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From Pravda :D

Madonna's tickets given away for free

Madonna gathered for her “Confessions” in Moscow ’s Luzhniki approximately 50 thousand loyal fans.

However, the concert tickets were still being sold up until the beginning of the show. Once it was over many unfortunate sellers were simply giving them away for free to anyone interested.

The singer herself enjoyed performing in Russia. Citing her words, she has been dreaming about this event for a while.

The concert lasted for two hours. It went rather smoothly without any major incidents except for the fact that 23 people were arrested.

According to the police reports 11 individuals were drunk, while the rest were representatives of the Russian Orthodox Society who organized an unlawful meeting at the entrance. Police put together detailed reports describing the trespasses and eventually let everyone go.

By the way, the controversial song “Live to Tell,” the one the Russian Orthodox clergy protested against, was met with wild excitement by the general public.

As she was performing the scandalous piece Madonna appeared wearing a crown of thorns and crucified on a giant sparkling cross.

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From Interfax Press Agency (check her political statement):

Madonna's Moscow concert passes off without incidents - police

MOSCOW. Sept 13 (Interfax) - The U.S. pop star Madonna's concert at

Moscow's Luzhniki sports complex on Tuesday was attended by some 50,000

fans and passed off without incidents, the Moscow police said.

But 23 people were detained for administrative offences, including

12 Orthodox Church representatives, who had staged an unauthorized rally

at the stadium entrance. The rest were drunk and were moved to a

recovery center, Yevgeny Gildeyev, a spokesman for the Moscow police,

told Interfax.

Seven thousand police and interior troops maintained order.

Madonna spoke to the audience in English, saying it had been her

dream for 24 years to visit Russia, an Interfax correspondent reported.

She said that Russia was a democratic country now, which was very

good, and that people could make decisions on their own and express

their opinions freely. The singer urged Russian citizens to make use of

this opportunity.

Democracy is in place in the United States, but not all can freely

express themselves, Madonna complained.

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From Pravda :D

Madonna's tickets given away for free

Madonna gathered for her “Confessions” in Moscow ’s Luzhniki approximately 50 thousand loyal fans.

However, the concert tickets were still being sold up until the beginning of the show. Once it was over many unfortunate sellers were simply giving them away for free to anyone interested.

Good heavens. Did this thing sell out or not? We'd better get a Boxscore report on this shiznit. I cannot believe how unorganized this concert's preparation was done.

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Kommersant

Madonna Saddles and Rocks Moscow

R20060912339_l.jpg

American pop diva Madonna has given her first show in Russia at Moscow’s Luzhniki Arena. Madonna came to Moscow with the Confessions Tour, promoting the new album, Confessions On A Dance Floor. Kommersant correspondent Irina Kulik and other 50,000 Madonna fans went to the gig.

Madonna’s concert is a real landmark event for Moscow even though major pop stars of all stripes have included a venue in Russia's capital in their schedules. But Madonna is a unique personality. She still embodies pop culture, real conceptual pop art. She is the only one on this intrinsically conformist pop stage who still dares to be provocative while once raging rocker debauchees are now turning into law-abiding and politically correct citizens. She does not fight with philistine morals. She simply ignores them. It makes it more menacing than any political program speeches. No wonder that the pop diva and her fans received a greater number of anathemas than the main rock anti-Christ Marilyn Manson. A small group of Russian Orthodox believers even took to the streets to protest the gig near the venue, only to find themselves behind the bars along with ordinary drunkards.

Some songs from Madonna’s latest album feature citations from ABBA. Madonna was the first who got the permission from the Swedish band to use their songs. The screaming pink leggings is probably the last item of clothing that Madonna can try on and not look ridiculous as would any other middle-aged lady who suddenly threw on the things she used to wear as a teenager. In fact, disco was the last thing that reigned in the world before Madonna appeared. Yet, despite the love of pink, the Material Girl still cherishes no girly sentiment. All this jolly dance-floor fun sounds almost heart-rendering, like a kind of a party during a plague.

