Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Half an Hour of Pure Mad-Gic; A Brief Encounter. but Oh, So Desirable

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Half an Hour of Pure Mad-Gic; A Brief Encounter. but Oh, So Desirable

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SMYTH;MATHEUS SANCHEZ

IT WAS made clear that Madonna's only UK show of the year would consist of just five songs. Yet still fans in 40 countries tried to win one of 1,500 tickets, or camped in the freezing Camden streets in the hope of being one of 200 to gain free entry to the shortest pop experience of the year.

Inside, stars included the Pet Shop Boys, New Order and Chris Evans. But it was the fans who thronged the site of Madonna's first London show 22 years ago who proved that even in middle age she still casts a heady spell. The brevity only made the half-hour show more intensely desirable.

At 10pm a screen slid apart to reveal that familiar figure, as close as it would have been when she had only one hit to her name. The look involved Farrah Fawcett hair flicks, chunky sunglasses and a purple leather jacket.

The muffled pulse of chart-topper Hung Up's whirling Abba sample began and she was surrounded by seven acrobatic dancers.

There was sometimes a lot of echo on her voice, but the robotic effects of new album Confessions On A Dance Floor were absent. She even gave some Shirley Bassey drama to her vocals on Let It Will Be.

Madonna was smiling and talkative between songs, exclaiming: "It is so f****** good to be back" and revealing: "I feel like I'm really out of shape right now - I don't like falling off horses."

Of the two other new songs, the synth whooshes of Get Together were fabulous, as was the guitar-heavy stomp of I Love New York (preceded by "I love London, too").

Then it was back to 1982's Everybody, the song she performed here when it was the Camden Palace. Did we really believe she would leave after five numbers? Probably not.

Something else from the back catalogue would have been wonderful, but off she went to host a [pounds sterling]75,000 party at Kabaret. …

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