Roads to Ramat Gan Stadium were gridlocked last night as 30,000 fans flocked to see U.S. pop legend Madonna hit the stage to kick off her MDNA world tour.
Madonna named the extravaganza a "Concert for Peace" and distributed hundreds of tickets to Israeli peace activists.
Popular Israeli DJ and producer Offer Nissim gave the warm-up act, as thousands made their way on foot through the blocked streets and meticulous security inspections until finally entering the stadium. Nissim, who recently did a remix for Madonna, opened the concert with a festive atmosphere, exciting the fans long before the 53-year-old Queen of Pop appeared on the stage. He was followed by French electronic music DJ and producer Martin Solveig, who co-produced Madonna's new album MDNA.
After the diva finally appeared, the stage was lit with the image of a huge cross and satanic symbols. The song "Girls Gone Wild" from her new album opened the concert, in front of a roaring crowd which looked in the dark like a glowing field of fireflies, formed by thousands of mobile phones held up to face the stage.
The song "Gang Bang" was accompanied by images of blood stains, as Madonna "fired" in all directions with a hand gun and a machine gun, closing with a shot of "die, bitch!"
When the diva belted out "Express Yourself" she worked into it a part of "Born This Way" in a semi nod or jab at Lady Gaga, whose song is seen by many as a take off on Madonna's. The barb became more explicit when she ended with "She's Not Me."
During the concert Madonna addressed the audience, which applauded, explaining why she kicked off her show in Israel.
"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."