Satoma Asadgamaya

In Memory

Migrated Datasets


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Peeps of the world...

...guess what I was doing last Saturday night while all of you pansies were doing whatever it is that you do?

Well, I know, yeah…nice try…but that's not what I was doing this time around.

I was stuck at this hopelessly dull and boring place known as the Sin City. I was only at the MGM Grand which is, you know, just one of the most famous hotels of the world. I was only loitering around the Grand Garden Arena that just happens to be, well, the Mecca of championship boxing. I was supposed to spend some of my precious time with some moron called James Paul. I mean, what the hell kind of a name is James Paul? Who the hell wants to have dinner in the company of somebody called James Paul on a Saturday night? I mean, who the f*** is James Paul? I'm Mental f***ing Baba. Damn! I'm going to have to do something about them Saturday nights.

Anyway, there I was with a Sprite (yes sir, you did hear me right) and a beefburger (the presence of beef being thankfully restricted to the receipt) for an hors d'oeuvre, waiting for James Paul. And you know what, this guy was half an hour late. I don't make anyone wait. Nobody makes me wait. I'm Mental f***ing Baba. I wanted to kick his arse all the way to Liverpool where it originally came from.

Then, in the blink of an eyelid, "Ladies and gentlemen! James Paul…………………..McCartney!"

Definitions are debatable. The Vesuvius never erupted. The Krakatoa never erupted. The MGM Grand Garden Arena did. Seventeen thousand odd people erupted.

James Paul McCartney. One of the greatest ever musicians to have walked on the third rock from the sun. One of the greatest ever to have walked on the third rock from the sun. Genius. Icon. Living legend. God.

Half an hour? Hell, I waited half a lifetime for this.

And you know what the best part of it is, it just happened. Everything amazing – it just happens. I was just one of the millions teeming all over the Sin City – sinning and doing my bank balance a lot of good. My friends and I'd strolled, or rather lurched, into the MGM Grand without aim or purpose except, perhaps, to do good to the economy of Las Vegas. Everybody who knows me, knows how deeply and selflessly I care for the good of economies the world over.

And I somehow noticed a poster saying "Paul McCartney. Grand Garden Arena. November 25th and 26th." It wasn't even that prominent. I was lucky to have seen it. Let me put things in perspective. Vegas is the kind of place where nobody's larger than life. Not even Mental f***ing Baba. It's the kind of place where a Bill Gates might say, "Hey, I need some money" or a Brad Pitt something like "Maaaaaaamaaaaaaamaaaaaamaaaamiaaaaaaa!!!" Vegas is a different story altogether.

Anyway, I was like, "Holy craparoni!!!" Although I was not in a condition to keep track of space-time co-ordinates, I somehow managed to realise that Paul McCartney was 2 hours and 200 metres away. I knew I had to get there somehow. I mean, I grew up on gult brahminism and vinyl acetate. Paul McCartney? There was no way in hell I was missing that show. I bade everybody to a halt and showed them the poster. The way they reacted, it was like lions being offered bananas. I'm sure they would've been more like the langurs that they actually are had it been a Metallica or a Britney Spears (I hope you're reading this, you bums). Nobody wanted to go and they even tried to blow the thing off, saying that tickets wouldn't be available. Anyway, I kind of like it by myself. I just went up to the hotel desk and came back with a ticket. It was that simple. Sometimes, you think that something is tough or impossible. All you have to do is to try or ask and it just happens. It's surprising really.

So here I was. And there was Paul McCartney. In flesh and blood. It was awesome. It was mindblowing. I couldn't believe that I was sharing my oxygen and carbon dioxide with Paul McCartney.

He started off with some of his solo stuff. Somehow, I'm not very familiar with his post-Wings career. My mistake. So I didn't know most of the songs he played initially. Some of them almost felt like lead metal. He's got a heck of a drummer in his band. Frank something. The guy's spectacularly flamboyant and intense and gives his drums more than just a pounding. There was a guy who was doing the keyboards and the harmonica. And then there were two chaps on the guitars. It was just the five of them and boy! Were they creating a racket or what! Other than the keyboardist, the three guys looked like kids. And they're playing with Paul McCartney. What the hell. Some guys have all the luck and all the talent. I'm green with envy. I really am. I can't even string few chords in sequence properly. Thanks to Delta Airlines, which is more crooked than a Marwari pawnbroker, I don't think I ever will. I'll f*** them someday. Anyway, I guess these guys have to take it up a bit in live concerts. It's not exactly MTV Unplugged, you know. Like I said, the music was pretty hard. Quite frankly, I didn't like it too much. I think I was just impatient for the stuff that I knew and loved.

