Madonna’s Best Tour Performances (to dance, walk, work out)
We all have our favourite Madonna´s best tour performances but I bet that amongst them you have some ballads (Live to Tell, Crazy For You, Heartbreak City, etc.). In this post I’m telling you my favourite Madonna’s tour performances to boost up your energy, dance, work out or simply go crazy.
I’m a huge fan of Madonna and I usually walk and dance to her music every day for 90 minutes since last year. It’s made me feel much better both physically and mentally. I highly recommend it. It doesn’t have to be Madonna, of course. I just don’t get tired of it because her discography (Madonna’s Albums Ranking) is huge and, for this activity, I particularly enjoy her tour performances.
I don’t know it this happens to you too, but these live performances are my favourite, not because I loved the song in the first place, but, in many cases, because the performance on tour made me love the song. For example, Music was never a song that I liked that much… until I watched Madonna perform it on the stage during the Sticky & Sweet Tour, which made me love it in Confessions, then all the others and the original track in the homonymous album.
So, I’ve listened to her music on tour so much that I’ve been able to make a list of her best tour performances. (Some thoughts on Madonna’s Best Songs – outside the hits).
IF ANY OF THE VIDEOS HAVE BEEN DELETED BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS POST, PLEASE DO LET ME KNOW VIA COMMENTS AND I’LL TRY TO FIND ANOTHER TO INSERT.
Not Madonna’s Best Live Performances
There are many favourites amongst other live performances, like
- the Super Bowl Half Time Show,
- special performances such as Live Aid, Live Earth,
- MTV iconic performances such as THE legendary Like a Virgin, the remarkable, unforgettable Vogue and the mythical Like a Virgin / Hollywood with Britney and Christina,
- tour promos like the Hard Candy at Koko or one of my all-time favourites, the American Life promo at the Cantine Du Faubourg in Paris
But I haven’t taken them into account for a very simple reason. They’re not in my Walkman so I’m not as acquainted with the rest as I am with her performances on tour. So those are out. Sorry! There are many, many posts about Madonna’s best LIVE performances.
Madonna’s Best Tour Performances (to walk fast)
The BPM or Tempo of a song indicates the speed of a piece of music, measured in beats per minute. To be able to walk briskly at the pace of a song, it must be at least 120 beats per minute. As for me, I feel more comfortable with a pace of around 130bpm. Madonna’s performances around that speed are the ones I enjoy the most. For example, I always need to speed up Holiday to 1.10 times its real tempo to make it a bit more intense and fun, as I do with many others around 120bpm.
I have written the beats per minute next to each performance. Although I found out the tempo of the tracks mentioned below, it is possible that she performed them at a slightly different pace than the originals in her concerts.
It’s been so hard to choose between some performances of the same song (i.e.: Holiday, Express Yourself, etc.) that I’ve had to choose more than one! Of course, trying to narrow down to 15 tour performances out of TEN TOURS is not easy. And trying to rank them is ever harder. So, I hope you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me when I seem a little dubious. I was. All the time.
Before this ranking, I’d like to show you a little gem:
It’s not a very popular video on YouTube, so I could bet that you haven’t seen it. It’s a video of Madonna’s performance at the Blond Ambition Tour in Barcelona, August 1st, 1990. It was the next to last on the tour and Madonna seems to be quite tired. The oddities and bloopers are numerous. She says quite a few times that she’s gonna kill somebody (she can’t hear herself).
I had fun watching this video, mainly because it was televised at the time, so I recorded it in a VHS tape, and I had just been to the concert in Madrid (and went backstage because I was bold enough and dared) a couple of days earlier. It brings memories, because I used to watch the concert very often, and I remember her lines quite well.
I hope you will enjoy it too. Only 6′ long.
#15. DRESS YOU UP – VIRGIN TOUR 136bpm
Out of the big hits, Dress You Up is one of those that Madonna has least performed on tour. Only three times (Virgin Tour, Who’s That Girl World Tour and Rebel Heart). My favourite is the first one. I just can’t get over the nostalgia factor. This was my first ever VHS original video tape of Madonna. I still love Madonna’s performance from beginning to end. So fresh and kind of naïve.
