It happened in about 2006. I no longer remember the exact date. My friend who was as a sound engineer at the Moscow music club B-1 often offered me to “hang around” behind the scenes. He knew that I was keen on taking informal pics.
It was almost night when the phone rang and I heard him inviting me to come to the club today in his broken Russian (he was a Czech):
I know that you like to shoot backstage. Today we will have a concert… (illegible). Please come, maybe, you’ll manage to take some good photos.
And who is performing?
Oh, sounds great, I’m coming!
I felt uncomfortable to refuse his invitation, although I was unable to make out what he said. So I decided to go.
The group performing at the stage by the time I got there struck me as strange and boring. And I decided to take a few photos out of courtesy, as one can always spot something interesting if they keep their eyes peeled.
It was long after midnight when I started thinking of going home. But when I found my friend to thank him for the invitation – not every person can get behind the scenes of a major music club – he stared at me as if I was mad and said:
Are you crazy!? Chuck Berry has just arrived! I told you about this on the phone!
You’ve only seen the warm-up! He’s already coming to the stage! Maybe, you’ll manage to snap him.
This is how I found myself at a Chuck Berry gig.
In fact, as it turned out, Chuck Berry was very late and went straight to the stage, so I had no chance to meet him one-to-one, but still tried to snap a few photographs from the stage.
This image of him walking along the corridor to the stage in his captain’s cap stuck in my memory.
- Camera: Pentax ME
- Lens: Pentax 50mm F1.4
- Film: Ilford Pan 400