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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 August 2004, 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK
Madonna kicks off European tour
Madonna on stage in the US
Madonna has opened the European leg of her Re-Invention tour
Pop star Madonna thrilled fans with a dance spectacular in Manchester on Saturday night as she kicked off the European leg of her Re-Invention tour.

She performed wearing black hotpants, a sequinned silver top and knee-high black boots before a packed MEN Arena.

The show featured moving video screens, conveyer belts, a ballroom dance sequence and an electric chair.

The singer wore a kilt and a t-shirt proclaiming "Brits do it better" later in the show.

The 45-year-old performed songs from early in her career such as Holiday and Material Girl, as well as tracks from her most recent albums.

She also included a cover version of John Lennon's Imagine.

She has not played in Manchester since 1984 and such was the demand for tickets for her return that an extra date was added.

Madonna will then take her tour to London, Dublin, the Netherlands and Portugal.

The 56-date Re-Invention tour started in the Los Angeles in May, and has so far taken the pop icon across the US and Canada.

By the time it finishes on 14 September in Portugal, an estimated 750,000 fans are expected to have seen her perform hits from her 20-year career.

Your reviews:

Absolutely mindblowing. The energy was non-stop for two hours and most of the songs had been reworked to some extent and sounded fantastic. I never realised how strong her voice was and the piper almost stole the show with his dancing (bagpipes in hand). Not one dull moment all night. Definitely worth the ticket price. Puts many other artists to shame. Obviously months of hard work were needed to put this awesome spectacle together. Superb!
Iain Dunn, Manchester

WOW!!! I am still so excited, just coming back from the Madonna concert at the MEN Arena in Manchester, All I want to say is that she is amazing, her stage sets and choice of songs were spot on. Imagine was purely so emotional. The whole thing was absolutely mindblowing. Congratulations Madonna on another fantastic show and all the people involved also, Happy 46th for today babes, cant wait to see you in London.. xxxxxxxxx
David, Manchester

My girlfriend has always been a Madonna fan but has never been able to see her in concert. I on the other hand have always liked the music but not to such an extreme. But after managing to secure tickets for both Saturday and Sunday night's concerts in Manchester I am now a convert to the spectacular way in which this icon woos and controls the crowd and maintains such a strong clear voice above the throng of 15000 screaming fans. If there had been a third night I am sure we would have gone again. Whether the £600 paid for 4 tickets was worth it I am sure I will have to convince the bank manager at some later date. But who cares not us. Amazing!
Stuart, Warrington UK

It was fantastic, the best concert I have ever seen. The atmosphere was excellent and you could tell that everyone enjoyed themselves. She is amazing, I did see the Drowned World tour and thought that couldn't be beat, but it has been. If I could go again I would. We had £75 seats and the view was great. Worth the effort of going definitely.
Debbie, York

I saw Madonna on Sunday and no words I could ever write could describe the genius of that show. We partied, laughed and cried. Most importantly it made you feel that we can all be better people, we can all re-invent ourselves! Her voice was the best I ever heard it and she really looked like she enjoyed it.
Jon Bates, Manchester, UK

Regarding the Sunday performance....Wow! I would have paid treble the price had I known what I would witness. A lifelong dream fulfilled and not an ounce of disappointment. How many people can say they sang Happy Birthday to Madonna? How humble do people want her to be? She did say thank you and also commented how lucky and privileged she felt when encouraging the audience to follow their dreams. This performance will never be bettered by anybody! Come back soon!
Vicky, Manchester

I first saw Madonna back in 1987 and she was amazing then. I never thought she'd be able to top that, but she did last in Manchester. The show was amazing and worth every penny. She is fantastic and shows that if you have a dream you should just go for it and not be told that you can't. In her own words "don't ever tell me to stop". Fabulous
Nicky Dewsbury, Liverpool, England

