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September 22, 2017

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Blood, guts, guns as Madonna kicks off world tour

TEL AVIV -- Dark Catholic imagery was spliced with blood, guts and guns as Madonna burst onto the stage at Tel Aviv's Ramat Gan stadium late on Thursday to kick off her hotly-anticipated MDNA world tour of some 30 countries.

The portentous tolling of a church bell opens the first set with bare-chested monks in burgundy robes swinging a giant golden censer in front of a giant red cross.

A plainchant melody turns into a Hebrew prayer as monks rise out of the floor, mixing Jewish and Catholic imagery as the Material Girl rises in silhouette, shattering the backscreen as she launches into "Girl Gone Wild."

Guns feature heavily in the next two numbers, "Revolver" and "Gang Bang" with the Queen of Pop and her dancers repeatedly "firing" into the audience with a variety of guns, as huge images of empty bullet casings fall to the ground.

"Bang bang, shot you dead, shot my lover in the head," she sings as brains splat onto the back screen behind her in a number which ends with her shooting down one of the dancers and flinging the gun onto the floor.

Several songs later, the tone changes as the singer nicknamed Madge transforms into a red-and-white clad majorette, with her signature conical bra making an appearance in "Vogue," a monochrome number which blurs the gender lines.

This time, it appears as a cage-like bustier over a white shirt complete with black tie and trousers: office-wear — Madonna style.

In between sets, she addresses the audience, urging Israelis to end the conflict and seek peace.

"I chose to start my world tour in Israel for a very specific and important reason," she said, to wild applause and cheering.

"You can't be a fan of mine and not want peace in the world," she said. "We all bleed the same color."

"If we can all rise above our egos and our titles and the names of our countries and our religions, and treat everyone around us with dignity and respect, then we are on the road to peace.

"If there is peace here in the Middle East, there can be peace in the whole world."

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