Madonna kicked off her worldwide Re-Invention tour last night (May 24) in Los Angeles with an extravagant and politically charged show that featured the diva singing in Army fatigues against a video backdrop of a war-torn nation.
The artist opened the show wearing a jewel-encrusted corset but changed into combat gear when she sang American Life, backed up by the sounds of dropping bombs. On stage, dancers dressed like soldiers did push-ups and calisthenics as helicopters and infernos blazed on the video screens behind them.
The 45-year-old Material Girl did not disappoint her longtime fans, many of whom paid upward of $200 per ticket, by relying on many of her old hits like Holiday and Vogue punctuated by spectacular choreography.
Skirting her trademark cone-bra bustiers, Madonna aimed to shock the crowd with video shots of nudity and apocalyptic imagery. In one number, male dancers pranced around in plaid skirts. Spirituality and her passion for Kabbalah, an ancient practice of Jewish mysticism, also took center stage, with untranslated Hebrew text often displayed in the background of her performances.
The artist also offered a cover of John Lennon’s Imagine, which was accompanied by a video of sick and injured children from around the world.
Meanwhile, Madonna has canceled three Israeli tour stops because of violence in the region, including the killing of the leader of the militant group Hamas. The artist told “Access Hollywood” that her manager, Caresse Henry, wouldn’t let her travel to the country because of the “attack on the leader of Hamas.”
“It’s not a good idea to go there and do concerts,” she told the syndicated entertainment TV show in an interview that aired yesterday. Israel’s military killed the founder of Hamas, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, in March and the group’s Gaza leader, Abdul-Aziz Rantisi, in April.
London tabloids had reported that the singer backed out of the September shows after an unidentified Palestinian terror group threatened her and her children, Lourdes, 7, and Rocco, 3. Asked by “Access Hollywood” if she had been threatened, she replied, “No, if I had my way, I’d go. My manager wouldn’t let me.”