Russia has given Sir Paul a red carpet welcome usually reserved for heads of state, including tea and personal tour of the Kremlin with Russian president Vladimir Putin (who, according to Sir Paul "seemed to be a really nice guy.") Sir Paul's tour of the Kremlin dispelled many of the notions Sir Paul held about Russia back in the time he wrote Back in the USSR:
"When I was a little kid growing up we didn't know much about Russia. We heard about Siberia and saw the marches pass through this square. We thought it was very military. I didn’t know anything about it then. It was a mystical land then. It’s nice to see the reality. I always suspected that people had big hearts. Now I know that’s true."Later, during his Red Square sound-check, Sir Paul remarked, "It's a long way from Liverpool, isn't it?" When asked what venue would top this Red Square appearance, Sir Paul quickly replied, "Next stop, the moon!"
Shortly before the concert, Sir Paul met with former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev who was there to attend the concert.
Sir Paul greeted the 20,000 fans gathered in Red Square with the words, "Good Evening, Muskvichi!" Since his music could be heard far beyond the confines of Red Square, thousands of Russians gathered behind the police barricades outside the Square to enjoy listening to Sir Paul's on the warm May evening.
Sir Paul spoke Russian several times during the show, His English remarks were translated into Russian on the video monitors installed around the Square. He sang 40 songs, including 20 Beatles tunes, ending the concert with Yesterday and, of course Back in the USSR.
President Vladimir Putin, who was not expected to attend the show, arrived mid-way thought the concert while Sir Paul was singing Calico Skies. He found a seat beside Moscow's Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and his wife, and the famous Russian singer, Andrei Makarevich. President Putin had already heard Sir Paul sing earlier in the day when he was treated to an impromptu version of Let It Be during their private meeting in the Kremlin.
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
©1994-2013 Harald Gernhardt. All Rights Reserved