Queen of pop goes back to her roots

Madonna went back to where it all began with a one-off gig for fans.

Madonna went back to where it all began with a one-off gig for fans.

The star launched her new album, Confessions On A Dance Floor, at London’s Koko Club.

The intimate venue – formerly known as the Camden Palace – was where Madonna gave her first live UK performance in June 1983.

Then she was an unknown singer who had just released the underground US club hit Everybody.

Now she is the undisputed Queen of Pop and last night’s gig was the hottest ticket in town.

Madonna performed five songs for an audience of 1,500 fans, including 200 who had queued overnight in freezing temperatures to bag the last batch of free tickets.

Four of the songs were tracks from the new album, including her current and 11th number one hit Hung Up.

The fifth was Everybody – the song that started it all.

She told the audience: “The last time I played Camden Palace was 22 years ago.

“It was my first show in London and I’ve got to tell you it’s so f***ing great to be back.”

The audience comprised mainly competition winners from around the world – and they were ecstatic despite the show lasting barely half an hour.

It drew a celebrity crowd including Stella McCartney, Chris Evans, Bob Geldof and his daughter Peaches, Donna Air and Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant.

The tiny club was a far cry from the huge venues Madonna normally plays – her last London performance was at Live 8.

Madonna emerged from a giant glitter ball to sing first number Hung Up, dressed in an all-purple ensemble of jacket, velvet pedal pushers and knee-high boots.

She took off her jacket to reveal a tight vest and when one fan threw his shirt at the stage she remonstrated: “Don’t throw your clothes at me -- I took my shirt off, I don’t want to put another one on.”

Confessions on a Dance Floor is a return to Madonna’s disco roots and she performs with a four-piece band dressed in Saturday Night Fever-style white suits.

Watching her energetic dance routines it was difficult to believe she suffered three cracked ribs in a riding accident only three months ago.

But introducing the last song, Everybody, she told the crowd: “I feel like I’m really out of shape right now, I don’t like falling off horses, so I’m going to do one more song.”

One of the new songs she performed was I Love New York – a title which prompted her to apologise to the audience at the north London club.

She explained: “This next song is called I Love New York. But I love London too – if I didn’t, why do you think I’d live here?

“I wrote a song about New York because New York for me was about survival. It is more a state of mind than a place.”

And she added: “I want to thank all of my fans who camped out all night in the freezing cold so they could see me. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s a New York state of mind.”

The gig was broadcast live on the internet to a worldwide audience. It was a chance for Madonna to prove she could sing live.

Elton John sparked a war of words at the Q Awards when he accused her of lip-synching during her last tour – a charge she denies.

Madonna has been working hard promoting this new album.

She appeared on chat show Parkinson at the weekend, opened the MTV Europe Music Awards earlier this month and this week she will perform at London Club G-A-Y.

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