Religious leaders may have snubbed Madonna as a publicity-seeking blasphemer, but there was pure adoration from Italian fans when the popstar staged a mock crucifixion at her concert.
The crowd of 70,000 cheered wildly and many snapped pictures when the diva rose from the stage crucified on a mirrored cross wearing a crown of thorns. “She does it to play, not to offend,” said Benedetta Mori, a 31-year-old fan wearing a T-shirt with an image of Madonna on the cross. “If they allowed her to stage the show here they must also play by her rules.” The planned stunt, part of the singer’s ‘Confessions’ tour, had drawn fire from religious leaders, who condemned it as an act of hostility toward the Roman Catholic Church.
Some had wanted her to give up the mock crucifixion during her show at the capital’s Olympic Stadium, near the Vatican. Besides Madonna’s rendition of Live to Tell while on the cross, religious symbols abounded throughout the two-hour show.
Two dancers with a star of David and a Muslim crescent painted on their torsos embraced and held hands during their routine. “Two miracles have happened,” Madonna told the crowd at the concert. “Italy won the World Cup and it stopped raining before my show.”