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Anxious for celebrities
September 19, 2006 17:50


Russia's attitude to shows of great international stars is somehow very special. Ambiguous. Not knowing the country well it's hard to grasp why Madonna, the Rolling Stones or (what seems to be really weird) what once was Modern Talking are being so desperately and selflessly advertised and so widely discussed. Ok, celebrities are celebrities, and their world tours are always hardly awaited, but Russians are always truly anxious.

But there is an explanation. We are still not very used to huge and spectacular performances. When Rolling Stones, or U2, started to gather people on the stadiums, only a handful of Russians have ever heard about them. There are so many world-famous musicians and bands that have never come to our country, and those who cannot go abroad still wait.

Madonna's performance in Moscow last week was very indicative. Rumours about her coming to Moscow began in 2004. But only in August 2006 the public new definitely: the pop diva is really going to Moscow. Russian journalists have written thousands of articles, many of which alarmed it was only a fraud. Russian Orthodox Church has objected to religious imagery in the performance pushing hard for the organizers and potential spectators: "I think a deeply believing person would never go to the concert," the Rev. Vsevolod Chaplin, a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church, told Associated Press Television News. "This lady ... plays with religious symbols, and I think it's not only a matter of financial advancement of her production but it's also a kind of attempt to justify and sanctify her message and her sins, using something holy." Scores of Orthodox protesters, dressed in religious costumes and carrying religious symbols, have held noisy rallies to protest the concert.

The venue was also switched. The concert was originally planned for Vasilievsky Spusk near the Kremlin, but then, when the tickets have already been sold out, Moscow's Government decided to move it to Luzhniki Stadium and announced that the tickets must be exchanged. The organizers had to find another site after police said they could not ensure security at Vasilievsky Spusk.

But on September 12 Madonna finally appeared on the stage of Moscow's biggest stadium. A relatively small crowd of approximately 50,000 watched her perform a concert. It seems to be mostly organizers' fault, that so many seats remained empty. Tickets from official outlets sold for between 1,500 and 10,000 rubles, or about $55 and $370. But black-market tickets were on sale for up to 78,000 rubles (about $2900). The pre-concert mess has also warded off many people.

The audiences reaction was surprising. Some of the fans said disappointedly that Madonna was singing for herself and not for the audience. Apparently, she failed to sufficiently impress a crowd that had waited for her appearance for two hours. Still, many were really happy, those especially who waited for the moment for years.

But separating the pre-concert turmoil from Madonnas quite normal stay in Moscow one thing has to be stated. Moscow, as one of the worlds largest capital cities, is quite able to accommodate any celebrity. In our hunt for adrenaline, we are no different from other people, and even more anxious. Now experts say that after Madonna it will be easier to bring first-scale world celebrities to Moscow, such as U2, Eminem or Jennifel Lopez. And we really hope, that the capital will finally not only host outstanding performances, but also attract music lovers from other countries.

Nastya Makryashina


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