Madonna defies age as world tour kicks off

Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:11pm EDT
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By Cindy Martin

CARDIFF (Reuters) - "Queen of pop" Madonna entered the stage on a throne on Saturday as she kicked off her world tour, and defied her age with athletic dance routines before tens of thousands of screaming fans.

The U.S. singer, who turned 50 a week ago, opened her "Sticky & Sweet" tour at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, with "Candy Shop." She wore a black leotard-style outfit designed by fashion house Givenchy and black, knee-length boots.

For her second number, "Beat Goes On," Madonna drove along the stage catwalk in a white car from which she emerged wearing a white top hat.

U.S. rappers Pharrell Williams and Kanye West, who featured on Madonna's latest chart-topping album "Hard Candy," appeared in video clips, as did Britney Spears.

Madonna will be hoping to shatter her own record for the highest-grossing tour ever by a female artist and prove that the musical master of reinvention still has what it takes to pull in crowds young and old.

"It was so charismatic," said Paul, from the Welsh city of Newport, after the show. "I don't believe she's 50. She's more like 30."

"I think she's amazing," added Morgan, a young girl from Cardiff. "I want to be that way when I turn 50."

During the show Madonna played around 20 songs which spanned a career of nearly three decades, including "Like A Prayer," "Into The Groove" and "Hung Up."   Continued...

<p>Madonna performs on the opening night of her "Sticky &amp; Sweet" tour at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, August 23, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>