MADONNA didn’t let the Irish summer put a dampner on her performance in Dublin last night, as she sang in the rain.
The 53-year-old welcomed 43,000 fans of all ages to her first Irish concert in eight years at the Aviva Stadium last night.
Standing at her microphone watching the drizzle, Madonna had asked: “Why does it rain so much in Ireland?” before trying out some Irish on them as she attempted to count as Gaeilge from one to 10.
Back in 2004, it had been an Irish downpour that had Madonna 50 minutes late for her landmark gig at Slane Castle. Last night the heavens opened again on the Material Girl, but this time she came prepared – and had an assitant dressed as a priest, follow her around the stage holding an umbrella over her head.
From mums and dads who first got into the groove seeing the Material Girl on MTV, to the 1990s children she hooked on the pulsing rhythms of her William Orbit co-produced Ray of Light album, and who those witnessed her re-invention as a disco-diva in the noughties.
From early evening, Ballsbridge was full of fans who have stayed loyal to Madonna Louise Ciccone from the days her videos featured her in rara skirts and Gaultier cone bras.
They included Celene Kenny, from Dunboyne, and Amanda Flynn, from Navan, who described themselves as “life-long Madonna fans”.
“We got into Madonna from ‘Fab’ Vincent Hanley playing her videos on MTV USA. She was different, she was funky and with it. We were young and we liked it. We’ve stuck with her all through the years since.
“We even think her new album is fantastic, too. Very poppish and completely different. She re-invents herself all the time, she keeps up with the times and grabs the young and the old audience. She had it all then and now,” Ms Flynn told the Irish Independent
Mother Hilary Morgan, from Belfast, brought her two grown-up children, Pauline and Sean Morgan.
“Mum saw a Madonna concert in the US over 20 years and became a huge fan. She brought us up listening to Madonna records. The whole family are fans, so it’s great to be sharing this night together,” said Mr Morgan.
Dubliners Emer Fitzmaurice and Lorraine Dockrey from Clontarf had VIP tickets bought as a present from Emer’s boyfriend.
“Madonna is a legend so this is unmissable,” said Ms Dockrey.
Anita Rogers, from Derry, Ruth Kilcolley, from Sligo, and Tess Finan, from Wexford, were enjoying a girl’s night out.
“For us, this is re-living our youth. I decided to dress up as Madonna because it’s a night out and we don’t get many nights out these days,” said Ms Finan.
Earlier, Madonna had given 150 fans who turned up early a sneak preview of her set when she allowed them in to watch her soundcheck at 5.45pm.
Shrugging off the high ticket prices for her MDNA tour, Madonna had quipped earlier this year: “Work all year, scrape the money together and come to my show. I’m worth it.”
Not everyone agreed, as last night’s show was not a sell-out, with tickets still on sale on the day of the concert.
– Ken Sweeney