Kicking off tour, Madonna shows she's no lady (Gaga)

Fri Jun 1, 2012 9:38am EDT
 
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By Dan Williams

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Pop superstar Madonna kicked off a new world tour on Thursday wishing peace on the Middle East even as she showcased grim dance routines depicting violence and bloody gunmen among her more colorful numbers.

Madonna, 53, mixed hit songs over three decades in music with tunes from her recent album, "MDNA," before a packed audience, and she took a sly dig at younger diva, Lady Gaga.

"She's not me!" Madonna belted out at the end of "Express Yourself," which she had reworked to include a sampling of Lady Gaga's recent "Born This Way."

That song from Lady Gaga, who emerged on the pop music scene about four years ago and has enjoyed a huge following, was noted by many fans and critics as being very similar to Madonna's late 1980s dance club smash.

Since Lady Gaga, 26, released "Born This Way," there has been speculation that a generational challenge was in the works and comedians have poked fun at any imagined rivalry between the two women.

Despite occasional lighthearted touches such as a baton-twirling routine in cheerleader formation and a psychedelic homage to Indian philosophy, the dominant mood at Thursday's concert in Tel Aviv seemed more grim with a stage shrouded in black and red and costumes that often appeared ominous.

VIRGIN SACRIFICE

"Like a Virgin," a dance tune that helped propel Madonna to stardom as risqué pop ingénue in the 1980s, was performed as a mournful cabaret with violin accompaniment. At one point, the singer was trussed up and hoisted into the air by four male dancers, then lowered onto a platform as though into a volcano - a virgin sacrifice.   Continued...

 
U.S pop singer Madonna performs during the opening concert of her MDNA world tour at Ramat Gan stadium near Tel Aviv May 31, 2012. REUTERS/Amir Cohen