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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 May, 2003, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Madonna performs intimate show
Madonna at her Oxford Street concert
Madonna said she had always wanted to shut down Oxford Street

Madonna has performed a one-off gig in London in front of a select group of fans to promote her new album.

Just 750 tickets were available for the intimate show at HMV in the capital's Oxford Street but that did not stop hundreds of other fans from gathering outside the store.

Madonna arrived more than an hour late for the event, keeping the fans waiting - although for the handful that queued overnight, the extra delay was no hardship.

HMV closed the store at lunchtime to prepare for the gig and drafted in 50 security guards.

There was also more than a dozen police officers in the area, plus the American star's own personal security team.

Media ban

She pulled up outside the store in her new bullet-proof BMW and made her way past the crowds.

Once on stage - dressed in a black beret, polka-dot blouse, black trousers and heels - the 44-year-old sang live in an acoustic set backed by a five-piece band.

Queue outside HMV
Fans had queued for hours and some slept overnight

She opened with the title track to new album American Life, at which point the media had to stop recording.

"Madonna is controlling the concert quite stridently," said the BBC's Razia Iqbal.

She added: "Madonna has said 80 seconds into the first song, cameramen have to leave or she will stop."

Four more songs from the album - Hollywood, Nothing Fails, X-Static Process and Mother and Father - were followed by her classic Like A Prayer and Don't Tell Me, the hit single from her last album, Music.


The gig brought the surrounding area to a standstill and Madonna joked to fans: "I always wanted to shut down Oxford Street - be careful what you wish for."

She told the devoted fans who slept on the pavement overnight: "I hope you take that determination, devotion and passion and put it somewhere else in your life.

Madonna crowds
Crowds gathered outside to catch a glimpse

"If you want to pay tribute to me then do something important with your life."

Most fans arrived on Thursday afternoon to wait for the prized wristband to get in to the show.

Among them was London bar manager Benjamin Davis, 27, who had arrived at noon for an eight-hour wait.

Fellow fan Richard Wilson, 38, had driven 230 miles from his home town of Keighley, West Yorkshire, to pick up tickets.

Madonna was watched from the wings by her film director husband Guy Ritchie.

I just want you to know how incredibly blessed and lucky I feel to be here right now.
Madonna to fans at HMV

The couple live only a few hundred yards away from Oxford Street with their children Lourdes, six, and two-year old Rocco.

It may be the only opportunity British fans get to see Madonna play live this year as she has so far not revealed any tour dates.

Madonna's last British live dates were two years ago at London's Earls Court venue as part of her Drowned World tour.

On Wednesday night she played a low-key concert at a Paris restaurant for 200 invited guests, including fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, film-maker Luc Besson and designer Philippe Starck.

She told the audience: "France is always with me... Vive la France."

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