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Stage is set for Madonna's Swiss debut

Madonna's list of demands includes a room to house the tour's 3,500 wardrobe items Keystone

Pop megastar Madonna will take to the stage for the first time in Switzerland on Saturday before 73,000 adoring fans.

This content was published on August 29, 2008 - 17:50

The singer's Sticky & Sweet Tour rolls into the Dübendorf former military airfield in canton Zurich with 60 trucks, 15 buses and a team of 250 people.

The world tour kicked off in Cardiff, Wales and takes in 50 cities. Tickets for the two-hour Swiss show sold out in three hours in May – three hours faster than sales for the Rolling Stones' performance at the Dübendorf venue two years ago.

Ten thousand tickets were set aside for residents living in the local community.

The concert tickets include return travel by train and most of the concert-goers are expected to travel by public transport.

Swiss Federal Railways is laying on 130 extra trains to cope and after the two-hour show a non-stop service will run until 2am to take fans home to the main Swiss cities.

Backstage cocoon

Madonna, who recently turned 50, brings her own list of demands for each show and her entourage of 40 people including stylists, hair and make-up staff, a chiropractor, personal trainer and masseuse.

A special room measuring 100 sq m is built to house the tour's 3,500 wardrobe items.

Backstage furniture has to be white and air conditioning is completely banned, whatever the weather. A playroom also must be created for her children.

This, despite the fact that the tour bandwagon is only expected to be in the vicinity for less than six hours.

Also to hand will be the 12 travelling trampolines used in training by Madonna and her 16 dancers, four freezers to carry ice packs for performers, 30 wardrobe trunks and 10 flight cases of medical supplies.

Adrian Kohler, CEO of Swiss herbal sweet firm Ricola, has offered to hand deliver lozenges to the singer. Madonna ordered 400 packages of the sweets for her last world tour.

Multifaceted

It is 25 years since Madonna's career was launched with the hit album Like A Virgin.

Her current tour is touted as a choreographed rock show that is divided into four parts: Gangsta Pimp, where she shows off her dominatrix side; Old School, a homage to the 1980s; Gypsy, and Rave, where her Spanish, Romanian and far eastern influences surface.

Support will be Hamutsun Serve, a dance animation band whose video caught Madonna's attention on YouTube.

The tour has already attracted controversy for a segment in which a video of United States presidential hopeful John McCain is compared to Adolf Hitler.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Jewish centre in the US described the move as an "insult to all Americans".

Sticky & Sweet is Madonna's first tour since striking a deal with concert promoter Live Nation worth an estimated $120 million (SFr131 million) over ten years. The partnership gives Live Nation a stake of future music and music-related business she generates, including touring, merchandising and albums.

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In brief

Madonna Louise Ciccone was born August 16, 1958 in Bay City, Michigan. She grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and aged six was placed in a religious boarding school following the death of her mother.

She left for New York in 1978 with a dream of being a dancer but ended up making music. Her first single, Everybody, was released in 1982 but it was her 1984 album, Like a Virgin, that transformed her into a star.

Most of her albums have had enormous success, including the latest, Hard Candy.

This was not necessarily the case for her various film roles but she did earn a Golden Globe for the part in the film Evita in 1996. Most recently she moved behind the camera to make Obsenity and Virtue in 2008.

She has notched up 11 albums, seven Grammys and sold around 200 million albums. She is worth an estimated SFr615 million.

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Sticky & Sweet in numbers

653 hours of rehearsal time for Madonna and the band

69 guitars

20 nationalities represented on tour (including Japanese, Israeli, Russian, Romanian, Australian and Algerian)

16 caterers

16 dancers and 12 musicians

8 major Madonna costume changes during the set (five people are needed to help Madonna change into each new outfit)

3 racks of clothing containing Madonna's stage wardrobe

1 set of crystal ear phones for the DJ

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