Today in Madonna History: January 29, 2002

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On January 29 2002, Madonna attended the opening of photographer Mario Testino’s exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England.

Today in Madonna History: July 2, 2005

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On July 2 2005, Madonna performed Like A Prayer, Ray Of Light and Music in front of an audience of over 200,000 during the Live 8 benefit concert at London’s Hyde Park. Part of a series of concerts, many of which were held simultaneously at various locations around the world, Live 8 was broadcast live on television and radio to an estimated global audience of two billion.

Madonna is one of only eight acts – and the only female artist – to have been a headlining performer at both 1985’s Live Aid and 2005’s Live 8. Other returning performers were U2, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Sting, The Who, George Michael, and organizer, Bob Geldof. It took a bit of arm twisting on Geldof’s part to win Madonna’s commitment the second time around, as Madonna explained to MTV’s John Norris in a backstage interview after her performance:

Bob Geldof sent me a letter asking ‘will you do Live 8?’ and he didn’t really tell me anything and I went ‘Oh common dude, you gotta do better than that! Prove to me that it’s gonna make a difference and I’ll be there for you.’ And he did!”

In what turned out to be one of the event’s most moving moments, Madonna was introduced to the stage by Geldof with Birhan Woldu – the starving African child featured in the CBC News report twenty years earlier who had prompted Geldof to organize Live Aid. When Geldof had asked Woldu which artist she would like to appear with on stage, she immediately selected Madonna for the simple reason that she was the only artist on the bill that she had ever heard of. In a later interview, Woldu recalled the experience:

The crowd seemed to stretch for miles, but I’d been telling myself not to be nervous. There was just a huge picture of me as a child on the screen. That photo still upsets me. It was taken 20 years ago, when both my mother and sister died. I knew I must be strong for them but when I walked on I could feel my body shaking. Then Madonna took my hand and looked into my eyes, the crowd roared and I realised the world wanted to help my continent. I felt myself grow stronger.”

Madonna’s memorable performance at Live 8 was largely praised by mainstream media and fans alike.

Today In Madonna History: February 17, 1998

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On February 17 1998, Madonna arrived in London, England to begin the European promotional tour for Ray of Light.

Today in Madonna History: September 25, 1993

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On September 25 1993, Madonna’s The Girlie Show tour opened with 2 sold-out concerts at Wembley Stadium in London, England.  Over 144,000 fans attended the two shows in London.

The Girlie Show was launched in support of Madonna’s 1992 album, Erotica. The show had the central visual theme of a “sex circus”. Described as “a mixture of a rock concert, a fashion show, a carnival performance, a cabaret act and a burlesque show”, the show had a more complex stage than those from Madonna’s previous tours: it had a runway that led from the centre of the main stage to a minor stage, a revolving elevated platform in the middle of the main stage, balconies in the rear of the stage, and a giant illuminated Girlie Show sign above stage, among other features. The tour was directed by Madonna’s brother, Christopher Ciccone; costumes for the tour were designed by Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana.

Did you see The Girlie Show live in person? 

Today in Madonna History: August 18, 1987

On August 18 1987, Madonna performed the first of three sold-out Who’s That Girl Tour concerts at Wembley Stadium in London.

In total, Madonna performed for 216,000 fans during the three nights at Wembley.

Today in Madonna History: July 7, 2007

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On July 7 2007, Madonna performed Hey You, Ray Of Light, La Isla Bonita/Lela Pala Tute and Hung Up at the Live Earth benefit concert at London’s Wembley Stadium.

Madonna was joined onstage by Gogol Bordello. It was also her final live performance to feature longtime backing singer Donna De Lory, musical director/collaborator Stuart Price, as well as drummer Steve Sidelnyk and keyboardist Marcus Brown.

Today in Madonna History: May 20, 2010

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On May 20 2010, Madonna’s car was photographed getting a parking ticket for parking on a double yellow line outside of Aura Nightclub in London.

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