Madonna announces biggest-ever tour
New York - Madonna's big year got even bigger on Tuesday with the announcement of her most ambitious world tour ever, hot on the heels of her record-setting Super Bowl halftime show.
The Material Girl will hopscotch around the globe in support of her 12th studio album MDNA which comes out March 26, even as her second feature film, the romantic drama W.E., struggles to impress critics and draw audiences.
In a statement, concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment said the as-yet unnamed tour - Madonna's first since her wildly successful Sticky and Sweet outing in 2008 and 2009 - would kick off March 29 in Tel Aviv.
She will go on to perform in Abu Dhabi and Istanbul, before starting a 22-city swing through Europe in Zagreb on June 11 that will include Paris, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Moscow and Milan.
Madonna will be in Oslo on August 15, the day before her 54th birthday.
The 26-city North American leg begins August 28 in Philadelphia, and includes open-air gigs in Quebec City's Plains of Abraham park on September 1 and New York's Yankee Stadium on September 6.
"The tour will also visit South America and Australia," Live Nation said, with dates to be announced. There was no mention of any gigs in Asia.
"It will be big and can get bigger," Live Nation's chief executive Arthur Fogel told music news website Billboard.com, adding that production for the tour was in the conceptual stages.
Curiously, Madonna's hometown Detroit was missing from Tuesday's list, although Live Nation teased that "additional cities and venues" are in the pipeline.
Fogel told Billboard.com that the tour - to wrap up in Australia early next year - would be Madonna's biggest yet with close to 90 concerts, compared with 85 for Sticky and Sweet.
With her 2008 divorce from British film-maker Guy Ritchie a distant memory, Madonna marked a return to top form on Sunday in a 12-minute, four-song performance midway through the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, Indiana.
It was the most-watched halftime show in Super Bowl history, watched by 114 million viewers in the United States alone - more than the record 111.3 million who tuned in for the National Football League championship itself.
Joining Madonna in an athletic performance of her just-released single Give Me All Your Luvin was British rapper M.I.A., whose split-second flip of the middle finger to the cameras set tongues wagging.
Some wondered if the superstar resented being upstaged by a relative upstart. Others thought M.I.A. was only keeping true to Madonna's own career-defining talent for stirring controversy and breaking with convention.
Washington Post television critic Hank Steuver marveled how Madonna had "outdone herself, executing a flashy halftime tribute to her own image (...) but also honouring the concept of longevity and old-fashioned pop stardom".
Critics have been less impressed by W.E., a romantic tale that builds on the love affair between Britain's king Edward VIII and US divorcee Wallace Simpson, which Madonna wrote, directed and co-produced.
It premiered at the Venice film festival in December, then went on to earn Madonna a surprise best-song Golden Globe for Masterpiece.
The Hollywood Reporter said the film, starring Abbie Cornish and James Fox, felt "artificial, programmed (and) rote". The New York Times said it "has its pull, but it never coheres, shredded by its editing and its pretensions".
Madonna's directorial debut was Filth and Wisdom, a 2008 comedy about three London roommates.