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Jerry Lee Lewis Concert Reviews
Updated 10/12/98

Reviews done by fans for the fans. If you have seen a concert recently please let us know. Email: Devimil@aol.com


Liverpool, England 1961 and Kelvin Hall Glasgow,Scotland 1964
Review by Mike Drummond

I saw Jerry Lee Live for the first time when I started work in Liverpool at 17. I went to Liverpool in late 1961 and was a regular visitor to the Cavern Club where all these groups were playing, Beatles, Gerry & Pacemakers, Searchers etc. I thought that they would surely become famous some day. Anyway it was announced one day that Jerry Lee Lewis was going to be playing at the Tower Ballroom in New Brighton (across the river Mersey from Liverpool). I had been a fan since getting Great Balls of Fire/Mean Woman Blues on a 78 record in 1958 and had been buying all other releases I could afford. It was a terrific show with three stages and 21 Liverpool Groups appearing one after the other playing a couple of numbers each. The climax of the Show was the appearance on the centre stage of the KILLER who that night was being backed by a group called The Echoes as I remember. His performance was awesome everyone went nuts. My Company opened a store in Glasgow in 1963 and I transferred back to Scotland. When I learnt that Jerry Lee was going to appear at the Kelvin Hall Glasgow with Gene Vincent (who I had also seen in Liverpool and met a couple of years later) I decided that I must get some photographs of the show. The show opened with the Nashville Teens who played their Tobacco Road etc., a good band. They were followed by Gene Vincent and then the Animals.Quite a number of the fans, whose anticipation was getting the better of them, started catcalling and booing the Animals. Jerry Lee appeared from the wings and appealed to them to give the band a fair hearing and things settled down. All quite ironic when the band went on to have so many big hits. Jerry came on to close the show and there was an almost perpetual flow of fans climbing up on the stage during his act and as fast as they were being removed others were taking their place. This was of course the early days and stewarding was not organised to the same extent as is the case now. It did not make any difference to his performance as he just kept driving on number following number. The Nashville Teens in my opinion did a fantastic job to provide a pretty decent backing.Over the years I have seen many great artists/bands Beatles (many times), all the other big name Liverpool bands, Little Richard (backed by Sounds Incorporated), Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Erroll Garner, Count Basie, Roy Orbison, etc. really terrific artists and many of them gifted musicians but when you saw Jerry Lee Live you witnessed two shows in tandem, a Musical Spectacular with a Life Story incorporated if that makes sense. You could sense the turbulence of his life, and a feeling that he was/is determined that every performance must be the 'Greatest Live Show on Earth'. The audience must leave knowing that they will see nothing better.

Pictures from this concert are available for viewing on the Pictures page

Feburay 21st,1998 New Daisy Theatre, Beale Street Memphis, TN
Review by Devin Miller

"I went down to Memphis this weekend and saw the Killer perform of the best shows I have ever seen. The show can be characterized by the lack of ballads in this set. JLL did a complete rock'n'roll mutha humpin' show this evening. He was generally relaxed in his adopted home town. JLL performed these songs and more ( this is in no particular order...i was too busy rockin' with the Killer to keep track) Blue Suede Shoes, Sweet Little Sixteen, Great Balls of Fire, You Win Again, Drinkin' Wine Spodeeodee, Lucille, Hound Dog, and ended with Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On. He took request from the audience (one from me: Big Legged Woman) and had a solid band backing him. Kerrie Lewis was on stage with the Killer banging the tamborine and singing back-up vocals. Of course Kenny and James Burton were there. JLL has a great bass player and drummer this time around and left the extra keyboardist at home. There was a capacity crowd of mostly middle aged fans but there were many younger fans that went up front to rock right next to the stage."

