Off Topic Messages

Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:05 pm

Sky Arts have started showing once again the Chuck Berry concert from 2007, recorded as part of the Avo festival. Berry was 81 at this point, and puts in for the most part a truly wonderful performance. Sure, it's paced around Berry's age in that there are ample solos for the band, but that means we get fuller versions of each song. It's also true that Berry is at his best vocally on the slow blues numbers that are scattered throughout the show, with his vocal timing occasionally causing problems during the upbeat numbers. Despite these occasional issues, there is only one real slip-up when Berry misses his opening note for My Ding a Ling and proceeds to sing the whole thing in a different key to his guitar(!), but surely one can make allowances for a man of 81. What is clear is that anyone going to a Berry show (at least as late as 2007) was going to have one hell of a good time.

All of this puts into context the praises we are getting from some with regards to Presley's final performances. At 81, Berry was in better form than Elvis was at 42. That's really quite a scary thought. Throughout the 52 minutes Berry is on stage (he may have been on longer, as these performances are often edited), he is far more in command that Presley was during 1976/77 - and not a lyric sheet or cue card in sight, I might add. At one point he asks the audience for a request, and one comes back. Berry shouts back, "we did that already, were you in the restroom?", but does it again anyway. While Elvis was ending his concerts with a throwaway two minute romp through a ballad that had long lost any meaning for him, Berry was finishing his concert with a nine-minute jam. Sad days for Presley, but a wonderful achievement for the octagenarian Berry. We hear lots of stories about him , not always pleasant, but nobody can deny he has remained a remarkable showman.

Finale of the show:

phpBB [video]



If you get a chance to catch the whole show on Sky Arts 1, please do, it's a fun way to spend an hour. And if I tire of Berry, I might still be swooning at the piano player!

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:37 am

I saw Chuck from the front row last April and it made the Omaha concert look like the best concert ever.

http://chuckberry.com/messageboard/view ... 9&start=15

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:43 am

javilu wrote:I saw Chuck from the front row last April and it made the Omaha concert look like the best concert ever.

http://chuckberry.com/messageboard/view ... 9&start=15


In that case he's clearly gone downhill in the last 6 years, which I guess is understandable and, if not delivering the goods, should refrain from performing - as people like Sinatra and Ella eventually did. Still, the fact he was still putting on decent shows at least until his early 80s (going by the one broadcast) is really some achievement, when you look at the ones performed at half that age by Presley.

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:04 am

poormadpeter wrote:
javilu wrote:I saw Chuck from the front row last April and it made the Omaha concert look like the best concert ever.

http://chuckberry.com/messageboard/view ... 9&start=15


In that case he's clearly gone downhill in the last 6 years, which I guess is understandable and, if not delivering the goods, should refrain from performing - as people like Sinatra and Ella eventually did. Still, the fact he was still putting on decent shows at least until his early 80s (going by the one broadcast) is really some achievement, when you look at the ones performed at half that age by Presley.


At 42, Elvis was a ill man, both physically and mentally. Had Elvis survived August 16th, he might have been knocking them dead in his seventies.

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:30 am

I'm sorry, but a decent performance given during a special event concert does not, in my eyes, even come close to erasing decades of Berry's work ethic of showing up with a 'where's my money' attitude, playing unrehearsed with local semi-pro pickup bands and absolutely murdering his classic tunes by vaguely playing the same guitars licks over and over again. Elvis' off nights could be explained by depression and medication abuse. Berry, on the other hand, just didn't give a sh*t as long as he was paid (often up front).

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:39 am

poormadpeter wrote:
javilu wrote:I saw Chuck from the front row last April and it made the Omaha concert look like the best concert ever.

http://chuckberry.com/messageboard/view ... 9&start=15


In that case he's clearly gone downhill in the last 6 years, which I guess is understandable and, if not delivering the goods, should refrain from performing - as people like Sinatra and Ella eventually did. Still, the fact he was still putting on decent shows at least until his early 80s (going by the one broadcast) is really some achievement, when you look at the ones performed at half that age by Presley.


He is deaf and senile. His being onstage nowadays is simply exploitation by his family. Did you read my full review on the link?

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:47 pm

I saw him in 1995 with Dad, a great show and a great memory. Chuck was on form and people were dancing in the isles. No doubt it was a pickup band he was playing with, back then I didn't know about that part of his reputation and with the show we got, I wouldn't have cared. No doubt they were thrilled to be playing with Chuck, who afforded them some jamming slots on a couple of blues numbers.

Chuck Berry 1995.jpg
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Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:52 pm

Matthew wrote:I saw him in 1995 with Dad, a great show and a great memory. Chuck was on form and people were dancing in the isles. No doubt it was a pickup band he was playing with, back then I didn't know about that part of his reputation and with the show we got, I wouldn't have cared. No doubt they were thrilled to be playing with Chuck, who afforded them some jamming slots on a couple of blues numbers.

Chuck Berry 1995.jpg


Always good to hear that an artist was performing well, especially one as important as Chuck Berry!

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:22 pm

javilu wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
javilu wrote:I saw Chuck from the front row last April and it made the Omaha concert look like the best concert ever.

http://chuckberry.com/messageboard/view ... 9&start=15


In that case he's clearly gone downhill in the last 6 years, which I guess is understandable and, if not delivering the goods, should refrain from performing - as people like Sinatra and Ella eventually did. Still, the fact he was still putting on decent shows at least until his early 80s (going by the one broadcast) is really some achievement, when you look at the ones performed at half that age by Presley.


He is deaf and senile. His being onstage nowadays is simply exploitation by his family. Did you read my full review on the link?