This performance is one of those that makes you want to start dancing and puts you in a good mood. Who could ever forget the iconic image above?
#14. LA ISLA BONITA – CONFESSIONS TOUR around 120bpm (100bpm original)
This is one of those songs of Madonna that I was starting to dislike. It never was a true favourite, only when it came out, because of the novelty. Never cared much about the video either.
And then I re-discovered it in the Confessions Tour. It almost feels a new song. And it’s as if it really had a flamenco touch; whereas they tried on the same song in the Re-Invention Tour, they merely converted it into some kind of heartless ballad with Spanish guitars and flow; but in this version, you can do certain flamenco moves… Thanks to Monte’s guitar strokes. I refer to those right before she says la isla bonita or Spanish lullaby, (minutes 3’, 3’16’’, 3’32’’, 3’50’’… if you look at the video below) You can’t make this moves on the rest of versions I’ve heard. So that’s a good change and fun.
This version of La Isla Bonita, together with the one on the Sticky & Sweet Tour are my favourites. When I watch other concerts, I often fast forward La Isla Bonita. And I still don’t listen to the original. It bores me to death after these two. They are both so much fun! And of course, these two versions are easier to power walk to than the others.
La Isla Bonita Confessions Tour
La Isla Bonita Sticky & Sweet Tour
#13. LIKE A VIRGIN – CONFESSIONS TOUR 120bpm
I must be honest. When I was younger I got quite tired of this song, as it happened with many others. It got played so much that it became one of those tracks that you just can’t bear to listen anymore.
When I heard the version on the Confessions Tour I learned to love it again. This performance, along with La Isla Bonita and Lucky Star are my favourites of the oldies but goodies in the Confessions Tour.
#12. CAUSING A COMMOTION – WHO’S THAT GIRL WORLD TOUR 120bpm
In order to be able to handle the gruelling dance routines for the Who’s That Girl Tour, Madonna started attending aerobics classes first. But by the time the tour drew nearer, she wanted to engage herself completely. Her daily routine involved swimming and cycling, jogging, dancing, gymnastics, weight-lifting and she hired a personal trainer.
I guess this is more or less what she does every time a new tour is on the horizon. One of the things why I admire her is her self-discipline.
The performance of Causing a Commotion is so high powered and so full of life and enthusiasm that it’s hard not to move if you´re listening or watching.
#11. LUCKY STAR / HUNG UP – CONFESSIONS TOUR 125bpm
Let me say that if you’re looking to work out, the whole of the Confessions Tour is one of the best to dance or walk. There are very few breaks, I tell you. I could have chosen the whole of the Confessions Tour as one single best performance but that wouldn’t have been fair on others like the Who’s That Girl Tour, quite killer too.
Lucky Star used to be one of those tracks that I started to dislike a long, long time ago. Same happened with Hung Up. These are the typical songs that you hear so much on the radio when they become hits that you end up loathing them in the end.
But everything changed when I first heard this medley in the Confessions Tour. I started to like both tracks a little bit again… When I bought the CD and copied it to my Walkman, that was it. I just love it. In fact, it’s one of my favs.
#10. EVERYBODY – GIRLIE SHOW 120bpm
Everybody never was one of my favourite songs of Madonna either. Years ago, when it came out, I remember thinking: “Well, it’s supposed to be a dance song but I just don’t find it that ‘danceable’. It’s too slow to dance”. I was wrong. And I didn’t know it until I saw Madonna’s performance of Everybody on the Girlie Show Tour. Since I have taken on walking and dancing to Madonna to exercise, it’s become a favourite.
#9. EROTICA (YOU THRILL ME) – CONFESSIONS TOUR 120bpm
Any other version of Erotica isn’t suitable for power walking, not even for just walking. This is why I love this performance (and the track itself). If you just listen to it, it seems quite a slow song, but as soon as you start walking to the beat, you realise it’s faster than you thought. And I don’t love this tour performance just for that, naturally.
