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Madonna seals UK love affair

LONDON, England -- Pop superstar Madonna has thrilled fans in her adopted London home at the start of a string of UK dates.

On U.S. Independence Day she told 16,000 fans at her concert in Earl's Court: "God save the Queen."

There was also a poignant dedication to her British husband Guy Ritchie, who she married last December, as she sat in an armchair clutching a guitar, which she has been learning to play for the past eight months.

She said: "I usually slam straight into this song without a word but I wanted to dedicate this song to someone very special to me.

'Mature' Madonna wows London  

"I have been waiting months to do it in the city he was born in, so this is for my husband -- and for every one of you."

Madonna then launched into I Deserve It, followed by her massive hit Don't Tell Me.

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The 42-year-old mother-of-two went through six costume changes, from punk singer to geisha girl, during 20 songs, mainly from her last two albums, Ray of Light and Music.

Many fans paid hundreds of pounds for tickets for the concert, buying them from touts or in Internet auctions, with tickets officially costing between 40 ($56) and 85 ($120).

The show also included a with a martial arts extravaganza as Madonna and two dancers flew across the stage on harnesses, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-style during Sky Fits Heaven.

She later added to the action by straddling a mechanical bull during a country and western themed segment of the show for which she wore faded flared jeans and a sequined t-shirt.

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Madonna said she was delighted to be in London -- her part-time home.

"After travelling around Europe for the last month, no one speaking my language, goddammit, it's good to be here," she said.

Madonna rounded up the show with a Spanish version of What It Feels Like For A Girl and a flamenco performance of La Isla Bonita on Spanish guitar and castanets.

Fans were then sent on their way with a pair of classics, old and new. Dressed in a fake Dalmatian coat, she delved back to her 1983 hit Holiday, and for an encore, she unleashed last year's hit Music.

Madonna's "Drowned World" tour began in Barcelona, Spain on June 9. Stopping in 48 shows in 17 countries, the 13-week show is travelling on two Boeing 747 jets and includes 200 people, her British promoter MBC says.

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