On this day (Dec. 22) in 2012, Madonna took her final bow during her MDNA World Tour, the highest grossing tour of the year. According to Billboard Boxscore, the 88-show tour grossed an impressive $305 million. To mark the achievement, the pop icon was awarded with the Top Touring Artist Award at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards. During her acceptance speech she said, “It took several international villages to put my show together.” We can believe it.
MDNA (which Madonna described as “the journey of a soul from darkness to light”) was her ninth concert tour and showcased material from her twelfth studio album of the same name. Of course no Madonna concert would be complete without controversy, and this tour was no different, touching on violence, firearms, human rights, nudity and politics.
Today, we revisit the tour (that you probably attended) with our 5 favorite moments.
“Strike a pose”
This is the moment where people begin screaming (louder than before), eyes tear up and no one in the crowd is left seated. You will witness male dancers doing very complex things with their arms and you can be certain Madonna will be sporting a cone bra designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier. In 2014, year we learned that with the death of Lauren Bacall, all 16 of the Hollywood icons named in the song have passed away.
2. “Express Yourself”/”Born This Way” Mashup?
“Don’t go for second best baby, put your love to the test”
“Band leader” Madonna could have celebrated fellow female superstar Lady Gaga with a mashup of her 1989 No. 2 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Express Yourself” and Gaga’s “Born This Way.” But with the addition of the lyric from her Hard Candy track “She’s Not Me,” Madge threw some major shade instead.
3. “Like a Virgin”?
“Your love thawed out what was scared and cold”
In this stripped down version of her first song to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Madonna sings 1984’s “Like a Virgin” in a push-up bra, while a man wearing a top hat plays “Evgeni’s Waltz” (from her 2011 film “W.E.”) on the piano.
4. “Girl Gone Wild”?
“Girls they just wanna have some fun, get fired up like smokin’ gun”
“Oh my God.” The MDNA tour opener is set in a cathedral with passages from the Bible being read before leading into her 2012 No. 1 Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs hit, “Girl Gone Wild.” Men dressed as monks open their cloaks to reveal hard bodies and rosaries. Suddenly, a snippet from “Material Girl” plays in the background and the crowd “gone wild.”
??5. “Gang Bang”
“I thought you were good, but you painted me bad”
In this dark and artsy portion on the concert, Madonna is armed with a revolver. As she sings “bang bang, shot you dead,” she shoots various perpetrators who cross her path and blood splatters across the motel room set. When a helicopter is heard overhead, it seems Madonna might be caught, but she grabs a rifle and shoots a man from a rope ladder in the sky before stashing her weapon under the couch. After wrestling another man to his demise, she takes a swig of Jack Daniels and spits it out, causing the motel to catch fire before thrusting on his corpse. “Now if you’re gonna act like a bitch, then you’re gonna die like a bitch.”