Madonna’s 51st birthday concert in Poland was marred by religious protesters last night. The Material Girl performed in front of thousands of fans Warsaw for her Sticky & Sweet world tour, but it appeared not everyone wanted to celebrate her special day. A small group of religious Poles were furious the scandalous singer was performing the day they mark the Virgin Mary’s ascension to Heaven.
Before Madonna took to the stage at the city’s Bemowo Airport, Catholic protesters carried flags and religious painting as they displayed their distaste outside the venue. Despite being brought up Catholic, Madonna has been a follower of the Kabbalah, a mystical offshoot of Judaism, since 1994.
She has regularly upset members of the Catholic church in her videos and concerts, most famously kissing a black Jesus in her Like A Prayer video. In her last Confessions tour, Madonna also caused further controversy by appearing to be ‘crucified’ on a bejewelled cross.
But despite the protests outside, the 80,000 crowd inside the gig were full of love and support for the famous birthday girl on Saturday. Fans held up signs saying happy birthday and sang May You Live A Hundred Years, a traditional Polish birthday song.
A grateful Madonna said: ‘I feel your love. I love what I do, but you regenerate me.’ The concert took place on the eve of the singer’s 51st birthday, which she is expected to spend in Poland with her boyfriend Jesus Luz and four children today. Her next concert is scheduled to take place in Munich on Tuesday.
As well as marking her birthday, Madonna also paid tribute to her late friend Michael Jackson. A Jackson impersonator wearing a sequinned jacket and white glove came on stage doing the moonwalk to one of his tracks as a picture of the tragic singer as a boy was projected onto a big screen. Madonna said: ‘Let’s give it up for one of the greatest artists the world has ever known.’ Last week, Madonna celebrated her son Rocco’s ninth birthday by getting 50,000 fans at her Copenhagen concert to sing him Happy Birthday. Meanwhile, the singer is rumoured to have signed up to appear on an episode of The X Factor. Following in the footsteps of Mariah Carey and Britney Spears, who appeared on the ITV talent show last year, Madonna will perform and mentor wannabe singing stars.