NEW YORK — Madonna fans were in for a treat Monday night when the Material Girl packed Madison Square Garden for her MDNA Tour. While concertgoers waited for more than an hour between her set and her opening act Martin Solveig — “New Jersey Transit doesn’t run all night,” one impatient fan hollered — it all proved to be worth the delay once the original Queen of Pop took the stage.
The 54-year-old confirmed the title was still hers as she opened the night wearing a black skintight ensemble that was hard to imagine Britney, Beyoncé or Gaga pulling off in 25 years’ time. But it was not just her flawless appearance that garnered ear-piercing screams throughout MSG. As Madonna worked the crowd with her single “Girl Gone Wild,” it was clear to everyone in attendance that they were in the presence of pop royalty.
But it wasn’t just the audience of devotees bowing down to her greatness. Later in the evening, while performing “I Don’t Give A,” digital images of Nicki Minaj, who’s featured on the track, appeared with the following message: “There’s only one queen and that’s Madonna, bitch.”
Her Madgesty reiterated Minaj’s words soon after when singing her 1989 hit “Express Yourself,” swapping out some original lyrics for ones used in Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” which has been criticized for having melodic similarities. She then concluded the mash-up by flipping her skirt (rather than the bird) with the refrain “she’s not me” echoing through the venue.
The mood changed dramatically before her performance of “Masterpiece,” however, where Madonna expressed her condolences for those affected by Superstorm Sandy.
“I went down to Rockaway Beach yesterday with my children and we saw what was going on there, we saw the destruction,” she said. “It was really sad but we also saw amazing acts of humanity. People sharing with other people, people working hard, cleaning houses, handing out food, blankets giving love and a hug.”
When performing a slowed-down version of “Like a Virgin,” Madonna returned to the subject of Sandy saying she would now be stripping for donations from the crowd.
“This money is not for me,” she explained as bills of all sizes rained onto the stage. “We are collecting money for victims of Hurricane Sandy so please feel free to be generous as I freeze my ass off.”
Throughout the course of the evening, Madonna mostly played music from her new album with, of course, the help of some classics along the way. She took fans from the schoolyard with her marching-band themed “Give Me All Your Luvin’ ” to the runway with “Vogue,” but it was a trip to church with her second to last song “Like a Prayer” that really brought Madison Square Garden to their feet.
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