Last night at Louie's Rock City, Chuck Berry was up to his old licks -- some of the most familiar, copied and enduring sounds in all of rock 'n' roll.
When he wasn't duck-walking across the stage, he was charging into "Johnny B. Goode," or "Roll Over Beethoven," with renewed vigor. "You name them, we'll play them," he shouted more than once.
If some of the tempos weren't as fast as they once were, the songs remain as infectious as ever. The crowd, which jammed the sprawling club, cheered his every move, shouting out the choruses, standing with beers hoisted high for most of the show. One chant -- "Hail, hail, rock 'n' roll, deliver me from the days of old" -- seemed particularly ironic in light of the fact that it helped precipitate a revolution in pop music, long before most members of the crowd were born.
Not that it mattered. "Promised Land" had couples staking out dancing space as did "Memphis," and the anthemic "Rock 'n' Roll Music."
Unfortunately, Berry's opening set came to an abrupt end. Although he played for nearly an hour, he walked off after a few members of the audience were prevented from dancing alongside him on stage at his invitation. Until then, to borrow one of Berry's lyrics, the joint was jumpin'.