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CONCERT REVIEW: Madonna dazzles with career-spanning ‘Celebration’ in Vancouver

Pop icon’s current show is worth the wait with 10 p.m. start time
Madonna in concert earlier in her current Celebration tour, which stopped at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. Photographers representing media outlets weren’t given accreditation, so Live Nation Entertainment sent out Madonna’s management-approved images for review coverage, including this photo, by Ricardo Gomes.

Two days later, my head is still spinning from the dazzling, electrifying, circus-like night of theatrics displayed by Madonna and her performance crew in Vancouver.

In my 40-plus years of concert-going, Ms. Ciccone put on the kind of show I hadn’t yet experienced, until Wednesday (Feb. 21).

Rogers Arena was a sex-positive, female-empowerment party for two solid hours of Madonna’s current tour, a “Celebration” of her four decades of trailblazing, headline-making pop music, dating back to her New York grooves of the late-’70s/early-’80s.

Some people bitch about Madonna’s “late” concert start times, but she really is worth the wait. People who do their homework know that her sets always start around 9:45 p.m., and by 10 p.m. she hit the stage in Vancouver after an intro from Bob the Drag Queen (Caldwell Tidicue). We strolled in at 9:15 p.m. while DJ Mary Mac set the mood. What’s the problem?

Madonna’s huge stage took up most of the arena floor with long runways, forming “pits” full of fans. From stage-side seats in section 118, the view was amaaaaaazing.

Madonna in concert earlier in her current Celebration tour. (Photo: Ricardo Gomes)

The entire night was a well-choreographed party with multiple screens rolling up and down, a revolving circular stage, dozens of dancers, costumes to kill for, a flying cubed stage for the star, lasers, lightning, fire, crosses, giant disco ball, boxing rings and booming sound (those subwoofers could empty bowels).

Shout-out to Madonna’s talented dance crew, which included camera-toting cops, football players, guitar-strumming cowboys and assorted androgynous characters, some topless.

Was Madonna singing every note? I’m not sure. Where was the band? Again, not sure.

But it’s a party, who cares?

Madonna in concert earlier in her current Celebration tour. (Photo: Ricardo Gomes)

The 27-song set included all the hits separated into seven acts, some of them reworked and showcased in new light.

Still the queen of creativity, Madonna strolled the stage with ease, impressive for a 65-year-old woman with some recent health concerns.

Pam Anderson was there as a fellow judge of some sort of fashion/dance show during “Vogue,” and the show paid tribute to dead pop-music icons including Prince, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson.

By the end, in song, Madonna acknowledged that her “Like A Virgin” ripped the bass line from MJ’s “Billie Jean,” and sent everyone home with “Bitch I’m Madonna” and, finally, “Celebration.”

A ticket isn’t cheap, so if you have the money and time, party with Madonna at concerts coming up in Las Vegas (March 1-2), Los Angeles (March 4-11), Palm Desert (March 13) and other cities.

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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