Madonna loves to french the French

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The pop diva turned sexy hard-rock queen at a private concert in Paris on Tuesday night.

7 May 2008

PARIS - Pop diva Madonna turned sexy hard-rock queen for a night at a private concert in Paris Tuesday night, telling her fans she loves to french-kiss the French as she ground away at an electric guitar.

Wearing black from head to toe, her blonde curls loose to her shoulders, Madonna put on a high-voltage half-hour show for a privileged 1,500 fans at her first concert in the French capital in 10 years to mark the release of "Hard Candy", her 10th chart-topping album.

"Who do you love more, me or the Rolling Stones?" she asked the crowd packing the Olympia, a mythical concert hall near the Paris opera, before launching into a ear-popping heavy-metal version of her mega-hit, "Hung Up".

"I thought you might say that," quipped the queen of pop, who turns 50 on August 16, as the adoring crowd roared back their answer.

The Material Girl made her stage entrance seated in a black-and-gold fairytale throne, wearing a black satin bodice, satin pants and tailcoat with pink lining, lace-up boots with six-inch heels, and twirling a magician's wand.

Madonna in ParisMadonna told the concert hall it was "a historical moment" for her to be performing on the same stage as the iconic French chanteuse Edith Piaf, or fellow legends Juliette Greco and Marlene Dietrich.

"Why do I have this relationship with France? I'm always drawn to working with French people - and frenching French people," she quipped. "Vive la France!"

Despite lukewarm reviews, Madonna's hip hop-influenced new album "Hard Candy", co-written and produced with former N-Sync singer Justin Timberlake, and hip hop stars Timbaland and Pharrell Williams, shot straight to the top of the charts in France and across Europe upon its release last week.

Madonna has described the title as "a juxtaposition of tough and sweetness" - but her performance in Paris was tough from start to finish.

Flanked by an electrifying crew of hip-hop dancers and surrounded by pulsing video screens, Madonna ground, bumped, skipped and jumped her way through four of her new tracks - including the chart-topping "Four Minutes" - as well as the now classic "Music" and "Hung Up".

The magician's gear and heeled boots quickly gave way to dance-friendly running shoes and sleeveless black top, before she pulled out the saturated electric guitar for a heavy-metal sounding finale.

"Hard Candy" is Madonna's last album on the Warner label before she takes up her astronomical USD 120-million (EUR 78-million), 10-year deal with US concert promoter Live Nation.

The Paris gig was the second of three private concerts being held to mark its launch, after New York on 30 April and before London on 11 May.

One third of tickets went to listeners of the French radio station NRJ, which organised the French event, with the rest snapped up by VIPs and fans in the know, from France and elsewhere.

Andrew Stewart, 37, has seen Madonna 17 times on stage since 1987 and flew in from Thailand specially to catch the show.

"She's just the most amazing performer," said the British web designer. "She doesn't compare to anyone."
[AFP / ANP / Expatica]

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