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Lady Madonna Obsessive Support Group

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I love Paul McCartney. I don't want him to marry me or anything. I'd be content with being his best friend. Besides, he's already engaged to someone else. I just love his music and am so happy to have just seen him perform that I'm slightly disoriented.

My girlfriend and I bought tickets to Paul's sold-out Sunday night show at Philips Arena from a scalper. The scalper approached us within a block of the arena and asked us if we needed tickets. We said yes, and he produced two tickets for seats in section 410 of the arena (face value $52 each). Despite section 410 being closer to home plate at Turner Field than it is to the stage at Philips Arena, he still wanted $300 for the pair. He supported his price by claiming that, "You can't buy tickets to this show," despite the fact that we were standing within feet of 100 other people selling tickets.

We started to walk away, so he desperately asked, "How much do you want them for?" I said $120. After getting an OK from a mysterious man on his cell phone, he sold them to us for $120. After that, even if the concert sucked, my night would have been a success. Bargaining so well in front of my girlfriend made me feel extra manly.

Opening for Paul was an uncredited circus act that consisted of people running back and forth on stage and through the stands while wearing strange, dressy outfits. It might have been compelling for the people sitting on the floor, but from section 410, it was Cirque du So Lame. The best part of section 410 was the beer guy in the corridor. If you purchased a Heineken, he sang a rendition of Cab Calloway's "Hi-dee-ho" song with the word "heiney."

Paul was amazing. The mostly middle-aged crowd was Beatlemaniacal and Paul didn't disappoint. He started with "Hello, Goodbye" and continued for over two hours with a mostly Beatles set. At first I thought that the sound system was messed up, but in fact the muddy sound was the echoing of the crowd singing along with the songs. When he played lesser-known songs, you could hear him clearly.

Usually when you see a veteran rock act, the words you dread hearing the most are, "We're gonna play a song from the new album." But Paul's new album, Driving Rain, is quite good and the songs that he chose to play from it were excellent. The only exception was that annoying "Freedom" song, which I welcomed as a chance to go to the bathroom.

The highlights were "Let Me Roll It," "C Moon," his solo ukulele version of George Harrison's "Something" and "Hey Jude." Eighteen thousand people singing the Na-na-na-na-na-na-na part in unison is pretty moving.

My heart is like a wheel: Speaking of "Let Me Roll It," that Paul classic was one of the highlights of Brendan Benson's great set at the Echo Lounge last Friday. Benson is a great songwriter and plays in a '70s power pop style that would not be off-putting to fans of McCartney's more rockin' '70s output. Adding to his '70s-ness: his curly hair, skinniness, and intense, somewhat insane, gaze that makes him resemble Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham.

In attendance that night was R.E.M.'s Mike Mills. I presume that Mills was there to see headliner (and former touring member of R.E.M.) Ken Stringfellow. CL Editor Hobart Rowland and I were as giddy as schoolgirls at the site of Mills, with him daring me to go up and take his picture, paparazzi-style, and me offering him $40 to go ask him to sing "Shiny Happy People." We both chickened out.

As for Ken Stringfellow's performance, let's just say that I think Mike Mills is a really loyal friend.

Freedom: The Carter Center's museum is currently displaying one of the 25 surviving copies of the original printing of the Declaration of Independence. Written by founding father Thomas Jefferson and owned by TV producer Norman Lear, creator of "The Jeffersons," the document is traveling the country on a tour called Freedom's Journey. The exhibit includes a short film of actors reading the document aloud, including, for some bizarre reason, Winona Ryder. I'm impressed by how strident and pissed off it sounds when read aloud, particularly by Kevin Spacey.

True to the presidency it commemorates, the museum's permanent collection is pretty ho-hum. The highlight is the replica oval office, complete with fake windows that have photographs behind them to simulate the view from the actual oval office. I wonder if Carter goes in there at night and dreams of being president again. I would.

The whole place makes me wonder what our current president's museum and library will look like. Lots of coloring books, I'm guessing.

Lady Madonna: Its run extended through May 25, you still have time to see the play Madonna Obsessive Support Group at Dad's Garage. It's a comedy depicting a small group of freakishly obsessed Madonna fans and their effort to cope with the obsession. The play sagged in places, but it was nevertheless a genuine audience pleaser. All of the group members were convincingly unreasonable and grating in their obsessive behavior and the play got tense the same way that episodes of "Seinfeld" or "Fawlty Towers" do. And they vogued, which was nice.

That reminds me -- the first meeting of my McCartney Obsessive Support Group is next week. Vegetarian wings will be served.

andisheh.nouraee@creativeloafing.com

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