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Madonna is making a triumphant return after a three-and-a-half-month hiatus due to a bacterial infection that led to the postponement of her 40th-anniversary “Celebration” tour. At 65 years old, the iconic singer is poised to leave her health challenges behind and embark on a six-month-long tour across Europe and North America, starting at London’s O2 Arena.

The extensive tour itinerary includes notable stops at the Accor Arena in Paris on November 12, 13, 19 and 20, as well as the Bell Center in Montreal on January 18 and 20, culminating with a grand finale at the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico on April 24.

Promising to be a “documentary through her vast career,” the show will draw from a treasure trove of archive footage and studio recordings spanning four decades since her breakthrough single “Holiday” in 1983, as explained by her musical director, Stuart Price. “A greatest hit doesn’t have to be a song. It can be a wardrobe, it can be a video, or a statement,” Price elaborated in an interview with the BBC.

Madonna’s health took a sudden downturn earlier this year when she was found unconscious in her New York apartment in June, leading to a stint in intensive care. However, according to Price, the singer has made a remarkable recovery and is in impeccable shape for her upcoming performances. “The person that is going to take the stage looks incredible, sounds incredible, performs incredible,” he affirmed.

The disruption caused by her hospitalization necessitated the rescheduling of the North American leg of the tour, originally slated to begin on July 15 in Vancouver. Fortunately, the European leg is set to open as planned this Saturday.

In July, Madonna shared her thoughts on her health scare in a social media post, saying, “My first thought when I woke up in the hospital was my children. My second thought was that I did not want to disappoint anyone who bought tickets for my tour. My focus now is my health and getting stronger, and I assure you, I’ll be back with you as soon as I can!”

A Grammy-winning icon known for classics like “Like A Virgin” and “Material Girl,” Madonna has wielded immeasurable influence as one of music’s preeminent stars. Her multi-decade career, which has also included acting, film directing and business ventures, has solidified her status as one of the wealthiest artists in the world.

In 2020, she underwent hip replacement surgery following an injury sustained during her “Madame X” tour. Born Madonna Louise Ciccone in August 1958 in Michigan to parents of Italian and French-Canadian descent, she embarked on her career as a dancer in New York in the late 1970s with a mere $35 in her pocket. Since then, she has won seven Grammy Awards and sold over 300 million records worldwide.

The set list for the tour has been shrouded in secrecy, given the abundance of hit songs to choose from. The performance is expected to feature approximately 45 songs, with 25 performed in their entirety and extracts from around 20 more. Price commented, “That was the big challenge. In two hours, can you get all of it in? That’s hard. But every great moment she’s had, we took a bit of it.”

Known for her occasionally provocative outfits, such as the iconic pink conical bra designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier, Madonna will be styled by Georgian fashion designer Guram Gvasalia, the Creative Director of the up-and-coming label Vetements.

Notably, this tour marks the first time since her early career that Madonna will not perform with an onstage band, as Price explained, “There are live musicians that perform in different parts of the show, but what we realized is that the original recordings are our stars. Those things can’t be replicated and can’t be recreated, so we decided just to embrace that.”

With AFP

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