Sunday, March 10, 2013

Flashback to Tahoe, 1982

The whole thing, on Youtube.  Which made everything fall into place for me.

I own a copy of this show.  I think I watched it once.  I didn't think a lot of it.  I don't even like the sound of the guitar.  (The notes are fine-- it's the sound, which sounds like television and chintzy speakers.)

What's interesting is that other Chuck Berry fans (Ida May, Dominic) love it.  I'll have to watch again and see what I am missing.

But what fell into place today, for the first time, is the realization that I probably saw Chuck right about the time this was filmed, wearing the same white suit, in a similar setting.  Could even be the same band.

I didn't like that much either.

I was home from West Africa for a few weeks.  It was the summer of 1982.  I was visiting family and my sister Maggie and her husband Ty took a bunch of us to see Chuck Berry at a casino in Tahoe.

The setting was nearly identical to what you see here: elegant booths spreading out, with tables, and dinners and drinks.  A bunch of slightly older folks in leisure suits.  A band that had actually rehearsed.

It was not what I was expecting.  I was used to being at the foot of the stage, surrounded by long haired kids, watching Chuck in his red or purple pants and a print shirt lead a pickup band through its hour of glory.  The songs were often extended with long guitar solos.  I wasn't prepared for arrangements, horns, elegance, and older folk.

Decades later I figured out the problem was me, not the show. It didn't meet my expectations, so I didn't like it.

So I'll have to watch this one again, and see what I really think.

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