Madonna kicks off Celebration tour with a spectacle of non-stop hits

At one point during her Celebration tour opener, Variety reports that Madonna stopped and told the audience, “It’s been a crazy year. I didn’t think I was going to make it and neither did my doctors.”  Not only did she make it, but, Variety reports, she owned the stage with a show that did the one thing that Madonna never does: looks back.

Most of the Queen of Pop’s most beloved songs are in the set list, from “Into the Groove” and “Open Your Heart,” to “Vogue,” “Live to Tell,” “Like a Prayer,” “Ray of Light” and “Holiday.”  Variety notes that she threw some snippets of other artists’ songs into the mix, like Sam Smith‘s “Unholy” and Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” and performed a cover of Gloria Gaynor‘s “I Will Survive.” She also did a mashup of her late friend Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and her own “Like a Virgin.” 

According to Setlist FM, she sang a snippet of “Little Star,” which she dedicated to her daughter Lourdes, whose birthday was on opening night.  Lourdes also appeared onstage, as did her son David and daughter Estere.

As Variety notes, Madonna also nodded to the controversy she’s caused during her career by showing news headline and video montages. The video screens also paid tribute to friends she lost to AIDS, and she offered a plea for peace in the Middle East. At various times, she “flew” over the crowd in an illuminated “portal” that took her to different, dare we say, “eras” of her career.

The tour continues at London’s O2 October 15 and 17 before heading to Europe. It arrives in the U.S. in December.

Here’s the full set list, according to Madonna’s team:

“Celebration Intro/Nothing Really Matters”
“Everybody”
“Into the Groove”
“Burning Up”
“Open Your Heart”
“Holiday”
“Live to Tell”
“Like a Prayer”
“Act of Living For Love/The 90’s”
“Erotica”/”Papa Don’t Preach”
“Justify My Love”/”Fever”
“Hung Up on Tokischa”
“Bad Girl”
“Vogue” (Estere’s Ball)
“Human Nature”/”Crazy For You”
“The Beast Within” (Interlude)
“Die Another Day”
“Don’t Tell Me”
“Mother and Father”
“I Will Survive”/”La Isla Bonita”/”Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”
“I Don’t Search I Find” (Interlude)
“Bedtime Story”
“Ray of Light”
“Rain”
“Billie Jean” vs. “Like A Virgin”
“Give Me All Your Luvin’/B**** I’m Madonna”

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.