Madonna's upcoming Rebel Heart tour concert in Singapore on Feb 28 has been issued a rare R18 rating by the Media Development Authority with an advisory on "Sexual References".
Only those aged 18 and older will be permitted entry to the National Stadium where the concert is due to be held, according to press release on Wednesday (Jan 6) by local coordinators Mediacorp Vizpro International.
The Rebel Heart tour setlist includes a segment in which she performs a mash-up of her songs Holy Water and Vogue, involving scantily clad nuns pole-dancing on cross-shaped stripper poles. Madonna herself takes a turn on the pole, before joining her dancers on a Last Supper-style table.
This is not the first time a pop concert in Singapore has received a rating for mature content. Adam Lambert's 2013 concert in Singapore at the Star Performing Arts centre was given an "Advisory 16 and above (some mature content)" rating by the MDA, while Lady Gaga's Born This Way Tour in 2012 carried the advisory "some controversial religious content".
Singapore is one of several stops on the Asian leg of the Rebel Heart tour, which includes Japan, Hong Kong, Taipei, Macau, Bangkok and Manila. Both dates in Hong Kong are sold out.
Tickets cost from $108 to $688, while VIP tickets are going at $1,288 each. Details are as yet unavailable on what the VIP tickets will get buyers.
Her VIP tickets are the most expensive concert tickets in Singapore to date.
In 2013, K-pop star G-Dragon charged $1,000 for concert tickets that included a meet-and-greet session, although fans had to pay only $120 for just the show tickets. In 2007, another Korean singer, Rain, made headlines when his top tickets was advertised as $888, although organisers later clarified that these were not sold but were given to sponsors and Rain's management instead. The highest fans paid for that show was $488.
Other high-priced gig tickets here include The Rolling Stones in 2014, capped at $700 for VIP tickets, and Berliner Philharmoniker (Berlin Philharmonic) in 2010 at $680. In 2008, English singer and musician Sting played two concerts here that cost up to $600, a classical show at the Esplanade and a rock show with his old band The Police at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The Singapore VIP ticket prices are cheaper than some of Madonna's other regional stops. At HK$11,888 (S$2,197), Hong Kong's VIP tickets were the most expensive in South-east Asia, although the regular prices range from HK$688 to HK$2,488 (S$127 to S$460). In Macau, VIP tickets are MOP10,588 (S$1,900) while the regular tickets go from MOP2,588 to MOP8,888 (S$465 to S$1,595). Manila's VIP tickets peak at PHP 57,750 (S$1,760) while regular tickets cost between PHP 3,150 (S$96) to PHP 29,400 (S$895).
Tickets will be available at Sportshubtix.sg, its hotline 3158-7888, and on site at the National Stadium box office and all SingPost Outlets.
Pre-sale tickets for the Madonna Icon Fan Club go on sale on Thursday (Jan 7), 10am, to Friday (Jan 8), 5pm. Fans who purchase the US$20 Icon Live Pass get access to pre-sale tickets for this week, membership into Madonna's official worldwide fan club, access to a fan forum on the tour, as well as an exclusive tour gift.
Subsequently, Citi credit card holders will be able to purchase pre-sale tickets from Jan 9, 10am, to Jan 10, 5pm. Pre-sale for OCBC credit card holders will be on Jan 11 from 10am to 5pm. Public sales commence on Jan 12 at at 10am.
Madonna's upcoming concert will be her first ever in Singapore.
The 57-year-old American singer was banned from performing her controversial Girlie Show World Tour here in 1993, when police said her performances in the tour show "border on the obscene... (and are) known to be objectionable to many on moral and religious grounds".