Pictures from this concert are available for viewing on the Pictures page

March 26th,1998 House Of Blues Chicago, IL
Review by Devin Miller

"The strange ultramodern design of the House of Blues warns of the coming 21st century. The club is filled with folk art but largely fails at its attempt to be "down home" (give me Memphis anyday). Fortunately the room where the Killer played had above average acoustics and was well designed. The capacity crowd was mixed with "boomers", hipsters, yuppies, and greasers (the usual fare at a JLL show). Kenny Lovelace opened up with his outstanding countrified Little Richard cover "Slippin' and Sliddin'". The Killer came out in a sharp suit and was ready to rock. JLL didn't interact as much as usual with the crowd on this particular evening. He did play "Big Legged Woman" after somebody yelled up to the stage for the request. Jerry Lee seemingly would stare after each song developing in his mind what he was going to do next. Crafting another one of a kind version of his classics. The highlight of the show was when he played a heart-felt version of "What Made Milwaukee Famous "..JLL also played the favs...Whole Lotta, GBOF, Drinkin' Wine Spodeeodee..etc.. Plenty of Chuck Berry....Johnny Be Good, Roll Over Beethoven and I believe Lucille from Little Richard. JLL grined tons during the evening and continues to bring with him a great band on this tour."

March 27 and 28th 1998 Harrahs Casino Cherokee, N.C.
Review by Robert J. Reed

My wife and I went to Cherokee to see Jerry and to relax. Let me tell you it was one of the best times we ever had thanks to Mr. Lewis! We met him and got a picture with him, saw the show and did some fishing. We can't say enough good about him and will be going to Charolette, N.C. on april 24th to see him again.

April 17th, 1998 Cain's Ballroom Tulsa, Oklahoma
Review by: Dave Timmons

I was able to catch Jerry Lee's show last night at the historic Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a sold out show, standing room only. The Killer was in fine form for his long awaited return to Oklahoma. He played all the old favorites, including "Great Balls of Fire", "Whole Lotta Shakin", "39 and Holding", "Over the Rainbow", "Georgia On My Mind", "Roll Over Beethoven", "Drinking Wine Spo Dee O Dee", and lots more. It was a general admission show, so there were no reserved seats. My wife and I stood on the side of the stage, directly facing Jerry Lee. We had an excellent view of the entire show. Jerry Lee seemed to be having a good time onstage, he made a few jokes, and even jumped up on his piano a couple of times during the show. As he first walked out onstage, he was smoking his pipe, and wearing a nice suit and tie. As soon as he sat down at his piano, he put down his pipe and loosened his tie. He looked like he was ready to rock. He certainly didn't disappoint the crowd. He came back for a couple of encores. I was hoping to get to meet the Killer, but there was no chance of that. He arrived at the show right before going onstage, and he left immediately after the show. The security guys were not exactly friendly either. Nobody even got close to him. I guess they were just doing their jobs. The rest of his band hung around after the show and talked with everyone, and signed autographs though.

May 29th, 1998 Edmonton, Alberta Canada, Friday
Review by Ed Mason

Jerry Lee and his "All Star Band" (Kenny Lovelace and James Burton , etc.) performed last night (Friday, May 29th) at Red's in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I am an announcer for a local radio station (AM 880 CHQT) and was thrilled to introduce everyone. Kenny and James did the usual "dueling guitars" stuff off the top and the Killer came out three songs later. Looked great and sounded even better. I was surprised by the number of Chuck Berry and Little Richard songs but JLL covered all his own bases over the next 70-minutes. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand and had 'em jumping' before he wrapped up with a piano pounding, energetic versions of "great balls of fire" and "whole lotta shakin goin on." Jerry also did a terrific "somewhere over the rainbow." I met him after the show, got some autographs and had a great time swapping guitar stories with Kenny and James. (even held their guitars and got a couple of picks). Nice to see "Doctor Nick" of Elvis fame acting as "tour manager." Anyway...great show so don't miss it if Jerry Lee is heading your way. Cheers. Ed Mason

