Madonna hails freedom at US show
Madonna said she was happy to party in America as she kicked off the US leg of her MDNA Tour in Philadelphia.
The Queen of Pop - who has been touring Europe for three months - told the crowd they should "never forget how lucky you are to live where you live and to have the freedom that you have".
The star made the comments after talking about the arrest of three members of the punk-rock female band Pussy Riot. The women were sentenced to two years in prison after performing a "punk prayer" at Moscow's Christ the Saviour cathedral in which they called on the Virgin Mary to deliver Russia from its leader, Vladimir Putin.
"In my travels around the world the one thing I truly witnessed is we in America have freedom of speech, freedom of expression," the singer said.
Madonna is among several stars who have called for the Pussy Riot members to be freed.
"I don't think that it's a coincidence that I'm in the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed," Madonna said to nearly 20,000 fans at the Wells Fargo Centre. "We are in the land of democracy."
Russian activists recently sued Madonna, claiming they were offended by her support for gay rights during her show in St Petersburg. A law passed in February makes it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors, and the author of that law has pointed to the presence of children as young as 12 at Madonna's concert on August 9.
When speaking about Pussy Riot, Madonna said that about 80 gay men were jailed in St Petersburg because of their sexual orientation. She told the crowd that the arrests were unfair, and they booed in her support.
Then the 53-year-old told the US audience: "Don't get fat and lazy and take that freedom for granted."