Madonna concert moves beyond greatest hits

Madonna performs during her MDNA tour in Nice,

Madonna performs during her MDNA tour in Nice, France. (Aug. 21, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

Madonna racked up another career first Thursday night as she became the first woman to headline Yankee Stadium.

"I just want to say it's an honor for me to be playing Yankee Stadium," she told the capacity crowd from her massive stage set up in deep centerfield. (She returns for another Yankee Stadium show Saturday.)

And in true Madonna style, she commemorated the event guns blazing -- literally. The "MDNA" show, which she rehearsed at Nassau Coliseum throughout May, opens with a great deal of pretend violence and a fictional body count that rivals a Hollywood shoot-em-up, all symbolic, she says, of her own emotional turmoil.

Holiday, celebration -- this is not. Madonna gets to a happier place at the end, one filled more with spirituality and personal acceptance than actual partying and, you know, dancing, though there is actual parkour-styled jumping for joy at times. Thursday night's show was actually much warmer than the tour opener in Philadelphia last week, especially during the lovely "Open Your Heart," where she was joined onstage by her son, Rocco, and declared "I love you" to the audience.

She also adopted a more political bent, revealing "OBAMA" scrawled on her back and declaring that her world tour made her appreciate American life more. "That doesn't mean this is a perfect country," she added. "We have a long way to go. Thank god for Michelle Obama and her good-looking husband too."

Madonna has set up the "MDNA" tour as a current, artistically challenging work, rather than a nostalgic, greatest-hits package. She keeps moving forward, which may explain how she continues to reach new milestones like conquering Yankee Stadium.

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