After about 20-25 minutes of frustration, in which I'd have pulled out my hair if I'd any, I heard those words "Jet! I can almost remember….". That ELECTRIFIED me! Like Kirchoff put it so sublimely, electric current only flows when there is potential difference. I think McCartney's a physics whiz. He certainly knows his harmonics. But that was the beginning. It was like plugging into a live wire. They ROCKED and SHOCKED the arena with Jet. It was classic classic rock at its best. The guy's got a voice, I tell you. Of course, I don't have to tell you that but still…it's soft and gentle but it's got some horsepower on it. Those of you who've heard Jet can understand what sort of power it'd take for the voice to be heard over the instruments. Those of you who haven't are obviously bums. Anyway, thereafter, it was the Beatles and the Wings all the way through to the end. There was not one soul in the arena that was unhappy. Well, I don't think the security guards were too impressed at being shut out.

I've always felt that some of the stuff that McCartney's done with the Wings is quite extraordinary. I think he probably felt a need to step away from the softer rock espoused by the Beatles and try something harder and more in the 'classic rock' mould. I just LOVE the Wings. We had it on vinyl and I remember listening to some of the songs like 'Band on the Run' , 'Mull of Kintyre' and 'With a Little Luck' which were my favourites. In fact, they did 'Band on the Run' as well. It was fantastic. I mean, as a kid, growing up in a remote mining outpost on a staple diet of Paul McCartney, I never imagined that someday I'd actually see him and listen to him sing. It was not just the music but it was much more – it was a sentimental thing.

So he was singing like a bird and doing an amazing job of it. He didn't seem to be doing too much with that guitar of his. Maybe he was playing bass or rhythm, I really don't know. But definitely not the lead. He usually does bass. The two guitarists were strumming their way to glory and doing the sort of stuff that 'rock guitarists' do on stage. I was like, "Man. What's with this guy?" It was probably like watching Sachin Tendulkar play exquisite cover drives but wanting him to do some pull shots.

After a while, he thought he'd enough of the guitar. A piano mysteriously apparated onto the middle of the stage. He is an excellent pianist. I never knew that he could play so well. Yes, most professional musicians play multiple instruments and all that but still…somehow, I never knew that he was so wonderful with the piano. He played some really nifty pieces. It was fun. You always think of synthesizers when it comes to rock and roll. But it's surprising how well the piano blends in with the drums and the guitars. Of course, it was my first rock concert. Maybe they do it more often than not.

After each and every song, I'd look at the roof with apprehension. The crowd just loved him. It was a capacity crowd and they just LOVED him. I have no clue how I got the ticket but thank goodness I did. And he seems so unlike the regulation rock star. You think of rock stars and you think of bad attitude and a misplaced sense of fashion. But Paul McCartney? No, sir. I mean, I've never read or heard anything bad about him. Inspite of his fame and fortune, he's always been somebody who's down to earth and in touch with his roots. You believe that when you see him and hear him talk to you. He's so cool. He's just like this guy next door who happens to be freakishly talented, that's all.

He does some of these things on stage that seriously gets the crowd going. He'll put his left hand out and do this 'I'm-going-to-shoot-you' thing and the crowd goes crazy. He'll run his fingers through his hair with a coy fifteen-year old boy look on his face and the girls go hysterical. Seriously, these crazy American women!! From college chicks to spinster aunts, they all have the HOTS for him! I couldn't believe the way some of the old hags were dancing in their seats. Some of them had signs that said, believe it or not, "Our pies are flaming." (He's got this album called Flaming Pie) Hell, you got to be shitting me!!! I was in stitches.

