When it comes to live performance, there are few artists that come anywhere close to Madonna. She’s been the Queen of Pop since the 80s and despite a few ups and downs along the way, she remains one of the most fascinating artists in music. In 2015 Madonna embarked on her epic Rebel Heart World Tour in support of her album of the same name. I’ve already delivered my verdict on the Blu-ray edition of the tour but now I’m giving the CD release a listen.
Essentially the Rebel Heart Tour CD is a direct rip from the Blu-ray release, which is a little bit disappointing. One of the issues I had with the Blu-ray is that the production makes it very difficult to believe that Madonna is singing live and unfortunately the audio release doesn’t make it all that clearer. On opening number Iconic, there are so many effects on Madonna’s voice, that it’s impossible to tell what is live and what isn’t. The first real sound of live vocals you get is on Burning Up and Madonna is singing over a pre-recorded backing track that threatens to drown her out.
That problem crops up throughout on tracks such as Devil Pray and Deeper and Deeper. You can hear some parts are clearly live but it’s really hard to distinguish. One of the only moments you can really hear Madonna’s voice is on Heartbreakcity, and that’s probably one of the weakest songs featured on here.
Another thing that doesn’t work on this CD release is the version of Unapologetic Bitch. On the Blu-ray the performance is a mixture of multiple performances from across the tour. Listening to that on a CD while Madonna is interacting with her various guests is a bit odd and doesn’t make a lot of sense. It would have been better to have one complete cut without those bits.
The Rebel Heart Tour CD is a real disappointment. I would have hoped to hear more of Madonna’s voice and less of the production but sadly that’s not what is contained here. I’m surprised that Madonna has approved this release as it’s definitely not her best work. Hard core Madonna fans will lap it up regardless but I expect a higher standard from the Queen of Pop than this.
Track listing: 1. Rebel Heart Tour Intro 2. Iconic 3. Bitch I’m Madonna 4. Burning Up 5. Holy Water / Vogue 6. Devil Pray 7. Deeper and Deeper 8. Heartbreakcity 9. Living For Love 10. La Isla Bonita 11. Rebel Heart 12. Candy Shop 13. Unapologetic Bitch 14. Holiday Record label: Eagle Rock Release date: 15th September 2017