The Show Will Go On, Says Elton John
The Elton John concert planned for Moscow this Friday will go ahead as planned, say organizers, who note that the singer felt obligated to perform his sold-out show.
"Despite groundless rumors spread on the Internet and in media that Elton John’s concerts in Russia could be cancelled, the organizer assures you that they will go ahead as planned," the Russian concert promoters SAV Entertainment said in a statement, according to the British newspaper the Guardian.
The singer is also scheduled to play in Kazan on Saturday.
Russian officials threatened to cancel the openly gay singer’s shows this week, fearing it would violate the country’s newly instituted "homosexual propaganda."
They also had some issues with his 50-page concert rider that calls for, among other things, his hotel dressing room be transformed into a "paradise garden" with decorative birds and trees.
John and his partner, David Furnish, faced similar discrimination in 2009, when they attempted to adopt a child in Ukraine. Russia also recently introduced a law that would ban all adoptions in countries where same-sex marriage is legal.
"There’s two avenues of thought: do you stop everyone going, ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you’re really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the anti-gay laws in an isolated situation," said John in a September UK Guardian article. "As a gay man, I can’t leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ve got to go."
Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin said the mixed reception he is likely to receive is symbolic of a cultural confusion in Russia.
"Once again we’ll feel ashamed of wild ultra-Orthodox activists protesting against his visit, but I hope Sir Elton John won’t notice their homophobic hysterics," said Yashin in the December 5 Guardian article. "It’s a kind of national schizophrenia: on the one hand Russia is trying to create a sort of Orthodox Iran here, but at the same time we feel eager to fill up stadiums with Madonna or Elton John fans."