Hong Kong doesn’t get many opportunities to see international superstars like Madonna. This week, the US pop icon finally played in the city, 32 years after starting her career.
Wednesday’s concert was an extravaganza with light, sound and video effects intense enough to require painkillers afterwards.
Almost two hours after the show was due to start, the crowd caught its first glimpse of the pop queen as she descended on to the stage inside a cage singing Iconic from her latest album, Rebel Heart. She was freed by dancers dressed as futuristic samurai warriors.
She and her dancers then assembled around a table to imitate the Last Supper during Holy Water, which featured snatches of her massive hit, Vogue.
The stage transformed into a mechanics’ garage for True Blue, and Madonna greeted everyone in Cantonese by saying “lei ho!” and “ngoh oi neih” (“hello” and “I love you”). Later, she proposed to a girl in the audience, and pulled a guy onstage to dance with her. He surprised all the performers by handing out lai see and shouting “kung hei fat choi!” These were nice touches in a city not used to interaction with megastars. Explaining her new record’s title, Madonna said “We’re starting a revolution, we’re fighting for what you believe in.”
Everyone remembers when Madonna fell off a stage last year, but she showed she wasn’t scared of stairs by singing Heartbreak City from a staircase hanging from the roof. A single dancer swung around like Spider-Man before he was dramatically pushed off the edge on to a crash mat below.
After the dancer disappeared, Madonna performed her ’80s hit single Like a Virgin as the stage lit up in neon pink.
During a Spanish bull fighter-themed section, she gave a fiery rendition of Living for Love while being circled by dancers wearing jewelled minotaur masks.
Classic tracks La Isla Bonita and Take a Bow were huge crowd pleasers, before more recent hits Music and Candy Shop were given a 1920s makeover. Madonna and her dancers emerged in sparkly outfits.
After a romantic cover of Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose, the encore and closer Holiday ended the show with a flood of dancers and the singer waving the Hong Kong flag. A joyous finale to a spectacular show.