Some reviewers, lucky enough to be given one of the 3,000 exclusive tickets, hailed Madonna's 'intimate thank you concert for her biggest fans' at Brixton Academy as the gig of the year.
The star-studded guest list provided plenty of photo opportunities for the tabloid press, as did Madonna's lithe physique, apparently having lost none of its appeal.
It was, however, a tribute to the strength of the performance that the six songs over half an hour attracted little criticism, other than that fans were left wanting more.
The broadsheets' reviews proved more cynical over the motives underlying the event. 'A half-hour triumph of hype over experience' through which 'the singer could drum up hours of and acres of media coverage' was the view of The Daily Telegraph's David Cheal (29/11). Similarly, The Guardian's Maddy Costa claimed that Madonna 'is the canniest of media manipulators' (29/11). Finally though, the hardest critics were wooed.
'It was strangely great,' noted Steve Jelbert (Independent, 30/11). Even the scathing Cheal admitted 'it was fun while it lasted'.
Analysis and commentary by Echo Research. More information can be found at: www.echoResearch.com.