Madonna made a triumphant return to the stage last night as her Madame X Tour finally arrived in London.

For a while, it was touch and go if she’d even make it to curtain up, after an injury to her knee sustained on the road last year lead her to axe her planned first date at The London Palladium.

But while once the show kicked off, just a measly 20 minutes behind the planned 8:30pm start time – it was clear the wait was worth it.

Delivering a truly staggering two-hour performance, Madonna has transformed her Madame X album into a jaw-dropping live work of art.

The Madame X Tour unashamedly focuses on Madonna’s fourteenth studio album – bringing the Lisbon inspired record to life.

 
Madonna has been plagued with illness during her time on the road

Arguably, Madame X works better in theatres as a live show than it does on Spotify or iTunes.

Using her intimate surroundings to her advantage, Madonna kicked off proceedings with controversial 2019 single God Control, performing the track with distorted electronic vocals in a kooky pirate style outfit.

After being thrown around the stage more times thank you’d be able to count, the 61-year-old went on to show off her flexibility by doing a headstand during Express Yourself.

Offering a genuine piece of theatre and performance art, the show transports fans into the heart of the music rather than a pyrotechnic heavy polished pop spectacular.

Visually 1998’s Frozen is stunning – with Madge hauntingly performing the track under a single spotlight and through a cinematographic screen.

 
Madonna wowed at her first London Palladium show
Meanwhile, the stage transforms into a fado club – Lisbon music bar – for lead single Medellín and La Isla Bonita.

Perching on a grande piano, Madonna laughed and joked with the crowd and her entourage before downing a shot in between songs.

Undeniably, the smaller venues give Madonna far more opportunity to interact more with the audience than her previous treks – something she seems to genuinely relish.

The pop superstar can’t hide her glee at being heckled or simply telling anecdotes to whip up the crowd.

“I can’t talk too much as Westminster Council has warned me I will face an iron curtain curfew,” she said to a chorus of boos.

 
The Madame X Tour is Madonna’s debut theatre tour
Not that it stopped her taking a quick dig at ex-husband Guy Ritchie.

“I’m going to use my British accent,” she purred as her crime-fighting alter ego.

“When I used to live here everyone accused me of having a British accent but I didn’t think I did,” she continued.

“Then I listened back to old interviews I did… ugh why didn’t you tell me!?

“I’m from Michigan! Guy forced me.”

As fans booed at the mention of the Hollywood director, Madonna innocently smirked: “I don’t know why you are booing.

“I’m going to move along.”

Of course ever the provocateur, Madonna is still unashamedly smutty.

From joking about playing Mozart from out of her “p****” to, boasting she’s “good on her knees for a long time”, M can’t help herself when it comes to innuendo and gags.

 
The Madame X tour is a phone-free show (Image: PA)

But that’s why her fans love her, refusing to play by the rules and follow the crowd when the many around her tell her to toned things down.

“I’m a freedom fighter and I believe in free speech,” she told the crowd.

“It’s ok if you don’t agree with me.”

Bringing the show to a triumphant close, Madonna rounded things off flanked by a choir for instant classic Like A Prayer before returning for a moving encore of I Rise.

Poignant, political and artistically liberating, the Madame X tour has once again has allowed Madonna to lead the pack and push boundaries when it comes to live shows and is not to be missed.

Though you may not wish to check your bank balance after splashing out on tickets.

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