May 30th, 1998 Spokane, Washington
by Ken and Meladee Bosley

Well, it was an amazing night to see this legend Jerry Lee, but to be honest, We were shocked as to the fact that the sponsor 101.1 (oldies radio station in Spokane) didn't have an actual piano for Jerry lee, and it was very obvious that he was quite annoyed with this and ended up walking of the stage during "Great Balls of Fire." We had binoculars and could see him asking his guitar player "to get him a piano 'several times. He even said several times to the audience "that the keyboard wasn't a piano, and he would only have something like that in his hotel room." What he did do was great but too short, and we were there to see him, not Chubby Checker. Although Chubby was great, we were ecstatic about seeing Jerry Lee, and actually felt ripped off at the end thanks, to 101.1 only having a keyboard for him. How could they be so stupid? We were still in awe, over actually seeing him, but the overall audience were disappointed, and that was very obvious. Myself and my husband, and a very few others stayed, and kept screaming for an encore, but everyone else just left and I'm sure Jerry Lee, didn't have any thought of coming back on for an encore. This was my husbands birthday and this was something "we'd both" always wanted to do was to see Jerry Lee live ,(actually a dream of ours) we only wish he could have played longer. He was fantastic and even though he hated that keyboard his hands flowed across those keys. Our wish is to see him again and get the full impact that others have had. Please answer this and let us know if this sort of thing is a rare thing or what. We were very disappointed to have not seen him full blown. And after reading other fan's letters of their experiences we really feel ripped off. Thank you and please answer our letter. Thank you, Ken and Meladee Bosley, 5-30-49- and 12-24-52.

June 5th, 1998 Incohoots Earth City, MO, Friday
Tickets: 30 dollars
by Devin Miller

1998 has been a fantastic year, especially since I have had the opportunity to see Jerry Lee three times already. The show on the 5th at Incohoots proved to be another great JLL performance even though Incohoots was an Urban Cowboy hell. Jerry Lee's band was "locked-in" during the show and the Killer played some outstanding crisp piano lines, and of course, some that I had never heard before. All Killer No Filler! JLL started with a rollicking version of Roll Over Beethoven, then played (not in the correct order) Johnny Be Good, Whole Lotta (bench Kicking' version), Me and Bobby McGhee, Drinkin' Wine, You Win Again, Blue Suede Shoes, and closed with GBOF. The gargantuan Incahoots "Bar" (more like mall) was an urban cowboy hell. They did have a very courteous and professional staff but the small time promoters weren't organized (no one seemed in charged) and the security were the usual characters. Jerry Lee looked healthy and in good spirits while out on the road with "the boys." JLL didn't talk to much to the audience. I remember a lady requesting a song and JLL replying "No Darlin' I don't know that one" and she keep insisting that he did (not realizing JLL has recorded over 1,500 songs)....and he said "Well it doesn't ring a bell" and then went into Great Balls of Fire. The show was short and sweet (about 45 minutes) and JLL is really takin' care of business these days.

August 15th, 1998 Westbury Music Fair Westbury, NY
By #1 JLL fan Kay Martin and her friend Don

Don: We had a real nice time at the concert. Jerry was in top form. He had a red shirt with valentine motif on and came out looking good and powerful. He had Kenny Lovelace, the bass player [Cunningham?] and drums backing him. He said he usually plays a lot of Chuck's songs in his shows because they are so great, but he couldn't do any of them tonight because Chuck was following him. He started with Wine Spodeeodee, did Chantilly Lace, Mean Woman Blues, Over the Rainbow, Baby Why You Been Gone So Long, Down the Line, Another Place Another Time, You Win Again, several other numbers, and closed with Whole Lot of Shakin and Great Balls of Fire. When he played the latter, everyone in the audience sang along. Jerry played the piano a lot and I could hear all the little flourishes that he does. He was given a standing ovation, but did not do an encore. The crowd at Westbury is usually pretty passive, you know, New York Cool, but just before the end Jerry mussed up his hair and gave out a rebel yell, then into Whole Lot Of Shakin and Great Balls of Fire. This had the audience on its feet, cheering. He was on stage for about an hour. It was a real good concert. Chuck Berry on the other hand, has a local back up band, not one of his own. The stipulation is that they know how to play his music. This band didn't. I felt sorry for Chuck; he was good when he did numbers by himself, but the band missed the beat and played wrong tempo and wrong chords, which was pretty sad.

