LONDON : Madonna's greatest hit tour to feature 40 songs. The Pop superstar begins her 78 show.

Four of her children on a stage inspired by the grid Manhattan, 80 tons of production equipment, more than 40 songs and a time machine -

Madonna's career spanning tour kicks off on Saturday after it was postponed due to illness.

The pop superstar begins her 78-show Madonna : The Celebration Tour, marking her more than 40 years of hits, at London's O2 arena, three months later after its original July start date in Vancouver was pushed back when the Vogue singer was hospitalized for a serious bacterial infection.

After taking time to recover, the seven-time Grammy award winner has rescheduled most of the tour's North American leg to start in December after her European concerts.

In an interview with Britain's BBC, Madonna's musical director said the delay had allowed her to refine the show.

''Madonna has very high expectations of how much hard work people will put into something. It's very uncompromising - but she's equally hard on herself,'' Stuart Price said, adding the singer had made a full recovery.

'' So when she took a break, that pause created an opportunity to further enhance the show. And I'm sure the opportunity [ for her ] to focus on being 100% well was greatly received as well.''

Tour organisers said that Madonna would perform on '' 4,400 square ft of stage, the largest for any Madonna tour'', which nods to the grid of Manhattan. 

Madonna, 65, began her hugely successful music career in New York.

She will have 24 onstage performers, four of her children will also be on stage, and she will be transported high up around the arena ''in an illuminated portal frame that acts as a time machine''.

The O2 has also created a bespoke ''Madonna-themed'' Royal Standard flag, made by the British royal family's flagmakers to fly at the arena. [Reuters]


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