I can't believe how uncritical most people here are. Madonna, as ever, started the best part of an hour late, which is just selfish, particularly when people have travelled many miles and when the crew et al were clearly ready to roll by 8:20. The set was really not as spectacular as we had been led to believe although it was impressive as a logistical feat if nothing else, however, if I want logistical feats I'll buy the Guinness Book of Records! Fundamentally, there was nothing on stage you couldn't have seen in a theatre. I mean, a revolving stage (ooh!). Set changes (ooh). Costume changes (ooh). A floating gantry (ooh) and so on really. Sorry, but I have seen far more spectacular in the theatre and the MEN and for about one tenth of the cost! Dancing-wise most people were deceived into believing that a lot of energy was being expended by the sound and movement around Madonna. Very clever but in fact she did little but sit, sway or run on most songs and only "danced" (as in a rehearsed way) for a total of 5 out of 22 songs by my reckoning. The track listing was a balance reflecting her career and so was good in that sense. On the other hand, if I was being honest (and you may have noticed that I am) then I would say that there was about 40% of material that was frankly second rate and the omissions were glaring. Misjudged repacing of great songs also didn't help (Like A Prayer was meant to be where we got out of our seats apparently but, looking around, most people - even those desperate to dance to the ballads - soon parked their backsides on the back of their seat as the song was paced too slow to do anything to. Even my friend (a Madonna fanatic) admitted that the whole show sagged badly in the middle and was as badly paced as the Drowned World tour. Basically, a missed opportunity to display one of the best collections of singles of the past twenty years. Highlights? Yes, there were some. I suspect the piper dancing on the conveyor belt is one I shan't forget for a while but, overall, a disappointing experience at any price.
Mike , Manchester

Having been a fan ever since I can remember, Sunday night's concert just blew me away and was everything I hoped Madonna would be, and more. The show (which is what it was) was bright, vivid, electric and engrossing. Madonna sounded fabulous, it was high energy from start to finish. I left on a high, and desperate for more. Surely this can't be the end?
Donna Ward, Manchester

Went on Saturday night - she was awesome. So glad I have tickets to see her at Earl's Court & Wembley also! Well worth the money, and as for the guy who questioned her singing Die Another Day live, I was in the very front block and she definitely sang that one live with the sound tweaked through the mic to sound similar to the album - the only songs which were questionable about live singing were the first two Vogue & Nobody Knows Me. All in all though - a brilliant gig & wonderful performance. And on Saturday she DID say "Thank You & Goodnight" as the screens closed and the set lowered.
Alistair Cheetham, Huddersfield, UK

One word, LIVING LEGEND!. Actually that's two and there's a whole lot more where they came from!. The show in Manchester Saturday night was breathtaking. She is the only star to date who has the guts to put on a performance to entertain, challenge and make her audience actually think and feel all at the same time. She is truly an inspiration to her fans and other celebrity wannabes alike. From J-lo to Kylie, Beyonce and beyond all have Madonna to thank for their own success. At some stage they have all utilised Madonna's art to their own advantage. But there's only one Madonna and on Saturday night that was proven without doubt. Madonna the queen of pop is here to stay!!! God Save The Queen and long may she continue to reign!!
Allan Thomson, Stafford UK

I did not think it was possible to beat the Blonde Ambition tour, but I was wrong. I went on both nights and it was just fantastic, worth every penny. Madonna has proven that she still is the queen of pop, with her voice improving on every tour that she does. (keep them coming please) I've seen other concerts but none came close to Madonna. She truly is a star and I did hear her say thank you and good night on both nights. I only wish now that I could afford to go and see her in London, but I will have to settle for the DVD. Happy Birthday Madonna.
Alison, Wigan

Fantastic, electric, colourful, mature, entertaining, touching, political, romantic, thought-provoking, provocative. We have seen her a couple of times and each time has been original and totally brilliant. We know its expensive (£20 for a programme) but I would spend it all over again.
Marc + Sharon, Flint N.Wales

I went to the Saturday concert, and after sitting outside enjoying the afternoon sun with a vodka, nothing could have made the night better than the Madonna concert. I have never seen her live before, in fact I've only ever been to one concert before, which was awful. We paid £90 for our tickets and had excellent seats. I must admit I did go for a few drinks and cig breaks, on some of her newer songs, but I danced & sang my heart out to her oldies. To be quite honest I was too drunk and too giddy, to care whether she did an encore or not, as I had enjoyed myself the whole night through, and fair play to Madonna, she worked very hard, she probably just wanted to go for a drink and a kip. Anyway suffice to say, it was well worth the money and I am so glad I went and experienced a legend in concert !!!!!
Luize Rossiter, Sale, Manchester

Saw the Sunday night show and left the place absolutely stunned with Madonna's performance. The stage show possibly wasn't as technically demanding as the Drowned World show, but so much more enjoyable and still amazing to watch. I don't care what you say, when you go to see someone like Madonna, you want to hear her back-catalogue of hits, not the latest album that you haven't really got into yet... on this occasion she didn't disappoint. This could have easily been called a greatest hits show... Material Girl, Like a Prayer, Holiday, Vogue, Express Yourself.. they were all there. The highlight for me was the Scottish marching pipers and drummers, some of whom were obviously the 'real thing' who performed an absolutely fantastic version of Get Into the Groove with a bit of the Verve's Bittersweet symphony mixed in.... totally awesome. Was it worth £150? Well, we were in the third row from the stage, right in the middle and could have almost touched her. She looks amazing, and the voice was fantastic (again better than Drowned World) she smiled a lot at the audience, winked a few times at people at the front and was as interactive as I would expect from someone with a massive and demanding set to get through. Totally worth it... total icon
Matthew, Manchester

