Madonna kicks off "Sticky and Sweet" world tour
Aug 24, 2008, 1:12 GMT
London - Material Girl Madonna kicked off her 'Sticky and Sweet' world tour in Cardiff on Saturday before an estimated 40,000 screaming fans.
The Queen of Pop, who turned 50 on August 16, made a grand entrance on a throne and belted out her new hit, Candy Shop, as spectators - including her husband Guy Ritchie and children Lourdes, Rocco and adopted son David - cheered.
The star showed no signs of fatigue as she pole danced, sang 20 songs - including old favourites like La Isla Bonita, and went through eight costume changes during the two-hour show.
Cardiff was the first stop on the 'Sticky and Sweet' tour, which will take her to 51 venues - 16 in Europe, including London's Wembley Stadium, before heading to North America and ending in December in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
More than 650 hours of rehearsals have gone into the stage show, which involves 250 crew members, 16 dancers and jewellery worth nearly 2 million dollars.
The show is divided into four sections - 'gangsta pimp, rave, gypsy and old school.' The 'old school' bit is a return to her early years in downtown New York City.
Madonna's last tour - 'Confessions' - was in 2006.
The Michigan-born star started out her life as Louise Veronica Ciccone with early ambitions to be a dancer and to find the fastest exit out of smalltown America.
As a pop icon with worldwide record sales totalling more than 200 million, the singer would appear to have achieved her dream. Forbes magazine recently named her the world's highest earning female musician.
But despite her success, Madonna says she still struggles with trying to discover the difference between 'right and wrong and not to be tricked by illusions.'