The Queen of Pop has stunned the world with her music and videos. However, the stage is where it seems Madonna is most at home. She is an incredible live performer, if not the best of her time. Having gotten her start as a dancer, live shows is where Madonna can combine all of her talents, loves, and influences.
Throughout her career, she has shocked audiences with her stage shows. Madonna has blown audiences away and moved them with her message of love and acceptance. She also set the standard and paved the path all artists followed after her.
To celebrate one of the best live performers of our time, here are all of Madonna's tours ranked.
11. Drowned World Tour
When Madonna embarked on her Drowned World Tour in 2001, it was her first in eight years. While it proved that she still had it after giving birth to two kids, it lacked warmth and light. The show also lacked many hits from her back catalogue, focusing mostly on her two most recent albums, "Ray of Light" and "Music." While it was understandable, given the amount of new material released since her last tour, it still ranks at the bottom of the list.
10. Madame X Tour
The Madame X Tour was the first time Madonna did an all-theater tour. This caused many fans to expect a more intimate show. However, that's not exactly what they got. Instead, Madonna tried to shrink a stadium show and fit it in a small theater. The result lacked most of the intimacy the audience may have expected. The set list also featured an imbalance between past and present material that favored the latter. Madonna teased her back catalogue in this show more than she delivered it.
9. Re-Invention World Tour
After many fans begged for more past material after Drowned World, Madonna gave them their wish on her next tour. Re-Invention saw Madonna promoting her "American Life" album. While that album is prominently featured in the concert, the set list includes many of her past hits as well. It was a return to form that got the documentary treatment in "I'm Going To Tell You A Secret."
8. The Virgin Tour
The Virgin Tour was Madonna's very first concert tour. Featuring only two backup dancers and a live band, this show was a mere preview of what Madonna had in store for the rest of her career. It also included a set list comprised of her early hits. If you looked out into the audiences at the shows, you were bound to find several girls dressed exactly like Madonna.
7. Sticky & Sweet Tour
Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour was a light-hearted show that went all around the world. There was a sense of fun and a connection to the audience that was consistent throughout the show. Madonna performed many of her past hits, including new tracks off her "Hard Candy" album. This tour was a huge success and became the highest grossing solo tour for a female artist.
6. MDNA World Tour
The MDNA World Tour saw Madonna referencing her past incarnations while still offering something fresh. She delivered an updated version of the Gautier cone bra and stripped down to her underwear. Madonna also shocked audiences with her use of fake guns. Those who lived through the eighties and nineties were surprised at the fact that this ended up being one of Madonna's most controversial tours.
5. Rebel Heart Tour
There was a sense of romance and intimacy with the Rebel Heart Tour. The show included many new songs from the "Rebel Heart" album. It also included many past hits, even some Madonna had not performed in a long time. "True Blue," "Burning Up," and "Deeper and Deeper" were all surprises during the show. There was also the title track, which connected her with her audience. The sense of warmth and closeness to her fans was present during this show.
4. Who's That Girl World Tour
This show is much more simple compared to what we're used to seeing from Madonna. However, it is that simplicity which helps it stand out. This 1987 stadium tour was back when there was still an innocence to Madonna's image. There was also a certain spark and joy captured during this show which has never been duplicated. Madonna definitely proved her ability to command an audience with this tour.
3. Blond Ambition World Tour
This tour offered a level of theatricality not previously seen in pop shows. From Metropolis to Church to Cabaret, this show set the standard for all pop concerts that followed. Madonna and choreographer Vincent Patterson put together routines that pushed boundaries. She also worked with her brother, Christopher Ciccone, on the show's art direction. With the famous Jean Paul Gautier-designed cone bra, this show captures Madonna at her peak. It was also the subject of the 1991 documentary, "Truth or Dare."
2. The Confessions Tour
With The Confessions Tour, Madonna came out of a disco ball... literally. The show offered a healthy mix of depth and fun, with a bit of politics thrown in for good measure. Madonna appeared on a crucifix and called for peace in the Middle East. She also delivered one of the best live versions of "Erotica" and merged the classic "Disco Inferno" with her hit "Music." This tour saw a more mature Madonna, but one that still wanted provoke and have fun.
1. The Girlie Show World Tour
Not only did The Girlie Show World Tour feature some of the best staging of Madonna's career, it was also impeccable musically. The band Madonna had backing her during this tour was the best of her career. She also displayed a happiness and warmth to the audience that made this show stand out. She also had an incredible group of dancers. Madonna again called on her brother Christopher to design and direct the show. During its early stages, Madonna even called on Gene Kelly to watch the show and give his advice.