Madonna opens the North America leg of her MDNA tour at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia tonight.
As she's played around the world on a tour that began in May in Tel Aviv, Madonna has raised eyebrows and drawn criticism for a show that uses Nazi swastika iconography and in which the pop star totes a fake AK-47 and revolver during the early choreographed segments of the show.
At a time when the country has been hit by a wave of mass shootings, American audiences will get their first chance to see the show - which plays Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Sept. 15 - tonight.
So before anyone could get the chance to pass judgment, Madonna issued a pre-emptive prose poem "Manifesto" yesterday laying out her artistic intentions. "It's true there is a lot of violence in the beginning of the show and sometimes the use of fake guns - but they are used as metaphors," she wrote. "I do not condone violence or the use of guns."
Limited view seats are available for tonight's show at ComcastTix.com. Madonna's full statement after the jump.
Madonna's MDNA Show Manifesto
Is a journey.
The journey of a soul from darkness to light
It is part cinematic musical theatre.
Part spectacle and sometimes intimate Performance art.
But above all its a journey
From darkness to light
From anger to love
from chaos to order.
It's true there is a lot of violence in the beginning of the show and sometimes the use of fake guns - but they are used as metaphors.
I do not condone violence or the use of guns.
Rather they are symbols of wanting to appear strong and wanting to find a way to stop feelings that I find hurtful or damaging. In my case its wanting to stop the lies and hypocrisy of the church, the intolerance of many narrow minded cultures and societies I have experienced throughout my life
and in some cases the pain I have felt from having my heart broken.
Ultimately as we follow through the journey of my story, the audience can see quite clearly what I see - That the enemy is within and the only way to survive Disappointment Disapproval Judgment Heartbreak Jealousy Envy And Hatred Is with Love - not with revenge - not with guns and not with violence.
In spite of all the chaos and darkness and intolerance we seem to be encountering more and more in the world, We cannot allow our anger or bitterness to swallow us up.
We come to understand that
There is an innate and pure love inside us all and we have to find a way to tap into it.
And we can't do it by being victims or placing the blame or pointing the finger at others.
But by recognizing that the enemy is within And when we come to terms with it And accept it And struggle to change ourselves, Then we can change the world without hurting anyone and we can inspire others to do the same.
When you watch a film there are usually good guys and bad guys to help illustrate this point, Sometimes I play both.
I enjoy acting out this journey.
For none of us are perfect and we all have our own journey of growth to go on.
I know people can relate to it.
It's very important to me as an artist that my show not be taken out of context.
It must be watched with an open heart from beginning to end. I am sure if it is viewed this way, the viewer will walk away feeling inspired, Invigorated and will want to make the world a better place.
And this of course was always my intention.