The Telegraph on Madonna at the Millennium Stadium
A week after turning 50, when most of her peers would still be shaking off a hangover, the untiring pop star performed the first of 51 shows across Europe and America.
The tour promotes Madonna’s current album Hard Candy, which topped the charts when it was released in April.
She opened with two fast-paced tracks from it, making her entrance to Candy Shop on board a moving throne, legs spread open. Her voice sounded shaky as she strutted across the stage in a Givenchy-designed one-piece, fishnets and knee high boots.
Establishing the gangsta-pimp theme of the first quarter of the show, a cane-wielding Madonna was joined on stage by dancers in raunchy bondage–style costumes.
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The “Old School” phase of the show was much more fun and Madonna seemed on surer ground. It kicked off with an energetic performance of Get Into The Groove with schoolyard skipping rope dance routine that hinted at how the muscular star maintains her remarkable physique.
Other re-workings of her old hits included a guitar-heavy rock version of Borderline and striking New York subway train visuals on the track Music.
There were times when Madonna seemed strained and she lacked the effortless confidence of previous years. In the opening half of the show, she struggled to involve the crowd, who responded half-heartedly to her newer tracks. Her voice was stronger when she wasn’t attempting to keep up with her dance troupe.
But the energy picked up during La Isla Bonita, when she skipped around the stage at the head of a procession of violin players. The pace continued with a high-energy, crowd-pleasing rendition of Hung-Up.
“Sticky & Sweet” is Madonna’s first world tour since she hit the road in 2006 with “Confessions” – the highest grossing tour by a female artist.
Two years later, Madonna’s biceps are no smaller and, with the news that 100 pairs of fishnet pantyhose have been procured from eBay for the artist, her costumes no less raunchy.
Ricardo Tisci of Givenchy, Stella McCartney and Roberto Cavalli are among the 36 designers who have contributed to the tour wardrobe.
With tickets for last night’s Cardiff gig costing between £65 and £160, it will be no surprise if this extravagant production by the world’s most successful female recording artist of all time goes on to break more records.