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Stadium prepares for Madonna gig
23 August 2008 01:09 am
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The final preparations are being made for the start of Madonna's 27 date world tour which kicks off at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

The pop icon's Sticky and Sweet tour takes in 16 European venues, including London's Wembley Stadium, before moving to North and South America.

The 40,000-seat first date is all but sold out with a 250-strong crew putting the finishing touches to the event.

Stadium manager Gerry Toms said: "They have been here for some time now."

Madonna's last tour was in 2006 and it became the highest-grossing by a female artist at the time.

The new tour promises 16 dancers, a 12 piece band and an array of designer costume changes for the star, who celebrated her 50th birthday last week.

Madonna and band have spent more than 650 hours rehearsing for the two-hour show which is broken into four sections.

The Pimp section is described as a "mashed-up homage" to 1920s deco and modern day gangsta pimp, in which Madonna will make an entrance dressed by Givenchy.

The Old School show section will see Madonna return to her early 80s downtown New York City dance roots and the birth of rap.

There will then be a Romanian folk music and dance-influenced Gypsy section, before the Rave element, which promises far eastern influences, emerging "all sparkly and sporty".

The show will bring its usual glamour, with a team of 36 different designers contributing to the stage costumes.

'Horrendous weather'

There are three racks of clothing for Madonna's stage wardrobe alone, with five assistants helping with the star's eight major costume changes.

It is the first time the venue has been picked to start a world tour and Mr Toms said it showed the venue had the confidence of the industry.

He said: "There's lot of work involved in a new tour. A new stage configuration and lighting has been be going on for the past couple of weeks.

"The benefit for us that we have a retractable roof, so we've been unhindered by the horrendous weather we've been having.

"They could have gone to anywhere in Europe buy they've got the confidence in Cardiff, not just the stadium, but Cardiff as a whole to deliver, we should take some strength from that."

A Cardiff Council spokeswoman said most of the city's hotels were full although this was not entirely due to the concert but also to the fact that it is a Bank Holiday weekend.

She said some people were also staying in nearby Caerphilly, Newport and Bridged and others were in self catering accommodation, camping or caravanning.

Anyone who is need of accommodation can still contact the Tourist Information Centre helpline on 08701 211258.

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