Madonna opened The Celebration Tour in London on Saturday (Oct. 14) night at the O2 Arena. Although the triumphant, hits-filled spectacle was mostly celebratory, the reliably outspoken pop star took a moment to address the war between Israel and Hamas-controlled Palestine before the night was over. No surprise there — when Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Israeli soil left an eventual 1,300 people (primarily civilians) dead a week ago, she quickly condemned the attacks on Instagram. But clearly, even on the opening night of her tour, the escalating situation and ongoing violence is weighing heavily on her mind.
“It breaks my heart watching what’s happening in Israel and Palestine,” she told the crowd. “It breaks my heart to see children suffering, teenagers suffering, elderly people suffering. All of it is heartbreaking, okay? I’m sure you agree. Even though our hearts are broken, our spirits cannot be broken. Are you with me?” After the crowd clapped in approval, she continued.
“A lot of people say, ‘Well, what can I do? I’m just one person.’ You feel hopeless. You feel helpless. What can we do? There’s a lot we can do. First and foremost, we can say, ‘I can make a difference because I individually can bring light into the world with my actions, with my words, each and every day.’ I’m sorry. This isn’t about lecturing you — but we are all together very powerful people. We can unite in a dark and evil way, or we can unite from a place of light and love. And if we all have that collective consciousness, we can change the world, and we can bring peace – not only to the Middle East, but to the whole world.”
That was far from the only serious moment during an otherwise jubilant evening. The Queen of Pop – whose tour kickoff was postponed due to a hospital stay after a “serious bacterial infection” in June – got candid about her brush with mortality during the evening, too.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it,” she stated bluntly at one point during the show. “I forgot five days of my life — or death, I didn’t really know where I was.” But Madonna said it was her family, ultimately, who pulled her through. “My children were there — and my children always save me every time.” Calling it her “secret” to survival, Madonna said she simply tells herself, “I have got to be there for my children – I have to survive for them.”
Four of her children were, in fact, on stage with her during the tour opener – all of them performing, too. When it comes to family, Madonna does indeed keep it together.