Last night I got to see music legend Chuck Berry perform at the Pageant! It was my second time seeing him live. He's a legend and rock forefather in his own right, but I was a bit disappointed with what I saw last night. It was only $30 to see him, but it seemed that he wasn't on stage that long (almost an hour) and he didn't even say goodbye. He left the stage, but his son had to stall for him as we thought he was coming back for one more song. Yeah I know, he's in his 80s. But he still played guitar 'like a ring in a bell' and amazingly, he sang a song that he is known not to play live: 'My Ding-a-Ling', which was a possible tribute to our 'black president' (it was Chuck's only #1 Pop hit). He sang most of his well-known hits, surprisingly not his first hit song, 'Maybellene'. Yeah, I know, he's probably performed it 1000s of times, but still. I'm planning on donating money to the upcoming statue that is erected of Mr. Berry, which will be put somewhere on the Delmar loop.
I hope you can stand another Chuck Berry story: the rock legend is known to frequent local St. Louis casinos (not just performing at them, but gambling at them too). On Presidents Day my parents and my grandma took the day off to go to 'the boat'. My dad spotted Mr. Berry in the restroom but of course, minded his own biz. Later on, Chuck was gambling about 25 ft. away from my g-ma and my mom, as my mom whispered 'That's Chuck Berry...'. My grandma actually wanted to go over and talk to him, but my mom rejected, saying he should be left alone and it might cause embarrassment. A few minutes later, my mom gets up for a drink, and the next thing you know, my grandma is chatting with Chuck Berry. I wasn't there, so I'm not sure how the conversation went. From what I hear, he was glad to hear from an older fan whose 'kids and grandkids had all of his records'. My mom was in the state of red-faced embarrassment, but my grandma later quipped, 'He's probably used to it...'. lol
Last week, I got to meet 2 members of the 60s/70s musical group The 5th Dimension. Who are they? The group, whose music is known as 'mixed champagne soul', had dozens of hits on the Pop chart in the late 1960s to the mid-1970s. Their most famous songs include 'Wedding Bell Blues', 'Stoned Soul Picnic' and the theme from the musical Hair, 'Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In'. Three out of five of the groups members were originally from St. Louis. For that reason, they were honored with a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Ron Townson (deceased), Billy Davis Jr. and Lamont McLemore got their musical start in the St.L before moving to California and joining forces with Marilyn McCoo and Florence LaRue. Davis married McCoo and had a very successful singing partnership afterwards in their career. When I was little, my mom used to play the 5th Dimension's Greatest Hits lp around the house while she was cleaning and I knew all of their hits. So it was quite a thrill to be at the induction ceremony and on top of that, meeting Davis and McLemore. Sadly, hardly anyone in my generation has heard of the 5th Dimension, or probably knowing maybe just one of their songs. I blame it on fazing out oldies radio formats. Pictures of the event are here.