Monday, June 20, 2005

Cheers, Macca!

"Mama, I want to see Palmer Live."

"Palmer? Who's that, Bud? Palmer Who?"

"Palmer Cartney."

Bud has inherited my passion for Paul McCartney. It's not at my insistence; if I had that kind of power, he'd have abandoned Teletubbies for Arthur or Finding Nemo years ago. My mom thinks it was the influence of hearing it in utero. I think it's genetic. But whatever the reason, it's there and I love it.

Bud watches McCartney's Back in the USA concert DVD and listens to the concert CD for hours on end. He knows every nuance of it: every whoa-whoa, every audience sound, everything. He especially enjoys our duets - me on vocal, and Bud on bass and percussion. He starts the backbeat - "boom-ch-ch-boom-boom-ch" - and I'm supposed to know which song we're doing and jump in with the vocals at precisely the right time. Luckily, he is very forgiving and prompts me with the lyrics when I need them.

He frequently does after-dinner performances for us, "playing" his guitar, belting out his favorite McCartney songs, and taking long bows as he revels in the roar of the crowd. Despite the fact that Bud is right handed, he plays his guitar upside down and lefty - just like Paul. We've never said anything about it, and he's never mentioned it; it's just how it is. He also pulls some McCartney moves during these impromptu performances. One favorite - holding the guitar by the neck and lifting it high above his head as we applaud and cheer for more.

One of my very favorite "Palmer" moments happened at church. During one Sunday service as our tiny little congregation (there were probably 25 of us there) began the opening hymn, Bud decided to join in. Only as we started singing "Morning Has Broken," Bud - at the top of his voice - launched into Band on the Run: "Well the rain exploded with a might WHASH!..."

Saturday was McCartney's birthday, so in celebration we watched his latest concert DVD, Live in Red Square. It is a terrific documentary of a remarkable concert. The music, of course, is outstanding. But the simple fact that the event could happen - McCartney in Red Square, for goodness sake! - makes the film a goosebump-producer. From the review:

For the Russian audience, McCartney's appearance in Moscow is little short of a miracle. The Beatles were banned for decades by the Soviet government, which regarded their music as the epitome of Western decadence and propaganda, and the fans' only access to the group was through the occasional photo or black market album. Their reaction to his 2003 visit is a mixture of frenzy and rapture; in interview after interview, what one fan calls the Beatles' "gentle intervention" is credited with helping to bring down the whole Soviet system, simply because they represented a creativity and freedom that had been almost totally silenced. And that's all before McCartney plays "Back in the U.S.S.R.," which inspires a response that simply must be seen and heard to be believed.

Of course, the cultural context was of no consequence to Bud, but he loved every minute of the show. So hats off and happy birthday to Palmer, from two of his biggest fans.

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