Review: At 54, Madonna seems more physical onstage than ever

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<p>COURTESY: ERIK KABIK</p>

MADONNA, Oct. 13 at MGM Grand

After years of saying her Vegas crowds are her most tepid, Madonna finally found the right amount of enthusiasm. During a folked-up version of the 1986 hit “Open Your Heart” — just one of several chestnuts totally reworked for her current MDNA Tour — the Material Girl scored an extended standing ovation. “I like it when people make an effort,” she said.

Perhaps it’s too hard to match her own effort. Madonna is not only a consummate performer, she’s a multitasker extraordinaire onstage. And at 54, she seems more physical onstage than ever. As much as the show’s myriad eye candy blended with her performance, there was no taking your eyes off the Queen.

She became a gun-wielding debutante during “Gang Bang”; a cheerleader for “Give Me All Your Luvin”; and a torch singer in “Like a Virgin.” As on 2008’s Sticky and Sweet Tour, the theatricality and jubilee onstage made her weaker material (especially from this year’s ho-hum MDNA) more resonant.

The show was divided into four acts, but the underlying themes throughout were spirituality and dance music culture. A remixed, choir-powered “Like a Prayer” spelled out the former, while closer “Celebration” did the same for the latter, Madonna even positioning herself behind a fake DJ booth. For all DJs have done for the dance icon’s career, the nod implied gratitude. Then again, she might’ve just been affirming what a real superstar looks like. MIKE PREVATT