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LIKE A CELEBRATION -- Madonna's Petco Park concert exults in her music and the election of a new President

This is the beginning of a whole new world!" an ecstatic Madonna declared last night, shortly before the conclusion of her nearly two-hour-long concert at Petco Park.

In previous decades, such a declaration may very well have been self-referential, as befits a pop superstar who long ago announced her desire to "rule the world." But not yesterday, when the source of Madonna's elation was the formidable victory of Barack Obama, who convincingly beat out John McCain in their election battle to become the next President of the United States.

"Are you as happy as I am?" she asked the crowd of 39,000, whose loud cheers indicated their answer was affirmative. "Let's hear it for Obama! It's the best day of my life."

A clearly delighted Madonna saluted Obama several more times during her 24-song concert, and the audience repeatedly roared its approval. It was a rare instance when Madonna was happy to share the limelight.

"She is an inspiration," said fellow Obama supporter Amy McCoy, who paid $165 (plus service charges) for her field level ticket, then snuck up to a more expensive seat close to the stage and proceeded to dance the night away.

Madonna, who is 50 but looks as buff as a 20-year-old, opened her concert with two infectious selections from her newest album, "Hard Candy." Those songs, "Candy Shop" and "Beat Goes On," were among the nine she featured from "Hard Candy." (For those keeping count, that's 6 more songs than the Rolling Stones played from their then-new album during the legendary English rock band's Petco Park concert three years ago this month.)

Madonna's nearly two-hour concert last night also featured lively versions of "Human Nature," "Heartbeat," "Vogue" and "Get Into the Groove," which she first performed in a stadium at 1985's Live Aid concert in Philadelphia.

She took to the stage Tuesday following a 30-minute opening set by English electronica DJ Paul Oakenfold (who appeared while all of the stadium's lights were on and many fans were still arriving). She was accompanied on stage by up to a dozen musicians and an equal number of dancers, although the musicians often played second fiddle to the impeccably choreographed dancers andthe concert's eye-popping production.

Madonna did not make any reference to "Filth and Wisdom," her recently released directorial film debut, which stars Gogol Bordello singer Eugene Hutz.

However, she did take her critics to task when the film debuted in New York last month, saying that her detractors had a "bug up their (rhymes with glass)" because they think she should focus on music, not filmmaking. "There are certain kinds of resentment when (you) do one thing well -- not to toot my own horn or anything -- and then you try to go do something else," she said. "And that's their (bleeping) problem."

But Madonna did pay homage to her London performance at last year's Live Earth concert, where she was joined by Hutz and Gogol violinist Sergey Rjabtzev for a Gypsy-tinged version of "La Isla Bonita." She gave the song a similar Eastern European tinge last night at Petco Park, minus Hutz and Rjabtzev, whose roles were ably filled by Moscow's Kolpakov Trio, led by 7-string guitarist Sasha Alexander Kolpakov. With Madonna watching from the lip of the stage with her dancers, Koplakov and his band mates performed the song "Doli Doli."

"Borderline" was one of several numbers that found Madonna starppng on an electric guitar. Other highlights included "4 Minutes" and "Ray of Light."

Madonna's emphasis on dancing and dashing to and fro across the enormous stage meant that her singing was electronically enhanced, or sometimes entirely pre-recorded. but that's nothing new for the tireless pop icon, who has long relied on lip-syncing in varying degrees at her concerts. Fortunately for her fans, her Petco show had more than enough razzle-dazzle to compensate, not to mention the added celebratory spirit brought on by Barack Obama's election victory. (Madonna's concert will also be reviewed in tomorrow's Weekend Currents section of the Union-Tribune.)


"Candy Shop"
"Beat Goes On"
"Human Nature"
"Die Another Day" (Remix) (Video Interlude)
"Into the Groove"
"She's Not Me"
"Rain" (Remix) (Video Interlude)
"Devil Wouldn't Recognize You"
"Spanish Lesson"
"Miles Away"
"La Isla Bonita"
"Doli Doli" (Dance Interlude)
"You Must Love Me"
"Get Stupid" (Video Interlude)
"4 Minutes"
"Like a Prayer"
"Ray of Light"
"Express Yourself"
"Hung Up"
"Give It 2 Me"

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