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Police tried to alter Madonna show, record company charges

TORONTO -- Police, acting on complaints that singer Madonna's concerts were obscene, tried serving her with a warning ordering that the content of her final show at the SkyDome be altered, a record company alleged Wednesday.

Warner Bros. Records Inc., which represents Madonna, said officers of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Department's morality squad and a crown attorney tried to reach Madonna before her final show Tuesday night.

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But they did not approach her, and the concert went on as scheduled in Toronto's SkyDome stadium.

Bob Merlis, public relations director of Warner Bros., quoted police as saying that the officers were acting on complaints that Madonna's first two shows were obscene and included acts of lewdness.

The record company quoted her as saying: 'I would rather have canceled the show than let anybody dictate how I can or can't express myself as an artist. This is certainly a cause for which I am willing to be arrested.'

A police spokesman said the department had received complaints after Madonna's first two shows, but officers merely viewed the third show Tuesday night and determined charges were not warranted.

'Nobody went there with the intention of charging Madonna,' detective Sgt. Frank Trovato said. 'However, we have a responsibility to any citizen to make sure our laws are upheld.'

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Trovato said members of Madonna's entourage approached the officers backstage and the officers assured them there were no problems. Trovato said the morality squad was not involved.

However, Merlis said the police officials were trying to reach Madonna to deliver the warning before they were interrupted by manager Freddy DeMann, who told the officers that Madonna would not change her act.

Merlis said DeMann told the officers the alternative was for the morality squad to take the stage and tell the crowd of almost 30,000 fans that the concert was being canceled.

Madonna changed her concert opening from her normal inquiry of the crowd 'Do you believe in love?' to 'Do you believe infreedom of expression?'

The concert tour features Madonna clad in low-cut teddies, fishnet stockings and religious robes. It includes other sexual and religious imagery, and she sometimes straddles a fallen cross.

Merlis said Madonna had never been charged with any form of lewdness.

'On this tour, she's played Houston and Dallas, both in the Bible Belt, and there wasn't a problem,' Merlis said.

She left the concert in a van rather than her customary limousine and was driven directly to Detroit, where she is to appear Thursday at the Palace in Auburn Hills.

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