The Material Girl can still get into the groove.
Since her self-titled first album dropped in 1983, Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and embarked on 10 concert tours, including last year’s The MDNA Tour.
Today at 8 p.m., cable’s Epix network will premiere the film “Madonna: The MDNA Tour,” which showcases footage from New York, Miami and some of the other 88 tour stops.
“Three decades is a long time to have a job,” Madonna told the audience at the movie’s New York premiere Tuesday night. But the exhaustive — and exhausting — film proves she’s still going strong.
At 54, Madonna keeps pace with her youngest peers in the two-hour spectacle; even hardened non-fans will marvel as she performs strenuous choreography alongside the show’s 27 nubile, youthful dancers.
The documentary (or is it one long music video?) showcases her knack for religious iconography, politically-tinged lyrics and sexual wattage.
Here are our picks for the film’s top five moments.
1. “Gang Bang”
Set in a seedy motel room, Madonna exacts revenge on ex-lovers using a stash of guns. With each shot, disturbingly realistic “blood” splashes across a video screen towering behind her. It’s a bit much in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shootings last December, but the ultra violent message is loud and clear: guys, don’t piss off Madonna.
2. “Express Yourself”
Wearing a majorette uniform, Madonna swings a verbal slap at her pop nemesis, Lady Gaga, whose 2011 gay rights anthem, “Born This Way,” is suspiciously similar to this 1989 hit. Madonna samples Gaga’s lyrics in lock step with her own song’s backing track, while video behind her depicts Pac Man-esque “little monsters” (as Gaga fans are called) gobbling up conical bras, blond ponytails and other props Gaga seemingly procured from the Material Girl.
A Madonna concert wouldn’t be the same without her iconic 1990 club hit. Her body moves to the music and as she strikes many a pose in a gender-bending black-and-white fashion show with couture by Jean Paul Gaultier (who designed many of the tour’s 1,500 costumes). Ladies with an attitude, indeed.
4. “Like A Virgin”
Madonna spins a melancholy take on her perky 1984 hit. Wearing butt-baring lingerie and fishnets, she drapes herself atop an upright piano, flashes her barely-covered private parts and tells the crowd, “If you’re gonna look up the crack of my a–, you might as well give me a tip.” The audience litters the stage with cash, which was later donated to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. A down-tempo version of her “MDNA” album track “Love Spent” — a snipe at ex-husband Guy Ritchie — follows with a dancer excruciatingly tightening a corset around her waist.
5. “Nobody Knows Me”
Projected on stage as a musical interlude, this controversial video that includes swastikas and other Nazi imagery steals the show with a message about intolerance. Lyrics like “It’s no good when you’re misunderstood” send viewers a jolt when melded with portraits of gay teens — including Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi — who have committed suicide.
by ERIC HEGEDUS