Madonna arrives in Moscow
Even for a performer who courts controversy, Madonna‘s Tuesday gig in Moscow has been notably contentious. The city didn’t like the planned venue, other critics said her original plan to perform on September 11 was disrespectful to the victims of the U.S. terror attacks five years ago, and officials of Russia’s two largest religions didn’t care for her performing anytime and anywhere.
But for tens of thousands of Muscovites, her show is one of the most exciting events of the year’s cultural calendar, a sold-out blowout to end the summer. TV cameras staked out Moscow‘s airports for her arrival Monday afternoon, which was a bit short on her trademark glamor: Madonna was covered in a long black coat with a fur collar, apparently a concession to the city’s coolish weather.
Madonna originally planned to perform at Vorobyovy Gory, a scenic expanse on the heights just south of the Moscow River framed by the soaring tower of Moscow State University.
That fell through when police said they couldn’t ensure security in such a sprawling area and when officials objected to the promoters’ reported demand university students keep their dormitory windows closed in order not to get a free show.
City authorities pushed for the concert to be held at Tushino Airfield, the site of many outdoor rock extravaganzas. However, Tushino is charmless at best and its security image is shadowed by the 2003 double suicide bombing at a concert there that killed 14 spectators.
Eventually, the sides compromised on Luzhniki, a relatively easy site to police because of its location at the tip of a horseshoe bend in the Moscow River.
Police on Monday promised extensive security measures for the more than 50,000 ticketholders. including passing each of them through metal detectors and package inspection points.
In all, some 7,000 police will be on duty for the concert, about half of them at the stadium or in the immediate area, city police spokesman Yevgeny Gildeyev said Monday, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.
“We hope that the spectators will react to this with understanding, and will fulfill all demands of the police and behave correctly,” he was quoted as saying.
From the Associated Press.