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Aquarium Band, Concert hall MIR, Moscow

The legendary Russian band Aquarium after releasing the album Careless Russian Rover (Bespechniy Russky Brodyaga) in April 2006 had to stop its touring activities for four months: its frontman Boris Grebenshchikov underwent an eye surgery operation. Now he is quite all right, thank God! This month Aquarium usually dwelling in St. Petersburg has given three concerts in Moscow, and we have had the pleasure of visiting the last of them.

On the one hand, to enjoy Aquarium one has to know Russian well: the lyrics by Grebenshchikov abound in intricate meanings and implications. On the other hand, not near every Russian is able to discern the inmost meaning of his songs, especially that some of them just ask for being taken as mere nonsense. Moreover, the author himself says sometimes that he does not know what this or that song of his is actually about. At the same time, certain things can be felt without knowing the words, you know

Some of the numerous fans of BG (Boris Grebenshchikov) adore doing meticulous research of his creation, and, consequently, there appear some publications from time to time. The Book of Songs by BG presented this time is a collection of all the lyrics by Grebenshchikov. It goes without saying that there are a number of web sites dedicated to BG. One of them even offers (by the initiative of BG himself) the free downloading of all official releases ever recorded by Aquarium.

Well, lets go back to the concert.

The spacious Moscow Concert Hall MIR was full that night. The problem was that one could just sit on ones seat, one could not dance the hall provided no opportunity for that. There was a strange feeling as if one was watching home theatre. Was it more comfortable for BG to perform in such a way? For us there was another surprise: it was forbidden to take pictures and to switch cigarette lighters on (if a fan lit up a lighter to wave it and express ones feelings, at once a young security guy rushed up to him to turn the lighter off). Somehow, the public was offered to perceive the concert as a DVD record.

BG started the show with a heartfelt solo performance of Alexander Vertinskys beautiful lyrical song Kitay (China) to the poem by Nikolai Gumilyov.

I had a dream that my heart wasnt aching,

It was a porcelain bell in the yellow of China

Then the band started shaking up the public fixed to their seats with sprier songs, mainly from the happy-go-lucky album Careless Russian Rover, including some alcohol songs.

Mama, I cant drink any more

Mama, I cant drink any more

Mama, call all my friends,

Tell them I cant drink any more

The audience raved most cheerfully about the bacchanal hymn to an Irish folk tune:

Hey, cast the glasses on table,

Hey, cast the glasses on table,

Hey, cast the glasses on table,

And all the other dishes

They say you cannot drink wine,

They say you cannot drink wine,

They say you cannot drink wine,

And I just say I will!

After the glass song Boris Borisovich coughed for a while, and explained that singing such songs had certain consequences.

There were different songs also, with some transcendental message of wisdom and love. Ignited by the powerful performance we wanted to dance, take pictures and light the lightersbut it was forbidden. However, in spite of all the foolish security restrictions we managed to rejoice and get a fine impression of the concert; we hope that other fans also fixed to their seats succeeded in it, too.

Vera Ivanova and Mikhail Manykin

November 16, 2006 16:57

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