"Tel Aviv, are you ready?"
That's what Madonna asked the crowd of about 33,000 last night as she kicked off her MDNA world tour at Ramat Gan stadium. And they roared back.
The singer, 53, emerged on stage aiming a rifle at the audience, reports AP. She wore a skin-tight black outfit to sing her first song, Girl Gone Wild, accompanied by dancers dressed as monks. And one of them was her son, Rocco!
Later, looking part cheerleader, part marching band conductor, Madonna performed a mash-up of Express Yourself with Lady Gaga's Born This Way, just as she had in rehearsal earlier this week.
Included in the show, reports Bloomberg News: Techno-beats and a video-projected mix of sexual, violent and religious images, along with a plea for Middle East peace.
"I chose to start my world tour in Israel for a very specific and important reason," she told the crowd. "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 respect, then we are on the road to peace."
The singer drew scattered cheers, reports Bloomberg, concluding with "If there is peace in the Middle East, there can be peace in the whole world."
Madonna landed in Israel last week, arriving with her children, boyfriend Brahim Zaibat and a 70-person entourage, reports AP. She spent the days leading up to the performance rehearsing for the glitzy show and visiting Kabbalah centers.
After Tel Aviv, the tour moves on to Abu Dhabi and includes stops in Istanbul, Buenos Aires and Cleveland.