It’s hard to separate Madonna’s live performances from the mirrorball crosses, provocative garb and elaborate staging. But close your eyes and you can hear a pop marvel effectively—and often substantially—tweak her material from tour to tour. Here are some of the best examples, all found on YouTube.
“Holiday” (Re-Invention Tour, ’04) It’s hard to pick a favorite live version, but this finale went from tribal to funk-pop to French house. A literal showstopper.
“Into the Groove” (Sticky & Sweet Tour, ’08-’09) An infusion of old-school hip-hop and (more) French house—thanks to Cassius’ “Toop Toop,” among other samples—reinvigorated this chestnut.
“Like a Virgin” (Blond Ambition Tour ’90) This sensual, Middle Eastern reworking was Madonna at her sultriest and most unbridled.
“Deeper and Deeper” (Girlie Show ’93) An early mashup foray with “It Takes Two” and “Love to Love You Baby” made for retro, disco-blanketed reverie.
“La Isla Bonita” (Drowned World Tour ’01) This acoustic version lent Madge’s Latin-pop fan fave the intimacy of a Belizean street performance.
“Like a Prayer” (Sticky & Sweet) American gospel-pop met early-1990s London rave in this ferocious live remix.
“Lucky Star”->“Hung Up” (Confessions Tour ’06) ABBA’s “Gimme Gimme Gimme” sample wove through both a newly bangin’ “Lucky” and the climactic, perfectly segued “Hung.” Best Madonna show finale ever.
Madonna October 24, 8 p.m., $39-$351. MGM Grand Garden Arena, 702-891-7777.