Well, deaf and senile might be pushing it. I'm not sure how much his family would gain from Berry's concerts these days, with only a handful of dates per year. I'm sure the majority of money earned by Berry is through royalties. Yes, I read the review, and it's interesting that a couple of people did agree with you. I can't comment on that as I haven't seen a recent show, but just highlight the 2007 one on TV in the UK at the moment as it was a good show. His son played with him for some time (maybe still does_, and so I'm not sure when the pick-up band started and ended. Certainly on the 2007 show he had a good raport with the band and they seemed very tight and knowing exactly what was going on.

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:42 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
javilu wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
javilu wrote:I saw Chuck from the front row last April and it made the Omaha concert look like the best concert ever.

http://chuckberry.com/messageboard/view ... 9&start=15


In that case he's clearly gone downhill in the last 6 years, which I guess is understandable and, if not delivering the goods, should refrain from performing - as people like Sinatra and Ella eventually did. Still, the fact he was still putting on decent shows at least until his early 80s (going by the one broadcast) is really some achievement, when you look at the ones performed at half that age by Presley.


He is deaf and senile. His being onstage nowadays is simply exploitation by his family. Did you read my full review on the link?


Well, deaf and senile might be pushing it. I'm not sure how much his family would gain from Berry's concerts these days, with only a handful of dates per year. I'm sure the majority of money earned by Berry is through royalties. Yes, I read the review, and it's interesting that a couple of people did agree with you. I can't comment on that as I haven't seen a recent show, but just highlight the 2007 one on TV in the UK at the moment as it was a good show. His son played with him for some time (maybe still does_, and so I'm not sure when the pick-up band started and ended. Certainly on the 2007 show he had a good raport with the band and they seemed very tight and knowing exactly what was going on.


He can't use pickup bands anymore, the shows are already a train-wreck with his own band.

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:42 am

Matthew wrote:I saw him in 1995 with Dad, a great show and a great memory. Chuck was on form and people were dancing in the isles. No doubt it was a pickup band he was playing with, back then I didn't know about that part of his reputation and with the show we got, I wouldn't have cared. No doubt they were thrilled to be playing with Chuck, who afforded them some jamming slots on a couple of blues numbers.

Chuck Berry 1995.jpg

I saw him the same year at the Puyallup Fair, one of the 2 or 3 best shows I've ever been too - and he was sharing the bill with Little Richard. Glad I got to see them then. I've watched a few youtube vids of recent appearances by both, and it's pretty sad they are still trying to perform when neither one can do it anything like they used to. I guess some people will still want to see them if they've never had the chance before, but I prefer to keep my memories of seeing them when they could still knock it out of the park.

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:31 pm

http://www.theelvisforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6156

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:41 pm

I guess I'm lucky I saw him when I was a little kid in 1976 at a free show at the state fair. I remember the show very well. And I remember him barking at his long-haired pickup band, too.

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:22 pm

I saw him 3 times, 1980 at Bumbershoot with a local band backing him. They were excellent, Chuck was excellent, quite the showman. Even from the back of the Coliseum, I could sense his charisma. Second time was on an oldies show, again with a pickup band, and this time the band was terrible. Chuck was in a good mood, but without a good band behind him, the show felt pretty weak. The 1995 show at the Puyallup was Chuck and band at their best again. I think everyone accepts that a live Chuck Berry show can be hit and miss, but it sure sounds like it is time for him to retire now. At least Glen Campbell's family had the decency to end his farewell tour before Glen embarrassed himself onstage.

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:48 pm

Lonely Summer wrote:At least Glen Campbell's family had the decency to end his farewell tour before Glen embarrassed himself onstage.


I saw him twice during this tour and there were several uncomfortable moments at both shows. He was still great but sometimes he'd get lost on a tune and never recuperate. His daughter Ashley, however, was unflappable; she always seemed to be able to calmly steer him in the right direction when things went awry. Because of his illness he would usually focus on something that bothered him during the show. Unfortunately, most of his anger was directed toward his hapless bass player Siggy Sjursen. Sjursen never did anything wrong during the performances but Campbell insisted that he was purposely turning up the volume on his bass. Eventually, later in the tour, he banished Sjursen from the stage during a performance. Poor Siggy was replaced by Kiefo Nilsson (Harry's son).

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:00 am

InheritTheWind wrote:
Lonely Summer wrote:At least Glen Campbell's family had the decency to end his farewell tour before Glen embarrassed himself onstage.


I saw him twice during this tour and there were several uncomfortable moments at both shows. He was still great but sometimes he'd get lost on a tune and never recuperate. His daughter Ashley, however, was unflappable; she always seemed to be able to calmly steer him in the right direction when things went awry. Because of his illness he would usually focus on something that bothered him during the show. Unfortunately, most of his anger was directed toward his hapless bass player Siggy Sjursen. Sjursen never did anything wrong during the performances but Campbell insisted that he was purposely turning up the volume on his bass. Eventually, later in the tour, he banished Sjursen from the stage during a performance. Poor Siggy was replaced by Kiefo Nilsson (Harry's son).

Poor guy....well, Glen is off the road now, so I hope he can get some enjoyment out of his final years. Ashley is amazing, very emotionally strong young lady.

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:14 pm

I saw Berry in early 2008 and he did very nice show considering his age. Not a bad show by any standard.

Re: Chuck Berry at Avo, 2007

Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:41 pm

Marko wrote:I saw Berry in early 2008 and he did very nice show considering his age. Not a bad show by any standard.


I saw him in 2008 as well and it was pretty decent.
This year's show it was not.