From Vegas...


By • Jan 29th, 2001 •

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We have a friend who is dreaming about building Immortala, a center dedicated to active longevity-a place where you can learn to live forever. If he ever builds it, Jerry Lee Lewis will be his poster child. There is no doubt about it. After more five decades on the top of the charts, Jerry Lee is still going strong.

Punctually the band began exactly as scheduled at eight p.m. First there was a round of numbers in which each member of the four-piece accompaniment became the lead performer. That was a flag to me as it took a full twenty minutes to get the songs. OK, I figured, Jerry Lee, known to his many fans as The Killer, was going to hit the minimum number of licks necessary and clear the stage. I couldn’t have been more wrong. From the time he entered, albeit at a cautious gate, he wowed the audience for another ninety minutes of classic rock and roll-Jerry Lee style.

Despite his age-officially that’s 71 but he likes to shave a few years-he can still run the Ivory’s with the best of them. Of course there’s a twinge of religious revival that sneaks through in his music. He comes by that honestly as he did attend Bible college in Texas before turning totally to his recording career. And then there is his cousin television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart (folks don’t talk about him much any more) who went straight for the pulpit-and a few other notorious things.

By 1957 his second single ‘Whole Lotta Shaken Goin On’, shot to the top of the country charts and remains a classic to this day. That was followed by his signature song, ‘Great Balls of Fire’. Not only did it top the charts, he still closes his act with it and leaves the audience standing and hollering. In fact, it was so well known that it also became the title of a motion picture about his life in 1989. Dennis Quaid portrayed Jerry Lee on the roller coaster that has been both his life and his career.

In his dynamic ninety minutes The Killer touched on a number of his other well-known hits, ‘Chantilly Lace’, ‘Faded Dreams’, ‘Lucille’, ‘Remember Me’ and many others. The band must stay on their toes as he frequently stops a song in near mid-word. It is hard to determine if that’s by design or just what he feels like doing. Several times he mentioned that he forgot the words, but most of the songs come from years of running on autopilot.

Something new emerged at Sam’s Town Live. At all previous concerts there was assigned seating. Therefore we arranged to come fairly close to the time of the performance. This time they had allowed what they call “open seating.” We learned that people started arriving at three in the afternoon just to nail the front seats. If you chose to attend a concert at Sam’s Town Live!, check and see whether or not seating is assigned and plan your arrival accordingly. It’s still one of the best off-Strip deals in Vegas.

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