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Madonna rocks the Girlie Show tour

The diva kicks off her Girlie Show tour in style

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Madonna may have lost some of her glitter lately. But as she demonstrated in the kickoff of her Girlie Show tour at London’s Wembley Stadium, she hasn’t forgotten the twin pillars of her success—how to put on a show, and how to make a buck. Until she hits the States on Oct. 14, some notes from her sold-out stint in fair Britannia:

Biggest souvenir rip-off: Girlie Show matches $2.25.

Most dubious professional support: Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tennant showed up, then disappeared halfway through the two-hour show.

Most self-aggrandizing move: Hiring Boyz II Men knockoff UNV (recently signed to Madonna’s Maverick Records) as the opening act.

Most ineffective symbol: An annoying, recurring circus clown (actually Madonna), meant to represent voyeurism.

Most principled journalistic stand: From London’s Daily Mail: ”This Paper Is a Madonna-Free Zone.”

Best rumor: That German chancellor Helmut Kohl had dispatched German intelligence agents to assess the show. (In any case, a spokesman for Kohl’s Christian Democrats later warned a Berlin newspaper that the Material Girl had best clean up her act before appearing in Germany.)

Most-pursued trivia:
* Number of aircraft needed to ferry the tour around Europe: 2 (including the largest Soviet transport plane ever made)
* Number of fans who greeted Madonna when she arrived: 3
* Cost of her hotel suite: $4,350 a night
* Number of costumes: 1,500
* Costume changes: 10
* Time it takes for the house to really start rocking: 97 minutes (at which point Madonna performs ”Holiday” dressed in a long military greatcoat)
* Longest lame filler: 6 minutes of darkened stage following ”Rain”
* Number of times Madonna digitally stimulates her nether regions: 7
* Number of times other people stimulate Madonna’s nether regions: Lost count