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Here’s our dream setlist for Madonna’s ‘Celebration’ greatest hits tour

As the Queen of Pop gears up for an almighty celebration of her legendary 40 year career, here's all the songs we're hoping to hear.

By Nick Levine

Madonna performs live (Picture: Alamy)

Madonna‘s ‘Celebration Tour’ promises to be more than just a pop concert. It’s a chance to see one of music’s greatest icons performing hits from every era of her career – something she hasn’t often done in the past.

The tour will span 40 years of the singer’s career, bringing her greatest hits to 35 cities across North America and Europe. “I am excited to explore as many songs as possible in hopes to give my fans the show they have been waiting for,” Madonna shared in a statement.

So, with this in mind, here’s a dream setlist that represents all corners of her extraordinary catalogue.


This 2009 club banger gives the tour its title, so it’s an ideal opening number. Plus, Madonna will really relish delivering the suggestive spoken word part: “I guess I just don’t recognise you with your clothes on…”


Then, Madonna can take us right back to 1983 with this twinkly dance-pop classic. The pop queen has performed ‘Holiday’ more than any other song in her discography, so there’s no way she’s parking it this time.

‘La Isla Bonita’

Madonna also loves this wistful Latin pop hit: it’s been performed on seven of her previous concert tours. This time around, don’t be surprised if she changes the lyrics to “where a boy loves a boy” as a nod to her famously loyal gay fans.

‘Open Your Heart’

When Madonna sang this True Blue bop on 2012’s ‘MDNA Tour’, she combined it with ‘Sagarra Jo!’, a song by Basque country band Kalakan. But now, it’s time to perform it as God (OK, 1986) intended in the incredible Video Mix.

‘Like a Virgin’

No one blends sex and pop into a gloriously provocative whole like Madonna. At this point in the show, she can remind us by performing her original pearl-clutcher from 1984.

‘Oh Father’

Every Madonna tour needs a raw and vulnerable moment, if only to set off the wall-to-wall bangers. This emotive ballad from 1989’s Like a Prayer album will let her put her feet up for a second and really sing.

‘Don’t Tell Me’

This electro-country gem from 2000’s Music album sounds like no other Madonna hit. It’s a great opportunity for her to dig out her cowgirl outfit – an iconic mid-career moment – and strap on her guitar.

‘Human Nature’ / ‘Back That Up to the Beat’

Madonna won’t be able to resist performing the demo version of ‘Back That Up to the Beat’, a Pharrell Williams collab that recently went viral on TikTok. But making it a medley with one of her best R&B songs, 1993’s ‘Human Nature’, would be a smart move. If anything sums up Ms. Ciccone’s attitude, it’s the defiant line: “I’m not your bitch, don’t hang your shit on me.”


In 2021, Canadian producer Sickick reworked Madonna’s haunting ballad into a slick trap bop. On this tour, she could have some fun by starting with his ‘Frozen’ update before segueing into the gorgeous, William Orbit-produced original.

‘4 Minutes’

Produced by Timbaland, this horn-driven banger became Madonna’s 13th UK number-one single when it dropped in 2008. If anything, the slightly vague lyrics about having “four minutes to save the world” hit even harder now we fully understand the climate crisis.


Honestly, this god-tier Madonna bop goes off every single time. The question is: will she update the iconic rap to namecheck contemporary legends like Beyoncé? The latter sampled ‘Vogue’ on last year’s ‘Break My Soul’ remix, so it would be sweet nod to a fellow queen.

‘Into the Groove’

Madonna’s first UK number-one single still sounds like a manifesto, especially when she sings “only when I’m dancing can I feel this free”. She hasn’t performed it live since 2009, so it’s due a revival.

‘Bitch I’m Madonna’

If Madonna is going to perform any song from 2015’s chaotic Rebel Heart era, it should be this delirious and faintly unhinged empowerment song. After all, the entire tour could almost be subtitled ‘Bitch I’m Madonna’.

‘Lucky Star’

According to the tour blurb, Madonna will “pay respect to the city of New York where her career in music began”. This kinetic 1983 single showcases her musical roots beautifully. It’s the sound of young Madonna hustling at Big Apple nightclub Danceteria by persuading the DJ to play her latest song.

‘Papa Don’t Preach’

Driven by glistening strings, this socially conscious 1986 hit still sounds tremendous. And if any 64-year-old can get away with singing about teenage pregnancy, it’s pop’s most fearless envelope-pusher.

‘Deeper and Deeper’

This flamenco-flecked gem from 1992’s Erotica album is a fan favourite. That’s partly because it absolutely slaps, and partly because it fuses a coming-out story thumping house beats. “My love is alive,” Madonna sings on the middle eight, “and I’m never gonna hide it again!”

‘Hung Up’

Madonna absolutely has to perform this ABBA-sampling banger from 2005’s Confessions on a Dance Floor, her last masterpiece LP. And it absolutely has to be the full-length album version. Just don’t hold out for a cameo from the Swedish band’s “Abbatars” – even Madge tours have a budget.



This glitzy disco hit is a perfect, joyful encore song because it hinges on a simple yet strangely profound lyric: “Music makes the people come together / music makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel.”  A crowd of 20,000 hollering along will be quite a moment.

‘American Life’

Saving this folktronica bop for the encore is a curveball that could really work. At this point in the show, fans will lap up the famously daffy rap on which she rhymes “Mini Cooper” with “super-duper”. Remember when Mother was British?

‘Like a Prayer’

This one is non-negotiable, and you just know the crowd will be singing it as they spill out the venue. But guys, please refrain from getting down on your knees like in the lyrics, because we gotta keep the queue moving.