Don’t go to B1 Maximum

I was so excited when I saw that Chuck Berry was coming to Moscow. I mean, the guy’s a legend! So, I immediately got tickets for the show. Начало 20:00.

I found out where B1 Maximum was. No problem there. Work day, but it started at a decent hour, right? My mistake was thinking that it would be anything like B2.

First, general admission. And, being negative, I’m certain they sold way more tickets than they should have. We were like sardines in there. So, we get ther early, but there’s a line a mile long already! And it’s not moving at all.

We got in via the traditional Moscow queue mentality – go to the front of the line and PUSH or be pushed in. As they tear our ticket and stamp our hand, the lady says “Chuck Berry has been delayed. He’ll be here at 22:30.” OK. That’s bad news and good news. Bad news, because it’ll be a late evening. Good news, because that gives a chance to unwind, get a bite to eat, something nice to drink, before the show.

Eh, no.

No chairs. No food. Not even snacks like chips, nuts, pretzels, etc. What the…? And even the drinks were crazy. All the ingredients for any cocktail, but “We don’t make cocktails.” Hunh?! Why the hell not? What DO you do?

Of course, when they said that Chuck would be there at 22:30, you immediately calculate in another hour because concert people are always optimistic. Yes, there were some opening acts, some quite good ones, I must say, but they were just opening acts. Nothing more. Not good enough to dance to, but too loud to have any kind of conversation. Ugh.

Chuck showed up around 23:50 to wild applause, none wilder than mine. Here was the legend who influenced so many others. Even the Beatles did a cover of Roll Over, Beethoven. And, remember how Back to the Future spoofed it? (Back in 1955, Marty is trying to get his future parent to dance at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. The band playing is Marvin Berry and the something… When the lead guitarist hurts his hand, Marty fills in for Earth Angel. Then, he’s invited to lead the band….He plays Johnny B. Goode while Marvin calls his cousin, Chuck. “You know that new sound you been lookin’ for? Listen to this….” and holds the phone receiver towards the stage. Marty is even duck walking….)

Anyway, here was Chuck Berry, 80 years old and on stage in Moscow. He came strutting out, decked out in his glittery red shirt, captain’s hat, and his guitar. First song? Roll over, Beethoven. (“Tell Tchaikovsky the news.”)

Chuck Berry in Moscow, 2007

So, ok, B1 has concerts 4-5 nights a week. And they had over an hour to get things ready before he came out. But, the first half hour was ruined by severe problems with the sound. Feedback, outages, too quiet, too loud, loud pops. At least once, Chuck stopped the song and waited for them to fix something before he started again. Fer cryin’ out loud, guys! Do something right, why don’t you?!

The only saving grace was that the female back-up singer (who also played the harmonica REALLY well) apparently was thinking on behalf of the audience. I was already debating how long we’d stay, because it was really late. But, I knew I’d be really disappointed if I had to leave before hearing his signature song, Johnny B. Goode. But, because it’s his trademark, that’s usually the last song. Inner debate, inner turmoil. Well, this lady must have realized this because she told him after the third or fourth song that he should play Johnny next. And he did. It was excellent.

We stayed for a few songs more, but I didn’t feel cheated because I’d heard that song. I didn’t hear Maybelline. My Ding-a-Ling. or several others. But I heard Chuck Berry sing Johnny B. Goode live. That was great.

But, I’m still never going back to B1 Maximum unless someone convinces me they’ve changed.

 

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7 Comments on “Don’t go to B1 Maximum”

  1. anony Says:

    so what is the address for B1 maximum? I can’t find it anywhere. I hate to go against your post but a fave band of mine will be there, if you could be so kind!

    do they have a website? I’m not in moscow yet; I will be all summer.

  2. moscowblog Says:

    Hi anonymous,

    I understand that a favorite band has priority over a crappy venue: I would go back there for some of my favorites, too.

    My post above has a link for the B1 club. There you will find all you need. It was NOT very convenient to get to. It’s not too far from a metro station, i just forget which one.

    Just make sure you eat early and maybe bring some snacks. And prepare to stay late, late, late.

    When are you coming to Moscow? What will you be doing? Where are you coming from? What band is playing there?


  3. […] sound system and setup. I have witnessed that personally with De La Soul and Etienne de Crecy and there is proof of others which think the same way (including some local DJ friends of mine). This fact is always surprising […]

  4. Anna Says:

    I’ve been to B1 Maximum 5.10.07. ,Avril Lavigne performed her first (in Russia) concert there. She was great but the club is ….nothing i would recommend. There is always a line when u come early, so u better come just before the show. No people in front of the club and the concerts are always later than they supposed to be.
    The sound is definitely bad. I was on Avril’s concert in Poland and the sound was perfect i could compare now. Every guitar string could be heard. Here in B1 all we heard was a mess. I can’t figure this out , how they bring all the big stars there almost every day!!! With such a “quality”!
    The whole concert lasted about 1h30min. And we couldn’t leave the place for an hour or so. The guards didn’t let people out. Obviously because there were too many of us. But , I mean if u have a club like this, with a number of people like this every day, u have to figure out how to make the shows comfortable to everyone.
    What is more the prices for drinks were very high- 10$ beer. 20$ Mojito. Water 5$…
    Just a day before, i was at MTV RMA 2007 and they had it all organized so well. The sound , the whole was very good.
    They have to change the manager in B1 or smth… i don’t know.
    Cheers!

  5. Johnny D Says:

    B1 Maximum is at http://www.b1arena.ru/ Ordjonikidze str., 11, Moscow, Russia. Phone: +7 (495) 648-6777

  6. Rengenx Says:

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