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Where: Bradford, England (Bradford Town & Country Club)
When: June 29, 2004
Written by: Rob Eaglesham

We arrived at the venue about 7.30pm. There was a massive queue so we went elsewhere for a quick pint. By the time we returned the queue had gone and no sooner had we got in then The Killer Band took the stage. They comprised of drums, bass, hammond B-3 and stalwart Kenny Lovelace on guitar. They sang a number each and then launched into a vamp as the Killer himself came on, looking fitter than last time I saw him but still older than his 68 years. He sat down and berated the band for not waiting for his cue to finish the vamp. Fortunately, he had a smile on his face and I instinctively thought we might be in for a good night.

Without a pause, he launched into Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee. The sound was a bit muddy but, from the exciting piano which filtered through, it was clear Jerry Lee still has it together. His voice was strong and he somehow no longer looked like the old man who'd ambled on stage moments before. Next up was an off-the-cuff version of Glenn Miller's In the Mood. Kenny chimed in with the horn parts much to Jerry Lee's delight: "I never heard it played on guitar before". You could see from the smiles that the band was really enjoying themselves. But they never took their eyes off the man himself. He was wont to stop songs dead midway through but they never missed a beat.

We got a cracking version of You Win Again and She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye, the kind of slow country weeper on which Jerry Lee's vocals really shine. He was in fine form, chatting a lot, not always decipherably. On the intro to Chantilly Lace, he asked, "What, baby? What does Jerry Lee like? Well, I think my track record speaks for itself!" He later said he didn't like the piano he was using: "Japanese. They never stop, do they?"  But he was in gracious mood and played a request for Goodnight Irene. You could see he hadn't played it for ages, afterwards quipping "Yeah, I really like that song."

I shouted for Corrine, Corrina. JLL couldn't make out what I was saying so Kenny leaned over to relay my request. He said he hadn't done it for so long he couldn't remember how it goes! He did a couple of tracks of his soon-to-released album, then a boogie woogie number I didn't know and the great Rockin' My Life Away. However, highlight of the night was a blistering version of High School Confidential, a song I'd never previously cared for. But the band was cooking, the Killer was in the zone and it just lifted the roof off the place. "That was pretty good!" he said after. "I never liked it but it sold a million!"

Jerry Lee Lewis in Bradford
Picture: Rob Eaglesham


All too soon we were into Whole Lotta Shakin' , the whole house singing along, and then into the Balls of Fire finale. Kicking away the piano stool, Jerry was playing on his feet, turning around and playing it with his arse. He went off to a huge roar of approval and, as a parting gesture, he somehow got the lid off the piano keys and threw it into the piano strings! Rock n roll!!! 8.5/10

We headed to the bar for another quick pint before Chuck Berry came on. Too tight to fork out for a regular backing group, he had a pick-up band of bass, piano and drums. He started with a scarcely recognisable Roll Over Beethoven and went straight into School Days, breaking a string along the way. Amazingly, he doesn't carry a spare guitar and handed it to the bass player to restring! To kill time, he spouted some cr*p poetry that no-one could really follow. A few people shouted things out and Chuck responded good-naturedly to it. Looks-wise, apart from less hair, he really hasn't changed since the 50s. He looked very sprightly for 75.

Mercifully he got his guitar back and played a good version of Everyday I Have The Blues. His singing was pretty awful on the whole but he clearly has an affinity for blues that makes up for it on these numbers. He murdered a few more of his classics but he was enjoying himself. The showmanship was there, duckwalk and all, and the crowd fed off it. Fortunately for us all, the musicians were competent and alert to his changes and, despite the amateurishness of it, the jamming aspect of the proceedings added a different edge. It was fun to watch. The piano was now cutting through crystal clear, annoyingly unlike Jerry Lee's set. The piano man was outstanding. Shut your eyes and it could have been Johnnie Johnson!

Highlight of Chuck's set was a heartfelt It Hurts Me Too during which he took a turn at the piano and pumped out some nice licks. Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said of some his guitar playing. At times, you could hear why he must have sounded so exciting in the 50s but other times the standard was so poor you wouldn't sit through it if it was talent night down the local. Most cringeworthy moments came during Rock n Roll Music where he forgot what was happening and took two (!) solos in the wrong key. How could he not hear it? Excruciating! BUT he has charisma by the bucketload and somehow got away with it through sheer force of personality. I think the beers helped but I certainly enjoyed the set. 7.5/10 (music: 4/10)

All in all a great night: there was a real sense of occasion and we got to watch the boys at very close hand. It was great to see two natural-born performers, in their element, doing what they do best. A true privilege.