My husband (who is not a big concert fan) and I were bought tickets to last nights Madonna concert by my sister for our 25th Wedding Anniversary. All I can say is WOW. From enjoying the audience participation once the wave had gathered momentum around the arena and the guy who danced till his wig fell off, till when Madonna disappeared back behind those huge screens, we had a great time. My husband stood up and danced, whistled, clapped and cheered his way through most of her show. We had good seats and had a pretty good view but the screens were brilliant, it was almost like you were standing next to her. The dancers were great, the little bits of entertainment in between her costume changes were fantastic. For a 46 year-old she is in really great shape and she can still sing live. What I can't believe I read is someone saying she was miming and someone else said she didn't say goodbye. Ok we didn't get an encore, however she did say goodbye and thank you. We had almost 2 full hours of fantastic entertainment from her, an encore was not necessary and it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the evening.
Pam, Manchester

Well where do you start.. Saw Madonna at the MENA, it was absolutely fantastic and worth every penny!! She is by far the best female artist around. Starting the show with Vogue - that women can strike a pose alright! Brill. I couldn't have asked for a better night. Thanks Madge xx
Vanessa Slack, Worcestershire

Only one word to describe the whole event-AWESOME! She still has it, no matter how the critics try to pull her down. This should silence all of them!
David, Sunderland

Words do not exist in the English language to describe and convey to people how amazing this concert was. Madonna has always been, and will always be the Queen of pop. It was absolutely fantastic.
Jennifer Brown, Liverpool

As someone who almost went nuts at my other half for spending so much money on Madonna tickets, I'm quite happy that I didn't vent my feelings at the time as I'd be feeling very stupid now. Love the MEN as a concert venue - I think everyone felt they were part of the event, even us on the top tier!
Antonia, Birmingham

I've seen Madonna before in concert, but this was absolutely amazing. I was initially disappointed that after getting tickets for the first date, another date was added earlier so I had to wait until Sunday to see her. But I am glad I did. From the earlier comments, the Sunday was the best night AND we got to sing Happy Birthday to her. Madonna looked like she was really enjoying herself! After seeing her at Wembley Stadium it was nicer to see her in a smaller place. I loved the mixture of old and new songs. Deeper and Deeper was amazing and I thought her voice was even better than ever. The guitar version of Burning Up rocked! We were sat by some miserable people who didn't stand up, sing or dance! I so so wish I had tickets for London. I thought the cost was fine - some people spend that on beer - at least we had a night we will never forget. I think the show would make an excellent live CD.
Alison, Bolton Lancashire

I went on Sunday evening. What a fantastic experience and one I shall relive for some time. It was worth the money for the unique, highly involving and entertaining experience. The programs are wonderful but a bit over-priced.
Alexia,, Lyneham, Wiltshire

I too must agree - what a superb night. It was my first time seeing Madonna live and well worth the money. Her vocals were wonderful. I thought the whole show was very well staged, right through to the effects. If only I had bought tickets for the London shows!!! Am so glad to have been able to see her. Even she seemed to be impressed!!
David, Leeds, England.

Seeing Madonna live has fulfilled a lifetime ambition and I wasn't disappointed. The show was fantastic and the atmosphere electric. Madonna sounds better live and did not falter once throughout her performance. Well-coordinated and highly entertaining. Words can't express how fantastic this show was. Well worth the money and travel. One to never forget.
Stacey Gallagher, Fife, Scotland

Fantastic, amazing, wonderful, She got me exhausted just watching her perform. it was the first time I have seen her in concert and I was gobsmacked, thanks Madonna for a great performance and I hope you continue providing us with great music for a long time!
Vicky, Leeds

Having seen Madonna live in concert 42 times before and thinking that nothing would ever come close to the Blond Ambition tour, boy was I surprised. She blew me away both nights in Manchester (Sunday night being the best). The list of songs she did was amazing and she danced like a 20 year old in terms of energy and passion. The tickets were worth every penny and all I can say is I cannot wait to go to London later this week to see more as she just leaves you wanting more every time she performs. Keep up the good work Madonna and Happy Birthday for today.
Anthony McCartney, Worcester, England

