PHILADELPHIA -- After months touring abroad, Madonna was in a patriotic mood for the opening night of her American tour Tuesday night.

"In my country, we have freedom of speech, freedom of expression," she told the crowd at the sold-out Wells Fargo Center. "Never forget how lucky you are to live where you live."

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Those freedoms are needed for her "MDNA" tour, which she rehearsed at Nassau Coliseum throughout May, with its dark, violent opening that gives way to dance party joy, with cheerleader chants and a high-fashion "Vogue," as well as a serious video tribute to young men who died after being bullied.

Before the concert, Madonna released a statement asking that parts of her show not be taken out of context and that they be seen as "the journey of a soul from darkness to light."

She plays Yankee Stadium on Sept. 6 and 8.