Madonna promises ‘one of a kind experience’ ahead of tour kicking off in London

Madonna’s latest tour is set to kick off in London and is billed as a “one-of-a-kind experience” which staff say has “no band on stage” and a setlist featuring “about 45 songs”.

The Celebration Tour – which is set to cover her greatest hits over the Queen of Pop’s more than four decade-strong career – will officially kick off on Saturday at The O2 in London, where she will play four sold-out dates.

Ahead of her first gig of this tour, the 65-year-old shared photos on her Instagram stories on Friday enjoying an evening with her son David Banda, Stella McCartney and talent manager Guy Oseary as well as visiting her son Rocco Ritchie’s art exhibition.

Brit Awards 2015 – Show – London
Madonna performing on stage, during the 2015 Brit Awards at the O2 Arena, London (Yui Mok/PA)

In June, Madonna postponed the original start date of her latest tour in Canada after Mr Oseary announced that a “serious bacterial infection” led to the music artist having a several-day stay in intensive care.

The singer posted on Instagram in July, saying she was focusing on “health and getting stronger” and mentioned that the plan was to “reschedule the North American leg of the tour and to begin in October in Europe”.

Live Nation then confirmed new dates in August.

Her tour is supposed to pay homage to the city of New York where her career in music began.

“I am excited to explore as many songs as possible in hopes to give my fans the show they have been waiting for,” Madonna said in a statement before the tour.

Special guest RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bob The Drag Queen, real name Caldwell Tidicue, is set to perform across all dates.

Madonna in concert – Edinburgh
Madonna on tour in Scotland in a marching band outfit (Danny Lawson/PA)

Madonna’s musical director Stuart Price told BBC News the tour is “a documentary through her vast career” that includes more than 40 songs.

He said “greatest hits” can encompass her wardrobe as well as “video, or a statement”.

Mr Price said: “There are live musicians that perform at different parts of the show… but what we realised 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.”

Madonna – the most successful female artist in UK chart history with 13 chart-toppers – has an huge back catalogue which includes her early successes 1985’s Into The Groove and 1986’s Papa Don’t Preach along with her latest hits 2008’s 4 Minutes featuring Justin Timberlake and 2006’s Sorry.

She has also had more number two peaks – such as 2003’s American Life and 1999’s Beautiful Stranger – on the British charts than any other artist, with 12 according to Official Charts Company.

Her performances have also featured shocking moments including her 1990 Blond Ambition tour, which included risque onstage antics, sexual and religious themes, and eye-catching costumes (including her famous conical bra) sparked outrage from global authorities.

Pope John Paul II declared her concert “one of the most satanic shows in the history of humanity”, causing several Italian shows to be cancelled.

Following her London show, the singer moves onto her European leg which includes venues in Denmark, Belgium and Spain – ending back in the UK for two more concerts in London in December.

Madonna will start the North American leg of her tour on December 13 in Brooklyn, New York, before she travels to cities including Boston, Toronto and Miami.

She is expected to finish at Mexico City in Mexico which she is set to be in across four dates from April 20 to April 24 2024.

This is Madonna’s first tour since her Madame X shows, which ended in 2020.

Some of these performances were called off due to knee and hip injuries.