Madonna played the first night of the UK leg of her Rebel Heart Tour at the O2 Arena last night (1 December), and her spectacular set included incredible acrobatics, sexed up religious iconography, a successful cape removal and a heartfelt speech to mark World AIDS Day. See the setlist and get tickets for the remaining dates below.
The singer’s 23-song set was somewhere between a West End show, a circus performance and, of course, a gig. Kicking off with Iconic before bursting into Bitch I’m Madonna, the pace barely slowed for just over two hours.
Her ill-fated BRITs performance (which was also at The O2) was at the forefront of the crowd’s mind as she performed Living For Love – and as her cape was removed without her ending up flung to the floor, a massive cheer erupted throughout the arena.
There was one brief moment of calm when Madonna paid tribute to the people she knew who’d died of AIDS to mark World AIDS Day. “The entire family of my adopted son died of AIDS”, she said, referring to her son David, who she (somewhat controversially) adopted from Malawi.
“It is not a disease that has gone away. We need to remember that. Let’s acknowledge all the people who have passed, and those who have fought to raise awareness. We shall overcome one day.”
She then launched into a euphoric, moving rendition of Like A Prayer, before being moved to tears by the audience’s warm response.
Later in the night, she was joined on-stage by Graham Norton, to whom she – in a truly bizarre, seemingly rehearsed skit – presented a banana as a gift.
Madonna returns to The O2 Arena tonight (2 December) before heading further north. See full UK dates below, and get tickets and more information here.
Dec. 2 – London, UK – O2 Arena
Dec. 14 – Manchester, UK – Manchester Arena
Dec. 16 – Birmingham, UK – Barclaycard Arena
Dec. 20 – Glasgow, Scotland – The SSE Hydro