I've Seen Chet Once...when?

Discussion of history's greatest guitar player.

I've Seen Chet Once...when?

Postby ajbremer » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:59 am

I saw Chet play only one time in my life and at that time I wasn't into fingerstyle at all. When I left the concert, the main song that stayed in my mind forever was, 'Yakety Axe'.

I lived in New Hampshire at the time and it was between 1988 and 1992...somewhere around there. Would anyone happen to know where and when Chet played around there? I think I remember Chet saying that he didn't like to travel up North around there much. I hope someone might know. Thanks
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Re: I've Seen Chet Once...when?

Postby Joey Bowie » Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:01 am

Years ago my wife and I went to the Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford Ma. to see Chet play. I'm not sure what year it was, but it could have been about that same time period.
He had Paul playing with him of course, Johnny Gimble, Pat Bergeson, and the other members of his band, along with a local girl singer.
I remember that they had Peavey Amps set up and some were on folding chairs. It was a real laid back performance and he was great as always.

It was kind of funny when the girl got up there and Chet went to introduce her and forgot her name. He was always great at getting out of an awkward situation by coming up with a funny remark.

In one part of the show he made a funny comment about the city of New Bedford being "on the other side of that mountain over there" as he turned around and pointed in a direction, which got a few chuckles from the crowd.
This was the very first time that I ever seen Chet play. I missed a chance to see him play in Boston years ago. A good friend of mine who ran a popular music store in Pawtucket RI, Tony, had met Chet a few times at the Gretsch Guitar shows in NY, would always send me free tickets to go and see Chet, but being a young kid who wasn't used to traveling long distances, I never did go.

One of my friends named Kenny, told me a funny story about the time he and his cousin Richie went to see Chet play in Boston at some Hotel. They were just kids back then and they were just leaning to play guitar. Richie's dad dropped the boys off at the hotel and then he went to Boston Music Store to buy Richie a new Gretsch Duo Jet Guitar and a small amp, unbeknown to his son, and surprise him with it.
As the story goes, Kenny and Richie were walking around in the lobby of the hotel and they ran into Chet. They had no clew who they were talking to. Chet came up to the boys and said something to them to the effect of, "Hi boys, are you here to see the show? "What's your names?" The boys said, "Yes. My name is Kenny and this is my cousin Richie. We play guitar and we're going to start a band real soon."

When my friend Kenny told me this story he mention that at one point in their conversation with Chet, they told him that he bared a resemblance to Abraham Lincoln. I can almost imagine Chet having a chuckle about this with the guys in the band later on. They were just young kids back then and kids will say anything.

Chet told them that he thought that it was great that they were guitar players, and that he'd see them at the show in a little while.

After the boys entered the show room and sat down, the announcer got up to the mike and introduced Chet and the band. Kenny told me that he and his cousin Richie almost fell over when they saw Chet standing up there on the stage. He told me, "you could have knocked me over with a feather! We were talking to him in the lobby and we had no idea who he was!"

Chet played a few songs and at one point in the show he introduced the boys and told the audience, "These two boys are Richie and Kenny. They're guitar players, and are friends of mine." Then he invited the boys to sit at a front row table and watch the show from there.

I've mentioned this story a few years ago on this forum and tried to remember it as it was told to me by Kenny and I just had to tell it again.
Joey Alves
Joey Bowie
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Re: I've Seen Chet Once...when?

Postby ajbremer » Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:15 am

Thanks for telling that great story Joey, very nice.
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Re: I've Seen Chet Once...when?

Postby jay » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:05 am

I saw Chet once, back in the early 80's, in Amarillo. He played with the Amarillo Orchestra for a local benefit organization. There were supposed to be no camera's, but I snuck one in and took several dozen pictures. About a month later, I sent a letter to Chet, telling him how much I enjoyed, not only his music, but his concert and explained how I had broken the rules by bringing a camera, but had gotten a couple of good pictures, and would he mind autographing them, if I sent them to him. To my amazement, he replied and said that he would do it under one condition, that I sent him copies...of course, back then, it took a couple of weeks to get enlargements made, but I did, sent them off and sure enough, he signed them and sent them back. I have one in my office today.

The kicker to the story is that, as I was going through Paul's website one day, I saw one of them! I wrote Paul and told him the story and he said that when Chet passed away, some of the pictures he had were given to someone (I no longer have the email) and that is probably how it found it's way onto his webpage.

http://www.studio9kc.co.uk/paul/images/ ... 0large.jpg

Just one of the may examples that has been shared here, of how common it was for Chet to reach out and be so available to his fans. He was one of a kind, in so many ways.
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