On the 16th, still waiting on my visa, an English guy in the hostel mentioned the free Sting concert. Wait, back right up there, Sting? Free? Why yes, I have cleared my schedule for the evening, I don’t care that I’m getting a cold – to Palace Square we go!
We headed along about 90 minutes before, and already a crowd was forming around the stage. Pushing forward we were about 10 from the front, which sounds great, but there was a selected seating area in front too – for celebrities and distinguished guests, in theory. The reason Sting was ‘generously’ doing a free concert is that there was a big economic forum in town. So all the ‘dignitaries’ had prime position up front, while us freeloaders were being surveyed by the eagle-eyed Russian policemen. Well mostly, one of them was yelling at another who was taking pictures with his phone.
Having only been to a few live gigs in my time, I don’t have many to compare it to – but there was something about listening to a western singer in the middle of Palace Square, St Petersburg, in front of the Hermitage – with thousands of Russians around me that made this pretty special and fantastic. That, and it was free.
Afterwards the thousands poured back down the Nevsky Prospekt, to the shock of motorists not in the know who proceeded to toot furiously and pointlessly as the singing and yelling crowds started spontaneous cheers and songs all the way down the main street in the city. A great evening out, and it was still light!
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