Chuck Berry :: 06.06.08 :: B.B. King’s Club :: New York, NY
Big Chief Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias :: 06.07.08 :: Madison Square Park :: New York, NY
Little Richard :: 06.08.08 :: B.B. King’s Club :: New York, NY
Friday night, 81-year-old Chuck Berry played to a sold out crowd at the B.B. King Blues Club in Times Square. While it wasn’t his sharpest performance, the crowd was behind him every step of the way. Near the end of the hour set, Berry invited the ladies onstage, and he seemed to enjoy the moment as much as them. What can you say about Chuck Berry and his influence on rock ‘n’ roll? Listening to him go through anthems like “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Around & Around” and, of course, “Johnny B. Goode” is to come face-to-face with the very foundations of rock.
Saturday was the annual Big Apple BBQ in Madison Square Park. The featured headliners were Big Chief Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias. Bo Dollis has been having health issues in recent years, and as we approached the park I was wondering if we’d be lucky enough to have the Big Chief in the house. The good news was he made it. Unfortunately, the mid-nineties temperatures in NYC that day did not help and Bo was only able to complete about a song and a half before he was helped offstage. Undeterred, the rest of the tribe kept the party going as NYC really felt like New Orleans in more ways than one.
Finally, Sunday night it was back to B.B. King’s to see 75-year-old Little Richard get down with his bad self. Little Richard has always been – and remains to this day – a bit beyond description. Arriving onstage wearing a white sequined suit and walking with the aid of crutches due to a sciatic hip, Richard had the crowd in the palm of his hand from the get-go. While performing such favorites as “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Tutti Frutti,” he also took time to remember his old friend Bo Diddley and performed his namesake tune in his honor. Ending the night with “Rip It Up,” Little Richard put the cap on a great weekend where NYC was lucky enough to see some of the true innovators and originators of their craft. Long live rock ‘n’ roll!!!
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