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Looking at the family tree of rock and roll, Little Richard is at the root. He was one of the first to merge the sounds of boogie woogie, R&B, gospel, and jump blues all together, and songs like “Tutti Frutti,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” and “Long Tall Sally” helped kick-start the careers of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Pat Boone (!!!), Michael Jackson, and Prince. Richard’s frenzied shows are legendary. Saturday’s show at the Howard Theatre was no different.
Still recuperating from hip surgery a few years back, the 79-year-old remained seated throughout the show, playing piano from the kingly golden throne he was carried out in. Decked out in a suit (and boots) dripping with rhinestones, Richard, the showman, bantered with the audience and his band members between songs, and Richard, the minister, repeatedly spoke of his love for Jesus as his minions distributed copies of the Seventh-day Adventist book Finding Peace Within to the audience. The musician’s “woooo” may be a bit weaker these days, but it’s obvious that music (and God) still make Little Richard sparkle as bright as his rhinestones.