On December 18 2000, Madonna appeared on the cover of People magazine: Madonna and family: A burglar in the house.
In the predawn hours of Dec. 1, the unsettling sounds of an intruder downstairs awoke Madonna and her fiancé, British film director Guy Ritchie, 32, at their rented Victorian mansion in London’s Notting Hill. By the time help arrived, the thief, who police believe had targeted the house at random, had fled with a laptop computer in Ritchie’s year-old black Range Rover. The shock of the invasion aside, little harm was done. The couple’s 4-month-old son, Rocco, and Madonna’s daughter Lourdes, 4, slept right through the excitement, and the SUV was recovered later that day in London.
“On a scale of 1 to 10,” says Ritchie pal and publicist Kris Thykier, “it’s a 1.” Yet security plainly rates a 10 in Madonna’s mind. Though she recently knocked L.A. by announcing “I feel safer” in London, she was burgled in the same house last June. After that theft, the star shelled out $280,000 to tighten security at the three-story house, which came equipped with a 5-ft. stone wall and iron railings.
Contrary to press reports that she purchased a $10.3 million Georgian property in nearby Belgravia, real estate agents say that Madonna—who has made a second career of shopping for London houses—is still on the prowl to buy a residence. Meanwhile, jetting off to Rome 12 hours after the heist to promote her new Music album, Madonna, 42, put aside her burglary fears with a 90-minute shopping spree at the chichi Fendi boutique. Shop manager Mariano Manselli, who declines to confirm reports of a $15,000 tab, demurely labels the haul “Christmas shopping.”
On August 1 2006, Madonna performed the first of 8 Confessions Tour concerts at Wembley Arena in London.
Madonna performed to sold out audiences at Wembley Arena on August 1, 3, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15 and 16th.
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.
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.
On December 9 2001, Madonna presented the Turner Prize to artist Martin Creed at London’s Tate Britain gallery.
Madonna half-seriously plugged her greatest hits album, GHV2, before explaining her feelings of ambivalence towards the merit of awards in relation to the artistic process.
“Art is always at its best when there is no money, because art has nothing to do with money and everything to do with love. Like love, it can be inspiring, inexplicable, provocative and sometimes infuriating. Nevertheless, we can not live without it, so that is why I’m here – not because I think one artist is better than another, but because I want to support any artist who not only has something to say, but has the balls to say it. In a time when political correctness is valued over honesty, I would also like to say – right on motherfuckers! – everyone is a winner.”
Channel 4 unsuccessfully attempted to censor the speech during the live broadcast, and later issued an apology for Madonna’s choice of words, which aired prior to the 9pm watershed. Madonna later explained that she had not intended to use profanity until the producers asked to review the content of her speech prior to the broadcast, sparking her defiance.
On November 28 2000, Madonna performed a mini-set at London’s Brixton Academy. The show was part of the Don’t Tell Me Promo Tour, which began only two months after the birth of her second child, Rocco, and consisted of a few small club dates as well as television performances and interviews to promote the second single from her Music album. Aside from the promotional aspect, Madonna also used the club shows as an opportunity to test the waters for performing live shows again following a seven-year hiatus from touring. The Brixton gig closely mirrored her set at New York’s Roseland Ballroom several weeks earlier, with one notable exception being the addition of Holiday to the UK set-list.
The full London set-list consisted of:
- Impressive Instant
- Runaway Lover
- Don’t Tell Me
- What It Feels Like For A Girl
The Brixton Academy performance was streamed live across the internet to an estimated 9 million viewers.