Kay: Chuck was defeated before he began with this pitiful band. And he didn't do his duckwalk, which disappointed everyone in the audience. Lots of people walked out during his performance. Even Jerry kicked over the stool at the end of his part; as "old" as that bit is, people love it. I had a story for Jerry after his part of the show. They found a seat for me on the aisle and into his show when Jerry began the intro to Somewhere Over The Rainbow, a guy sitting behind me seemed to think it was a put-on, or that Jerry was going to rock it somehow. He was making snide laughter. Well, Jerry's hit was singing it straight and playing the hell out of the piano, which is what he did at Westbury. When the song was over, the guy behind me said "Wow, he really can sing!" which of course made me smile big time, and so did Jerry when I told him about it. Boy, we miss the Lonesome Fiddle Man's input, especially on "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and "Another Place Another Time."

I stayed with Jerry until he went on, then went backstage with him afterwards. We stopped in Chuck Berry's dressing room and I got a photo of them together, which should appear with this article. Jerry said "Chuck, you remember Kay; she was at all of our shows back at the Times Square Paramount [Xmas 1957-New Years 1958]." Chuck looked at me and said "No! You couldn't have been more than 2 years old then!" I replied, "Chuck, flattery will get you everywhere!" Back in Jerry's dressing room, he and I chatted and reminisced until the limo was ready to take him to the plane-- they were going back home (had just come up for the one show). Jerry did not make the show on Friday, August 14th. I don't know why and I didn't ask. He sounded great -- vocally and on piano. The band was good, as usual, although James Burton was not with the band this trip. As I said, I got to see him and speak with him before and after the show. He is looking and feeling great. We always reminisce when we get together about old times, people we knew, and that kind of stuff. So many are gone now. Jerry and I knew each other's relatives, mothers, father, cousins, sisters, his children, and old friends, so we always have much to talk about.

Pictures from this concert are available for viewing on the Pictures page

September 26th, 1998 New Daisy Theater, Memphis, TN
Review by Devin Miller

JERRY LEE LEWIS BIRTHDAY PARTY: Another JLL Birthday Party has drifted by. This was my third Jerry Lee Lewis Birthday Party in the past four years. We are trying to make this grandiose event an annual shindig. My wife and I arrived to the gig about 5 minutes before the Killer was supposed to start so I can't give you the details on the opening acts I missed besides Kenneth Lovelace's "Slippin' and a Sliddin'" and Kerrie Lewis's Son of A Preacher Man. The Ferriday Fireball made his entrance through the front door of the New Daisy Theater to blow out the candles on his grand 63rd Piano Birthday Cake.

Jerry seemed in a casual and relaxed mood. Jerry Lee came on stage and announced "Its Good To Be Livin'" The ol' master then plowed into a tune by the "Hank Williams of Rock'n'Roll" Chuck Berry: "Roll Over Beethoven". Other songs played, in no particular order, included: Chantilly Lace (by request from four younger women) A stool kickin' Great Balls of Fire George on my Mind, Trouble In Mind, Johnny Be Good, You Win Again, Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On, and others.

The one problem with the show was an incompetent sound man who couldn't fix a simple feedback problem. The Killer wasn't satisfied with the sound he was getting out of the piano through the monitors, but was very patient and polite. When the sound guy didn't get the problem solved the Killer said "I am not going to continue the show until this is fixed." The young sound guy was frantically turning the pots in a vain attempt to correct the problem. When a low vibrating feedback echoed through the hall Jerry Lee kept his humor by saying "What was that?? Well, it wasn't me... " The Killer roared nto laughter and straight into another song. Jerry Lee continued his good will by finishing the set with the thunderous rally of Great Balls of Fire. The Killer's originality and talent amazes me more every time I get the opportunity to see him. If you fans haven't had the chance to see him recently please do yourself a favor and get some tickets....
Other Jerry Lee Quotes: "Who is mixing the sound?.........Kill Him!" "You guys have enough monitors up here to sink the Bismark!"

Pictures from this concert are available for viewing on the Pictures page


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