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Paul McCartney on Stage in Russia's Red Square


Beatlemania gripped Moscow Saturday as rock legend Paul McCartney performed his first concert in Russia.

About 20,000 paying customers thronged Red Square, and thousands more filled nearby streets around the Kremlin, straining to hear songs such as Hello, Goodbye and Back in the USSR. Russian President Vladimir Putin had not been expected to attend, but he did join the audience about an hour into the three-hour performance.

Earlier, Mr. Putin personally escorted the rock star and his wife, Heather Mills, on a tour of the Kremlin. Mr. Putin noted that the Beatles' music was wildly popular throughout the Soviet Union despite being banned by the communist authorities. Mr. Putin said the music had been a taste of freedom during Soviet times.

McCartney treated the Russian president to a private performance of the Beatles' classic, Let It Be.

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