The world is going to nowhere but we have some time for a party. The British Paul Oakenfold gave the Moscow fans a real disco party. He included dance-floor hits of the last twenty years into his set, with an emphasis on the Russian influence – Zemfira, PPK and even Tekhnologiya whose Nazhmi na Knopku (Press the Button) finished his part.

The start of the show looked more like a race track than a disco party. Horses galloping on the screen at the background, Madonna emerged from a crystal glitter-ball like a horse-woman with a whip. She used the whip to hurry her dancers as if it was a never-ending training – for herself and others. Those confessions (a word from the name of the tour) are not some sentimental and confidential words but bold revelations. Just look at those x-rays of the artist’s fractures – they were showed during Like A Virgin. This time, they were combined with shots of broken and bandaged feet of horses. Regardless of all her professional injuries, the amazing old horse still looked the most relievable part of the astounding machinery of her show.

The total weight of all the things she took to Moscow is 200 tons, which can be put side by side with a military ship. The glitter-ball studded with Swarovski crystals alone weights a ton. The glitter-ball, however, wanes compared to another element of the show – the paste-studded crucifix that Madonna climbs during one of her songs.

With every song the audience realized that if it was a dance party, it was at least special one. No floodlights, but pictures of suffering children, rivers of blood and women wearing yashmaks instead. During Forbidden Love, trunks of the dancers bore either the David’s star, the crescent with a five-pointed star or the Lebanese cedar. The video featured symbols of world religion made of blood drops. Even the sticky Sorry sounded as Madonna’s apology before the suffering world.

She sang Live to Tell on the cross with crystals. That paste-studded disco crucifix, which caused so much controversy in Russia, looks not a religious symbol but a pop art object. It is some kind of an enormously enlarged jewelry like those many ladies and gentlemen of various degrees piety wear. You would rather call Madonna crucified on that giant bijou a victim of fashion than a martyr for faith. Only if appeals to help AIDS-positive and www-addresses of foundations in charge did not appear on the screen during this glamorous crucifixion.

Even after easing the tension, she did not go on to dance songs. She preferred rock ones, appearing in a leather jacket with a huge guitar atilt for I Love New York. At one point, the diva decided to talk to the audience as any artist on tour does. However, starting with the usual “I love you Moscow”, she went on to say that you guys have been living in democracy for 15 years here, but do you often think about peace in the world? After that she sang Give Peace A Chance with all her band.

Then, she stepped from rock heaven into disco hell. The stage changed into a dance floor again for Music Inferno. Madonna appeared on the glittering stage in a white three-piece while dancers on roller-skaters were whirling around her, nearly knocking her off her feet. Yet, the inferno proved to be a parody, just like La Isla Bonita which was turned into a kitsch Latin disco with heavenly branchy palm while suddenly cropped in that hell on the backdrop screen. It was then when Madonna sang one of her most provocative songs, Erotica. She closed the gig with Hung Up with ABBA’s sample in it, showing the audience a mantle with crystal-embroidered Dancing Queen on the back. Others might recall another hit of ABBA – See that girl, watch the scene, dig in the Dancing Queen.

She played her yesterday’s gig amazingly, while on the previous day she attended the opening of an exhibition of her pictures shot by Steven Klein, American photographer. This flash trip from the airport to the gallery shows not only energy of a socialite. It seems that Madonna needs to look in her own reflection in art before a show. This is what makes her main instrument – not only music. Confessions Tour proves it once again.

Irina Kulik

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USATODAY

Weather Madonna-fication

A sign of achieving the pinnacle of international pop superstardom, I suppose, is when one has the power to make it rain.

By Fyodor Savintsev, AP

With a billboard advertising the first ever concert of Madonna in Russia, left, and a statue of Lenin, right, in the background, police officers guard an entrance to the Luzhniki stadium, the site of the concert, Moscow on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006.

