Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Great Arrivals

I recently wrote about blue guitarist and performer extraordinaire Guitar Slim, who used to like entering clubs playing a guitar, leaving the club playing a guitar while on the shoulders of his valet, and sometimes driving away from a venue still playing the guitar. I love stylish rock and roll entrances, arrivals, and departures. Screamin' Jay Hawkins emerging from a coffin, P-Funk's Dr. Funkenstein exiting the Mothership, a black-thong attired Prince appearing onstage in a bathtub, Little Richard ending a show with a striptease on top of his piano (alas, no video): these are sublime rock and roll stage moments.

Here are three favorites: Jerry Lee Lewis descending from the heavens while opening his 1964 Grenada TV show with "Great Balls of Fire." Shouldn't he have been ascending from hell? Many commentators at the time thought so. Look at the dancers, they're telling the whole story.

I also love love rock and roll spectacle of the lo-fi variety. Bo knows that all you need for an epic entrance are a few stair-steps, in-sync, sequined gals, and The Beat.

This song comes near the end of AC/DC's blistering performance on Rock Goes to College from 1978, and the sight of a shredding Angus hitting the stage for an encore while aloft on Bon's bare shoulders, with smoke pouring out of his school book bag, is R&R personified. Every 12 year-old kid would wonder—what's in that bag?!


DrBOP said...

Most Unexpected "Arrival":
Early 70s, Ottawa Ontario Canada working at James Gang Records (because we lived on James St.). Four doors down is The Black Cat, a biker R&B joint we usually avoid. But wait....am I readin' this right....Wayne Cochrane show....at TWO PM Saturday afternoon. Surprising to me he's still crankin', coming to nowheresville Ottawa, for an AFTERNOON show.
Said they'd start at 2pm.....it's now almost 4, and we've heard rumors from he's too sick to go on, he's NOT in a good mood, and that he O'd. The band's been milling around/on the stage in a haphazard manner, looking like they're getting ready to pack up.
Alkl of a sudden there is the loudest ARRRRRGGGGHHHH you've ever heard and Cochran's almost rushing the stage. He rips the mike from the stand, as half of the band runs on the stage and they're OFF into Dance To The Music. He's literally spitting the words out, kinda looking like someone whose nice sleep has been interupted to do a two-hour show....the buffont is saggin' a bit.
But the band is just rockin' in rhythm, and funkin' our souls away.....at 4 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon.
When they finish the tune the 70 folks or so go out of their/our minds, and rush the stage. So much so that Wayne's attitude changes in the glint of an eye, and he says to us " I think......(long pause).....I LIKE IT HERE!
BAM!....they're off into "I Can't Turn You Loose".....doublespeed.
Halfway through the song, Wayne leaps off the stage, singing as he wobbles over to the bar to get a bottle of Scotch, and a bottle of Bourbon (with the old style silver shot cap). He goes back on stage.....and steps off onto the nearest two Canadian-style bar tables (2' diameter, and wobbly), upturns the two bottles.....and starts walking through the audience tabletop to tabletop, pourin' drinks into the luckiest glasses that can get close enough. The Band is just RIPPIN' the place apart while the bubble of R&B devotees chase their alcohol messiah around the room.
Now THAT is rock and roll!

Joe Bonomo said...

That is fantastic! Love the bit about filling everyone's drinks for free. Now that man knows how to throw a party! Great stuff.