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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rain is Golden for Jackson Fans at Luzhniki

He came, he saw, he conquered. Michael Jackson appeared on stage in Moscow on Wednesday night in an explosion of gold rain that showered down from fireworks as thousands of fans screamed their excitement.


Undeterred by rain, slow ticket sales and a sex-abuse lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Jackson began this leg of his Dangerous World Tour at Precisely 9 P. M. with "Jam" before a crowd that partially filled Luzhniki Stadium.


Before Jackson made his entry to a massive stage erected with the help of the Russian Army, three video screens showed clips from the Asian concerts of his current tour, which started in Bangkok on Aug. 24.


Then a huge explosion announced the star's arrival, light was everywhere, gold stars rained down - and he appeared.


Jackson performed for nearly two hours before the show ended in a barrage of fireworks.


He could not perform his famous moonwalk in Moscow because the stage was too slippery. Stagehands mopped, to no avail, prompting Jackson to remark, "This is just like ice".


Small children thronged onto the stage with Jackson as he concluded the concert with "Heal the World" and a massive inflatable globe floated across the stage.


Although the weather did not cooperate, the faithful trooped out to Luzhniki.


In pouring rain, concertgoers came armed with umbrellas and dressed in heavy winter coats, fur hats and gloves.


About 10, 000 city police and OMON riot force officers were on the scene to maintain order, police sources said. Several dozen mounted police rounded out the security presence, which until about 6 P. M. outnumbered concertgoers.


The German band Culture Beat opened the show. The group is riding a tide of popularity based on its current hit, "Mr. Vain", which is the No. 1 single in England.


Ahead of the concert, Jackson, who had taken in a variety of tourist sights during his previous two days in Moscow, spent the day holed up in his $1, 500-a-night suite at the Metropol Hotel.


He got bad news from Los Angeles on the eve of the show when the 13-year-old boy who has alleged he was sexually abused by Jackson sued in a civil court. A spokesman for the singer dismissed the lawsuit as "legal extortion".


Jackson, who has denied the allegations, was accused in the lawsuit of sexual battery, battery, seduction, willful misconduct, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud and negligence, Reuters reported.


The complaint, which seeks unspecified damages, was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by the boy's lawyer, Larry Feldman. The plaintiffs are expected to seek millions of dollars in damages, and the case is expected to go to a jury trial lasting a month or more.


Anthony Pellicano, a private detective who acts as Jackson's security consultant, called the lawsuit totally without merit, Reuters said.


"All of the allegations we vehemently deny", he said.


In Moscow, the rain fell all day, despite an attempt by the concert's local promoters to seed the clouds overhead.


Workers at Luzhniki fired flares up into the sky in a parallel - and equally futile - attempt to try to break up the clouds.


Most of Jackson's fans were unwilling to let the rain and cold weather ruin the big day.


"I don't mind the rain at all", said Valentina Talinina, 45, who was attending the show with her 13-year-old daughter, Julia. They had received their tickets for free through the school system.


"We're very excited to be here", Talinina said. "When you get a chance like this to see a great star for free you don't pass it up".


Indeed, most of the concertgoers interviewed at Luzhniki Stadium Wednesday said they had received their tickets for free.


"I would not have come if I had to pay", said Nadia Zhuravlova, who received her tickets through her job at Innovatsovony Bank. "But if you get a present you can't turn it down".


Dessa, Jackson's promoter for the Moscow concert, lowered ticket prices 30-45 percent Wednesday because of slow sales, according to an official of the company who spoke on condition of anonymity.


Dessa had repeatedly predicted that the show would sell out, but tickets were still on sale right up to the start of the concert.


The 11th-hour price reductions meant that the lowest priced tickets were reduced from 18, 000 rubles to 10, 000 rubles, and high-end tickets, which had cost 156, 000 rubles, were selling for 110, 000 rubles.


The Los Angeles lawsuit against Jackson is the latest round in a highly publicized battle between Jackson, the boy and the boy's father that has until now been played out in the press and not in the courts.


Police say that their investigations have not yet turned up enough evidence to initiate a criminal prosecution.


The lawsuit filed on behalf of the boy and his divorced parents on Tuesday contains graphic allegations of sex between the boy and Jackson and accuses the singer of "despicable conduct".