Off Topic Messages

Jerry Lee Lewis In Concert

Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:41 am

Jerry Lee played Casino Niagara last night and tonight.
This is the review from our local paper.
The body of the review reminds me of various Elvis reviews
from around 1976 ... short concert, not much structure or rehearsal,
long opening act, not very physical, etc.
Still, I give the man kudos for getting up on a stage at age 70.

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NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- Time has slowed down Jerry Lee Lewis -- a.k.a. The Killer -- but, thankfully, it hasn't tamed him.

Early on during his show Thursday night at Niagara Fallsview Casino's Avalon Ballroom, it looked like there might be more filler than Killer.

The 70-year-old singer-pianist only walked out on stage after his crack four-piece band had already played the first four songs of the concert without him.

And even then, Jerry Lee -- frail in body, rough in voice but still an impressive piano thumper with a feisty spirit -- played for only 45 minutes and didn't return for an encore.

It was the first of two sold-out shows for rock 'n' roll's original wildman, making a rare Toronto-area visit. In his '50s heyday, Lewis was famous for knocking over his stool, putting his feet up on the keys, and trashing his piano -- even once setting fire to it.

"I've gotten a little bit older since the last time I was here, but I'm still trying to hang in!" he told the crowd.

Lewis was decked out in a black and red bowling shirt, black pants, black cowboy boots and his dyed-red hair slicked back. Fittingly, he slowly sauntered on stage after his band performed Hey Big Boss Man.

His first song was Roll Over Beethoven, which saw him sit down on his piano stool with his back perfectly straight, while his hands moved quickly over the keys like it was second nature.

All I could think was that it must be hard being a performer whose performing reputation was built so much on raging, hard-edged physicality -- and now have to sit so still.

It made me wish I'd seen him 50 years ago as he performed his big hits Great Balls Of Fire and Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On, which still motivated more than a few young things in the audience Thursday to get up and dance.

"You're still sexy, Jerry Lee!" one female fan screamed out from the crowd of 1,500.

His second song was a genuine surprise, Over The Rainbow, but that slow standard was followed by another early R&B song, Drinkin' Wine Spo Dee Odee.

The Louisiana-born Lewis, whose ego once equalled his voracious appetites for women, drink and booze, even gave himself a hard time for his performance of Odee.

"I might have played that last one a little too fast!" he said. "Whoo!"

And is it just me or is there something slightly creepy about Jerry Lee singing Sweet Little Sixteen, when he was a man who married his 13-year-old second cousin Myra in 1958 -- a scandal that derailed his career for nearly a decade ?

It also seemed that for every rocker he delivered, there was an accompanying standard such as You Belong To Me or a country tune like Hank Williams' You Win Again -- a testament to his eclectic taste in music.

Still, Jerry Lee refused to stick to the script as he broke into Chantilly Lace, announcing to his bandmates: "I'm going to do what I want to do!"

He even ad-libbed some of the spoken-word parts of the song, saying, "Will I what? My track record speaks for itself!" The song's ending even provoked him to shut his piano keys cover abruptly, which was about as close as we got to witnessing Killer's old stage moves.

Still, it was nice to see him happily shuffle off the stage by the end, with a little spring in his step. Jerry Lee plays his second sold-out show at the same venue tonight.

JERRY LEE LEWIS

Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:56 pm

When I saw him on the Johnny Cash tribute show on tv a while back, he appeared shaky and not in good health.

It's sad to see these pioneers of rock & roll in the final leg of both their careers and life...I hope good ole' Jerry Lee keeps on going.

Sun Apr 23, 2006 7:00 pm

When I saw him in the UK in 1964, he was great !

Tiny audience, though !

Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:09 pm

Last saw the man in '98 - a very similar performance to the one just mentioned. Still to be doing that at 70 years of age is amazing. I keep huming that tune of his " Who's gonna play this ole Piano, when the killer aint here ..."

Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:53 pm

Thanks for sharing this with us TCB TED

Mon May 01, 2006 1:56 am

The Killer was on the David Letterman show in the US on Friday night. UK fans can see it on ITV 4 on Monday night.

The Killer Rocks On!