December 13, 2010; Source: Moscow News | Boy, that Vladimir Putin is such a card, the life of the party, hey Vlad, get that lampshade off your head, you wild and crazy Prime Minister, you! While serving as a KGB officer charged with taking on political dissent in the old Soviet Union, Putin must have picked up a taste for the music of Fats Domino.
At an event described by the Moscow News as a “charity gig in St. Petersburg in front of a star-studded audience,” Putin performed “Blueberry Hill” accompanying himself on the Piano. According to the News, “The glamorous audience thanked Putin for his efforts with a standing ovation.” Way to go, Vlad!
The fundraiser, with tickets reportedly going for $15,000, at St. Petersburg’s Ice Arena was to help cancer centers buy equipment and medicine. Joining Putin were several Hollywood types, including Kevin Costner who reportedly performed a country song, Sharon Stone, Mickey Rourke, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, and Vincent Kassel. Also performing was Gerard Depardieu who read the poetry of Sergei Yesenin, the poet-husband of dancer Isadora Duncan who wrote his last poem in his own blood.
Actually, Yesenin was a brilliant poet whose work was suppressed through the Stalin era, but the attraction of the event was undoubtedly Putin on the ivories. Is this going to result in a music gap between the U.S. and Russia? We haven’t seen Barack Obama perform yet, but Bill Clinton was famous for his work on the saxophone, and Richard Nixon was a vigorous pianist. It would seem like in terms of musical leaders, the U.S. and Russia have reached detente. But still, “Blueberry Hill”? You rock, Vlad!—Rick Cohen