Brand New Day
Moscow, RUOlimpiski
With None

The Sting of security ruins another night...

''What is my reaction, what should it be? Confronted by this latest atrocity.'' - Sting

Sting is great. I love his music, both his new stuff and what he did with the Police. I think he is a great bass player, and I like his lyrics. His new French drummer is cool.

But that doesn't explain why, having purchased our tickets to his concert for apiece, we had to be crammed between the really huge graying guy to the left, the equally huge shaven-headed guy to the right, and the petite woman behind us. There was no reasonable explanation why these people had to be pressed against us either.

The really huge graying guy had also purchased a ticket. I caught a glimpse of it: It said ''VIP'' and must have cost around 0. The bald guy to the right had a ticket, too, but I couldn't quite see what kind it was. The woman behind us had a ticket like ours. All in all, our little coterie was worth at least 0 in Sting tickets. The ticket price of the crowd that was pushing us together so tightly was several thousand dollars, at least.

But having tickets was not enough to get inside and dance to 'Roxanne'.

In fact, it turned out that when going to a Sting concert, tickets are a secondary requirement. One also needs strong will, physical prowess and sharp elbows. Now, having passed three sets of armed OMON controls on our way into Moscow's Olimpiisky Sports Complex, we were being squashed from all sides because the OMON had blocked off the doors that led inside the concert field. The officers then created a passage too narrow for anything three-dimensional to squeeze through.

''This is some kind of humiliation,'' the petite woman behind us complained.

''This is so that people don't enjoy themselves too much,'' explained her companion, whom I couldn't see because my jaw was caught under the armpit of the balding guy to my left.

There were OMON officers everywhere and they didn't like Sting. Hundreds of glaring riot policemen were guarding the streets outside the stadium. Dozens more were blocking the entrances, shoving people back in lines. Inside, they were yelling and pushing and stopping their worst enemy: the music-loving, fun-craving crowd.

And while the OMON officers on the controls outside the stadium were really tall, the policemen responsible for creating bottlenecks inside the stadium were short and stout. People behind us couldn't see them. They thought that we, the people in front, were to blame for the deadlock, and heroically pushed on.

The crowd in front held their position firmly before being spat out one by one past the officers, like drops of ketchup from a plastic bottle.

My boyfriend's elbow dug into a breast of the petite woman behind us. She stepped on my right heel. My jaw smashed into the side of the huge graying VIP guy on the left. The bald guy to the right pressed against my boyfriend's stomach with his rear end. A woman in pink overalls and pink sunglasses oozed past the controls I think, horizontally. (Maybe she flew? Maybe I was beginning to hallucinate?)

Somewhere, someone meowed.

The human current of court judges, failed saints, barristers, certified accountants, music critics and people who just like Sting carried us forward at an incredibly slow speed. Our options were decreasing most rapidly. Beyond the OMON officers, inside the concert hall, Sting was rocking into his fourth tune.

(c) The Moscow Times by Anna Badkhen