#8. INTO THE GROOVE – WHO’S THAT GIRL WORLD TOUR 117bpm
The Who’s That Girl Tour is Madonna’s first tour full of energy, vitality, zeal, acrobatics, running up and down a set of stars in the middle of the stage. I find this performance (and Holiday) particularly energetic and iconic. Madonna takes all the dancers and backup singers from one side of the stage to the other and she looks so effervescent all throughout, that it seems she could have gone on forever.
#7. GIVE IT 2 ME – STICKY & SWEET TOUR 127bpm
I don’t know what I like most: watching Madonna perform Give it 2 Me on the Sticky & Sweet Tour, or listening to it and doing (trying to do) what she does on the show. How could this woman move like that, up and down and up and down, non-stop for two hours straight, with the same level of energy all throughout, beginning to end, is something that goes beyond my comprehension.
#6. RAY OF LIGHT – CONFESSIONS TOUR 127bpm
How can anybody not like the performance of Ray of Light in the Confessions Tour? It’s just impossible. It’s my favourite version, above the original. It’s so powerful, so impressively spirited that it just boosts anyone’s energy right to the top and beyond. I can’t emphasise enough how much I love it and enjoy walking/dancing to it.
#5. LIKE A PRAYER – BLOND AMBITION TOUR 112bpm
I’m not sure that the version of Like a Prayer on the Blond Ambition Tour is 112bpms. I’d think it’s a little faster, but still, I normally need to increase its speed 1.10 or 1.15 times, otherwise it would be a bit too slow. And I just could not hit “next”, can’t go without walking and dancing to this song. Like a Prayer (and the whole segment) constitutes such an iconic, insuperable performance. What an insuperable tour.
#4. DEEPER AND DEEPER – GIRLIE SHOW 120bpm
“Omar, give me some kick, baby”.
“I said can you feel it!!”
Deeper and Deeper is part of a medley that includes Express Yourself, Deeper and Deeper and Why’s It so Hard. This medley is one of my favourites. One of my favourite songs of Madonna is Why’s It So Hard, and of course Express Yourself and Deeper and Deeper are super hits. Deeper and Deeper is one of the most dance-oriented tracks in the whole of the Erotica album and also in the Girlie Show Tour. This medley, along with Erotica, Fever, Rain, Why’s It So Hard and Everybody at the end, make the tour unforgettable and one of her best.
#3. EXPRESS YOURSELF – BLOND AMBITION TOUR 115bpm
For me, there are two versions of Express Yourself that are absolute killers. The one in the Girlie Show and this one. Since I am to choose one, it’s got to be the one on the Blond Ambition Tour, it’s such a classic. I love the choreography and the intensity of the whole performance. This is one of Madonna’s most known and iconic performances. Whenever it comes on in my Walkman during my walking routine I can only feel uplifted.
The Express Yourself that Madonna performs during the Girlie Show, though not as iconic. is amazing too, followed by Deeper and Deeper.
#2. HOLIDAY – I HAVE A PROBLEM (WHO’S THAT GIRL, BLOND AMBITION, DROWNED WORLD, RE-INVENTION) 118bpm
It’s no surprise this is one of everyone’s favourites when it comes to Madonna’s tour performances. It’s one of the songs Madonna has performed most times on tour, along with Like a Virgin.
The thing about Holiday, I suppose, is that it’s such an exhilarating song. I honestly can’t decide which I like best, I feel elated whenever any of them come up.
I think I’ll finish earlier if I say that the version I love the least is the one on the Rebel Heart Tour since I find it the least innovative up to that date.
The next I love the least is the one on the Re-Invention Tour although I love the music, the spirit, the amazing energy it creates and the confetti!
The next I could say I love the least would be the Girlie Show version of Holiday but for me it’s amazing too, including her talk to the audience before the song.
I just love them all. What can I say.
Here’s the beginning of Holiday on the Girlie Show, where Madonna says one of my favourite aphorisms: “When snot’s flying out of your nose, they always zoom in for the close up […] But I’m not bitter. Because life’s too short to be bitter and I’m too short to be bitter”.
And here’s one of my most, most favourite performances of Holiday:
#1. MUSIC – STICKY & SWEET TOUR 120bpm
I think this is my all-time favourite out of all Madonna’s performances on tour even though Music is not my favourite song. I don’t think it would even make it into my top 10 (I’d really have to rank them one day too…?).