I thought it was amazing. I've been a fan ever since I can remember and she never lets you down. I ended up with a Madonna hangover on the Sunday because it was all over. I just wanted it to go on forever. You would never think she was 46. She took your breath away, and you felt tired just watching her. Fantastic, you can't say anything more.
Laura, Cheshire

I have seen all of Madonna's concerts (big dent in the finances!) and this one because it is probably her last one is a must-see. The set is truly amazing considering the space they had to play with. Blonde ambition and the Girlie tour had better stage sets across a much larger space, however was not as personable as the MEN set. How did those lucky buggers get into those two pit areas! Very jealous! She is an amazing woman and wouldn't we all like just a moment with her! Booking my tickets for Paris now!
Marie Cross, Stafford, Staffs

I was left quite unimpressed by the Drowned World tour and felt quite hesitant about splashing out the £150 to see her this time around, but I'm glad I did! It was awesome, the atmosphere was electric, the performance was beyond compare. OK so the ticket prices do seem a bit O.T.T but I've been to many concerts at a fraction of the price, but I also left with a fraction of the experience that Madonna gave me. Worth every penny, and I'd pay a whole lot more for a second helping.
Aaron, Manchester

I have just got back from Sunday night's concert, and words fail me. I first saw Madonna in 1990 (Blonde Ambition) and again in 1993 (Girlie Show) and couldn't wait to see her again, and she didn't disappoint me. The show was fantastic from start to finish, the reworking of some of her most famous songs was ingenious, her dance routines and exuberance on stage left me breathless. We even got to sing 'Happy Birthday' to her, and in a smaller stadium the atmosphere was cosier and electric. So now I'm looking forward to Earl's Court.
Yvonne, Liverpool

What an amazing night! Here comes the cliché - it was worth every single penny. The sets were brilliant, her voice was spot-on and she really looked to be enjoying the whole thing - especially her duet with the bagpiper. A great range of her songs from the past and present and the perfect ending with Holiday. I'm wouldn't say I was the biggest Madonna fan beforehand - preferring much of her earlier work - but My God, the woman knows how to put on a show and entertain a crowd! Simply brilliant!
Jane, York

It was absolutely amazing from start to finish, worth every penny.
Sam, Manchester

It was absolutely awesome!! I hoped it would be great, but I never thought it would be that good. Madonna is still the best, still out-dancing, out-singing and just out-performing all her rivals. The whole show takes you on a journey and by the end you are exhausted and begging for more!! I have never seen anything like it in my life, I feel truly lucky to have seen her perform live. She really is a legend!!
Kate Lawson, Brighton

Madonna rocks again. Brilliant and worth every penny of the £150. Shame there was no encore but she did manage a thank you and a goodnight (don't get too big for your boots Madge!). Price of programme and t shirts etc a complete rip off.
Madonnamania, Wolverhampton UK

I went to the Sunday gig in Manchester and thought it was great. And if reports conflicted over the end of Saturday's Manchester concert, we got a thanks and goodbye. Though we did sing happy birthday to her. The concert was a good mix of material and some neat reinventions of various tracks. Okay no encore, but it was billed as a theatrical event and how many musicals/plays run through a scene at the end. Ditto on the audience interaction, though we did get some banter. Okay we didn't get the usual band intros (signifier that the end is in sight) but the evening wasn't about them, no matter how hard working they were. Go to see a symphony and recall the last time you heard who was playing first violin. Anyone going to future shows, think of it as ending on Imagine and what follows as the encore. The only slight gripe was the no photography rule, quite understandable, but most people have none flashing camera phones and it would have been nice to get a picture if only during the last number. And as anyone who made it to Duran Duran knows mobiles have become the new lighters for the slowies. Was it worth £150? For my mind yes. I've paid less for other shows but only a couple were up to the standard set tonight. Having said that, if the price was lower people might decide they want to see the show again. It is worth seeing more than once. The woman has energy and commitment. Here's to the DVD and future concerts.
J T, Manchester, UK

I've just got back from the Sunday night gig at Manchester and I can't sleep because I'm still in total awe of what I've just witnessed. To say the show was amazing would be an understatement. I struggled to get the money together for a front block ticket but I'm so glad I did - I'd pay it again & again if I could! To all who are going to the London gigs - I'm immensely jealous as you're all in for an unbelievable time!
Mark Sim, Preston, England

I was left in awe. For a 46 year old star to do the moves she did deserves credit. Madonna is a hard worker and does everything with magical perfection. She has never sounded, looked, and performed better!!!!!
Seamus O'Neill, Liverpool U.K.

