Top this triple bill

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January 13, 2023 by jacklovelace

I used to go back to Chicago when we were in college and the years after with my fellow journalism student and then journalist Wade Nelson.

On one visit we went to a music concert at the Aragon Ballroom.

The triple bill?

Howling Wolf.

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.

Chuck Berry.

We always laughed about the strangeness of the tripleheader lineup and sometimes we thought people we told might not believe it. Just before Wade passed away he sent me an online verification he looked up of the lineup and the date. August 1, 1969.

The concert?

First Aragon Ballroom. What a dump. The bar looked like something that would belong in the club where the Blues Brothers played and had chicken wire to stop the thrown bottles.

Howling Wolf came out and sat on a chair and played. He was really drunk. But it was Howling Wolf.

Zappa comes out and without word rips into a 45 minutes song. He then leans in the microphone and says “Hello boys and girls.”

He then rips into another long song. He leans in and says “That was called Nuts”. He plays another song and is gone.

Chuck Berry is legendary for being backed by young musicians who idolized him and who he had never met to save money. Money that he demanded in cash before he performed.

Out comes Chuck. It sounded fine to me. (Except for My Dingaling which I thought was a dreadful song)

And oh that duck walk. Some memory.

Some triple bill.


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