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Madonna matures in “Re-Invention

The Material Girl rematerialized, reinvented and reinvigorated, Wednesday night at the Office Depot Center in Sunrise.
Madonna wowed the sell-out crowd of close to 20,000 with a dynamic two-hour set sampling a couple dozen songs from throughout her 20-year career.
Although the concert started 45 minutes late “with some kind of mystical and barely decipherable incantation” Madonna quickly roused the arena with a vintage take on the dance classic “Vogue.”
Throughout the concert, large video screens shifted around the stage, offering glimpses of artfully composed and edited video that complemented the music. Whether it was a montage of combat scenes to introduce “American Life,” a romantic embrace between two men during “Frozen” or just fresh film of the Boy Toy herself, the video added depth and freshness to tunes well ingrained in the public consciousness. Two massive screens also flanked the stage with live video images of the star, so even $100 ticketholders in the nose-bleed seats got their money’s worth.
Still clad in Army fatigues from the combat rock section that began with the violently choreographed “American Life,” Madonna turned the ’80s anthem “Express Yourself” into a new, searing indictment of war. “What you need is a big, strong hand to lift you to a higher ground,” she sang, raising a rifle in one hand.
There was message in the music all night long.
Spirituality took center stage ” not surprising considering Madonna’s well-documented devotion to the mystical branch of Judaism known as Kabbalah. “Papa, Don’t Preach” had her sporting a “Kabbalists do it better” T-shirt.
That’s not to say the show wasn’t a nonstop parade of entertainment performed by a cast of dozens.
At times, the staging took on a Cirque du Soleil feel, with aerialists soaring above the stage on swings, fire dancers twirling flames, skateboarders half-piping, a bagpipe-and-drum corps marching and on and on. Madonna’s corps of male and female dancers ran through every style of movement from tap to jazz to break dance.
For more intimate moments, Madonna performed with a few musicians and her backup singers. She was in fine voice throughout the evening, offering clear, confident renditions of power ballads such as “Crazy for You” as well as a rocking “Like a Prayer.”
“Reinvent yourself” was the final message of the night, displayed in elegant script on the video screens as the crowd screamed futilely for an encore. Madonna certainly has reinvented herself this time as a mature, articulate entertainer.
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