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Chuck Berry falls ill at Chicago concert; exhaustion cited

Chuck Berry Chuck Berry collapsed over an accompanist's keyboard while being taken offstage during the packed "Chuck Berry's Winter Dance Party" concert Saturday night in Chicago. The 84-year-old rocker was unable to finish the show.

The "Johnny B. Goode" singer, who picked up his guitar again about 15 minutes after falling ill in an attempt to continue the night, was taken offstage again to be examined by paramedics, then returned to thank fans who'd waited around, doing a bit of his signature "duck walk" as he left for good.

He declined to be taken to a hospital after the show, with his rep saying "last-night exhaustion" was to blame. Berry had performed two New Year's Eve shows at B.B. King Blues Club in New York the night before.

After starting with his hit "Roll Over Beethoven" and pulling off a couple other songs, things began to deteriorate, the Chicago Tribune said.

"Fifteen minutes into the set it went from fine to something wasn't right," concert promoter Michael Petryshyn said. "He was starting songs mid-song, playing 15 seconds of a song." Petryshyn said Berry "felt faint, he felt weak, and I was told to call 911."

Before collapsing, Berry acknowledged things weren't going well, the Trib said, telling the crowd he'd try to do better at entertaining them. One song later, he was done.

"He may be working harder than he should," pianist Vijay Tellis-Nayak told the Trib.

Staffers at Chicago's Hard Rock Hotel, where Berry was staying, said he looked good when they saw him Sunday morning. The Associated Press reported he'd been feeling ill before the show started on Saturday.

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-- Christie D'Zurilla

Reuters contributed to this report.

Photo: After being examined by paramedics, guitarist, singer and songwriter Chuck Berry returns to the stage in Chicago on Jan. 1, 2011, to thank the crowd and perform his famous "heel scoop" -- or "duck walk." He collapsed over a keyboard while being escorted offstage earlier in the evening, but was not hospitalized Credit: Steve Handwerker / Associated Press


 
Comments () | Archives (8)

Naturally, we all hope and pray for Chuck's recovery from old age; what I never understand is, why eighty-year olds insist on playing until they drop dead. The list is very long. Enough is enough, when it's over, it's over...

Chuck Berry is still performing? Wow, well at 84 years old...good for him.

He invented rock and roll, copied by the beach boys, stones and presley. He is an American legend. Long live rock and roll and Chuck.

I grew up listening to Chuck Berry. He and Jerry Lee Lewis are two of rock-n-roll's pioneers who are still breathing. But maybe at age 84, it's time for Berry to hang up the old guitar. He doesn't have to work and it may be a threat to his life if he continues to do so. His music will live on in recordings.

With all the love in the world to one of the greatest Rock N Roll Legends of all time:

Please Chuck, take it easy. We fans are more than happy to know that you are alive and living your life in the ease you so deserve...Not passing out onstage with people more than happy to suck the last bit of life out of you, and us fans who would rather listen to your records and see you on film than come to your concert and be worried about you when you pass out in front of us.

I want you to be happy and have more life. If it means never see you onstage again, baby. All I'm saying.

MY DEAR CHUCK.
PLEASE DIONT LEAVE US WE LOVE YOU.
GOOD WISHES, GOOD RECOVERY.\
YOUR BESTBFRIEND FROM GERMAMY.

RUPERT HAARHOFF


Go Berry Go! Only at one concert a YEAR Brother! Don't over do it! Your not a youngster any longer. We will like to have you around for many years to come. May God take good care of you!

I saw Chuck Berry perform at Hootenanny in Irvine in summer 2010 and he was awful. He should retire.


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