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St. Louis, 1986. For Chuck Berry's 60th, Keith Richards assembles a pickup band of Robert Cray, Joey Spampinato, Eric Clapton, himself, and long-time Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson. Joined on stage by Etta James, Linda Ronstadt, and Julian Lennon, Berry performs his classic rock songs. His abilities as a composer, lyricist, singer, musician, and entertainer are on display and, in behind-the-scenes interviews, are discussed by Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bruce Springstein, the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, and others. There's even a rarity for Berry, a rehearsal. Archival footage from the early 1950s and a duet with John Lennon round out this portrait of a master. Written by
If you were young when rock-and-roll was young, then you will probably enjoy this; if you were not young at that time, then this would give you a bit of history. Even though I was not around for the era of the big bands, seeing movies like "The Glenn Miller Story" or listening to some Artie Shaw or Tommy Dorsey gave me an appreciation for the music of a previous generation, and an understanding that those of that generation are not hopelessly antiquated.
The bulk of the movie is footage of a concert in St. Louis at the Fox Theater in celebration of Berry's 60th birthday in 1986. Berry plays a lot of his classics - he was still an amazingly agile and robust performer at the time. Kieth Richards plays a big part in this movie. Apparently Richards was bothered by the fact that Berry always picked up lackluster backup bands wherever he played and he put together a good backup band for this concert, himself included of course. There are guest appearances by Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Linda Ronstadt, Etta James, and Julian Lennon. There are interviews with Bo Diddley, the Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Little Richard (a delight), John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and much talk from Keith Richards. The fact that Richards is still alive at this late date is a testament to the resilience of the human body.
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