Rebel Heart | Review

Here at House of Coco we love music! So when Icon Madonna was in town,  long life fan and our head stylist Taheed Khan and writer Sabrina Khan went to fulfill their dreams – read how they got ‘Into The Groove’.

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Everyone who is a true Madonna fan remembers the first time they completely fell in-love with her and her music. I was 12 when I became an ‘accidental’ fan. After hearing Physical Attraction on a mixed tape, I was instantly hooked.  Her debut self-titled album was purchased immediately.

Fans from all corners of the earth will know how I feel and know what I mean, when I say that her music meant something different to each and every one of us. Madonna with her music enabled you to become someone strong and not fear being different. Her music allowed you to embrace your individuality and be proud to stand out in a crowd; ‘fitting in’ and what was considered ‘normal’ was boring and so not cool! Madonna was just that when she exploded on the music scene in the early 80s.

Her debut album was a completely different sound to what we were listening to at the time. Who was this girl? We the first generation of Madonna fans were intrigued to know more. She did not disappoint! With her dishevelled hair, yellow painted nails, crucifixes, black rubber bracelets and fearless attitude; young girls everywhere began to emulate her punk-grunge look, much to the disappointment of our parents. We were Rebel Hearts right from the start.

 

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Her career spanning three decades has been exceptionally amazing. She defied all those critics who criticised her music and longevity, stating she was ‘a one hit wonder’ who would disappear from the music scene and would soon be forgotten. They were so wrong. She is the last of the 80s musicians of her generation; who regarded music as form of art that allowed you to express yourself with a fearless attitude. To date she has not disappointed. From the infamous white wedding dress with all those crucifixes, gyrating provocatively, to that shockingly illicit Sex book that all us hardcore Madonna fans added to our ever growing memorabilia of the Queen of Pop.

Looking back now I still remember how her music really affected me in my early teens. Whilst I was blasting her first album from my Sony cassette player in my bedroom, little did I know that I was not the only one in my family who her music was having an impact upon. Outside in the veranda during a hot summer’s day in 1986, my little brother of the tender age of two was dancing and singing Like a Virgin with nothing but a diaper on. My father watched on with astounded horror.

 

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Thank you Sabrina for the wonderful introduction – I remember that eventful day in 1986. Madonna to me is fashion, art and freedom all rolled into one massive phenomenon. She has truly been an inspiration behind some of my work. Love her or hate her she has your attention. For me that makes her a force to be reckoned with. Her relationships with designers such as; Jean Paul Gaultier, Versace and Dolce and Gabbana to name just a few, together they have created  iconic imagery – at 57 still landing campaigns confirms age is nothing but a number. With Grammy awards, and MTV awards – there isn’t an award Madonna does not have. Renowned for her transformation with every album she has released – she has earned the name ‘chameleon’ of music.

Ambitious, hard working and a complete perfectionist she has paved the way for artists such as Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Beyonce – who have all thanked her for the music and  paid homage to her music with videos of their own.

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Every fighting battle from the day she hit the music scene with gender, race, sexuality and her political ideology, shows that she has always fought for women and gay rights and now having to deal with ageism.  It really is a never ending battleground for Madonna. She once stated ‘If a man can take his top off and get away with it, why can’t I?’ Gender equality is something she continues to fight for

If you was to ask me which is my favourite Madonna album, it would be incredibly hard for me to decide – but ‘Ray of Light’ would come close –  an incredibly well written album that features highly in Q Magazine and The Rolling Stones as one of the top 100 albums of all time – the album takes you deeper into the real Madonna,  away from the shock tactics and the Iconic looks – she tells us how she still misses her mother who died when she was young, how the birth of her daughter has changed her.

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Madonna is an inspiration to all women – a self made billionaire who is heavily involved in charity work and is the ‘Goodwill Ambassador for Child Welfare’ for Malawi – she has opened schools in Malawi and Karachi,  allowing children to have access to education in disadvantaged countries – she calls this a ‘Revolution of Love.’

 

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The release of her new album Rebel Heart, meant that the dream to attend one of Madonna’s gigs and actually see her perform live, was about to come true. Nervous and excited we take our seats – the arena is full and there is not a single empty seat. Mary Mac delivers an outstanding DJ set, exciting the crowd.  As her set ends, we are told the show is running late – we eagerly and patiently wait, after all we have waited nearly 30 years for this moment, what is another hour?

Finally the moment arrives we can barely contain our excitement, the audience jump to their feet, screaming, as the projection comes to life with images of Madonna portraying a glamorous icon trapped in a cage, fighting for freedom. It is, completely symbolic to her revolutionary journey of going against the suppression of free-thinking and the freedom of speech in her unique and artistic way. Madonna opens her show with Iconic; which she has by sheer willpower and hard work has without a shadow of doubt, become. Clips of Mike Tyson stating with aggression his passion to be someone who never gave up symbolise, the strength and determination of the superstar herself. Everyone, us included are completely spell bound from the start.

The stage is magnificent, the dancers are on point – the choreography is slick and polished. Madonna swings from her current hits to her first single ‘Burning Up’ which she hasn’t performed since 1985 – she is sensational.  Crouching down and smiling at her fans adoringly – we look at each other in amazement – we finally get to see our idol in the flesh!

Madonna sits with her dancers and addresses the lateness – she explains how the video accompanying the show which runs throughout was faulty and the technicians had been trying to fix this – with her dry sense of humour she states she doesn’t like to be late, she wasn’t filing her nails, eating chocolate back stage or fixing her hair – she was not being a diva – the crowd laughs with her. She is real, we are indeed in the presence of a legend – we don’t care if she was late!

She asks if we are in her gang – the crowd screams ‘Yes’ –  as she swings into classics such as True Blue, Deeper and Deeper –  we are transported to years gone by,  memories of making up dance routines, saving up to buy her albums, eager to learn the lyrics are strong in our minds. The show is a fashionable affair – with costumes designed by, Gucci, Arianne Phillip, Prada and Alexander Wang. This isn’t just a show, but an experience of emotions – visually magnificent, Madonna sounds flawless and her ability to connect with her fans is heart-moving.

As Madonna approaches us, on the end of the runway we are amazed by her energy, she smiles in our direction and we cannot help but scream, it’s simple, we love her. ‘Are you having a good time?’ We scream yes! As she begins ‘Open Your Heart’ she loses the guitar and sings acapella which sounds incredible. It seems surreal that she is literally hovering above us – we have the best seats and an incredible view and we really do not want it to end.

Closing the show she performs her classics Music and Material Girl dressed in a Swarovski crystal embellished dress by Jeremy Scott for Moschino. She is full of energy from the beginning to end, that it is, truly electrifying to watch her. Every song is a show – stopper.  Not a Madonna fan? Then we would highly recommend you attend at least one of her shows, without a doubt you soon will be.  Around us are fans ranging from as young as 12 to 60 – proving that everyone can relate. She set Manchester Arena on fire!

As it ends it is apparent she ‘veni vidi vici’ she came she saw and boy did she conquer– until next time Queen of Pop.

 

By Sabrina and Taheed Khan

 

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