Madge Irks Eco Groups

The opening show of Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet Tour received a rapturous response from critics and fans but the 49-date trek has been getting flak from environmental groups. predicts the tour, which is said to involve flying 250 people and several tons of equipment around the world, will produce more than 1,500 tons of carbon emissions.

“This is a massive amount of carbon emissions even for a top celebrity icon,” said John Buckley, who works for the Web site and believes Madonna’s team should have done more to protect the environment.

“However, these emissions will be swamped by those caused by the crowds of concertgoers.”

A couple of newswires frowned on Madge’s baggage, particularly as she headlined last year’s Live Earth concert in London and pledged her commitment to help save the planet.

Apart from all the fans, there are two stages and loads of instruments, including five keyboards and 69 guitars.

The entourage also includes 30 wardrobe trunks and nine people to look after them, 16 caterers, 12 trampolines used in training by Madonna and the dancers, four large freezers to carry their ice packs, 10 large flight cases of medical supplies, plus a chiropractor, a personal trainer and a masseuse.

The oft-reinvented 50-year-old’s Cardiff performance wowed the critics – particularly the spectacle of it and the rapid costume changes, which now take only a minute and a half thanks to the five people assisting her. The Daily Telegraph said she threw herself into the two-hour show with “impressive vigour.”

Less impressed were the supporters of U.S. presidential candidate John McCain, who felt she went too far by comparing the Republican leader to Adolf Hitler and Robert Mugabe.

During her performance of “Get Stupid,” war hero McCain’s image was flashed up alongside images of the Führer and the Zimbabwean dictator, along with scenes depicting destruction and the effects of global warming.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was shown alongside Mahatma Gandhi, John Lennon and Al Gore.

“The comparisons are outrageous, unacceptable and crudely divisive all at the same time,” McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds told The Times.

Madonna is no stranger to controversy on the road. In 2006 her stage show for the record-setting Confessions tour included a mock crucifixion, which upset religious leaders in several countries.