That is the power of Madonna, as she makes her first ever concert appearance in Russia tonight. According to a Mosnews.com story, Chris Lamb, manager of the Confessions world tour, said that, "Rain would be an unpleasant occurrence. Madonna will dance a lot during the show and the stage must be dry."

Apparently, Russian weather experts got the message loud and clear. With cloudy skies in the forecast, they plan to deploy 10 planes to spray chemicals above Luzhniki stadium in Moscow in advance of the concert to coax any moisture out of the clouds.

The system had been developed in Soviet times to keep rallies dry in Red Square, and it was also used when Moscow hosted the G8 summit.

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MosNews

Russia Weather Experts Promise Sun Will Shine on Madonna Concert in Moscow

Russian weather experts are to spray the sky above a Moscow stadium so it doesn’t rain on a show by Madonna, The Sunday Times reports. Grey clouds are expected during her concert next Tuesday at the Luzhniki stadium.

But they will be “spiked” in advance by 10 planes spraying chemicals forcing them to release rain before they reach the Russian capital.

The system was originally developed to keep Red Square rallies dry in Soviet times, and was used for the G8 summit.

Meanwhile, security has been stepped up for her first gig in Russia following death threats to her and her two children. As she arrives in Moscow Monday her hotel has been turned into a virtual fortress.

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Guest Little Red

oh sure. that's the first thing I thought. they're gonna go for a lot on ebay. But I mean to the scalpers on the streets, they probably didn't care and were just giving them away in the end.

and damn, your sig picture is making me hungry! :shock:

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oh sure. that's the first thing I thought. they're gonna go for a lot on ebay. But I mean to the scalpers on the streets, they probably didn't care and were just giving them away in the end.

and damn, your sig picture is making me hungry! :shock:

Oh, it's just the ingredient for puttanesca. :flirt:

campania_002_immagine_sugo_alla_puttanes

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Guest Little Red
"We don't have a right to judge. This is her vision."

I love this quote from the Russian 18-yo student.

yeah that one caught my attention as well. A rarity, such an opinion. :thumbsup:

@ horn: make the food go away! I have nothing but a lousy yoghurt waiting for me... :thumbsdown:

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http://www.ukgaynews.org.uk/Archive/2006sept/1301.htm

Madonna Thanks Moscow’s Homophobic Mayor Luzhkov for Gig

Unlike Elton John's impassioned plea for tolerance in Warsaw, Madonna ignores plight of Russian gays

Russian language report from GayRussia.ru

Commentary

MOSCOW, September 13, 2006 (GayRussia.ru) – Madonna did it. Despite protests from Orthodox people and clerics, despite all the problems with the expensive tickets, despite the changes of the venue and date of the concert, she came to Russia for the first time to perform her “Confessions” in the largest Russian stadium, Luzhniki, where more than a decade ago a final of the UEFA Cup was played.

And she praised Mayor Luzhkov, who last May, had not only vetoed Moscow Gay Pride but also virtually “orchestrated” the violence against gay men and women in the streets of the Russian capital on that “day of shame”, Saturday May 27.

About 40,000 fans of the gay icon managed to see her on Tuesday in Moscow. City authorities said that it would be difficult to provide security for such a show but they also did it.

A few days before, posters with Madonna were burnt in the streets of Moscow. The Church was considering damning those who will come to the concert.

Those who protested against the first gay pride march in Moscow on May 27 threatened to disrupt the concert and the architect of the stadium roof even went so far as to warn that his roof could collapse because of the sound.

In fact nothing materialised. Madonna even performed her scandalized song when she is crucified on Swarowski cross. This song provoked the biggest wave of protests from religious people who even asked this scene to be deleted from the concert.

Though at the end, for many who attended the show it became clear that without this scene the show would lose a lot.

During the performance, Madonna paused and started to talk to the Russian fans. She said that for more than two decades of her career she dreamt to come to Russia and now this dream came true.

“I would like to thank everyone who organised it and especially Mayor Luzhkov who made it possible,” she said.

