photo: Ricardo Gomes
I‘m not sure who was having more fun at the opening of Madonna‘s London residency, the audience or the star. She sang, she danced, she joked and she beamed with almost childlike glee at the crowd’s adoring response. “How happy I am to have made it this far,” she declared, calling London “my second home.”
Madonna first played the city in 1983 to 1500 early adopters at the Camden Palace. Her next London gig was Wembley Stadium. She was clearly delighted to be back in a venue where she could not just reach out ad touch the audience, she could descend from the stage and sit in their laps. “Its so intimate. Its gorgeous and a thrill for me to be able to see all your faces.”
Nobody is going to mistake the salubrious 2,200-capacity Palladium for a cosy club. But the last time Madonna played London, in 2015, it was two dates at the O2 Arena for almost 30,000 people. That is about the same number she will play to across all 14 nights in London, if she makes it through her residency in one piece.
Madonna is 61, and reportedly having problems with her knees. She has already cancelled ten shows on this tour, including what would have been its London debut on Monday. But she was in fine form shimmying and shaking across the stage in a set full of artful and exuberant choreography.