MADONNA ‘COURTS’ NEW HUSBAND

The first UK date on the 'Drowned World Tour' brings an emotional dedication...and NME.COM can bring you the first report...

MADONNA paid an emotional tribute to her husband GUY RITCHIE on the first UK date of her ‘DROWNED WORLD TOUR’ this evening (July 4).

Madonna has just walked off stage at London Earl’s Court, after performing a two hour set in front of a capacity 16,000 crowd – for which some fans paid up to £500 a ticket.

As with the previous dates on her world tour, the show featured a variety of elaborate costume changes, from cowgirl to punk, Latin to oriental and an arsenal of stagecraft, from flying through the air on wires to riding a mechanical bull.

Her stunning set comprised mainly of material from her last two albums,

‘Ray Of Light’ and ‘Music’, with the inclusion of the classic singles ‘La Isla Bonita’ and ‘Holiday’ from her back catalogue.

However, Madonna took the opportunity to dedicate her track ‘I Deserve It’ to new husband Ritchie.

Speaking to the crowd as an introduction to the song, on which she played guitar, she said: “I want to take the opportunity to dedicate this song to someone special to me. I’ve been waiting for months to do it in the city where he was born. This song is for my husband and I mean every word of it.”

She also paid tribute to her husband’s birthplace by declaring “God save the Queen!” before launching into ‘Beautiful Stranger’.

And before starting the cod-country ‘The Funny Song’, she celebrated the fact the concert was on US Independence Day, by putting on a fake white trash accent. Her drawling Jerry Springer-esque exclamation “Goddammit, it’s good to be here!” was met with a rapturous reception from the ecstatic crowd.

The gig culminated in a carnival-like version of recent single ‘Music’, with near naked dancers accompanying the star on stage, while in the background a video montage showed all of Madonna‘s various images spanning her entire career.

After the show finished, comedian Ali G, who also features in the video for ‘Music’, appeared on the video wall, urging fans to go home. He joked: “What are you still doing here? Don’t you know there’s a Backstreet Boys concert on tomorrow?”

Madonna played: ‘Drowned World (Substitute For Love)’

‘Impressive Instant’

‘Candy Perfume Girl’

‘Beautiful Stranger’

‘Ray Of Light’

‘Paradise (Not For Me)’

‘Frozen’

‘Nobody’s Perfect’

‘Mer Girl’ (Part I)

‘Sky Fits Heaven’

‘Mer Girl’ (Part II)

‘I Deserve It’

‘Don’t Tell Me’

‘Human Nature’

‘The Funny Song’

‘Secret’

‘Gone’

‘Don’t Cry For Me’ (instrumental)

‘Lo Que Siente La Mujer’ (What It Feels Like For A Girl)

‘La Isla Bonita’

‘Holiday’

‘Music’

Among the guests on the list for the show were Angelina Jolie, Wyclef Jean, Mick Jagger, Naomi Campbell, Roger Taylor, George Michael, Trudi Styler, Ewan McGregor, Selma Hayek and Jimmy Page.

In addition to the widely reported high ticket prices for the show, event merchandise was also costly. Tour programmes were priced at £25, tops up to £45, while a Madonna denim jacked was priced at £130.

The UK dates are the last on the European leg of the star’s tour. On July 21,

Madonna returns to the US, and takes her tour to the First Union Centre in Philadelphia.

She will then remain in the US and play across the country until mid-September, when her tour ends in Los Angeles (September 14).