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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sting's Swoop Sets Moscow Abuzz

It's not every internationally acclaimed rock star who begins a world tour inside the Kremlin walls, but for Sting, the choice did not seem extraordinary.

"Everyone keeps asking me why I am starting the tour in Moscow," said the 44-year-old British rock star at a reception in his honor at the British Embassy on Tuesday evening. "My answer is, why not? This is a place too, isn't it?

"This is the first time I was invited to play in the former Soviet Union, and I am delighted to be here," said Sting, who will launch his year-long world tour promoting his latest album, "Mercury Falling," at the Kremlin Palace on Wednesday night. During the year-long tour he will also play his first concerts in Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania.

Sting will perform in the 6,000-seat hall again Thursday evening. Although Moscow papers reported that tickets, which cost upwards of 75,000 rubles (about $15), have long been sold out, concert organizers said a few tickets costing 250,000 rubles still remained.

Sting's arrival in Moscow made a major splash in the Russian media, more than many other Western stars who in recent years have made Moscow a stop on international tours.

Articles discussing his musical genius, his 16th-century English estate and his sexual prowess graced the covers of Russian publications in anticipation of his visit.

Tuesday's Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, for example, took pride in catching the gentleman of rock and his Sting mobile -- the ZiL limousine with the personalized license plate (in Latin letters) that was sent to greet him -- at the airport.

"Sting Has Landed: Without His Wife, Without His Children, All Alone," the popular daily reported, paying particular attention to the artist's alleged sexual stamina.

Sting and his musicians will select group of bodyguards, for a performance of Romeo and Juliet.

The muscle-bound Russian youths surrounding Sting were considerably more discreet and fewer in number than the entourages that have accompanied previous celebrity visitors to the Russian capital.

During Sharon Stone's recent visit to Moscow, for example, the actress never went anywhere with fewer than a dozen guards, even though her entire trip was shrouded in secrecy.

The press adulation over Sting's arrival included a special issue of Super Fan Club magazine, which waxed effusive about his success creating a radical new sound as the lead singer of the Police, his band that broke up in the mid-1980s before he launched his solo career in 1985.

"Every new project of Sting's opens new borders of his talent," the magazine reported, anticipating the Mercury Falling tour would be his next great triumph.

The album, the seventh in Sting's solo career, was recorded in his private studio -- a converted dining room of his 16th-century estate.

"I hate studios," said Sting, according to the weekly political magazine Ogonyok, which contributed to Moscow's Sting mania by publishing a photo of the rock star on the cover.

"Studios as a rule are just awful. But the house brings something to the recording, it brings it a feeling of joy."