The signing superstar — who at 61 has faced a string of health battles — made her debut at the London Palladium, albeit two days later than planned.

But she was on immaculate form ahead of 13 further dates over the next three weeks.

Whether it be as a singer, a comedian or an actress, she plays every role with ease — with not a sign of those crippling injuries.

Turning to the crowd, she declared deadpan: “When I moved here, everyone accused me of having a British accent and I didn’t know what they were talking about. Until I heard back old interviews. And I was horrified.”

There is much love for her dark humour and her withering put-downs of the fans who have paid hundreds of pounds to see her on this intimate tour.

And the show itself is less of a pop concert and more of an abstract West End musical.

Despite debilitating hip and knee injuries which have plagued her since the tour kicked off in New York in September, Madonna put on one of the most extraordinarily physical and emotional concerts in music history.

She flitted from talk of shootings to dirty jokes, from army deaths to disco classics, all within the spectacular two-hour, ten-minute production.

There was no interval but she managed eight different outfits, three hairstyles and a compelling performance throughout.

The superstar’s tour has proved four months of agonising turmoil but has the production value which wouldn’t be spent by most artists even playing stadiums.

Her most ambitious project to date, the experience was largely based off her Madame X album, which reached No2 here last year.

And despite powerful messages and an eclectic mix of sounds on the record, it was still her timeless classics which proved to be a magical experience to witness at such close proximity in the 2,286-capacity venue.

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