...I was lucky enough to have a chance to meet one of my true heroes, and I know how Chuck feels about over-the-top complime(!)nts, but Mr. Berry, (hope you read this) you are very important to me.
The show was at BB Kings in Manhattan...great place to see a show. General admission, first come- first served. Well I was first! At about 3:30 me and my girlfriend were inside the entrance to the club finding out about how the seating process worked, another employee says, "There's Chuck Berry" So I ran out the door and there he was, walking from a white limo to a side door. I ran up and said it's nice to meet you, holding out my hand. Chuck just kind of made a beeline to the door but as he went in he raised his hand and gave me a little high-five. I was so lucky! But that was just the beginning.
We were first, but not by much...a few people showed up soon after and were dissappointed to find out he was already inside. I'd like to say that the entire staff at BB Kings were all awesome- very professional, accomodating, great service in every respect.
We met some very cool folks in line as we waited for seating numbers to be given out. (1!) Then we were told to come back at 5:30. So we did, and the guy goes "Number 1!"...I presented my ticket and a hostess welcomed us and led us in to the showroom, where of course I walked to the front and center table. My arm was resting on the stage, I mean we were right there. Awesome! I've seen Chuck once before, last year, and I was also lucky enough to get right up front then. I was very excited, but if I hadn't had had the previous experience of seeing Chuck up close, I don't think I would have ben able to contain myself for the next 2 hours knowing I as going to be so close to my hero. Another couple was seated at our table and the conversation was excellent as we passed the time.
8:00...couple guys bring out some stuff and the piano player, bass and drummer come out and start plugging in. Not sure about the drummer but the piano player and the bassist were the same guys I remembered from a year ago. Both are excellent, as was the drummer.
So then the moment arrives and Mr. Berry comes out and of course the place goes nuts. I was about 4 feet away from him for most of the show. Incredible. Opened with Roll Over B. (I think) and from there just jammed. I loved the last concert I saw but have to say that friday's was superior. Chuck played great, looked great, sang great, IS great. So inbetween songs everyone is shouting out song titles, and I was in a prime spot to be heard, so I yelled out "Brown Eyed Handsome Man!!!!" Chuck didn't miss a beat and hit the intro perfectly- da da da da da da da da da dan-a-nant (bum-bum-bum, I slammed on the stage with my hand). I was able to make several requests, in fact Chuck noted that I had made 4! Sorry to anyone who was there if I made a fool of myself. But deal with it. I called out "Carol!!", and they went to work. Damn I love that song! In the middle of Carol, he went into "Meanwhile, I was thinkin'...etc. and after he goes,
'is she'll dance," I yelled "We can make it!" and Chuck looks at me and goes "You know it!!!"
I want to try to get across what that moment of interaction meant to me... it's hard to describe. I've seen a ton of great shows over the years, some really close like this- saw the Who from the fifth row and it doesn't get much better than that. Unless you're seing Chuck Berry from the FRONT row. It's now like 4 days later and the whole night seems like a dream. To have Mr. Chuck Berry, my hero and also the King of Rock and Roll, as he was billed, (and thats coming from a huge Elvis fan as well), looking me in the eye and responding to me...wow. I feel so lucky, the night was incredible. I took a ton of awesome pics, you can see some on flicker. search Chuck Berry / hanhauser.
No concert I will ever see or have seen can or will top this night for me. I've been lucky enough to get to meet another hero of mine, Muhammad Ali, but friday night topped even that. (Muhammad would understand- he loves rock and roll!) The only small dissappointment was that Chuck didn't sign any autographs as he left. I stayed as close to him as I could as he made his way to the limo and I said, and I hope you might remember me, the guy who was there at 3:30, the guy yelling out song titles, the guy walking with you in a crowd to your car, I said thank you so much, you don't have to sign anything, it was fantastic...saw your manager in there. Hope you might remember me.
Some people were upset that he didn't sign but i'm thinking goddamn, this man is 82 and he just BUSTED HIS ASS for an hour entertaining us...if Chuck Berry starts signing autographs, when does he get to stop? Hope people think about that.
If I could have talked to you for a litle bit, I would have tried to get across how much you mean to me, how much joy I get from what you do and how it has enriched my life. Most people (well me anyhow) go through periods of what they're listening to, but I can honestly say that I play your songs (or sing them!) probably every day of my life. I know that there are millions of people who love you and I hope you understand how important you are, even if you don't think so.
Mr. Berry, thank you so much for everything. I wish you nothing but happiness. Maybe I go overboard but to me, when it comes to music, which means so much to me, you are IT. Thanks for a great night and a lifetime of kick-ass rock and roll.
Hope to see you at Blueberry Hill in the future! I really hope you read this.
I love you! Thanks again.