Asking Madonna to be less controversial is like asking a leopard to change its spots, writes Marianne Gunn

So it's unsurprising the furore she created by continuing with her opening numbers, which featured graphic violence and sexualised weaponry, not to mention digital portrayals of the resulting sprayed brain matter. The Queen of Pop was displeased with the city's curfew too and, in fact, tracks had to be cut from the MDNA set (Like A Virgin Waltz and I'm Addicted had to go to bring the show in on time). As the hydraulics lowered her for the final time, her gasped "We made it!" sounded full of relief as if the whole evening had been a bit of a race against time for the star who will turn 54 next month.

Madge is reputedly a lady who gets what she wants, so to cut short her set to comply with the authorities was about as big a compromise as she makes. The abruptness of how she closed the show could have been remedied by a prompt start, as her show started 45 minutes after the advertised time, following an equally tardy set by Alesso, a Swedish DJ act.

It didn't feel as if she was playing in Scotland for the first time, it felt more like a homecoming gig. She briefly touched upon the subject of her marriage, as that was the last time she was in the country. "Let's hope this visit has a more beautiful ending," she quipped, with a slight bitterness that still compounded her No Regrets mantra.

For the sequences of narrative in the show, first up was the guns, army fatigues and gratuitous violence but then entered Madonna in cheerleader garb, with a broad smile on her red-painted lips as if to say "fooled you all again" – as she had. Twirling her baton while the ideal Americana images of domesticity appeared on screens behind her, this cookie-cutter persona is just as big a charade as the gun-wielding Girl Gone Wild. Dancing like a fiend below her aerial drummer boys, Give Me All Your Luvin' proved one of the visual highlights, until Like A Prayer with its full gospel choir and raindance effect.

Vocally, a lot of auto-tune was used in the opening numbers and more classic tracks such as Papa Don't Preach were rendered very different by these techniques. Tracks from album MDNA such as Turn Up The Radio and Masterpiece were clearly still invigorating Madonna's artistic side, while for those looking for nostalgia, Vogue (complete with breathtaking costumes from Jean Paul Gaultier, including a corseted bra) saw the phenomenal dancers stomping along the "catwalk" giving Golden Circle ticket holders a real treat.

With younger acts such as Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga competing for supremacy, you could argue the Queen has had her day. But splicing Express Yourself with Gaga's Born This Way and having Minaj pronounce on screen "There is only one Queen and that's Madonna" it's as if she has the competition completely worked out, if not altogether sewn up.

4 stars