“I Don’t Give A,” one of the many songs from the MDNA album that no one seemed to know at Madonna’s first night at Yankee Stadium, indicates the icon’s current stance toward what her fans—and the music industry in general—expect from her. While most people of her stature would attempt to draw audiences in with the promise of performing her “classic” material, Madonna simply forges ahead with the constant creation of new content. While some would be obliged to perform the same songs over and over again just to placate people, Madonna takes the constant risk of selecting a set list that can have a polarizing effect, particularly in the United States where her fan base is not quite as multi-faceted or willing to listen to her latest creative output.

 Strongly echoing the dark tone and Catholic themes of the Blond Ambition Tour, the MDNA Tour opens with “Act of Contrition,” the Catholic prayer that also appeared on Madonna’s 1989 album, Like A Prayer. The haunting askance of forgiveness segues into “Girl Gone Wild,” the second single from MDNA. The sleek, almost S&M-like costume during the Transgression segment of the show is a seamless mirror of the constant use of guns and gun imagery. The anger and angst expressed on most of MDNA is manifested in a stunning visual display of violence, blood and rage. Following “Girl Gone Wild” is “Revolver,” another more obscure choice for Madonna to make, but an ideal track for exhibiting gun use. “Revolver” transitions into the most violent song of the show, appropriately called “Gang Bang.” An interlude-esque version of “Papa Don’t Preach” follows, throwing the non-zealot fans in the audience the first bone of the evening. Succeeded by “Hung Up,” another enjoyable song to the casual or cursory Madonna listener, the pop beacon continues the trend of intermixing elements of her other songs by including “Girl Gone Wild” in this version. Obviously, if anyone is going to be self-referential, it is someone with the inexhaustible music catalogue of Madonna. Rounding out this segment of the show is Madonna’s other collaboration with Nicki Minaj, “I Don’t Give A.” Showcasing her ever-improving guitar skills, this particular performance reminds one of the Drowned World Tour version of “Candy Perfume Girl.”

“Best Friend”/”Heartbeat” serves as the interlude to transition us to the Prophecy segment. Continuing the theme of resentment and rage, the melding of “Best Friend” (another song clearly directed at Guy Ritchie) with “Heartbeat” serves to represent the push and pull we all feel when love comes into play. The ceiling then becomes a free-for-all for descending drummers in the wake of "Express Yourself," one of the most talked about moments of the tour for its tongue in cheek use of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" (a song Madonna has had no reservation about when it comes to mentioning its "reductive" nature) and "She's Not Me" from the Hard Candy album peppered in.

The bassline then switches to "Give Me All Your Luvin'" with a slight remix (Just Blaze) tinge as Madonna rounds out this portion of the drum major/ette section to leave us with another brief interlude video featuring clips and sound snippets of singles past (in the same vein as the interlude leading up to "Music" on the Drowned World Tour and "Music Inferno" on the Confessions Tour). After a quick costume change into a form-fitting leather dress and black beret, Madonna reappears to sing her latest single, "Turn Up The Radio." It is only after this song that she at last addresses the audience, introducing a trio of vocalists she learned of while on holiday for her birthday last year. In a subtle, apologetic manner, she then cautions, "This is an oldie, but goodie," leading into a fantastically reworked version of "Open Your Heart."

The Prophecy segment concludes with "Masterpiece," the Golden Globe-winning song from W.E., which Madonna sorrowfully prefaces by saying, "This is a song about love. It traps us again and again." An eerie incarnation of "Justify My Love" (with dancers exhibiting strong resemblances to the signature clown costume in The Girlie Show) then succeeds as an interlude leading up to the Masculine/Feminine segment of the show, in which Madonna emerges with a gamine like appearance in a white button-up shirt and pinstripe pants with suspenders, as well as a modern reimagining of Jean-Paul Gaultier's cone bra.

Reemerging from atop a perch, Madonna delves into "Vogue" with a blending of classic and futuristic traits. She then switches back up to her fondness for lesser known tracks by performing "Candy Shop" suffused with "Erotica," making for one of the most surprising and enjoyable mash-ups during the MDNA Tour. "Human Nature" is next, a song that has been constantly condemned and lauded on this tour for her quickness to disrobe at the end of it. Typically showcasing the words, "NO FEAR" on her back during this track, Madonna opted instead to write "OBAMA," noting, "Thank God for Michelle Obama." The Queen of Pop carries on her innovative reinventions of songs past by singing a slowed down, vampy version of "Like A Virgin."

The lamenting aura of Madonna's "Like A Virgin" rendering is suitably followed by the Redemption segment of the show. With the "Nobody Knows Me" interlude, Madonna parades her face in a series of forms, including the Hitler look. The song itself is indicative of Madonna's knowledge that no one can ever really know her as everyone expects vastly different criteria for her to meet and surpass--either opting to vilify her or put her on an impossible pedestal.


Madonna then appears in a Joan of Arc-esque rave outfit to perform a frenetic "I'm Addicted." The pace changes to a slower, more psychedelic jaunt when she segues into "I'm A Sinner." The unreleased 2000 track, "Cyberraga," is incorporated at the end of the performance, apropos of the drug-addled sound of the late 1960s. "Like A Prayer" is, shockingly, one of the least impressive moments of the tour, in terms of choreography and staging, while the show's closing song, "Celebration," is by far one of the most memorable performances as Madonna embodies the archetypal club kid with her son, Rocco Ritchie, by her side to provide additional dance moves. It is a fitting end to a tour that has truly displayed Madonna's ability to defy the supposed tenets of what a pop star should be.