Madonna is the Queen of Pop and is the best-selling female artist of all time! I truly appreciated her work and became a fan during 2012’s MDNA era especially when the video for Give Me All Your Luvin’ was released. That’s when I got mesmerized by Madonna, I fell in love with her voice and overall appeal. Although I already knew who Madonna was before my “calling” to be a fan, I said to myself “Yes she is the Queen!”
I never really expected that Madonna would have a concert here in the Philippines. She doesn’t come to this region very often as what she said on one of the Manila shows. It has been my dream to see her live. When I saw the MDNA Tour concert film, I was so amazed and even envied those who were able to witness the Queen of Pop perform in their very eyes! Then sometime in July last year the Rebel Heart Tour was announced; the Music Management International was able to bring Madonna here in the Philippines!
Fast forward to February 24, 2016 at the Mall of Asia Arena, the date of the first show of the Rebel Heart Tour in Manila, I didn’t come to school because of excitement! Luckily, my school schedule was by my side with only 1 class being able to push through while my other 2 classes that day were suspended. It’s like the universe was telling me that it is my destiny to watch the Madonna concert for the very first time! I was at home, eagerly waiting for 3:30 in the afternoon for that will be the time I will leave the house and take the train then straight to the arena! I was really excited, nervous and jumpy that time, all I could think about was the tour! I literally walked in circles around the house since I didn’t know what to do anymore! Then I had to dress up. I wore a button-up shirt with a Madonna tee inside and a hat to complete my attire.
And I rode the train, which took me 30 minutes to the destination where “jeepneys” or shuttles going to the Mall of Asia where parked. The moment I arrived at the mall, I quickly walked to the arena, feeling the breeze of the air as my first smile lit my face with excitement. I overlooked the arena. I was finally there. I went directly to the souvenir booth and bought a lot of merchandise.
Outside of the arena, it was all Madonna songs playing. It’s like these songs enveloped the entire arena. It’s a Madonna world! As far as I can recall, Rebel Heart, Hung Up and Me Against the Music were being played. It was still too early so I went back to the mall. Again, it was like a Madonna song frenzy inside, even non-single tracks were being played. The first thing I ever heard as I entered the mall was Nothing Really Matters. That’s when I realized that “Ahh, they’re playlist today are Madonna songs!” I then decided to eat somewhere where there are few people eating or there are no people at all. I found this small burger restaurant and that’s when I had my snack. The staff were like “Today’s the Madonna concert right?”
I went back to the arena. The sun was already setting, gradually dimming the sky. I entered the arena. People were already filling up the lobby in a matter of seconds. As I scanned through the crowd, I have observed that most of them are professionals who are mostly in their 30s or 40s. Often times I would see some in their 50s. Madonna’s fanbase encompasses all age range, including children, teens and young adults in their early 20s (that includes me) and even the elderly. I went to the upper level immediately as the Madonna attractions and booths downstairs were filled with queues and besides, no one would actually take my picture. It was still a bit early. And that’s when I heard Madonna do soundchecks behind the closed doors of the inner arena! I heard Bitch I’m Madonna to Holy Water (guessing she was rehearsing the Joan of Arc/Samurai segment) and I heard a snippet of Rebel Heart. I even heard her scream something “Alright Manila, it’s time to heat things up…” during the Burning Up soundcheck. I couldn’t believe it! It seems like it was a spoiler for the show! As I proceeded to the upper levels, there was still a queue to the doors. They were already letting us in. The door in front of me gave me a peek of the HeartbreakCity staircase. As I entered, I saw the stage for the first time! I was in a complete awe! This is it! The Madonna concert I’ve been waiting for! I found my seat and apparently my seatmate to my left was already there. I chatted with her. She was friendly and knows how to talk to me despite our huge age difference. A few moments later, opening act started. Dj Mary Mac went onstage to cheer us all up until we get fed up. She took the stage more than an hour, and when she finally left, the crowd cheered for relief like “Thank God she’s done with her act!”
It was now 10:15pm and that’s when the announcer said that Madonna will appear in 30 minutes. The crowd awed in disappointment. Some were complaining. That’s when I also gave a “lecture” about my seatmate on why M starts late and that her shows are usually starting beyond 10pm. But she didn’t complain, don’t worry. People went out to buy hotdogs or doughnuts. When Wanna Be Startin’ something played, I immediately got up of my seat and told my seatmate “The show is starting! After this MJ song, Madonna comes out of the stage!”
At last, Iconic started! I knew the words of course. Even what Madonna says in the opening video from the Secret Project, yeah I knew the words there. The first time she said “Manila” was before Bitch I’m Madonna started. The usual “insert-city-name, are you with me?!” When it was already Holy Water and Devil Pray, everybody seemed
so quiet. I was the only one screaming “Bitch get off my pole!” I often hear side comments from this lady at the row behind us saying “Oh this is the blasphemy part” or something like that. Then for Body Shop, I loved the backdrops! Like a Body Shop in the middle of nowhere. In True Blue, M taught us (or them) how to respond since I already know that “Fuck yeah!” is the response. Then this lady-at-the-row-behind-us was like looking up the setlist so that she can inform her friend what song is next. She was like, “Oh it’s Body Shop. Oh it’s HeartbreakCity.” People sang along to that oldie including Like A Virgin. It was the first time I sang Like A Virgin too because I don’t listen to it very much, not that I don’t like the song but I’m just used to hearing it. She surprised us with Like A Prayer! I finally witnessed the “magical moment” that fans keep saying whenever Madonna performs this classic hit! The Like A Prayer made me teary-eyed and clap my hands in the air! The whole arena lit up with their smart phones. Seeing the Illuminati interlude in person took my breath away! It gave me goosebumps. Again, lady-at-the-row-behind-us had these side comments like “Oh, this is what I like about her shows. She has these stunts and all…” something like that. I love it when she talks and jokes during the show. She made us all laughing at her sense of humor. Sometimes I wished that I was at the front row floor seats which I could not afford so I could really dance my ass off and sing out loud that Madonna would notice me. I was also singing along to La Vie En Rose. My seatmates were surprised I can tell and they were like, “He knows the whole show?!” Then came Holiday, it was the last chance for the one-night only attendees to show them their love for the Queen. After Holiday that’s when I exited the arena, with a smile on my face. My eyes were filled with wonder and amazement as I walked my way out of the arena, not being bothered by the sea of people. It was a dream that came true. I was ready for round two.
Here are some of the pictures I’ve taken during the tour! Hope you all like them!