The Middle East leg of Madonna's MDNA tour, billed her Peace Tour, was the opening act to the world tour ahead, and certainly got off to a bang-bang, with guns blazing. The Queen of Pop and ever-evolving woman of a thousand contradictions, with fewer apologies, managed to impress and dismay in equal measure, whether for the heat storm she kicked up by shunning AC units on stage in Abu Dhabi, or the political upset brought about by her performing in Israel and talking 'peace'.
Air con wasn't the only thing she flew in the face of but religion, politics and sexual mores be damned, she was employing her usual defiant and brazen style of risque busty, bawdy and belligerent, with a cheeky nod to God in lyrical Inshallah and stage prop larger than life crucifix.
There was the usual blend of ingredients intended to shock, as red-cloaked monks dancing to bells and Hebrew prayers, striptease, and same-sex snogs. Madonna shouted “Hey Tel Aviv", and variously "Abu Dhabi are you ready?” before launching into “Girl Gone Wild.” The crowd screamed back at Ramat Gan stadium, and mustered a limited response in the heat of Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.
This week, the 53-year-old queen of pop started her 2012 MDNA tour in the Middle East, with a two-hour show that combined amazingly dynamic performances with thudding beats and provocative erotic dance, to the back-drop of sexual, bloody, political and religious images; and all delivered on a 'prayer' for Middle East peace.
What do you think of the MDNA tour in its Middle East leg opening? Please have your say on Abu Dhabi, Israel, or the nature of the Material Girl's show.