The Wheel and Axle

A Rebel After My Own Heart

by on Jun.05, 2016, under Music & Theater, Queer

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You have your heroes. I have mine.

Last February, a dream came true over thirty years in the making. Despite all the criticism she has gotten through the decades, Madonna has always been someone I looked up to. Unapologetic, driven, doesn’t give a shit: she knows she’s doing it to empower the outcasts, the marginalized, the people that society deem to be lesser.

Pretending to contain my excitement.

Pretending to contain my excitement.

For many people growing up gay in the 80s and 90s, Madonna was a woman who inspired them by believing in them and treating them like human beings. Madonna was an active supporter of LGBT rights during a time when it was unpopular to do so – a time when being so vocal and norm-challenging could have ruined her career. Shits were not given as, despite opposition, she forged on and helped shine the spotlight on the rainbow community.

Madonna elevated the community when it wasn’t deemed cool to do so, and she made it cool. Her legacy helped bring us into the mainstream and into the consciousness of society at large. And while there’s still more work to be done, this exposure helped shape a comparatively more accepting world compared to what it was before Madonna.

And listen up: the current crop of pop divas who style themselves as gay icons? They have it easy marketing and catering to the lucrative LGBT community, and all because they owe a lot to this iconic trailblazer of pop divadom.

If we took a Holiday...

If we took a Holiday…

I had long given up on possibly seeing this goddess in person. She’d never been in concert in Asia before except for Japan, and in the last few years there had been false alarms about performing in Manila. And let’s face it, the woman is turning 58 this year, and while she wasn’t retiring yet, what were the chances she’d finally decide to go to the Philippines?

However, when it became reality, there was no way I would miss this one.

No way would I miss Rebel Heart Tour in Manila.

So I didn’t.

(Continued after the gallery.)


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You have to see it to believe it.

Because they can.

Because they can.

It’s probably her best one since the Confessions Tour from 2006, and that’s saying a lot for a legend whose performances are known for being mega-productions that will dwarf anything that Beyoncé, Katy Perry, or Lady Gaga could ever hope to stage. Mesmerizing music, amazing costumes, mind-blowing special effects, and acrobatic choreography that could wow any Cirque du Soleil afficionado all come together to make this one unforgettable extravaganza worth the price of admission.

As with her previous concerts, Madonna’s repertoire was a wonderful mix of old and new: classic catchy beats sung alongside (and sometimes mashed up with) amazing new tracks – mostly from her latest album, the under-appreciated Rebel Heart. Like always, any oldie-but-goodie that she decides to include is infused with freshness and reinvention, and not one of these songs from last century feel outdated.

Moreover, not only does the queen sing and play the guitar, she still holds her own quite nimbly against her youthful dancers – twirling around poles, sashaying in sexy clothes, and slithering up and down metallic staircases with ease.

Fabulously limber for someone who’s almost sixty.

My only disappointment is that I didn’t get a ticket for the second night.

Dream come true.

Dream come true.

Finally being able to do see Madonna in person was a powerful moment for that little boy who used to believe he will always just be in the fringes of society. Say what you want to say about the woman, but underneath all the images and controversies is a woman who has a heart of gold: a rebel with a heart!

I actually cried a little when she started to sing True Blue.

Sue me.

Again: you have your heroes.

I have mine.

Viva, La Ciccone!


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The one and only goddess.

The one and only goddess.

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Since June 2016