ALL HAIL THE QUEEN!

The Queen Of Pop kicks off her world tour in the Catalonian capital with one of the best pop spectacles ever seen....

MADONNA launched her first world tour for more than eight years last night (June 9) at BARCELONA’s PALAU SANT JORDI – and NME.COM were there to witness one of the most fantastic pop spectacles ever seen.

During the rapturously received show at the city’s Palau Sant Jordi, high on a hilltop next to a historic Jewish cemetry, Madonna flew through the air, rode a mechanical bull, and fought kung-fu style with a samurai warrior while her dancers flew across the stage, backflipping and shining laser beams from their gas-mask helmets.

At one point, during a stunning version of ‘Frozen’, Madonna wore a Jean Paul Gaultier-designed black geisha outift with 26 foot long sleeves which spanned 52 feet across the stage. The sleeves were adorned with hand-painted cherry blossoms.

The Queen of Pop changed costume at least six different times during the show which lasted almost two hours and mainly included material from her last two albums ‘Ray Of Light’ and ‘Music’.

Prior to the show, the lack of early material in the set was viewed by a lot of fans as a disapointment, but few had any complaints once the curtain had fallen.

Historically, Madonna has always been keen to show how much she is still ‘on top of the game’ and with this show she did it once again.

Keen to show off her new-found guitar-playing skills she strapped on an electric guitar for a grungy run through ‘Candy Perfume Girl’, later swapping for an accoustic for a stripped-down version of ‘La Isla Bonita’.

Leaving her songs and dancing to do the talking, the show was surprisingly, and welcomingly, short of the ridiculous pyrotechnics that dominate so many ‘big gigs’ these days.

However many costumed dancers there were flying through the air, it was Madonna‘s performance that was the centrepiece of the show.

Astonishing as it may seem, she’ll probably be even better by the time it reaches the UK. Breathtaking.

The entire setlist was: ‘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’ ‘Secret’ ‘Gone’

‘Lo Que Siente La Mujer’ (What It Feels Like For A Girl) ‘La Isla Bonita’ ‘Holiday’ ‘Music’ .