What to expect from Madonna’s ‘Celebration’ tour

The Queen of Pop kicked off her world tour at London’s O2 arena.
October 16, 2023 1:02 p.m. EST
Getty Images/Kevin Mazur Getty Images/Kevin Mazur

Madonna Louise Ciccone has been dominating the charts, expressing herself, getting into the groove, and making us vogue for 40 years now, and she shows no signs of slowing down as her much-anticipated tour Celebration finally kicked off in London, UK at the O2 arena this weekend. The North American leg of her tour, which was originally set to begin in Vancouver, was unceremoniously delayed in the summer when the “Like A Prayer” songstress was suddenly hospitalized for a serious bacterial infection.

This weekend, five out of her six children, Lourdes, 27, David, 18, Mercy, 17, and twins Stella and Estere, 11, joined her on stage for show-stopping cameos. Mercy accompanied mom on the piano while performing 1992 single “Bad Girl.” During "Vogue," Lourdes, helped Madonna judge and score voguing ballroom dancers, including a dancing Estere. Twin Stella recreated the music video choreography for “Don’t Tell Me,” and son David played guitar for “Mother & Father” as well as “La Isla Bonita.” All-in-all, an exceptional family affair!

The Celebration tour will encompass her greatest hits, eras, iconic looks, and 40 years of reinvention. Speaking to the BBC, Stuart Price – the tour’s musical director (and co-producer of her 2005 classic Confessions on a Dance Floor) – said Celebration will incorporate 40 of her iconic hits: “A greatest hit doesn’t have to be a song. It can be a wardrobe, it can be a video or a statement.”

The “Justify My Love” crooner also did not have a live band on stage for the entirety of the show. “There are live musicians that perform at different parts of the show,” Price explained. “But what we realized is that the original recordings are our stars. Those things can’t be replicated and can’t be recreated, so we decided just to embrace that.”

Madonna’s stage was divided in four quarters to represent Manhattan, where she got her start over 40 years ago. The legend goes she arrived in NYC from Michigan with only $35 in her pocket, and told the taxi driver to take her to centre of everything, so he dropped her off in Times Square. She has previously spoken about living in squalor, and having to slug it out in the nightclubs of the late 70s and early 80s before making a splash with her debut eponymous album. 

With that in mind, the four quarters of the stage represented Manhattan’s Uptown, Downtown, Midtown, East and West "grids." The circular stage in the centre had three layers: evoking her wedding cake setup from the 1984 VMAs!

The “Hung Up” hitmaker wore 17 looks inspired by her legendary tour costumes of yore. So committed to her costumes, she’s traveling with 45 wardrobe trunks and 25 members of the crew (her crew totals over 200 people) will be from the costume department alone. Her tour involves 80 tons of equipment, 4,400 square feet of stage, and People reports she will be traveling with three mobile gyms, eight humidifiers in her dressing room, three physical therapists, and 40 pairs of boxing gloves.

Make sure you hit up the merch table before the concert, because there will be 50 different items for sale, including a recreation of the iconic Blonde Ambition bomber jacket.

Celebration will hit 15 countries around the world, and the 65-years-young icon will play a whooping 78 shows in total.

After her six scheduled shows in London, she moves through the UK and Europe during the autumn, until making her way back to the U.S. in December. As for Canada, her rescheduled dates include: Toronto at Scotiabank Arena on January 11 and 12, Montreal at The Bell Centre on January 18 and 20. The Celebration tour has dates scheduled into April 2024, then it concludes in Mexico.


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