Kitty's Night With Chuck Berry
In the summer of 2005, my boyfriend Mike heard a snippet of a TV commercial--that the legendary Chuck Berry and Little Richard were going to be playing a show at Ho-Chunk Casino in Baraboo. He yelled from downstairs "Get tickets now!!"
We had both seen Little Richard before, but thought if were were going to see Chuck we'd have to travel to St. Louis. So this was the opportunity of a lifetime!
We had pretty good seats in the ballroom at Ho Chunk and Little Richard was just as entertaining as usual. He calls himself the "Architect of Rock and Roll," but the true father of rock and roll is Chuck Berry.
The show got off to a rough start as Chuck noticed that there was a guy with a video camera in front of the stage. Even though the guy was just doing video for the big screens on teh side of the stage so folks could see from farther back in the room, Chuck didn't know that and said he wouldn't play until that guy got the heck out of there. Eventually the show went on!
Sometimes you could see Chuck's brilliance shine through--but at other times his son Charles Berry II was handling the bulk of the guitar duties. We did get a shortened version of Chuck's famous "duck walk," which is pretty amazing considering the guy was almost 80. A bizarre part of the night happened when Chuck broke a guitar string. His son took the guitar backstage to change the string (what, no backup guitar?) and while he was offstage, Chuck recited a very long autobiographical poem. His memory seemed intact, and when you consider how many words his songs have, that's pretty darn amazing.
The weirdest part of the night had to be when Chuck asked "all the pretty ladies" to get up on stage and dance with him. I was too shy to do it, but the guy that was sitting next to me (not my boyfriend Mike) ran onstage and was quite the spectacle. It was Big Mike from Big Mike's Subs (now Milio's). I asked him about that a few years later and said he just couldn't pass up the opportunity!
I am so grateful I had the chance to see Chuck live. Definitely one of my best rock and roll memories.