A Night With a Legend

Sometimes, you say to yourself “I should do this thing before I miss my opportunity.” Sometimes, you get around to doing it, and sometimes you don’t. Chuck Berry is a St. Louis legend, the father of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the first person elected to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. He’s been playing monthly shows in the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill for pretty much ever, and we never got around to going. With the announcement of his performance at The Pageant, we decided we could not let this opportunity slip, gathered a posse and hit the town.

Of course, we couldn’t see a legend on an empty stomach. The seven of us (Andrew, Beth, Kate, Katie, Kim, Jen and myself) took an early dinner at Ranoush, a Middle-Eastern joint located where the esteemed Saleem’s used to be. With our large group, the proprietor suggested a family-style feast. A huge spread of mezes (small plates, appetizer-like dishes) were brought out on two platters: hummus, tabouli, falafel, baba ganoush, and foul moudames with pita bread to mop it up all up.

We were warned not to fill up on the awesome appetizers, but of course, we could not hold back. Only when the main course came, did we realize our folly. The main course was a huge mound of beef and chicken kebabs, grilled together with shrimp, onions and peppers. So good!

Just when we thought we were done, the baklava came out to end the meal, and it was hella tasty. Sweet and flaky … mmm! A rosewater tea was the grand finale, and we waddled down the block to The Pageant, satisfied for sure. We will definitely be back to Ranoush, and we would recommend the family style meal to anyone.

We made sure to get to The Pageant early; not only was it was a sell-out, but our friend’s brother’s band The Rugs were the openers. It was extremely trippy to see a person you know rocking on the stage of The Pageant. They churned through 45 minutes of energetic garage rock before yielding the stage to Joe Edwards. The don of The Loop, Edwards gave a warm welcome to Chuck and out he ran, spry and agile for an octogenarian. Now, I don’t want anyone to get it twisted: as far as musical performances go, this won’t be making any top five lists, but Chuck has always had a rep as an erratic performer, and the dude is 83 for chrissakes. We weren’t expecting anything other than a quick run through the hits and that was pretty much what we got. The highlight of the night was the sing-along during “My Ding-a-Ling”, and that kind of says it all. Despite the rough edges, I’m not sure there is anything more spine-tingling in my world than the first bars of “Johnny B. Goode,” and that did not disappoint.

So yeah, Chuck Berry isn’t exactly in his prime, but he was past his prime on the day I was born. It was a thrill to see him and I’m glad I got a chance to pay tribute to one of the all time greats.

After the show, we popped into FroYo. This is only really mentionable because it was my first time there, and I am a convert for life. Delish!

Anyway. Good friends, good food, and good music make for a good night.

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