Madonna: The MDNA Tour (2013)

Nearly two hours long, this grandiose, deliriously over-the-top pop spectacle is basically a feature-length advertisement for all of Madonna’s strengths as an entertainer. First off, she has an unparalleled catalogue to pick from and performs a number of signature hits here (everything from “Papa Don’t Preach,” “Like a Virgin” and “Hung Up,” among others) as well as newer singles (like “Girl Gone Wild” and “Give Me All Your Luvin'”), and is at the peak of her physical performing powers here. Additionally, the sets and costumes are genuinely awe-inspiring, in particular a lively performance of “Vogue” that recalls her own classic early-90s era while effectively modernizing the classic track in the process. There are also the extraordinary dancers, who each bring a certain indescribable je-ne-sais-quoi and have terrific alchemy onstage together, while they confidently perform choreography that’s as artistically dexterous as it is bold (in particular, a challenging performance of “Best Friend” is both thrilling and unsettling, while the song itself is deconstructed like an exposed nerve). It all comes together extremely well thanks to some first-rate editing that both captures and enhances the communal sensory experience of a live Madonna show, while the finale (“Celebration”) ends the show on an ebullient note that never fails to thrill me.

Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

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