“Russia has been a democracy for 15 years and you should take advantage of it. You should speak for yourself, OK? You should express yourself, OK?”

Moscow gay pride organizer Nikolai Alekseev, who attended the concert, was indeed shocked by what he heard from Madonna.

He said that “everyone saw what it is to speak for yourself and to wish to express yourself in Moscow on May 27 this year. It is probably possible to express yourself when millions of dollars are at stake but not when the simple rights and freedoms of ordinary people are concerned”.

He added that “despite religious protests homophobic Mayor Yuri Luzhkov not only allowed the concert but also gave his patronage which is written on the tickets.

“The question is whether ordinary gays and lesbians asking for their rights are more blasphemous than Madonna crucified on the cross in front of thousands?

“Hypocrisy of the Moscow Mayor is well known, but with years it is becoming more and more mean and outrageous,” he suggested.

There were hopes that Madonna might raise the issue of gay pride march in Moscow during her concert like Elton John raised the issue of Polish homophobia during his concert in the country ruled by the ‘intolerant twins’.

But it was not to be. The multi-million contract of Madonna might have included “special thanks to Mayor Luzhkov” and she just fulfilled it, Mr. Alekseev suggested. “If this was the case, Madonna turned out to be a star, who is not capable of speaking for herself. that is something she nevertheless wished for her fans in Luzhniki stadium in Moscow.

Madonna’s first and maybe last concert in Moscow is over.

Many people expressed their disappointment, others were delighted. But despite threats, security forces demonstrated that they are capable of providing security for such a massive event.

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The Moscow Times

Thursday, September 14, 2006. Issue 3497. Page 10.

Madonna's Cross to Bear

By Masha Gessen

I went to Madonna's concert on Tuesday night. I have never been a huge fan, but I recently read a study that showed that people really only like the music they heard while they were in college. Once they are out of their mid-20s, they start losing the ability to appreciate new music, and then by the age of 40 they are pretty much stuck on a couple of albums. This is the understanding on which virtually all U.S. FM radio stations base their programming. I was a freshman in college in the United States when Madonna became a star, so I am stuck with her.

It was a great concert. It was so poorly organized as to embarrass, I think, even the spectators. Seven thousand police and military succeeded in squeezing the viewers into tight spaces but could not keep nearly the entire dance floor from smoking. The stadium was half-empty, presumably because of the change of venue, confused publicity and the efforts of scalpers. And on the way out, for reasons none of the conscripts or officers present could explain to me, people had to squeeze through a narrow corridor formed by police, some of them on horseback.

But most big public events in this country provide a showcase for the stupidity and pointlessness of the police force. What I find more important is the amount of effort the Russian Orthodox Church put into trying to keep people from attending the concert. They campaigned in the media, with one church spokesman calling Madonna "a 50-year-old whore." They demonstrated. They threatened.

Twenty-three religious protesters were arrested on the day of the concert. As my friends and I made our way to the stadium, through police cordons that stretched for kilometers, some of them were still handing out leaflets. An elderly woman approached us and explained that "a ritual would be performed" that would do irreparable damage to us. She handed me a laser-printed page with a litany of objections to Western culture in general and Madonna in particular. It pointed to Madonna's "desire to mock the Savior's suffering on the cross."

Thanks to the Russian Orthodox Church, most of the public was aware that one of the songs in the concert would be performed with the singer suspended on a giant luminescent cross. What I -- and, I assume, most casual observers -- did not know was what the song would be and what the point would be. The song was "Live to Tell," her 1986 hit, and the point was not subtle. Flashing behind her (and the cross) on a giant video screen were the faces of children and some statistics: the number of children orphaned by AIDS in Africa and the fact that without help they will all die before the age of 2. And then there was a long quote from "The Sheep and the Goats" story from the New Testament.

