Rock star Sting invited thousands of people to Vilnius...
The Zalgaris Stadium had never before seen a a crowd such as this. Over 20 thousand fans clapped their hands and were charmed by rock singer Sting on 16 June as the 49 year old star visited Lithuania for the first time. The concert began a few minutes after 9pm and lasted about two hours. Sting played a mix of his favourite songs spanning his musical career of over 20 years. After the second song, Sting, hearing the applause, thanked the crowd in Lithuanian: ''Aciu''. Many Lithuanian musical stars were amongst the people we could see, recognising the concert as one of the most interesting pop-culture events. Sting, masterly playing the bass guitar and whose really name is Gordon Matthew Sumner, is one of the most popular performers in the world.
Sting's private airplane arrived at Vilnuis airport from Latvia, where he had a concert the previous day, at around 3pm. The bodyguards were protecting Sting from journalists and fan attacks. Sting was in a good mood, smiling, but he refused to talk to journalists. He got in a comfortable Nissan minibus with his band and travelled to the Zalgiris Stadium where the musicians were protected by a police crew.
Sting decided not to use the apartments which were reserved in the prestigious hotel ''Stikliai'' which cost around 1400lt (about $350) per day. A spokesman for Sting advised that the star would be staying at the stadium and would not arrive at the hotel until after the concert and the reservation of the prestige apartments was immediately cancelled. The spokesman also said that only Sting's band would stay at the hotel as Sting had to fly to London after the concert as he had to take part in a telecast and that he would then fly from London to Warsaw wher he had a concert on the 19 June. That news saddened Sting's fans, who were expecting to get the stars autograph.
The entrances of the stadium were opened at 17:30. Spectators were checked very attentively. It was forbidden to take cameras, sound and video recorders, sharp objects and even umbrellas. The organizers of the concert explained, that umbrellas can cause problems for the spectators and Lithuanian performers. In case of rain it was pointed out that polythene rain-coats were available for the public to buy in the stadium.
After the show by the Lithuanian perfomer, Andrius Mamontovas, just after the 9pm, the spectators at last saw the British rock legend. People, who were some distance from the stage did not feel disappointed - they could watch everything on a 6 metres-diameter screen. The lowest priced tickets, which went on sale in March were 30Lt (about $7.5). Some days before the concert their price grew to 70Lt. (about $17.5) and on the day of the concert they cost 80Lt. (about $20). Of course there were more expensive tickets priced between 100-200Lt. (about $25-$50), and the people who bought them could sit in the stands, and there were tickets priced at 400Lt. (about $100), which entitled the ticket holder to leave their cars in a special area. They also had a separate entrance, good chairs and an individual bar.
Stings concert in Vilnius was part of his world tour called 'Brand New Day'. The concert was organized by the firm ''Vertikalus horizontas''. The firm refused to confirm Sting and his band's fee. But from unofficial sources we heard that the fee sought was about 800 000Lt. (about $200,000).
(c) Lietuvos ryto by Ramunas Zilnys/translated by Maria Peciukenaite