Madonna goes big for her 40th anniversary at Wells Fargo Center

Chris Weger / Wikimedia Commons

Get ready to Vogue, Philly.

The Material Girl is heading to Wells Fargo Center in South Philly this Thursday, Jan. 25, as part of The Celebration Tour.

As evidenced by the title of her 2023 box set, ‘Finally Enough Love (50 Number Ones)‘, Madonna — a seven-time Grammy winner with 28 nominations to her name — has at least that number of smash songs that she’ll need to run through on Thursday night just to get to the lesser hits.

On the topic of such historic success without having to justify herself, Madonna has famously stated that, “A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want… Poor is the man whose pleasure depends on the permission of another… If your joy is derived from what society thinks of you, you’re always going to be disappointed.”

Madonna has a storied history with the City of Brotherly Love. She has been thrilling Philadelphia audiences ever since Stephen Starr – the club owner turned booking agent turned restaurant giant – first brought her here in 1985 under his then-new Concert Company banner. For decades, Madonna has been empowering young women while selling out Philly’s then-biggest arena, The Spectrum.

Along with a star-making appearance at the Philadelphia portion of Live Aid charitable event at John F. Kennedy Stadium—to nearly one million people — Madonna has continued to sell out this city’s largest venues, time after time, from 1987’s Who’s That Girl World Tour, the Blond Ambition World Tour (1990) and The Girlie Show tour (1993), up through the Rebel Heart Tour (2015) at the Wells Fargo Center. When she chose to make a smaller-sized album dedicated to eerie electronica and Latin continuum rhythm with Madame X, she brought her more intimately sized stage presentation to The Met Philadelphia for several shows in 2019, marking the last time that Madonna played in Philadelphia.

“I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a b**ch, okay,” she is famous for saying in regards to her empowered sexuality and star-making turns. And as for her outrageous costumes and demeanor, she said. “I laugh at myself. I don’t take myself completely seriously. I think that’s another quality that people have to hold on to… you have to laugh, especially at yourself.”

Knowing Madonna fans will probably need to wait until 10 p.m. until she hits the stage, all reports from recent Celebration Tour stops have pronounced the show a live concert season necessity, and worth the wait.

After going on Instagram and asking her fan base “What song would you like to dance to at my show?” the Celebration show is hit-after-hit-after-hit starting with ‘Nothing Really Matters’ and ‘Everybody’ and ending over two hours later with a fast paced mini-medley of ‘Celebration’ and ‘Music’ mashed up into one epiphany of song. In-between those two dramatic peaks come everything from a Marie Antoinette-like ‘Vogue’, a set change with the huge bed that she used for her Truth or Dare showcase and more negligees, whips and chains than in a dungeon.

Seeing Madonna at her most risqué and ribald, along with hearing a singing voice that has only grown better and richer with age, that is a celebration worth its weight in gold and platinum.

Madonna is scheduled to play the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday, Jan. 25, at 8:30 p.m., but don’t bet on her coming out early. Instead, enjoy the sounds of DJ Honey Dijon until Madonna is good and ready. Tickets are still available.