Rainy Sunday in Red Square
[© 2005 A&E]
The rain last night was the loudest I have ever heard it in LA. It sounded like it was raining bricks. I thought my roof was going to collapse. Thankfully there's lull this morning, although I can already see the next set of dark clouds starting to roll in. And that means "I ain't driving nowhere!"
Since I was staying in town today, I decided to catch up on some of the DVDs that have been gathering dust on my shelves. One in particular is of Paul McCartney's recent concert in Red Square. I'm a huge Beatles fan, with John my favorite, so I haven't rushed to view the disc, but I caught some of Paul at the SuperBowl and was impressed with how well he still carried a tune. Most live concerts sound off-key, but McCartney sounded as clear and perfect as if he was still with the Beatles.
A&E's Paul McCartney in Red Square is an awesome concert and documentary. I found myself getting emotional watching it, and not because of the intrinsic nostalgia to my generation, but to the revelations coming from Russian fans of The Beatles. I've always believed the argument that rock and roll had just as big a part in the Soviet Union's demise as Pope John II, Reagan and Gorbachev, but this concert shows just how much of an impact rock music from the West, and most importantly The Beatles, had on the repressed youth of the former Soviet Union. The kids, as well as adults, hungered for anything - records, pictures, info - about the Fab Four, and the freedom they represented. In many ways The Beatles were more important to them, than for those of us who took our freedoms for granted. Watching Sir Paul perform the classic Back In The USSR in Red Square was especially poignant, even liberating. It seemed like less a parody of The Beach Boy's Back In The USA, that I thought then, and more like the fresh air of freedom that it was to Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian and other Soviet youth. Red Square went wild with excitement when Paul started playing it - and so did I!
Hint to current politicos on both sides: Be aware of the power of music and pop culture. It still is just as potent a weapon against repression that it's always been - whether the repression is social, political or religious.
If only music could make storms go away...