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Where: North Bethesda, Maryland (Strathmore Theatre)
When: January 20, 2006
Written by: Bill Taylor

Set list:

The band:

1) Slippin' And Slidin'
2) Lonely Weekends
3) Big Boss Man
4) Columbus Stockade Blues


1) Roll Over Beethoven
2) Sweet Little Sixteen
3) Over The Rainbow
4) Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee
5) Georgia On My Mind
6) Before The NIght Is Over
7) Chantilly Lace
8) You Win Again
9) Trouble In Mind
10) Mexicali Rose
11) Crazy Arms
12) Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
13) Great Balls Of Fire

Show length: 53 minutes

Jerry Lee Lewis in North Bethesda, Maryland
Picture: Doug Cooke
Pictures Section for more pictures of this show

First of all, I must say that whoever promoted and organized this one had it TOGETHER!!! The venue (the Strathmore Music Center) was excellent: great sound, elegant place, food and drinks if so desired. The hall held around 2, 000 as i was told at the willcall window. I'd say that there were around 1, 500 people in
attendance, and what was striking is that the crowd was made up of all ages, from 5 year olds to 80 year olds...all very attuned to the proceedings too.

We entered at 7:45, great seats, just to the left of center in the 7th row back, so we could see those flying fingers. The sound guys were playing COOL JAZZ , something I certainly have never heard as a warm up at a "KILLER concert"... However, it fit right in.

At 8 pm Kenny, Buck, Robert, and BB took the stage after being introduced as the Killer Band and as the Memphis Beats! The guys all looked loose and seemed to be having a great time on stage. Kenny introduced everyone around, then BB introduced Kenny as the bandleader and also as the guy who had been with Jerry for almost 39 years, and said that that was a feat in itself! That brought a huge laugh from the crowd. The guys went into the songs mentioned above (no warm up band tonight). Before the start of Columbus Stockade Blues, Kenny quipped to the crowd "Don't worry, the Killer is in the house." This got a huge roar of approval.As I said, the crowd was very in tune with the night, and proved to be very sympathetic to Jerry, lots of fans there!

At 8:18 Jerry came striding out wearing a smart dark blue pinstriped suit, puffing on a cigar. Everyone there came to their feet to greet him with a standing ovation...Jerry thanked the crowd, sat down, and went right into a really up tempo Roll Over Beethoven. It was a marvel to see how nimble those magic fingers still are! Sweet Little Sixteen followed, then came a beautiful version of Over the Rainbow. Then right to a thumpin' "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee".Jerry was very relaxed, smiling and giving off some really nasty piano runs. After "Wine" Jerry introduced the next tune as one that he "auditioned" with back when he was 10 years old. He said that his Aunt Stella Calhoun had taught him...and the other boys this one...he then played a very melancholy "Georgia On My Mind". At the end of the tune, Jerry turned to the audience and said "You know, Ray Charles REALLY did that song, I mean he did it RIGHT, that's his song! The crowd was eating it up...well, I was anyway. I've never seen Jerry so relaxed ...he really seemed to be enjoying was
smiles and laughter all around tonight.

It was time for a rocker, so Jerry Lee said, however, Kenny said to Jerry "No, something else." "Oh yeah, something from my new album" comes back JLL "Before the Night Is Over". "This album is going to be released in March , at least that's what they tell me, but they've been telling me that for quite a few months. I hope it is released ...cause it is HOT!! I even like it" quipped the Killer...then he rocked it up, real strong
vocals, and he was all over the keyboards (oh yeah, big shiny baby grand!).

Then it was "HELLOOOOOO you GOOODDD LOOKIN THANG YOU!" At this point, everyone is into it. When Jerry uttered the line "...check my track record, it stands for itself", the crowd went up in a giant roar. He played it at a fast tempo, again , a strong vocal, twice with the growly "Hey Baby , that's what I like" and also a lot of naked, naked, naked...which everyone in the crowd was into and enjoying. At the conclusion of the tune, one of the women down front  said something to Jerry about him being great, hot, or something like it. Jerry said "Well I know what you like, and I know what I need, but naw, that's just about over at this point."

