I planned this article well before Madge started ‘announcing’ songs from the Rebel Heart Tour over on her Instagram, so far none of which I’ve included in my setlist. Partly a wishlist, partly a prediction, something tells me this would make a great tour for one of the Queen of Pop’s best albums.
1) Bitch I’m Madonna
As openers go Bitch I’m Madonna is the only one that would suit Madge’s current mindset for this tour. That crazed performance on The Tonight Show and the even more bonkers music video is surely set to lead to an explosive opener to the Rebel Heart Tour. Expect sock puppets, an interpolation of Rihanna’s Bitch Better Have My Money, most of her dancers making out with each other; regular Madge tour stuff. She could come flying out of the heart right in the middle of the arena before making her way through fans on the platform to make it back to the main stage. I’m hoping for a 1 to 1 recreation of the performance to be honest.
2) Devil Pray
3) Ray of Light
4) Hold Tight
Here’s where it gets interesting, the Rebel Heart tracks I think she will go for early on are some of the more experimental, but still upbeat. Devil Pray was one of the early favourites from those initial 6 released tracks, which I think will make up most of what she performs from Rebel Heart, while Hold Tight is a personal highlight of mine. Between the two is Ray Of Light, a nice ravey link between the grungy Devil Pray and the explosive dance of Hold Tight‘s chorus. She could perform it with a guitar or without, I expect she’s more likely to reach for the guitar for album tracks this time around. The full original version of Ray of Light going into massive choreography for Hold Tight would do nicely.
6) 4 Minutes
7) Unapologetic Bitch
8) Veni Vidi Vici
Iconic needs to be a big moment, I could see it being one of the highlights of the whole gig, Madge rising above her dancers on a massive plinth at the back of the stage, a sort of ‘Bow down to the queen’ moment. I feel like 4 Minutes would make a perfect partner, the horns from Iconic building until the number 1 hit starts in full. Veni Vidi Vici follows suit, but I thought the inclusion of Unapologetic Bitch, or even a blend of the two might work here.
11) Into The Groove
In an ideal world, Madonna would perform every song she mentions in the verses of Veni Vidi Vici, but as it stands I’d quite enjoy if the ‘Music saved my life’ line went straight into a full performance of Music. Of course the obvious thing to do here is a hit medley of classic 80s tunes and that’s exactly what I’m asking for. I’d love to hear her do Everybody as a part of the set, while Into The Groove and Borderline contrast nicely with such a serious tour album. I’m asking too much, but we all want a classics section right?
14) Don’t Tell Me
15) Joan of Arc
16) Rebel Heart
What’s more obvious than a classics section? A campfire guitar singalong of course. The tracks from Rebel Heart make perfect sense for this namely the title track and standout single Ghosttown. I’d expect this to be a high point of the show, much like Masterpiece was on the MDNA Tour. I’ve included Don’t Tell Me here both as a prediction, she hasn’t performed it on tour in a very long time, but as a dream pick it being my favourite Madge single. Joan of Arc completes the songs here, one of the album tracks I’m 100% certain she will perform.
18) Justify My Love
19) Holy Water
Now for something a bit different. It’s obvious that Madge loves S.E.X., both the song and the other thing too so I’m more than expecting a full section of ‘sex songs’. She performed Erotica last time around, even if it was wedged into a random performance of Candy Shop, so I’d go for Justify My Love as the one you’ll hear here, though she could go with Human Nature again. Holy Water completes the trio, but not before exploding into the song it samples. Given how much of a moment it is on Rebel Heart, I’d be very surprised if we don’t see a Holy Water/Vogue mix.
21) Like A Prayer
22) Girl Gone Wild
23) Express Yourself
As far as a home run goes I’d say Madge will keep the tempo up. Rather than place Like A Prayer right before the encore as she did on the MDNA Tour, instead sticking it here as the final ‘if you aren’t up on your feet already what’s wrong with you’ moment. If she includes it yet again, I expect it wouldn’t be the same straightforward singalong performance that we saw three years ago. I could see her going down the darker religious route with it, which is why I’ve stuck Girl Gone Wild right in between it and mega-hit Express Yourself. I expect I’m in the minority here, but Girl Gone Wild is one of my favourite recent Madge singles and if we get anything from MDNA on this tour it will be this. Express Yourself needs no explanation to be honest.
24) Living For Love
There really isn’t any other song that could end the Rebel Heart Tour than Living For Love. It may be the opening track of the album, but no other song will have the dramatic impact that this will. Given the performances of it across the world, including the infamous Brit Awards recovery, this needs to be just as epic. It has a lot to live up to given the incredible staging of Celebration as a closer last time around, but with Living For Love it might just do the job.
I would usually try and hold off on tour spoilers for any tour I have tickets for, but given that the Rebel Heart tour begins on 9th September and her UK shows aren’t until December I doubt I’ll be able to hold off. Either way, I’m sure my predictions/wishes will be way off and knowing Madge she will perform a bunch of 80s album tracks just to mess with me.