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Madge fails to shine at soaked Aviva

WE'VE been at its mercy all summer long and it seems not even the 'Queen of Pop' could order the inclement Irish weather to bend to her iron will -- and take a holiday.

Not that she didn't try, of course.

This is Madonna (53), after all, the award-winning pop icon with a career spanning 30 years, who last night brought her MDNA tour to Ireland after an absence of eight years.

"I've never been to Ireland when it's not raining," she told the audience at the Aviva Stadium last night. "What's going on?"

The star -- who performed a full seven minutes past her 11pm curfew last night -- then asked the crowd to say a prayer that the weather might finally behave itself.

"I know that you're all Catholics here, good Catholics, right? I know that you're all spiritual people here tonight and you're all going to say a prayer. So maybe in the next couple of songs, it will stop raining."



umbrella

Her pleas obviously fell on deaf ears, though, given the soft drizzle that continued throughout the concert and at one stage, she was even singing in the rain with an umbrella held aloft.

Despite the constant down-pour, more than 43,000 people turned up to see the controversial artist take to the stage for the next stop in her European tour.

Crowds started gathering at the southside stadium from early on as they queued to pay homage to her 'royal Madgesty'.

She took to the stage shortly before 9.30pm and didn't beat about the bush when it came to the most controversial part of her act.

Toting a variety of different weapons while dressed in a Dominatrix-style outfit, she opened the show with a risque routine for her song Revolver.

Despite all the uproar at the Scottish show, in the wake of the Colorado shootings, it didn't appear to phase the Irish crowd.

The star reverted to a few guaranteed crowd pleasers from her earlier albums including Papa Don't Preach, Hung Up and Express Yourself.

With an array of costume changes, there was also no shortage of concepts -- with the impressive stage production going from burlesque to Buddah in the blink of an eye.

Many wondered if there would be another nipple flash in the offing, but she settled for just showing her super-toned behind to the crowd.

mfinn@herald.ie