Of all the things you’d expect at a Madonna show, it might not be sentimentality. Not at the actual show, not after.
But Madonna is in the Reflective Era of her ambitious 40-year-and-still-going mission (overachiever alert!) to show Michigan, which she left just after studying dance at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in the late '70s, what she’s made of.
At her first Detroit area show since 2015’s Rebel Heart tour stop on Monday, Jan. 15, Madonna said she was “emotional for several reasons,” one of which was that her 92-year-old father Silvio, who she revealed has Parkinson’s disease, was in attendance.
In addition to hoping that she has made the state “proud,” she reflected on growing up in working-class Michigan and expressed gratitude for the work ethic he instilled in her at an early age. Her father being “strict” when she was a kid, she noted, is something she can now say she’s thankful for.
“If you think I’m tough and if you think I’m a warrior I’m a beast or a superhero it’s because of my father,” she told the crowd. “So thank you, Dad.”
Madonna shared some reflections online, but this time on making that new memory with her father and the many queer Michigan fans who showed up to celebrate their “Hometown Hero," as one fan’s sign read. Today in a series of Instagram stories, Madonna shared photos of both moments and another of her performing, remarking that "It was emotional."
During the Monday show, Madonna gushed about the Detroit Institute of Arts, where she said she first learned about famous bisexual artist Frida Kahlo. She also remembered “a very, very important person” named Christopher Flynn, a gay man who lived in Detroit and her first ballet teacher. “He died of AIDS,” she said at the show. “God bless him.”
Her loyal, longtime relationship with the LGBTQ+ community began right here in Detroit. As a teen, the superstar danced the nights away at queer Detroit nightclub Menjo's, which has been operating as a club since the mid '70s.
“I went to my first gay nightclub here,” she said to roaring applause, before offering even more sincerity to her hometown fans: “Thank you for supporting me through all these years.”