Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Joint is Rocking. Chuck Berry! Live! Tonight! Right Here!

So, I have seen "Hail! Hail!" and "Let The Good Times Roll," "The T.A.M.I. show," "Jazz on A Summer's Day," the Toronto concert footage, the London concert footage and a couple of dozen television appearances over the years-- but nothing I've seen on film or video has captured the best of what I saw live. I can do without most of the guest appearances on "Hail! Hail!"? Julian seems like a nice guy, but his screeching "Go Johnny Go!" doesn't send me. "Let the Good Times Roll" was a good time-- but I don't need to see oldies acts and don't consider Chuck Berry to be one. The Toronto concert is a masterful performance by Berry himself-- but that band? How does it feel to be captured, with all your rhythmic challenges exposed, backing the rhythmically seismic Mr. Berry? He triumphs despite them.

Well, this won't match some of the shows I saw, either--- but it's the best I can do with what I've got. Help me out. Send me your best clips. (But NO ding-a-lings!)  This is just one show-- there are 300 more to do this year, and for 55 more years.

Anyway, a ragged instrumental to start things off and get in tune.

Then maybe a little blues. Why not Wee Wee Hours?

Memphis, Tennessee

Nadine used to always be a turning point

After Nadine he'd say "We're warmed up-- with your permission we'll start the show!"

Maybe Roll Over Beethoven

Sweet Little Sixteen dropped the tight dress for jeans and hot pants for a while-- then put on the dress again.

Mean Old World (wish I could put on the one from The London Sessions!)

Let It Rock (I always get the feeling this is one of his favorites)...


Carol (This version is THE BEST!)

A mellow, masterful version of You Never Can Tell

I NEVER saw him play No Money Down

Reelin' and Rockin' can get lot raunchier than this-- but I like this one.

In those innocent days before "House Lights" he used to end the show in French, tapping at his guitar...

Bon Soir Cheri
Je dois partir
Bon Soir Cheri
Je dois partir
Je vous aime, beaucoup, Cheri (or, alternatively "Jabeljame")
Bon Soir Cheri, Bon soir!

The crowd would sway happily, until he translated...

Good night sweetearts
Oh but I've got to go now
This little song
Ends our show now
It's been so wonderful
I don't want to go
But good night
Bon soir
Bye bye

And then the guitar starts flailing, and warned that our time is short, so do we.  Johnny B. Goode doesn't HAVE to end the show anymore, but it used to...

You have to use your iagination now, to watch him backing off stage playing those high notes, bowing, the guitar held vertically before him, bowing, backing, disappearing through the curtain, or just back behind the amps, packing his guitar, blowing a kiss, finding that girl, jumping into the Cadilac, and driving away to the airport and tomorrow's show. No encore but hey-- you got your money's worth.

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