Just got back from Madonna Manchester's concert. She was superb ! What legend - the stage production was brilliant, everything about this show was fantastic, A true artist that doesn't let her fans down !!!
Dave Hurn, Liverpool

A great show! Her energy is amazing, the technology behind the special effects (particularly on the giant video screens) was tremendous and everyone seemed to have a great time. I'd say that following Material Girl with John Lennon's Imagine was something of a contradiction though! I reckon she needed to mime 2 of the songs, e.g. 'Die Another Day' because of the energetic dance routines but it didn't detract from what was a memorable night.

I thought she was fantastic, it was amazing to see her live, In my opinion the best part of the show was the start, when she emerged from the stake to the start of Vogue and she proceeded to strike some incredible yoga poses. Definitely the best concert I have ever been to.
Ben Johnson, Northwich England

The show was excellent from start to end. The stage performance was excellent by Madonna and her dancers. It was an experience i will always remember!
Natalie Dowling, Rochdale

The show was absolutely fantastic but the ending left me gobsmacked. There was no encore, she finished her last song and didn't even say goodbye, thanks, or anything, and just left. All the lights came on in the arena, I sat there a while expecting her to come back on but she didn't. A brilliant concert spoilt by a very selfish ending!
Sarah Ashworth, Manchester

The show was outstanding and her voice was amazing!! Worth every single penny! I wish I could afford to go again tonight!
Leanne, Wallasey

Madonna was excellent. I saw her in New York also and the performance in Manchester was much better, she interacted so much more and seemed to enjoy the performance. As the screens closed she said good night and thank you then left in her own style as Madonna always does. The whole night was great and I say she didn't need an encore.
Rachel Carter, Worsley, Manchester

Very expensive and not really worth paying that much to see! Sure the concert was great but I have been to concerts just as good and better for a reasonable ticket price. She obviously thinks everyone should pay over inflated ticket prices just to see what is in reality an average pop act with great marketing. And does she think that the ticket price was too low and not worth an encore?. Well I have seen her now but I doubt I will be ripped off again...
Paul C, Manchester

The concert was superb. The entrance, military section and final section were all outstanding. She always manages to make these concerts exciting to be part of.
Phil Stevens, Glasgow, Scotland

Just one word, amazing!!!
Shaun Wiles, Rugeley, Staffordshire

Absolutely fantastic!!! The action on stage was never ending. The set, dancers, musicians and backing singers were all amazing and Madonna herself was (as usual!) on fantastic form. A concert that not only lived up to the hype, but surpassed it! No encore, but Madonna always leaves her fans wanting more! But she DID say goodbye!(see Sarah Ashworth)
David Mortimer, Rainhill, Liverpool

This was the first ever concert I have been to see and it was an experience that I'll remember forever. I was totally in awe of the energy, passion and imagination that went into the entire show. Madonna and her dancers were absolutely amazing, it was a show I'd love to see again! Also, I have to disagree with earlier comments, although she didn't do an encore when did say thank you and goodnight to the crowd.
Nina Pritchard, Liverpool

She was amazing. Everything about the show was just incredible - her performance, the dancers and choreography, the video displays and all the technology that drove them. She's the biggest star on the planet and no-one else's show could possibly top this.
Dave, Manchester

Just the best gig I have ever been to, brilliant from start to finish, it was great the way she re-worked some of her old songs, she's the greatest.
Ian Hill, Southport

Last night's concert was simply stunning. I missed the Drowned World tour, and thought I'd missed this too, but fortunately I managed to get 2 (rather expensive) tickets - but they were well worth the price. Her voice has never sounded better - and I'd say that she DID sing the whole show live (something she hasn't done since Who's That Girl). The revolving stage revealed quite simple but very effective sets, and her reworking of earlier hits was very effective (Deeper and Deeper, especially). The performance was both funny (the little dance routine with the piper, who got a big cheer) and sad (the images during Imagine). If you can get your hands on a ticket, no matter what the price, you will not be disappointed. At the end of the show she did say "thank you, goodnight" to the crowd, but she was already hidden by the 15-foot screens.
Mark, Dundee

Perfection as always. Fantastic show, Madonna was in superb form vocally. She did say goodnight and thank you to the audience but was actually drowned out by a very appreciative crowd. Well worth the £150!
Jo, Wolverhampton

Wow what a fantastic performance! Is this woman really 46? Being 20 years her junior, her fitness and dance routines puts me to shame! Well worth every penny. I would go again tonight if I could afford it. After 20 years in the business she still has what it takes. She is truly a star and a legend. I feel honoured to have been able to see her live in my lifetime.
Jackie, Manchester


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