He's funny. He sees one of those signs and says, with a deadpan expression, "Those signs can be distracting. If anything goes wrong …if I a miss a chord or two, I'll blame it on them."

It was great going. He did this rock version of 'The Long and Winding Road' with him on the piano. It's one of my favourite songs and it blew me away. But I'm a bit of purist when it comes to some things. I kind of wanted the acoustic version – the way it's meant to be. It was like he heard me. The piano disappeared and so did all of the band members. And then he said, "It's just going to be you and me."

In that huge arena of seventeen thousand odd aficionados, he did away with all of that electronic paraphernalia. It truly was just us and him and an acoustic guitar. He did 'The Long and Winding Road' again. He did 'I'll Follow the Sun". He did "It's Only Love". He did "Something". He did all of those beautiful Beatles numbers the way they should be done – acoustically. I can't describe it. I won't attempt to describe it – I'd reduce it. It was the most enthralling part of the evening and I was just in some sort of a dream world. I wished it would never end.

Anyway, they say that the guitar play on Beatles numbers is pretty simple. I don't know. Looks tough to me. Whatever. He'd been switching across a lot of guitars, both electric as well as acoustic. But then, for the first time, he switched to a classical acoustic. He was still alone on the stage. And he did this piece by Bach. I don't remember the name. He said that him and George Harrison used to play it when they were kids. It was out of this world. He was like a Jedi master in all of his invincible glory. The crowd was like, "What the f*** was that?" Listening to it, I went Orsino's way, "If music be the food of love, play on." It was remarkable. And you know what, he said it took him, Paul McCartney, fifteen years to learn that. George Harrison did it in twelve it seems.

I mean, I know guys who say the Beatles are not rock. That they don't do 'things' with the guitar the way 'rock guitarists' do. That is a load of horse crap. You have a beautiful song in your head, you play the song. It's sweet and simple? That's even better. It doesn't matter whether the chords are complex or not. Who gives a shit? You don't change the song just because you want to showcase your talents as a guitarist. You want to do that? Well, last time I checked it's a free world. The way I saw it was this. Neither the punk on the stage playing lead nor too many 'rock guitarists' (whoever they are) could've done that. Had I bet on it, I'd have finally won something in Vegas. Long hair and large tattoos do not make a talent. Paul McCartney showed what does. He's a superb guitarist. Period.

The song that got the arena really going was 'Hey, Jude!" It's not one my Beatles favourites but the way he got the crowd involved in it with the 'Naa…naa…naa…naa…nanananaa' chant was special. It was like "All the people older than me!" Then "All the people with cats!" You should've seen the affected expression on his face after he said, "All the guys now!" Man, he's funny! But I think what he should have actually said was "All the people who made money in Vegas." And he'd have heard only the voice of the owner of the MGM Grand.

After two hours, just when it getting a bit too lovey-dovey and ooey-gooey, he did what is one of my all-time favourites – 'Live and Let Die'. It would be a euphemism if I were to say that the arena shook. Ha! I LOVED it, baby! There were spectacular pyrotechnics on the stage with flames all over the place. It was like the Human Torch doing a 'I-got-fire-ants-in-my-pants' dance. Like Vanessa Williams would've wanted it, he did save the best for last. It was the end of the show.

Or so I thought. He disappeared for five minutes but the crowd kept screaming for more. He came back, picked up his guitar and did 'Yesterday' all alone. Yes Paul, all my troubles seemed so far away too. They seem so far away. I think left them 8000 miles behind.

Is there anything better in this world than being a rock star? Not really, unless it's being the ROCK – who's only the MOST electrifying man in the HISTORY of sports and entertainment. I mean, who can say something like, "The ROCK will take you down Know Your Role Boulevard which is on the corner of Jabroni Drive and check you directly into the Smackdown Hotel!"

Not that Mental f***ing Baba is anybody to pass judgement but hey, Paul, you come pretty close. You really do. In midst of seventeen thousand people, I felt like a little boy from a different time and a different place. When I went to Las Vegas, I did not know I'd also go home. I'll put this away into my Pensieve. Thanks a million.

Management Class : Meandering thoughts of a fickle mind

mental baba 11:15 AM
baba ka katora |