The Sun (worships at Madonna's altar- spoiler)

May 25, 2004

Mad for It!

MOVE over BRITNEY and BEYONCE - There's only one Queen of Pop and she's back to reclaim her crown. MADONNA defied her critics to prove she's still No1 when she kicked off her Re-Invention Tour in LA.

She may be 45 but she's sassier, sexier and more supple than the current crop of young pretenders - as my pictures prove. Madonna gave the fans exactly what they wanted - her biggest hits reworked with a modern twist.

The show opened with Vogue - and the track sounded as fresh now as it did all those years ago. Dressed in a diamond-studded silver bodice, black hotpants and knee-high boots, Madonna looked 20 years younger than the woman we've seen in recent months -and devastatingly sexy.

The theme was boudoir chic and she proved that all those yoga classes were worthwhile. She put Sporty Spice to shame with her back flips and flawless dance performance.

Anyone who thought she was past it was proved wrong on Monday night - and I'm one of them.

After her disappointing American Life album I doubted whether Madonna still had the X-factor that made her the leading star of her generation. But I was forced to eat humble pie as she raged through a series of hits that mesmerized the audience

Madge was accompanied by a stunning video display. She was shown on video screens dressed in the regalia of Kaballah - she's a leading follower of the Jewish faith.

An anti-war section of the show kicked off with American Life. Wearing combat gear and a black beret, she strutted her stuff on the dance floor and showed a video of child war victims.

And during her performance of Frozen she showed she still has the power to shock and be controversial with a homo-erotic video backdrop of naked men seemingly having sex.

One of the highlights of the show for me was a reworked version of Material Girl during which Madge asked the crowd: "How many people really think that I'm a Material Girl?"

Madonna's hubby GUY RITCHIE watched in awe from the VIP seats, surrounded by Kaballah devotees. As she went past him on a bridge, he blew her a kiss and whistled.

Madonna was determined to lay to rest a ghost which has haunted her for years - after she was turned down for a part in hit movie Chicago. She devoted a section of the show to a Chicago/Cabaret theme and proved she could have put Oscar-winner CATHERINE ZETA JONES to shame with an all-singing, all-dancing performance of hits such as Hollywood, Hanky
Panky and Deeper And Deeper.

No Madonna show would be complete without controversy. During her performance of Bond theme Die Another Day, she was strapped and chained to an electric chair.

She later dressed in a pinstripe suit and top hat and sat down with a guitar to perform an emotional version of Nothing Fails and don't Tell Me.

Other highlights were Like A Prayer, Into The Groove and Papa don't Preach.

She covered JOHN LENNON's Imagine, accompanied by footage of war victims, and drew a huge cheer when an image of the late Beatle flashed on to the screens.

The show closed with a medley of some of her biggest hits - Crazy For You, Music and Holiday.

Into The Groove featured an appearance by rapper MISSY ELLIOTT and kilt-clad bagpipers, with Madge leaping on stage in her own kilt and tartan knickers.

I've seen three previous Madonna world tours and I've always been impressed with her ability to surprise and amaze. But she has saved the best for her Re-Invention tour. And I don't use those words lightly.

It was the best pop show I have ever seen - and I've seen many over the years.

What Madonna seemed determined to prove was that she is still at the top of her game - the likes of KYLIE, Britney and Beyonce don't even come close.

Every dance move, every note and every image was timed and executed to perfection - as only Madonna can do. Today's generation of Pop Idol wannabes should listen, learn and take note from a woman who has no intention of handing over her crown for a good few years yet.

Madge - I salute you
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