Concert review: Madonna is pure Detroit

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TONY LOWE
  • Tony Lowe

Though Madonna has dissed her Michigan roots lately, the Queen of Pop stood onstage at Joe Louis Arena Thursday night as part of her Rebel Heart tour and declared to her 20,000-odd fans in attendance "Detroit made me who I am today."

While superfan Duane the Brand New Dog and I debated how much time the Bay City-born and Rochester Hills-raised singer actually spent dancing underneath the disco ball at Menjo's before fleeing Michigan for New York City, when analyzing her body of work it's easy to see how Madonna is pure Detroit.



There were subtle nods in her Joe Louis performance — perhaps the way she decided to recast her performance of her hit "Like a Virgin" as a techno song. But the Detroit influence bubbled up in other ways, too. After performing "Body Shop" on top of a garage-themed set, Madonna told the crowd, "If anyone can understand the trials and tribulations of working at a body shop, it's the Motor City."

Later, after sizing up one of her back up dancers (a hunky black dude), she said, "Detroit has some good looking guys. Why did I leave?"



(Then there's the rampant references to Catholicism in her work. You can talk the girl out of Catholic school, but you can't take the Catholic school out of the girl.)

Madonna played a career-spanning set of 27, including stripped-down acoustic versions. "They told me I have two hours, so get in, get out," she told the crowd, pausing for comedic effect. "Umm, bitch, I'm from Detroit!"

Toward the end of her set, the 57-year-old singer dedicated a song to daughter Lourdes Leon, who currently attends U-M Ann Arbor. She also said her father was in attendance, and thanked him for making her a "rebel heart."

View photos from the show here.

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