Madonna hasn’t been on tour in three years, since her Rebel Heart album, but she returned to the stage last night on New Year’s Eve. Well, technically, it was already 2019 when she gave a surprise performance at New York City’s historic Stonewall Inn, an institution for which she was recently announced as the ambassador in celebration of its 50th anniversary.
The pop icon, who was in town visiting from her new home of Portugal, treated the crowd to two songs: “Like a Prayer” and a cover of Elvis Presley’s 1961 song “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” with help from her 13-year-old son David Banda, as Page Six notes. Banda also backed his mom on the guitar, in between Madonna’s impromptu speeches.
The concert wasn’t just notable because it shocked the audience, it was also her most intimate one ever, as she explained. “I just wanna say I’ve never performed on a stage this small!,” she reportedly said, adding “I stand here proudly at the place where pride began, the legendary Stonewall Inn, on the birth of a new year. We come together tonight to celebrate 50 years of revolution.”
Madonna also talked about how excited she was to be back in the city, instead of having “no life” as a soccer mom in Portugal. “If you can’t imagine how happy I am to return home to New York City, where dreams are born and forged out of fire and brought to life, where I am proud to say that my journey as an artist began, and my commitment to equality for all people took root,” she said, before launching into a political message. “If we truly took the time to get to know one another we would find that we all bleed the same color and we all need to love and be loved. Let’s remember who and what we are fighting for — ourselves, for each other, but truly and most importantly, what are we fighting for? Let’s take a minute to reflect on how we can bring more love and peace into 2019, let’s look at how we can bring random acts of kindness. Maybe we can find an opening to bring the light in. Are you ready to do that?”
Madonna being Madonna, she also asked the crowd, “You survived 2018? Are you happy to say ‘Goodbye bitch’?” Saying goodbye was a lot easier, of course, with her presence in the room.