Anyway, I’m addicted to Music on the Sticky & Sweet Tour. I just can’t get over it. It’s so much fun to watch and to dance and jump about. Sparkling Madonna & co. seem to be having such a great time that is contagious. This performance is mixed with Indeep’s Last Night a DJ Saved My Life and has got an old school hip-hop touch all throughout. But what I love most about it is the feel that the mix with Put Your Hands Up 4 Detroit by Fedde Le Grand gives to Madonna’s Music.
What a mix that is.
As much as I love that performance I just cannot forget ALL the others.
The next one in my list is definitely the one on the Confessions Tour. I enjoy so much the mix with Disco Inferno, the costumes, the dancers roller-skating, the homage to Saturday Night Live and the Travolta style dancing. Impeccable.
As for Madonna’s Music performances on other tours like Drowned World and Re-Invention, I also love them but I just don’t see much innovation there.
Other Madonna’s Important / Best Performances on Tour
The following performances are also great to walk and dance and I love them. The only difference is that I’m not commenting them.
NOBODY KNOWS ME – RE-INVENTION TOUR 120bpm
GET TOGETHER – CONFESSIONS TOUR 124bpm
GIRL GONE WILD / REVOLVER / GANG BANG – MDNA TOUR 124bpm/127
LIKE IT OR NOT – CONFESSIONS TOUR 120bpm
CELEBRATION / GIVE IT 2 ME – MDNA TOUR 126bpm
LIVING FOR LOVE – REBEL HEART TOUR 123bpm
LET IT WILL BE – CONFESSIONS TOUR 130bpm
I’M ADDICTED / I’M A SINNER – MDNA TOUR 126bpm
BORDERLINE – STICKY & SWEET TOUR 120bpm
WHERE’S THE PARTY – BLOND AMBITION TOUR 119bpm
OPEN YOUR HEART – WHO’S THAT GIRL WORLD TOUR 114bpm
SORRY – CONFESSIONS TOUR 133bpm
TURN UP THE RADIO – MDNA TOUR 127bpm
GAMBLER AND MATERIAL GIRL – VIRGIN TOUR 136bpm
GIRL GONE WILD – MDNA TOUR 132bpm
BEAT GOES ON – STICKY & SWEET TOUR 118bpm
UNAPOLOGETIC BITCH – REBEL HEART TOUR 150bpm
IMPRESSIVE INSTANT – DROWNED WORLD TOUR 124bpm
VOGUE – STICKY & SWEET TOUR 116bpm
DON’T TELL ME – DROWNED WORLD TOUR 100bpm
JUMP – CONFESSIONS TOUR 119bpm
BURNING UP – RE-INVENTION TOUR 138bpm
REBEL HEART – REBEL HEART TOUR 114bpm
Other mythical / outstanding Madonna performances on tour
Here’s a list of other outstanding or now legendary performances of Madonna on tour, for different reasons. Good vocals, songs completely changed, outstanding or shocking or astonishing performances, … Not in any particular order. Highly recommended.
LIVE TO TELL – CONFESSIONS TOUR
EROTICA – GIRLIE SHOW
LIKE A VIRGIN – BLOND AMBITION TOUR
HEARTBREAK CITY / LOVE DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – REBEL HEART TOUR
LAMENT – RE-INVENTION TOUR
KEEP IT TOGETHER – BLOND AMBITION TOUR
LOVE SPENT – MDNA TOUR
HUMAN NATURE – STICKY & SWEET TOUR
RAIN – GIRLIE SHOW
LIKE A VIRGIN – GIRLIE SHOW
PARADISE (NOT FOR ME) – CONFESSIONS TOUR
CRAZY FOR YOU – RE-INVENTION TOUR
JUSTIFY MY LOVE – GIRLIE SHOW
This is not a performance
And here’s a little “gift” for you. It’s quite probable that you haven’t seen it. I found it only by chance. Don’t I discover pretty gems sometimes.
This is a backdrop of the Sticky & Sweet Tour that was never released. A mix of Impressive Instant and Burning Up. Enjoy.