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Madonna Kicks Off Celebration Tour in London

Madonna also reflected on her health struggles this year. “I forgot five days of my life, or my death,” she said. “I don’t really know where I was, but the angels were protecting me.

“If you want to know my secret, and you want to know how I pull through and how I survive, I thought, ‘I’ve got to be there for my children. I have to survive for them,’” she said. She then led the crowd in a singalong of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”

The 24 performers onstage notably did not include a live band: Stuart Price, the tour’s musical director, told the BBC that “the original recordings are our stars.” The stage, which encompasses 4,400 square feet, was designed to echo Manhattan neighborhoods, as well as the wedding cake from Madonna’s 1984 MTV Video Music Awards performance of “Like a Virgin.” During the show, she is swept across the venue in a square-framed box 30 feet off the ground.

Carla Nobre, 38, of Nottingham said that seeing Madonna in concert had been on her bucket list, but that she had been disappointed with the performance.“There was too much talking,” she said.

Jenni Purple, 54, from the southern coast of England said the concert, which was her first time seeing Madonna live, had been “absolutely incredible.” “I loved all the medleys, I loved the costumes, I loved all the dances,” she said with a broad smile. “Everything was just mind-blowing.”

In the past, Madonna’s tours have been news-making events tied as much to her latest music as to her cycle of stylistic reinventions. But Celebration is essentially the pop superstar’s Eras Tour, as Taylor Swift has styled her latest outing: a staged romp through decades of hit songs and signature looks, giving fans a chance to relive her career as a stages-of-life experience. (Seventeen of Madonna’s previous costumes were recreated for the tour, and some of the merchandise for sale includes replicas from past treks.)

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