"I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink" -- I think the words are familiar to most of us, even those of us who are not Christians, right through the "as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." The point of this passage is that Christianity is measured not by faith alone but by good deeds. It was not a point that Madonna made subtly, or in good taste, but it is the sort of thing that ought to disarm any protest, simply because at the end of the song she makes an appeal for donations to help the children.

In the Russian Orthodox Church's view, that was a satanic ritual. Which serves to prove, yet again, that the Russian Orthodox Church is as dogmatic as is a 40-year-old when it comes to new music. It is as crude as its spokesman's "whore" remarks. And most of all, it is mean.

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Daily Mirror

14 September 2006

3AM: GUARDING MADSKI

10,000 cops protect her in Russia Crowd are too scared to dance

Eva Simpson & Caroline Hedley

MADONNA played the most incredible concert ever in Moscow - with 10,000 soldiers and riot police armed to the teeth in the audience.

Following mafia kidnap fears and warnings of Chechen terrorist attacks thousands of police and army cadets were out in force, bristling with weaponry, at her Russian gig. So it was little wonder her fans found it hard to get in the party mood - many punters said they found the huge police presence menacing and intimidating.

One fan told us: "There was very little atmosphere or dancing and Madonna was really struggling to get the crowd going. Most events have a security presence but this did seem to be extraordinary.

"I was at the G8 summit and the security was comparable. Everywhere you looked there was a ring of security guards. It did make it hard to dance when you're standing beside a guy in a uniform."

Madonna was playing the Luzhniki Stadium, and it must have been odd looking out into the crowd and seeing nearly as many police as punters.

The concert began with the 48-year-old descending from the roof in riding gear shouting: "Hello Russia! Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for coming."

The 55,000 capacity venue wasn't full - partly because tickets for the Confessions tour cost up to £500, nearly two and a half times a monthly Muscovite wage.

And at least a third of the seats were empty.

Sniffer dogs, explosives experts and soldiers from the Dzerzhinsky special task force were on hand while helicopters circled the stadium on Tuesday night.

Queues grew as every guest had to go through a metal detector and have their bags checked.

The world's biggest-selling female artist was scheduled to perform in a park close to Moscow State University and more than 35,000 tickets were sold within days of becoming available.

But police demanded a change of venue two weeks ago amid fears that as many as 200,000 people could gatecrash one of the biggest showbiz events in Russia this year.

Madge has also had criticism from church chiefs and Russian Orthodox leaders demanded she ditch religious imagery from her act.

One fan moaned later: "It was closer to a Lionel Richie concert than a satanic orgy." Don't think she'll be Russian back there then!

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5344332.stm

Madonna's Moscow gig

Tuesday night's first-ever concert in Russia by the singer Madonna is the subject of some bemused comment in the Moscow press.

An audience of between 35,000-50,000 attended the show, which passed off without incident, despite threats by protesters to disrupt the performance following a controversy over the singer's appearance suspended from a cross.

Novyye Izvestiya comments that although fans had been "out of their minds with expectation" beforehand, "there were hardly any worthwhile scandals at the concert itself" and "the main scoop is that there were empty seats at the stadium".

Nezavisimaya Gazeta agrees, noting that in every other European capital, Madonna's concerts are sold out every single time.

"In Moscow, things got so bad that ticket touts, having lost all hope of making some money out of it, were handing out tickets for free."

Moskovskiy Komsomolets notes that while Madonna received "plenty of stick from the church and politicians" over her appearance, "she just kept saying she did not care".

"She may have managed to get some new recruits to her sect. But Russians were not among them. We are a sturdy kind of folk," the paper writes.

"We are not taken in by overseas tricks. Images of George W Bush or leather whips do nothing for us. This is why the empty seats at Luzhniki Stadium on Tuesday were shining like polished bald heads."

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A Russian Iconer posted this...

Moscow Yellow press - u have to love it

Here's a short summary of my favourites (from UK newspapers and Russian too):

-Madonna to have dinner with Putin.

-Madonna sang 20 songs during the show.

-Madonna didn't pay the bill at Ararat Hyatt Hotel.

