Madonna shines in 'Celebration' tour after near-fatal illness

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Madonna kicked off her "Celebration" tour in London, with a performance that proved her energy and charisma had dimmed after four decades of pop super-stardom and a brush with death earlier this year.

The 65-year-old's greatest hits show was pushed back from its original July start date after she was hospitalised in intensive care for a serious bacterial infection.

"I'm really damn surprised I made it this far. And I mean that on so many levels," she told fans at the O2 arena.

"It was a crazy year for me as well. And I didn't think I was going to make it."

Wearing the corset and chains that defined her breakthrough, she sang Into The Groove before a sound problem forced her to ad-lib about her early struggles in New York.

After the sound system was restored, she performed more than 40 of her hit tracks, including Holiday, Like a Prayer and Papa Don't Preach and all of her re-inventions.

Her track Vogue, that powered her into the 1990s, saw one of the stages become a catwalk.

The seven-time Grammy Award winner has rescheduled the tour's North American leg to start in December after her European concerts.

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