Saturday, March 26, 2016
Last Night With The Rolling Stones in Berlin - Flashback to Ronnie Gerber and Greg Machay And Tamaqua Rock And Roll
Last night the Rolling Stones played a free concert in Havana Cuba. But I am here in Berlin - and I am just old and senile enough to think I was with the Rolling Stones. We had just gotten back from a long rainy day touring Potsdam. Our wool coats smelled like German shepherds in the rain. We collapsed into a nice supper in our warm dry apartment in Prenzlauerberg - East Berlin. Were my hearing aids deceiving me - but it sounded like the Rolling Stones were playing down the street - not in Cuba.
The music was coming from a small blues club not 100 yards from our front door. Dirty Works - the real Rolling Stones Tribute Band was doing a free concert to whoever wanted to come and sit down and have a few beers and listen. The place was crowded - maybe 100 people into a space the size of our living room. The bar was serving beers for 2.50 euros for a pint. We begged onto a front table - and enjoyed 3 hours of fantastic music.
The band did not mind if I recorded them - so my hands got tired of recording after 10 songs. Check out the 10 videos after this article.
Make no mistake - these guys are serious musicians. They looked like they were in their 60s and 70s - their followers were just as old. I’d call them groupies but you do not imagine 60 year old men as groupies. Lulu noticed that everyone seemed to be drinking cheap beer - no mixed drinks - no food - no wine - no snacks. Just a wonderful trip down memory lane with good music. Between songs - the lead singer would chat with the crowd in German that sounded a lot like Pennsylvania Dutch. Then when the music started - it was back to English lyrics.
If you were brought up in Tamaqua PA in the 60s - you remember Lambert Ronny Gerber. He was a very talented young man - he could sing - play drums - play guitar - dance - he was just our connection to that period of rebellion. He also had the largest vinyl record collection I have ever seen. It was nothing for him to buy a dozen “albums” in a week - and try to learn all the songs. That was back when I could barely afford a long playing record a month - and they only cost about $3.00 each. Buying records usually entailed a trip to Allentown or Philadelphia. You could try to record them off the radio - if you did not mind static or people talking in the background.
While I was sitting there recording these guys on my camera - I thought back to the many days I would spend with Ronny Gerber and Greg Machay - recording their singing and playing on my giant reel to reel recorder. The singer last night looked exactly what I expected Ronny Gerber to look like in his 60s if he would have lived longer. The singer had on thick glasses and long but very thin hair. He had the love and enthusiasm for the Rolling Stones blues music - and he was a showman.
At about midnight - the band took one more break - we were bushed from our wet day in Potsdam - we put on our dog breath wool coats - now coated with the smoke of all the roll your own cigarettes - and stumbled home as the strains of Satisfaction lilted along behind us.
Love In Vain
Time Is On My Side
Under My Thumb
Street Fighting Man
Its All Over Now
I Need A Love
Get Off My Cloud