-Madonna left with scandal: did not pay $200 for the calls to USA.

-Madonna refused to fly to the show on helicopter.

-Madonna arrived 5 minutes before the show in Moscow.

-Madonna writes about walking in Moscow in disguise and buying souveniers for her kids in her own blog.

-Show was delayed due to bomb threat

-Madonna's clone will sing in Moscow. That is why no close-up photos were allowed.

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A Russian Iconer posted this...

Moscow Yellow press - u have to love it

Here's a short summary of my favourites (from UK newspapers and Russian too):

-Madonna to have dinner with Putin.

-Madonna sang 20 songs during the show.

-Madonna didn't pay the bill at Ararat Hyatt Hotel.

-Madonna left with scandal: did not pay $200 for the calls to USA.

-Madonna refused to fly to the show on helicopter.

-Madonna arrived 5 minutes before the show in Moscow.

-Madonna writes about walking in Moscow in disguise and buying souveniers for her kids in her own blog.

-Show was delayed due to bomb threat

-Madonna's clone will sing in Moscow. That is why no close-up photos were allowed.

lol :D

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What a mess!

St.Petersburg Times.ru

Get into the groove

By Leo Mourzenko

Special to The St. Petersburg Times

An eye-witness report of Madonna's much-hyped concert in Moscow earlier this week.

MOSCOW — In short, it happened. Madonna delivered an astounding performance in Moscow on Tuesday. Despite everything that stood in the way of the show taking place, 50,000 concertgoers at Luzhniki Stadium had a chance to confess their love for one of world showbiz's most celebrated icons.You probably heard something about it.

The fuss accompanying the show — part of Madonna's "Confessions" world tour and her debut in Russia — was unprecedented.

The Orthodox Church led frequent demonstrations against the use of religious symbols in the show, which has caused controversy elsewhere in Europe. A church spokesman was reported in The Washington Post as saying Madonna "needs spiritual assistance."

Meanwhile, Russia's largely state-controlled media has in recent weeks devoted acres of newsprint and hours of television time to the pop diva's visit to Russia.

In an attempt to get a different perspective on the event, The St. Petersburg Times declined the opportunity of enjoying the show in the comfortable press seating area, and went to Moscow by train earlier this week with the intention of joining the regular crowd.

In the event, Tuesday's concert was one of the best shows — and one of the most poorly organized events — your correspondent has ever witnessed.

Some sources Wednesday reported gloatingly that the show was the only venue on Madonna's 40-stop tour that wasn't completely sold out. Well, no wonder. Less than two weeks before the concert, its date was put back a day and its location was changed from a predominantly standing-room-only field in front of Moscow University on Sept. 11 to Luzhniki Stadium, a monstrosity built for the 1980 Olympic Games.

Trying to take advantage of this sudden change of venue — reportedly prompted by fears of a terrorist attack on the original concert's portentous date that coincided with the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. (two suicide bombers killed 16 people at a concert in Moscow in 2003) — the organizers decided to issue some 15,000 more tickets to fill the extra seats; the price for these, however, was 4,500 rubles and up, as opposed to 1,500 rubles for standing tickets at the original concert.

With the arena's 80,000 seats, almost three times more than the capacity of the original venue, it would have been nearly impossible to expect a huge boom in sales a week before a show, which at the time looked very unlikely to happen altogether due to the confusion.

As expected, the result was unimpressive: half the bleachers were quite bare. The furthest from the stage, supposedly with the most advantageous view of all the "non-VIP" seats, were jam packed; the rest not so much.

A similar situation occurred two years ago during an overpriced Cher show in the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg. Keeping a straight face, the management masked up the unsold seats in the main area by simply moving the crowd down a level from the much cheaper top tiers. In the end it indeed looked like a full house. Here nobody bothered with such a manoeuvre, so 30,000 people spread thin along 80,000 chairs made the stadium look pitifully empty.

