Friday Night: Chuck Berry At Nutty Jerry's
The stage was a mass of women of all ages, jiving and moving with Berry moving through them with a salacious grin. And just like that, he walked off stage and into his dressing room, still playing, until he unplugged his machine.
The house lights went up, and most of the crowd shrugged and laughed as Caldwell thanked Berry and the audience for such a wonderful evening. Some looked dejected and bewildered, while just a few looked downright angry.
Maybe seeing Chuck Berry live now while we still can is akin to gazing at the stars in the sky on a bright night, away from the city and the smog. You are just seeing twinkles and dust from a long-dead star, but they shine on just as bright as ever when you lay back and take in their luster, imagining what they must have looked like eons ago when the Earth was still in flux and no one was around to record their beauty in words or song.
But luckily with Berry, we have a hours and hours of music, and the music of the bands directly influenced by him, to remind us what he did to the world. Even if he can't do it himself any longer.
Personal Bias: Not one piece of rock and roll has come through any of your ears these past 60 years that Berry's brain and hands have not given birth to. He's a living Rosetta Stone of Rock.
The Crowd: A few elderly folks from the area who may have seen Berry in his heyday, a few hipster couples soaking in history, and a few rock and roll lifers, young and old, taking notes and pictures throughout the night.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I really thought he was dead," said one of the younger bartenders at the club. Heartbreaking and understanding on too many levels.
Random Notebook Dump: Only 200 tickets were sold to see the man who invented rock and roll, with maybe an extra 100 upon walk-up Friday night.
Bonus Tidbit: We met Berry after the show, sitting with him for five minutes in the dressing room until he grew tired of our presence. We don't blame him. We did ask him how this Texas trip treated him, and he snapped back, "Boy, I've been to Texas before, I'm 84 years old." Well put, sir.
Roll Over Beethoven
Sweet Little Sixteen
Around And Around
You Never Can Tell
Reelin' & Rockin'
Johnny B. Goode
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