “Heartbreak City”, perched on a spiral staircase, while a ‘lover’ her alternately attracted and rejected and eventually as a doomed Romeo dived backward in depth.

The message : you have to love yourself before you can love another. For her age who finds a reason to stop, she sang an irrefutable “Don’t Tell Me” “You can also say that the wind should not blow and the sun does not shine.”

“Living For Love” was a pretty ambiguous statement. The white featured Madonna on a round bed, besieged by winding men wearing bull masks. Woman alone, surrounded by intrusive minotaurs; it was dream or nightmare?

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