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Moscow finds new venue for Madonna concert

Long-awaited show forced to move because of security concerns
/ Source: The Associated Press

Posters throughout the Russian capital had proclaimed the venue and date for a month, and 40,000 tickets had already been sold.

But a long-awaited concert by Madonna had become mired in security concerns, and it was anyone’s guess where and when the show would take place, if at all.

After more than a week of negotiations — spiced up by protests against the 48-year-old pop star performing anywhere in Moscow — an agreement was struck Monday for the show to be held Sept. 12 at the Luzhniki stadium.

Originally, promoters said it would be Sept. 11 in Vorobyovye Gory, the hills that rise on the south bank of the Moscow River, in a vast space framed by the tower of Moscow State University.

It’s not clear whether promoters had firm permission for that site, but city officials began raising an array of objections, primarily that the huge space would be impossible to police properly.

The city had pushed for an alternative site — the Tushino airfield, a charmless venue where other outdoor concerts have been held.

“Luzhniki is more convenient from the point of view of security — we are sure that this is very good news for all Madonna fans in Russia,” Anton Atrashkin, the press secretary for the Russian leg of Madonna’s “Confessions” tour, told The Associated Press.

The new Sept. 12 date would mean there was “no connotation or parallel with this tragic date in world history,” he said, referring to the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States.

In addition, Luzhniki can seat 80,000 people — about double the 40,000 tickets that had been sold for the earlier venue.

The Russian Orthodox Church has urged a boycott of Madonna, who has created controversy because of a mock crucifixion scene in her “Confessions” tour concerts.

Twelve young Orthodox protesters were fined after an unsanctioned anti-Madonna demonstration last week.