Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Viva Las Vegas update #3: Chuck Berry, Deke Dickerson's Guitar Show, and Wanda Jackson

The 13th annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend provided a rare opportunity on Saturday, April 3, 2010 – the pleasure of seeing the 83-year-old Chuck Berry perform live. The crowd in front of the car show stage buzzed with anticipation for this once in a lifetime chance to see one of the Kings of Rock’n’Roll, and the audience greeted Berry with respectful applause when he appeared on stage, wearing his trademark skipper hat and a fancy red sequined shirt.

Not wasting any time, Berry ploughed through dozens of well-known numbers: “Roll Over Beethoven,” “School Day,” “My Ding-a-Ling” (the novelty #1 hit beloved for its double-entrendres), “Maybellene,” “You Never Can Tell” (which was re-popularized on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack), “Rock and Roll Music,” and “Little Queenie” (a B-side of which the crowd knew every word). Of course, he had to give the crowd what they wanted, so he did his famous one-legged hop, the “duck walk,” during “Johnny B. Goode.” He asked for the audience’s help with the chorus: “Come on, now, I’m getting tired. I’m almost 84. Help me out now!” and the crowd responded enthusiastically, singing along loudly.

It’s not a surprise that these live songs didn’t sound like the recordings from 50 years ago, but who really cares. It was amazing to see Chuck Berry in person, and it’s great that today’s young rockabilly crowd appreciates everything he did for music. As a pioneer of rock' n’ roll, he deserves our respect for introducing a now legendary guitar style. What an experience!

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW - ABOUT DEKE DICKERSON'S GUITAR SHOW AND WANDA JACKSON!

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