A Look Back at Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour

In celebration of Madonna’s 59th birthday, as well as her provocative Rebel Heart Tour coming to DVD, Blu-ray, CD and digital download in September, I’m reflecting on her fabulous Nashville concert stop back in January 2016. The two-hour-plus show was the first Music City performance of the superstar’s career, which now spans more than three decades. This egregious fact didn’t go unnoticed by the singer as she jokingly professed to be a “Nashville virgin” when she took the stage.

The pop diva’s show was divided into four themes: Samurai, Asian, Latin and Party Celebration. Each segment was individually characterized by distinguishing wardrobe changes, choreography, and song selection. The show’s setlist heavily incorporated material from the singer’s most recent album Rebel Heart, but also contained many fan favorites, some of which she hasn’t performed in years, namely “Dress You Up,” “True Blue,” Deeper and Deeper,” “Who’s That Girl” and an electrified version of her early hit “Burning Up.”

This show marked my fifth Madonna concert overall, since first seeing her live on the acclaimed Who’s That Girl World Tour way back in 1987. I also attended her Drowned World, Re-invention and MDNA World Tours, and each show was an inimitable and exhilarating vision. As every true-blue fan knows, no one else puts on a show quite like Madonna. All five times I was lucky enough to witness Madonna perform live on stage was analogous to sneaking into a master class of the performing arts. [Read Full Review]

Deliberating the Go-Go’s Vacation on its 35th Anniversary

After a six-week run atop Billboard’s 200 album chart with the multi-platinum debut album Beauty and the Beat, all-girl rock group the Go-Go’s hurriedly released the follow-up sophomore effort, Vacation. Echoes of previous singles “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Are Sealed” could still be heard across radio airwaves when “Vacation” became the band’s third hit single in the summer of ’82. The bubbly title track was the first-ever cassette single and was accompanied by its vivid and playful music video, which revealed the band members hamming it up while pretending to be highly skilled water skiers.

The Go-Go’s second studio album started off strong, but inspiration seemed as if had been stretched thin in order to quickly release a follow-up to the band’s best-selling debut. Leftovers from the Go-Go’s earlier live setlists unfortunately found their way onto the sophomore effort, effectively diluting what could’ve been a solid track listing. The obligatory cover tune “Cool Jerk” and the subpar “Beatnik Beach” sounded like fillers included to expand upon the album’s abstract beach theme. It resulted in making the Go-Go’s second album sound as if the girls had been left scrambling for quality material. Additionally, Jane Wiedlin’s heavy reliance on Webster’s rhyming dictionary (as evidenced on “Girl of 100 Lists” and “It’s Everything but Partytime”) certainly didn’t help matters. Fortunately, Kathy Valentine was aptly able to pick up her cronies’ slack by contributing the effervescent title track, the accidently prophetic “We Don’t Get Along” and the ethereal closing ballad, “Worlds Away.” [Read Full Review]