Chuck Berry/Little Richard - live in Westport, CT (Cover Artwork)

Chuck Berry / Little Richard

live in Westport, CT (2002)

live show

For those of you who don't know who these two men are I'll sum it up in a quick sentence: If it weren't for these guys rock 'n roll as we know it wouldn't exist. This show is the rock and roll equivilent of seeing the Sex Pistols open for the Ramones. Now that you hopefully understand this better i'll get on with the review.

The show was supposed be at some pavilion place but they had to move it to a high school gym because the forecast predicted rain(there wasn't any). The gate opened an hour before the show and there was a long line before it opened because seats were on a first come, first serve basis. As I was waiting in line Chuck Berry and Little Richard finally arrived to the venue driving parallel to the line. First came Little Richard in his fancy stretch limo and behind him was Chuck Berry in a raggady old van. This set the stage for what both of their appearences would be like.

When they finally let us in we were waiting for about 40 minutes in the very hot gym that would stay hot the rest of the night. There were people who paid extra to go to some cocktail party and they got to sit up front. This really pissed me off because the real fans should've sat there and not upper class Connecticut who there to socialize.

When the show was about to start some guy went on stage and introduced the show and Little Richard's band started playing. Ever since the 50's Little Richard has always kept the tradition that he comes on stage whenever he wants to and not even band knows when that will be. After 5 minutes of anticipation he finally came on stage and cracked some joke. After his joke he sat down on the piano and starting playing all his classics. In between jokes he was always making jokes and saying "shut up." You could tell that he was playing half-heartedly. He let the band do most of the work and half of the songs that had piano parts he wasn't even playing the piano but rather there was a recorded piano playing while he was singing. And half the time he sat down at the piano it looked like he was doing that just as an excuse to sit down. He also had his body guards on the stage and that really made it look like he had that rock star image of being above the crowd. This I really didn't like that. What was interesting was how energetic the crowd was when he was playing. In the middle of the set books called, "Finding the Peace Within" were being given out with a picture of Little Richard inside them. All in all Little Richard gave a mediocre performance that was only half-hearted.

After Little Richard played there was a long intermission and Chuck Berry took the stage. A lot of people left because of the heat so Chuck Berry didn't have as a big of a crowd. Like Little Richard he played all of his classics with one exception, he didn't play the song that got him famous, "Maybelline". Chuck Berry is 76 years old but he still played with a lot of energy and really seemed to like tonight's crowd even though they gave him less of a reaction than Little Richard. What was remarkable was that his voice sounded the exact same way as it did in the 50's. He also played with a lot of energy. His back up band was really good. The pianist played better than Little Richard. The last song was and extended version of "Johnny B. Goode" and as Chuck Berry left the stage he decided to go back and play for about another 10 minutes. He was obviously having a lot of fun and didn't want to stop.

This was a great show and one that I will never forget. I feel very lucky that I got an oppurtunity to see this and experience the roots of rock 'n roll.