No stranger to controversy, the US popstar Madonna sang suspended from a cross while wearing a crown of thorns during her first concert in Moscow, defying accusations of blasphemy. The 48-year-old “Material Girl” has outraged Christian groups across Europe by staging the mock crucifixion on her global “Confessions” tour. Thousands of riot police and army cadets monitored the fans as they arrived at the soviet-era stadium in Moscow.
The Russian Orthodox Church had called for a boycott of the concert while religious groups staged protests outside the venue. But it did little to dampen the enthusiasm of 50,000 ecstatic fans. Tickets were exchanging hands outside the stadium for as much as 2,500 euros. Madonna, a lapsed Roman Catholic whose shows have been denounced by the Vatican, made her entrance by descending from the roof of the arena inside a glistening ball, dressed in horse-riding apparel.