Madonna took to the stage Saturday evening for the first night of her rescheduled tour, and spoke publicly of her recent serious illness, telling her crowd, “I didn’t think I was going to make it.”
On stage at London’s O2 arena, she added, “Neither did my children, that’s why I woke up with them all around me.
“I forgot five days of my life – or my death. But the angels were protecting me. If you want to know my secret, how I survived, I thought, ‘I’ve got to be there for my children. I’ve got to pull through for them.’”
The 65-year-old star segued into an acoustic version of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive. When the song reached the lyric “Did you think I’d lay down and die,” she paused and addressed the audience: “Well, did you?”
This was the first night of the tour which had to be rescheduled after Madonna fell seriously ill in June and spent time in intensive care in hospital in New York.
The show took a tour of more than 40 hits from her 40-year career, including Like a Prayer, Holiday and Crazy for You. She opened with Nothing Really Matters.
At one point, she had to fill for 10 minutes while the crew struggled with technical problems. During the lull, Madonna regaled the huge crowd with stories from her early days in New York, including her time of living in rehearsal spaces with her band:
“I had no way to take a bath. So I would actually date men who had showers and bathrooms. Those were the days, and that is the truth.”
Later she told the audience, “You will be crucified, you will be vilified, because to age is to sin. I think the most controversial thing I’ve done is to stick around.”
And she shared her sorrow over the situation in Israel and Gaza:
“It’s so painful to witness,” she said. “It breaks my heart to see children suffering, teenagers suffering, elderly people suffering. I’m sure you agree.”