Robert “Beatle Bob” Matonis was a St. Louis man known widely for his enthusiastic dancing at concerts he attended every day for decades.
Robert “Beatle Bob” Matonis’s legacy
Matonis was a music fan from childhood, attending his first concert at age seven – a Jerry Lee Lewis (1935–2022) show in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. But it was in 1996 that he began the concertgoing streak that would make him a legend both in his hometown and with bands and music fans around the country. In that year, he attended a Christmas Eve show that was the first of thousands he would attend over the next two and a half decades. Reportedly, Matonis went to a concert every single night until he had to take a brief hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic – and then he resumed his streak until his illness ended it in 2023. It was a total of more than 9,400 consecutive nights of concerts.
Matonis became highly recognizable to his fellow concertgoers for his Beatles-inspired mop top hairstyle and his wild dance moves. His hair and fashion sense helped make his nickname of Beatle Bob a natural – but it was a nickname he acquired much earlier, from a teacher as a child.
A stapple of the St. Louis live music scene, Matonis also became known nationwide, thanks in part to his attendance at such music festivals as Bonnaroo, South by Southwest, and Lollapalooza. He was often asked to introduce performers onstage, appearing with bands including the Flaming Lips, Guided by Voices, and Sleater-Kinney. Some St. Louis music fans said that if you saw Matonis at a concert, you knew it would be a good show. Matonis also wrote music columns for Jet Lag, Sauce, and other magazines, and he was a social worker.
Matonis on his unconventional dancing
“It’s a hodgepodge of sixties dances I’d seen in Shindig! and Hullabaloo. My friends Dash Rip Rock wrote a song about it that will be on the next CD. It’s called ‘Do the Beatle Bob.’ It explains everything, but my signature move is to get your hands to look like you’re throwing dice and then kick your leg back like a bowling move. When Dash brought me onstage last year to debut the song, the whole crowd implemented it. It looked like an aerobic instructional video – a sea of Beatle Bobs.” —from a 2003 interview for the Austin Chronicle
Tributes to Robert “Beatle Bob” Matonis
Full obituary: St. Louis Post-Dispatch