Then he smiled and went into the intro to You Win Again by saying "Hank Williams wrote it, Hank Williams sang it, Jerry Lee Lewis got a gold record for it. Then he was off and running, fine vocal, tight piano solo, and the Hank on bended knee with Miss Audrey line at the end. Ttrouble In Mind followed, rather ordinary, great guitar from Buck however. Jerry then brought up a "childhood hero" Gene Autrey: "You can never go wrong with a Gene Autrey song." He was off with a very hot version of Mexicali Rose. Two piano solos and again, a great vocal.

After Mexicali Rose Jerry said "Well , what's next?" Someone shouted out Breathless, Meat Man, It'll Be Me, Another Place, Crazy Arms...that  one caught him. He asked the person (female ) to repeat her request, which she did..."Well" said JLL "I don't think I even remember the words to that one, its been awhile...but, we'll try it," and it was DEAD ON! Everyone seemed really impressed by the request being played, big cheer at the end of it.

Then, all to soon...the opening bars to Whole Lotta Shakin'. It was awesome however. The playing was tight and the vocal was dead on...and so was the crowd, everyone was up, "SHAKIN"!! This was the best crowd response I'd seen in years . Jerry was all smiles throughout. I honestly think that I watched 30 years fall away from him after Shakin'. It was right into GBF with these words of course: "If you like that one're gonna love this one!" And love it we did, everyone was up, clapping, shakin' and singing along. It was the full version, as in the movie, with a little added run down the keyboard and an extended "high c". Jerry was obviuosly "hangin' it in" back went the stool,  smiles all around, a standing ovation, he gave thanks to the band, clapped his hands for the band, thanked the audience, and was gone. It was a truly memorable evening.

To sum everything up, Jerry looked very good, good skin color, nattily dressed, and he was in great spirits. His performance, while nothing really new, was full of warmth and good humor, and more importantly, it was an overall strong performance from my standpoint. Jerry's playing was superb, he never took his hands from the keyboard all evening, the vocals were strong and clear too. The boys in the band were not overwhelming, they were tight and complimentary in their playing. At one point early on, Jerry asked the audience if we could hear the piano alright, 'cause he wasn't sure that we could. That was the only comment about the sound. This was a very ENGAGING JERRY LEE!!!!

If this performance is an indication of things to come, all of my Euro buddies are in for a real treat!!I hope so for you all.


Where: North Bethesda,  Maryland (Strathmore Theatre)
When: January 20,  2006
Written by: Gene Garvey

Last night in North Bethesda, Maryland, Jerry was in great form musically and the speed, precision, and energy of his fingers on the keyboard were as astounding as ever. Judging from his friendly interactions with the audience and the band it was apparent that he was enjoying the evening as much as the 1,600 fans assembled in the spanking new state-of-the-art Strathmore concert hall.

As Jerry closed his performance with climactic thunderous renditions of his trademark Whole Lotta Shakin' and Great Balls of Fire songs, most of the devoted crowd were on their feet dancing in place, clapping in time with the beat, singing along, and cheering Jerry with abandon. The ecclectic audience of Jerry's faithful fans was made up of people from the young to the young-at-heart, and from all walks of life. Renowned fans in the audience included Tim Russert, host of NBC TV's 'Meet The Press' program, and Julian Bond, a prominent leader in the movements for civil rights and economic justice!

I had a most wonderful evening, as did my 11 year old granddaughter who was attending her first ever concert, and most fans seemed absolutely thrilled. Some unaware fans were surprised to see that Jerry is getting older. However, I've attended Jerry Lee Lewis's shows numerous times over the last four decades, and once again last night the 70 year-old Killer's magic uplifted and delighted a grateful audience, including me. He made us all ageless for an evening. It was great!


Last update: August 17, 2007
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