But another 20,000 people had a good time in the standing area which became a massive dancefloor. What these folk had to go through to get there though was something like a cross between bootcamp and an episode of "Survivor." It was fun to get into the groove with a friendly crowd during a two-hour dance music show, but during the middle of a six-hour wait to get there some people grew impatient.

The most-obsessed fans lined up in front of the first gate about half a mile away from the arena when dawn broke Tuesday. By 3 p.m. a few thousand more people had joined them. By 4 p.m. most had entered the complex, only to find themselves confronted by another set of entrance gates.

This was where chaos began.

Desperate for any kind of guidance, excited Madonna afficionados migrated from one line to another looking for assistance from police and guys in black suits, who were silent like lambs.

An hour later it was announced that standing-room admission would only occur at Gate 1, so there was rush to Gate 1. After 10 minutes of a potentially deadly people jam there, the guards changed their minds and opened another couple of gates. At the ticket gates, the authenticity of tickets was examined with the help of ultraviolet lamps which were probably as old as the arena itself.

Once through the gates, the crowd had to cross another 500 meters to the building only to find another heap of clueless people. Folk piled up around any entrance, urged on by the magnetizing sound of Madonna warming up. The diva was so close, yet so far.

The entrance area, flooded by police, special forces and the military, was a disorganized sight: hundreds of people pointlessly rushing around trying to figure out the location of a stairway to heaven.

Then, all of a sudden rows of uniformed guys tightened up, forming corridors leading to the entrances. Jammed in lines 3 meters wide, the crows waited patiently. Madonna in the meantime could still be heard rehearsing.

After another 30 minutes, people were finally let inside. The first few hundred got a chance to see the stretching and humming into the microphone. She waved her hand and disappeared backstage. For five hours.

Luzhniki is ordinarily a soccer stadium and the field is big but normally there is about a thousand times less people kicking one ball on it. After a while, admission to it was stopped and even people with tickets for the area were sent to the stands.

The rows of standing people were so tight that if one considered going to the bathroom, one had to realize that he or she would never make it back to the spot one had secured… or make it back at all.

The bathrooms were so carefully secured by the men in uniform that one had to make it back onto the field through the first checkpoint — and the chances were that the only way back into the stadium was to be sent to the seats.

At 7 p.m., celebrated DJ and Madonna collaborator Paul Oakenfold appeared. He entertained the crowd with an unimaginative 45-minute long set, consisting of the frequent flyers of pop radio airplay. A few Russian tunes included pleased the crowd, but the guy wasn't really into it.

Silence fell. Up until 9.30 p.m., when a Swarowski crystal disco ball finally descended onto the stage, it was up to the crowd to keep itself entertained. People kept looking at vacant seats and complained about bathrooms or the total lack of food or drink to be had.

In the end, however, all was forgotten. At 9 p.m., tensions evaporated and people started laughing — and coming up with the nasty things they'd do if the concert never took place. When the lights came down everyone was quite warmed up by the excitement of exhaustion and the realization that the waiting was over.

Madonna put on a grand show, performed with outstanding energy. A brushed up "Like a Virgin" sounded like it could be released tomorrow and top the charts anew, and non-single tracks like "Isaac" or "Forbidden Love" from Madonna's latest album, "Confessions on the Dancefloor," were also potent. Together with the hits "Sorry" and a 10-minute rendition of "Hung Up," the songs kept hands up in the air for most of the show.

After it was all over, a satisfied public slowly moved to the nearest metro station through yet another uniformed corridor, already disregarding such minor obstacles as confusing guidance to exits or continuous lack of amenities. People had seen the legend; they were happy.

How happy was Madonna herself we'll never know.

It is hard to believe she was that bothered by the empty seats, given the enormous hype which her appearance in Russia had generated.

But the lack of enthusiasm with which the crowd met a "support democracy" speech Madonna gave must have been a disappointment.

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^ very objective review, i agree with everything exept democracy speech part

and it really was weird running around stadion not knowing in what line to wait, and if you would ask police anything they would just ignore you :lol:

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