Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Thing #96--Hail, Hail Rock and Roll

A living music legend makes his home in the St. Louis area. I'm embarrassed to say I've never seen him play live, but took care of that tonight when I saw Chuck Berry perform at The Duck Room at Blueberry Hill.

When I was younger, Chuck Berry's music was played on the "oldies" station, which wasn't my cup of tea. I preferred new rock music. However, as I've gotten older my tastes have completely changed. How could you not like and respect a musician who's performed for over 50 years? Our area has had a slew of older rock and blues musicians die over the last couple of years--Johnny Johnson, Henry Townsend, and Ike Turner are the some of the most notable. I knew it was time to get to the Duck Room before time ran out.

Chuck Berry usually performs in St. Louis once a month. When I tried to get tickets for March's show they were sold out in less than 24 hours, so when tickets went on sale for this show I was sitting in front of my computer ready to jump in the queue. It worked! A couple of weeks later the tickets arrived in a nondescript envelope that I almost tossed in the recycling bin unopened.

The Blueberry Hill Duck Room is in the basement of the restaurant and holds about 300 people, and chairs for half of those. There was no reserved seating, so we were there when the doors opened to grab a seat. We were in the front row, next to the reserved section, but had a pole partly blocking the view. When the show started, it didn't really matter.

When the band came out, I noticed that Chuck really LOOKED his age. However, once the music started, the years slipped away. He still has it! He played the big hits, of course, but also some of his other great songs that you won't find rotated every day on the radio. He had a great band, which included his son; his daughter Ingrid even came up on stage to play harmonica on a few songs and sing one. What a voice!

He played for about an hour, then it was time to leave. What a magic time.

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