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They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Who's the most famous performer you've seen?

"Tuned Into Pop Culture" guest contributor John Bertosa is The News-Herald's city editor.

About once or twice a year I am reminded that I will never get to see a famous performer do their thing in person.

When Pink Floyd Richard Wright keyboardist died in 2008 so did my chances of ever being there for one of the most spectacular stadium shows ever.And I was filled with regret when I learned that Blues legend Robert Lockwood Jr. had died after performing regularly in a Cleveland restaurant -- if only I had known he was doing it.

So,when I heard that Little Richard was coming to town as part of the Moondog Coronation Ball on Saturday at the Q, I decided I would not be tossing another regret onto the pile.

While I appreciate "Oldies" rock,I almost never have it on the radio. But this wasn't about music, this was about seeing a performer that has become ingrained in the pop culture of America. The flamboyant rock-n-roller is one of the last remaining vestiges from Rock's first heyday in mid 1950s.

And I wasn't disappointed.

Little Richard took the stage after Jerry Butler and Three Dog Night and before Herman's Hermits and Tommy James.I was very worried at first as the 76-year-old was rolled out in a wheelchair but though he was having problems with his legs, his fingers still mastered the piano and his voice still howled out his famous tunes like "Tuttie Frutti" and "Lucille."

I was also struck at how today's performances are so much more choreographed than they were "back in the day." After getting settled in, Little Richard refused to start playing until the big video screens were shut off, but then after the first song he relented and said they could go back on.And there were times during an instrumental solo he would start talking to people in the front row.

So now I can tell the future generations "Yeah, I saw Little Richard... he was a famous rock'n'roll, not like Clay Aiken... moron!"

You'll notice on this blog screen a section for posting comments and I want to hear about who were the most famous performers you've ever seen.Anyone lucky enough to be in the stands for the Beatles and Elvis? Sinatra and Miles Davis?

- John Bertosa


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