Though she once sang of living in a Material World, for the next few months Madonna will inhabit a Drowned World. The former Material Girl kicked off her oddly named world tour Saturday night in Barcelona, Spain, to an audience more than 18,000 strong.
The 42-year-old first appeared onstage wearing a kilt, perhaps a nod to her husband, Guy Ritchie, who wore a kilt at their wedding in the Scottish Highlands last December. It would be the first of six outfits she donned throughout the evening. Other costumes, designed by longtime Madonna cohort Jean-Paul Gaultier, sported geisha, cowboy, and Spanish themes.
Flanked by 10 dancers and two backing singers, the singer performed 20 songs during the two-hour set, focusing mainly on her most recent releases, Ray of Light and Music, tossing in such oldies-but-goodies as "Holiday" and "La Isla Bonita."
Madonna took her reputation for entertaining above and beyond literally: One routine found her flying above the stage suspended by trapeze wires. Lasers, strobe lights, smoke, and huge television screens created a futuristic atmosphere. There were also reports of a mechanical bull making the scene. The show's finale featured a video message from comedian Ali G (who played the chauffeur in Madonna's "Music" video).
Madonna has reportedly spent up to eight hours a day rehearsing for her Drowned World Tour 2001.
"I have been looking forward to these shows for ages and I want everything to be perfect," she was quoted as saying in News of the World. "I have taken my inspiration from many things — martial arts, flamenco, country, punk, rock and roll, dance, and circus."
Madonna's tour moves to Italy, Germany, and France before reaching London for a six-night stint beginning July 4. She'll then cross the ocean to perform at 12 cities in the United States.
Reuters contributed to this report.