Madonna's Singapore concert tame, but F-bombs and sexual references aplenty

by Nurul Azliah

After a week of furore from religious leaders in the region speaking out against Madonna’s controversial Rebel Heart tour, the Queen of Pop’s first ever concert in Singapore on Sunday (28 Feb) appeared very tame and devoid of any religious references.

On Monday, Singapore archbishop William Goh expressed concern over Madonna’s concert in Singapore. He had reminded Catholics in the country to not support “those who denigrate and insult religions”.

Two days later, Catholic bishops in the Philippines urged people to boycott Madonna’s concert.

The “Like A Virgin” superstar was in town for a one-night only show at the National Stadium and performed in front of about 25,000 fans. Surprisingly, the concert started only an hour late. She had been known to appear two to three hours later than scheduled showtime at other stops along the tour.

Instead of having dancers dressed as half naked nuns, sexy popes, or having them hold up giant crosses - as seen in online fan videos of her tour in other countries such as the US and Canada -  her Singapore fans enjoyed a more watered down version laden with F-bombs and sexual references.

“Is it okay if I use the F-word?” Madonna asked her fans one hour into the show. She had been refraining from cussing from when the show began, she added.

The 57-year-old performed a handful of her classics, such as “Like A Virgin”, “Material Girl”, “Crazy For You” as well as “La Isla Bonita”, which saw the loudest cheers from the crowd, with many jumping from their seats to dance and sing along.

Her dancers gave a spectacular performance and somewhat made up for what was lacking in her show. The scenes ranged from provocative dance moves on a bed on stage - which included guy-on-guy action- during her song “Sex”, to a thrilling stunt which saw some of the dancers bouncing dangerously from high poles.

Toyed with fans

Madonna also jokingly asked one man in the crowd to marry her, then rejected him, saying that he could not afford to support her expensive lifestyle.

Towards the end of the show, a lucky Singapore fan by the name of Hamzah was invited on stage to dance with her. Hamzah obliged by wowing the crowd with his provocative booty-shaking dance moves.

As a reward for his performance, Madonna handed to him a bejeweled banana-shaped bottle. She had a sip of the drink before pouring some into Hamzah’s mouth, and later splashed the drink on his face.

Madonna has a hugely successful career spanning more than three decades. Making her debut in 1982, Madonna has produced 13 albums and a string of global hits such as “Like A Virgin”, “Vogue”, “Papa Don’t Preach” and “Like A Prayer”.

According to media reports, her concert in Singapore costs S$14.1 million, with one of the two investors being James Lee, chief executive of Taiwan-based Kinglun International Holdings.