Madonna’s “MDNA” tour opened last night at Tel Aviv’s Ramat Gan stadium and from all reports, the two-hour performance was quite the extravaganza.
She also used the setting to deliver a call for peace, telling the audience mid-set: “I chose to start my world tour in Israel for a very specific and important reason. As you know, the Middle East and all the conflicts that occur here and that have been occurring for thousands of years…They have to stop…You can’t be a fan of mine and not want peace in the world, OK?”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Shirley Halperin called the concert “pure spectacle...complete with eight wardrobe changes (including a Gaultier-designed update of her iconic cone bra), 22 dancers (including one Rocco Ritchie), a gospel choir and two slackline walkers.”
Halperin gave Madonna high marks for her vocals, “which, like her physique, were also in tip-top shape,” but criticized Madge for resorting to the trick of featuring only snippets of some of her biggest hits, while right songs from “MDNA” were performed in full. She also questioned the often violent images, including Madonna toting an AK47, in contrast with her calls for peace.
Similarly, the Jerusalem Post noted the show’s violence: “Amidst her opening acts was a particularly violent number, Gang Bang, in which she shot a man as she sat under a large cross and sang, “Bang, bang, shot you dead.” Blood appeared to splatter on a separate screen on stage.”
Perez Hilton’s hyperbolic, breathless review called Give Ma All You Luvin a high point. “ There was a flying marching band! Literally! Her dancers were suspended high above and bangin' the drums! It was sick! The energy during this two-song segment was OUT OF THIS WORLD! It was definitely the climax of the show and a moment that could not be topped.”
Though he had a few problems with some of the song selection and pacing, overall, he concluded “nobody puts on a show quite like Madonna! No one even comes close!”
ABC News reported that the show was not sold out (although other sources said the 32,000-seat stadium was full, and that in addition to Rocco, Madonna’s oldest daughter Lourdes was also one of the dancers.
As we previously reported, the show also includes a mash-up of Madonna’s “Express Yourself” and Lady Gaga sound-a-like “Born This Way.”
Check out our photo gallery of opening night here.
Below is the setlist from opening night, according to Madonnalicious:
“Girl Gone Wild”
“Papa Don’t Preach”
“I Don’t Give A”
“Express Yourself” (Ft. “Born This Way”)
“Give Me All Your Luvin’”
“Turn Up the Radio”
“Open Your Heart”
“Justify My Love”
“Candy Shop”“Erotica / Human Nature”
“Like a Virgin”
“Nobody Knows Me”
“I’m a Sinner”
“Like a Prayer”