In the pop world’s game of thrones, Madonna is the deposed queen, cast into the wilderness while a string of usurpers—Beyonce, Gaga, Rihanna—lord over the kingdom she once ruled. But Madge the Conqueror has been busy plotting her return. Though her shaky Super Bowl halftime appearance in February wasn’t quite the coup she was hoping for, nor was her recently released MDNA, Madonna’s latest tour certainly promises to out-spectacle all the rest and maybe catapult her back to the top. Based on accounts from the Euro leg of the MDNA jaunt this summer, the 53-year-old singer has turned her stages dark and violent: Guns blaze, blood flows, swastikas appear on politicians’ foreheads, Madonna-as-Joan of Arc turns up to kick ass. And while she’s got a huge arsenal of hits, setlists have overwhelmingly favored new material over past glories. Whether or not you walk away from tonight’s show believing in her current and future relevance, we fully expect her performance to scream, in so many words: I am the mother of fuckin’ dragons, bitches!
Tues, Aug. 28, 8pm. $45-$355. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. 215.298.4200. wellsfargocenterphilly.com
PW's Music Issue 2014