MUSIC :: Five Things I Learned At Madonna’s Rebel Heart



INSIDE THE BEAT OF MADONNA’S REBEL HEART – GGN EXCLUSIVE BY PHILIP TETRO :: Last night I saw my sixth Madonna concert: The Rebel Heart Tour played Toronto’s Air Canada Centre for the first of two sold out nights and I was blessed enough to have amazing seats. So amazing that I had no idea how close I was to the stage until I got to the venue. Needless to say, I was elated and I don’t think my soul has completely reentered my body again since. As I’m writing this in a Madonna-drenched state of euphoria, I recount the five biggest lessons I learned last night.

1) Who’s That Girl?

As a Madonna fan for as long as I can remember, there are certain songs that mean more to me than others and it’s almost as if Madonna knew last night exactly what I wanted to hear. “Who’s That Girl” is a song, a movie and a tour that Madonna has seemingly wanted to forget for almost thirty years. She brought the song back for this tour and it’s absolutely thrilling to know that even Madonna after all this time can appreciate some of her own classic work instead of constantly trying to move onto the next thing. But it’s not like I don’t already know who that girl is – bitch, she’s Madonna.

2) Touched For The Very First Time

I didn’t realize how much I loved the song “Like a Virgin” until last night. Maybe it’s because the last time I saw her perform it she slowed it down and for this tour, Madonna speeds it up and gets undressed and lets loose and has fun! She looks the best she ever has during this performance and maybe that’s what does it for me: the song finally touched me…for the very first time.

3) Non-Madonna Fans Get It

I always thought I was in a league of my own as Madonna fan – I always looked down upon people who were fans of anyone but Madonna because I felt they truly didn’t understand how amazing an artist she is. Last night I brought friends who “like” Madonna but had no idea just what they were in for. It was exciting for me to see how constantly shocked and awe-struck they were with every performance and how appreciative they were of the production value in Madonna’s show. I feel as though I was doing them a favour by letting them have this experience and I’m honoured to have been a conduit to their enlightenment.

4) She’s Ageless

From the moment Madonna’s face flashes on the screens at the beginning of the show, you see just how beautiful she is and how she doesn’t look a day over 40. She’s tight in all the right places and looks as smooth as a baby’s bottom. But there was a youthfulness about her energy last night as well that complemented her great skin – she seemed young. A true testament to how age isn’t what you are, it’s how you feel and Madonna was definitely feeling it last night. Her playfulness was magnetic and everyone was eating it up.

5) Madonna Hates A Tough Crowd

Madonna’s gone on record several times saying how much she loves playing to Toronto audiences, but last night she kept telling us how depressed we seemed and to “wake up!” I personally thought the crowd was great, but if The Queen tells you to wake up, you better get outta bed! There was a lot of audience interaction (she acknowledged my presence twice – probably because she was wondering why I didn’t stop crying throughout the entire show). Nobody was more depressed, though, than Nelly Furtado who Madonna brought on stage as the “Unapologetic Bitch” of the night. She was stiff and uncomfortable and seemed like she didn’t really want to be there whatsoever. Definitely not the kind of bitch Madonna was looking for.

The Rebel Heart Tour is by far the best show Madonna’s put on in years, probably since The Confessions Tour in 2006. It had amazing arrangements, the set-list was an amazing mash of old and new hits and Madonna was again just having the time of her life. She seems happy with herself and isn’t mad anymore…except at Nelly Furtado, I’m sure.

Philip Tetro is the world’s foremost Madonnaologist.



  1. I could give you a run for your money in fan dept;)
    Having seen every tour and since drowned world each show at least twice.
    My mom died when I was 17 in 1981. I felt completely lost that year then in 1982 I felt a guardian angel was sent to watch over me. Her name was Madonna. I felt immediately connected because she had lost her mom, I felt like we grew up together. There wasn’t a tour I havnt loved for their own special moments. When you mentioned Virgin, and the slow one last time. That was combined with love spent. I feel the most raw emotional moment I have ever witnessed at her concert. I felt every ounce of pain come through her in that song .
    I still have my love for confessions as I was on the runway there and that was the anointing moment as she touched me I will never forget it. I was at sticky on election night in San Diego at the tip of runway moments I thought oh there’s other people here. So many coincidental moments I’ve had I get goose bumps still. in 1985 after the Virgin tour I was reading the LA times review in it Robert hilburn said: t’s important to demonstrate that she can handle herself live, but the simplicity of pop concerts doesn’t begin to tax her ambition or talent. “. I said to a friend “I think she should call her next tour blond ambition” and have it be a wild over the top show”. Well I was a tour off but I still get reminded of that. After it happened and the blond ambition came to be he said it was a prophecy. Then sure enough reinvention tour which is the next tour he was able to go to with me., we both about fell over at beginning as the first word was prophecy. Still get chills when I see that . Now we have the happy rebel heart tour. I have had an illness for past 2 years havnt gone anywhere finally recovered this year and rebel heart went on sale so got my LA tickets then Sam Diego was announced but since I hadn’t been anywhere I decided to go to opening night in Montreal and best decision I ever made. Got great ticket. Stunned by the show. Of course went second night too. Can’t wait for LA!
    Loved your story

  2. Being just a few rows away from Philip, I can concur that our seats were absolutely amazing. She did seem so vibrant and happy, despite the few scoldings of low energy. To be fair, I think those of us in and around the runway were probably NOT the folks she was talking to…No William Morris agents here!

    I loved that the “spectacle” that she usually goes for was minimized –not to say that nuns on stripper poles, dancers on swaying poles over the crowd, or a giant caged Madonna aren’t spectacular. It just was really about the music, dancing and having fun.

    The inclusion of Who’s That Girl, and the much loved Love Don’t Live Here Anymore; the fact that this tour is truly global, and that this tour fulfills her LiveNation contract, I fear it is the last tour for a while.


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