Where: Bradford, England (Bradford Town & Country Club)
When: June 29, 2004
Written by: Jonny Williams

Hi all....firstly sorry didnt get to write the set down! (Yeah ok "tosser" I hear you say.) The band came on at 8.30 and did 4 songs. They were about to start the 5th when BB looked over at Ken and said "He's here". And here he was, he walked onstage at 8.51pm in black jeans and fancy black shirt, smiling and waving at the audience. He sat down, and said to the band, "I wish you'd make your minds up if you're gonna do another song or not" (laughing while he said it), then he kicked off with Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee. He was in a great mood, looking at the the band and smiling away. The sound was great (but then I was at the front by the p.a and my ears are still ringing).

He started off an instrumental and said "I'd like to introduce you to the Hawk" and carried on to play In The Mood. I shouted for Meat Man, which he  acknowledged, but he said "That song would wear me out" he did do You Win Again with the full intro that someone else requested. High School Confidential and  She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye was maybe the finest version I have ever heard. He made quite a few references to Kerrie....not mentioning her by name but saying he'd been divorced for 2 and a half months, and he was never getting married again, but "that's what I always say every time I get a divorce". But She Even Woke Me Up seemed very much aimed at Kerrie, as did Coming Back For More. Chantilly Lace kicked ass. Another request (not from me) for Meat Man and he said "I don't do that anymore. It's a dirty dirty song".

Jerry left the stage after 50 minutes by my watch and well exceeded the time I expected. The audience of (so I was told)1,700 were with him from the start and he deffo seems more at ease with the intimate venues like this. He could not be faulted on anything. He was totally fantastic, in a  great mood. He did say Before The Night Is Over " was from the new album and Ken had requested it (which he did, even though Jerry  asked "What key?").  He finished with GBF. The stool went flying and he ripped the board off the piano and slung it on top of it, placed the mic stand atop as he does, and thanked us all, did his now legendary "Lewis shuffle" dance and left. Amazing show, and I think he really could be only 38 years old !!!



Where: Bradford, England (Bradford Town & Country Club)
When: June 29, 2004
Written by: Ian Corbridge

This was one show I had really high hopes for, mainly due to the fact that I had heard that the venue was an old night club and it was standing down at the front, so that would give the opportunity to get real close to the Killer. I was not to be disappointed!

I had seen Jerry perform a very fine show at the Manchester Apollo back in February 2004 but, as far as I am concerned, tonight was the finest performance I could ever have wished to see.

After 4 fine songs from the Killer Band, Jerry suddenly appeared from stage right, almost unexpectedly. The large crowd went crazy! Jerry seemed fit and well and, more importantly, in a very good mood. He immediately led the band into Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee and the joint was jumping, as it did for the next 50 minutes while Jerry was on stage playing.

Throughout the set, Jerry interacted a lot with the crowd with numerous jokes relating to his numerous marriages (and divorces!) and even criticising his piano which he was not happy with, although it sounded fine to us! On a number of occasions Jerry responded to requests for songs from the crowd and amongst the highlights were You Win Again, Chantilly Lace, High School Confidential (my personal favourite on the night), and Goodnight Irene.

Jerry closed the show with the traditional Whole Lotta Shakin'  and Great Balls of Fire, including kicking the stool away during the latter, before he made his exit to rapturous applause. 

Judging by the longer length of the set and the width of the smile on his face, Jerry really enjoyed the show and I will be surprised if he plays a better one on the whole tour.

Oh, and not to forget Chuck Berry who played a magnificent 55 minute set to close the show including all the classics like Roll Over Beethoven, Hail Hail Rock'n'roll, Carol, Little Queenie, and Johnny B Goode (a sensational version). He also played some great blues including It Hurts Me Too and Honest I Do. Chuck closed the set with a really long version of Reelin and Rockin which turned into a jamming session during which he invited several female members of the audience up on the stage to dance.

Overall it was a truly memorable night for the near 3,000 people packed into the Town and Country Club.



Last update: August 17, 2007
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