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Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 01:16 GMT 02:16 UK
Madonna kicks off tour in Cardiff
Madonna during the Confessions tour in USA

Around 59,000 fans have been in Cardiff to see Madonna kick off the European leg of her world tour at the Millennium Stadium.

The show was Madonna's first ever performance in Wales.

The Millennium Stadium is the biggest venue to date in the star's Confessions world tour, which began in Los Angeles in May.

The show in Cardiff was the first of 21 dates across Europe. Eight are being staged in London.

The singer included an equestrian theme during the opening in Cardiff.

'CONFESSIONS' FACTS
The show was rehearsed for 1,000 hours over a period of 12 weeks
There were 27 performers, including the band, 22 dancers, and Madonna herself
The stage and equipment weighs 200 tons
Eight pairs of shoes and boots and seven costumes are worn nightly by Madonna
The disco-ball rocket ship for the start of the show weighs one-and-a-half tonnes
400,000 watts of power are used for every performance of the show

The tour director said the set was "enormously technical" and was state-of-the-art with its video show.

Chris Lamb, from California, said 150 workers from the USA, along with 200 local people worked on the set since Monday.

"People are not coming to see a rock concert - this is a show, closer to theatre than a rock concert," he said.

DJ Paul Oakenfold opened the singer's concert at 1900 BST, performing for around an hour and a half before Madonna's two-hour show.

Traffic Wales said it had put in place plans to cope with the extra traffic.

Project manager Simon Jones said: "We work with the council, the stadium and the emergency services to ensure that the event runs smoothly."

Madonna's European tour continues to Wembley Arena and finishes in Prague before it moves to Japan in September.




SEE ALSO
Madonna's giant cross 'offensive'
23 May 06 |  Entertainment
Madonna starts confession in LA
22 May 06 |  Entertainment
Madonna announces tour schedule
03 Apr 06 |  Entertainment

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