Virgin on the astonishing: Madonna, at The O2, reviewed

When I was a kid listening obsessively to AC/DC and Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath, I despaired of music writers. How come none of them – except the staff of Kerrang! magazine and a couple of writers on Sounds – could see the majesty and splendour of this music? Why were they always banging on about flipping Echo and the Bunnymen and Joy Division, or harking back to old man Dylan? These days, all three of those bands are to some degree or another as revered. Not everyone loves them, but you won’t find many serious critics – even those who don’t personally care for ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’, ‘The Number

Why Madonna still matters

In my day job, I work with children. Well, OK, they’re in their twenties, but when they ask me who my favourite musician of all time is, and I say Madonna, they usually look blank. That funny-looking woman who had a few hits in the 1980s? Meh, what about Taylor Swift? Madonna may not have topped the charts for a few years, but for me and many other women of my generation, she is the greatest. And she always will be, in a way that the pop stars of today – derivative, airbrushed, on-message and PRed to the max – can only dream of. She changed the world of music,