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Last Updated: Monday, 30 August, 2004, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Madonna thrills Irish crowd

Writer Nicholas McCarthy reviews Madonna's Irish concert for BBC News Online

The Irish "do it better," according to pop icon Madonna.

For the Material Girl thrilled the crowd during her first appearance at Slane Castle near Dublin by wearing a T-shirt expressing exactly those sentiments.

She later threw the piece of clothing out to a delighted audience.

Madonna was warmly received at Slane Castle
Madonna was warmly received at Slane Castle
Despite initial concern about ticket sales for this part of her Re-invention tour, fans packed the outdoor venue on Sunday to see the superstar unleash hit after hit, from a repertoire spanning an entire 20-year career.

Crowd favourites included oldies from the 1980s and 1990s, such as Like a Prayer and Vogue, as well as more recent material such as Hollywood and Music.

There was a heavy shower just before Madonna went on stage, but the weather remained relatively dry, much to the delight of the concert goers.

At the beginning of the show, Madonna was raised onto the stage wearing black hot pants with a gold sequined top and black knee-high boots.

The show featured spectacular dance routines involving acrobats and breakdancers, with an incredibly energetic Madonna incorporating complex yoga moves into the high-octane choreography.

The stage was carefully designed to avoid delays during set changes.

The 46-year-old singer was lifted into the air on rising pedestals, whizzed across the stage on a conveyer belt and disappeared through trap doors for occasional, and very slick, costume changes.

True to form, Madonna did not shy away from controversy, and mounted a strong anti-war protest with the song American Life.

Madonna
Madonna mixed music with politics during her latest concerts
It was set against the backdrop of a powerful video sequence depicting the horror of war, as dancers donned military uniforms and marched around caged prisoners.

Madonna's vocal performance was nothing short of incredible given the singer's fast-paced choreography and at times she took up the guitar herself and played ballads for her fans.

The singer also used the occasion to perform a cover of John Lennon's Imagine, which she said was one of her favourite songs.

Madonna crowned her 90-minute set with a dazzling performance of Holiday which saw the singer and her dancers move out into the crowd on an elevated platform.

They were then lowered below the stage to the sound of fireworks in the distance, confetti raining down and rapturous applause from fans.

Supporting Madonna was DJ Paul Oakenfold who played two 30-minute sets, and rock sensation Iggy Pop, who sent crowds wild with his antics, as he leapt off the stage to greet fans after his performance which lasted more than an hour.




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