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Reviews 2005

Fontana Herald News / May 28, 2005:

Concert review: Legendary rock stars sizzle at San Manuel

Jerry Lee Lewis - Little Richard - Chuck Berry

San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino / Highland / CA

May 19 / 2005

By Alejandro Cano

Their legendary music has dazzled millions of people for decades. They were considered beginners in the 1950s, rebels in the '60s, mentors in the '70s, kings in the '80s, legends in the '90s and immortals in the 2000s.

They are Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry, who thrilled thousands of fans during their "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" concert at San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino last week.

It was an incredible night, showcasing a reunion of three legendary singers who are rarely seen.

The concert opened with Lewis, one of the greatest American classic singers, who can easily transform a gospel song into a big, unforgettable hit.

Lewis, who at age 70 still rocks halls around the world, performed some of his most popular tunes, including "Boogie Woogie Country Girl," "Whole Lotta Shakin'," and "Great Balls of Fire" during his 20-minute set.

With "Balls," Lewis demonstrated why he is a magnificent pianist, delivering a knockout performance which resulted in a standing ovation that rumbled through the Yuhaviatam Room.

Lewis, whose great music overcame his lack of mobility, delivered the same style and attitude which earned him the nickname "The Killer."

The fans chanted the words to all his songs, remembered the good ol' days, and wished time could freeze and be there with him through eternity.

LUCKILY for them, Lewis' performance was only the beginning of a unforgettable show. He was followed by Little Richard, known as the "Father of Rock and Roll." Richard, dressed in a Liberace-style white costume, delivered a strong performance that included a wide range of songs from different decades.

He opened his 40-minute concert with "Good Golly Miss Molly" and followed with "Blueberry Hills, "I Got a Girl Named Boney Maroney," "Old Time Rock and Roll," "Mockingbird Sally," and "Tutti Frutti."

Richard, who stayed away from show business for a long time, behaved with the same attitude and hard-to-match energy that captivated teens during the '50s, '60s and '70s. In the '80s, his hit song "Great Gosh a Mighty" (from the movie "Down and Out in Beverly Hills") helped propel him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Today, thanks to energetic performances like the one delivered at San Manuel, Richard has remained among the top artists of all time.

ANOTHER superstar is Berry, the 79-year-old guitarist who captivated the audience with songs like "Johnny B. Goode," "Sweet Little Sixteen," and "Our Little Rendezvous."

Berry, a skillful guitar player, delivered the longest, most daring and most vibrant performance of the night.

Dressed in black pants and a shiny blue shirt, Berry moved along the stage encouraging the fans to sing along, and they were more than happy to accommodate him.

The audience chanted "Guitar Boogie" and "House of Blue Lights" as Berry brought the magnificent night to a close.

For almost three hours, fans listened, sang, danced and admired their idols. They went home glad to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime concert. After all, how often do you get a chance to say you saw the "Fathers of Rock and Roll" perform live on the same night at the same venue? It was definitely a concert that created priceless memories among rock and roll lovers.


Financial Times / July 12, 2005:

Brilliant show in Frankfurt

Chuck Berry

Alte Oper / Frankfurt / Germany

June 27 / 2005

By Richard Milne

This joyous curio of a concert started with a trick so simple it was brilliant. On traipsed Chuck Berry's backing group and struck up the first song complete with guitar. But where was Chuck? Suddenly the realisation dawned - the 78-year-old rocker was playing from the wings before making a triumphant entry.

Dressed in bright red trousers, a patterned shirt over a white t-shirt and topped with a white navy cap, Berry cut a sprightly if rather eccentric figure. His shows in the past decade or more have been characterised by their erratic nature but from the off here he played a sumptuous set highlighting his claim to be a rock'n'roll legend. His own guitar playing - as simple and sparse as ever - was all about feel.

Others can play better and fancier but for his own brand of songs such as "Johnny B. Goode" and "Sweet Little Rock and Roller" his rhythmic playing was perfect. At times he muddied the sound, at others he picked out a melody with just his left hand, but throughout he showed that his good ear and touch had not deserted him.

The audience's initial smile remained in place as Berry improvised both the setlist and the songs. A thirtysomething, pony-tailed man spent much of the gig dancing in the aisles playing air guitar.

As befits a man never too keen on the idea of a band, two of the three musicians on stage were local hires. The best of the lot was a spectacular but showy pianist who took his undoubted talent and ran with it a little too far at times, even jumping on top of the piano to salute the audience after one wonderful solo. "It doesn't have to be loud. It's the feeling", Berry said, chastising him.

As he approaches his ninth decade, Berry can show many far younger performers that, as long as you have that touch, you can still put on a concert as free and as fun as any.