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Where: Sofia, Bulgaria (Palace of Culture)
When: October 18, 2004
Written by:
George Tsintsarski, Pavel Petkov and Charlie T.B.C.

Set list:

 1)  Roll Over Beethoven
2)  You Win Again
3)  Rockin' My Life Away
4)  Over The Rainbow
5)  Chantilly Lace
6)  Sweet Little Sixteen
7)  Me And Bobby McGee
8)  She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye
9)  Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
10) Great Balls Of Fire
11) Boogie Woogie Country Man

Jerry Lee Lewis in Sofia
Picture: Yuliana Nikolova

George Tsintsarski:

I went to the hall around 19.30h. Around 20.00 the hall was absolutely full with people. After all, this concert was sold out nearly 2 weeks before the date. There were between 3500 and 4000 people from different ages.

The band was on stage at 20.15h. and they did 4 songs, as usual. Exactly at 20.30h. Jerry came on stage, wearing a dark suit. Everybody was screaming his name and applauding him. He immediately started with “Roll Over Beethoven”. Then he continued taking turns of slow and fast songs. I was so happy to hear my favorite songs like “Rockin’ My Life Away”, “Over The Rainbow” (especially this one), “Chantilly Lace” and “Boogie Woogie Country Man”. The beginning of “Chantilly Lace” was exactly the same like the studio version, Jerry started this song with: “Do I like what? Yes, I sure do like it baby!” And then the crowd went absolutely crazy. Everybody was standing and dancing.

This was my first - and probably last - concert of JLL. I was surprised that he was in a very good mood, and I liked his voice now much better then in the studio versions of the songs. His voice is getting better and better with the years. But this is only my opinion.

When Jerry started to sing “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” I knew that the end of the concert was near. During this song he kicked his chair two times, and was playing the piano with his right leg and his elbows. Then he sang also “Great Balls Of Fire”, and at this time the whole place was jumping. After this he said “Good night” and left stage. But after a few steps Jerry turned around, went back to the microphone and said: “Usually I don’t sing any songs after “Great Balls Of Fire”, but this time I will do it”, and he did “Boogie Woogie Country Man”. At the end of this song he left stage, and the band finished the song. The guitar player said “Good night Bulgaria. We were very glad to be here”. And that was it. The show ended at 21.10h.

I must say that at this moment most of the people were disappointed, but not because of the concert or the songs or anything like that. They were disappointed because they expected a 1.5 – 2 hours concert. I think also that it was a mistake of the promoters to organize a concert without any supporting Bulgarian bands, like in Prague for example. So the people saw only a 55 min show, of which 40 min. with Jerry. That’s why the entire audience were standing around for 10 min. after the concert and did’t want to leave the hall, because they didn’t believe that it would be so short.

Me personally – I was definitely not disappointed. First of all I knew how long the concerts of JLL are, thanks to and all the people who post reviews here. And second, it was really a great concert. Great show. Great lights and sound. And after all, we saw the Living Legend of Rock ‘N’ Roll music. And He sings one of the greatest Rock ‘N’ Roll songs in the world. In how many countries in Europe JLL did concerts this year? Great Britain, France, Holland, Czech Republic and in our country BULGARIA. Thanks for this Killer! We will never forget it! Keep Rockin’!

P.S. Can’t wait for the new album!

Pavel Petkov:

It was a fantastic night! Jerry Lee was in an awesome form and put on a fabulous 45-minute show. He looked healthy and was in a very good mood all evening. His voice was strong and loud, his singing brilliant and his piano playing terrific.

The concert was held in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, at 8 pm. I went there at 7, hoping to meet and talk to some of the fans outside the building but when I got there they were already letting the people in. This particular concert hall seats about five thousand people but the show was a complete sellout. I had also sold a huge number of standee-tickets, some of them on the second balcony! (Being a cunning Bulgarian, I'd gone and bought my ticket for the third row a month before). I was rather surprised as I had little idea that there were so many Jerry Lee fans in my country. What astonished me even more was the fact that half of the people were very young. I'd say that 40 percent of the audience consisted of people under the age of 30. I saw many teenagers too.

Ignoring the tipsy bore to my right, who kept chattering all the time, I killed the remaining time by watching the huge crowd pour in like lava in a rock chamber. There were many photographers, at least  three TV cameras and a real army of security men, watching us like hawks, lest we should decide to rush to the stage at once and strangle Jerry Lee Lewis with our bare hands.

Although the crowd was huge, the AC in the hall was excellent so there was no heat problem. Sharply at 8 Kenny Lovelace and the rest of the band appeared, waving and smiling at the crowd who greeted them more than enthusiastically. They opened the show with five great rock'n'roll songs. Kenny Lovelace was particularly good and got the people in a fantastic mood. After "Sweet Little Rock'n'roller" Jerry suddenly strode on stage unannounced. Kenny Lovelace saw him and announced him hastily. The crowd went berserk and gave Jerry a long standing ovation. He was visibly impressed and even said to us a couple of nice words. I was so excited I could hardly breathe. I couldn't believe I was seeing JERRY LEE LEWIS in person! You know what? I noticed that Jerry has become slimmer! That's really great. He's getting into shape at last! There was no trace of staggering in his gait this time. He strode briskly and energetically.

When he went into Roll Over Beethoven, the crowd went wild! Jerry's voice was very powerful and he pounded the keys with great gusto, obviously enjoying himself. During the show he banged the piano lid  at least four times and every time the crowd applauded ecstatically. Between the songs he joked a lot, talked about his divorce and exchanged shouts with people from the crowd. At one point I shouted "Lewis Boogie!", he looked at my direction and said "Right!", after which he started singing… Me and Bobby McGee! How typical! I enjoyed the moment – although I didn't hear Lewis Boogie, I can now say that Jerry Lee Lewis and me have talked to each other! :)

When he started Whole Lotta Shakin' the crowd simply went crazy and during Great Balls of Fire everybody was dancing and applauding so loudly you could hardly hear the music. Jerry kicked the stool back quite violently, bowed and started to leave. He had almost disappeared backstage when the unbelievable cheering made him change his mind. He came back, picked up the stool, sat at the piano again and crashed into a wild, extended version of Boogie Woogie Countryman. At the end he flung his foot at the keys, kicked the stool again, upset the microphone stand and, smiling, sat on the keys with a touching self-irony. He made a boxing gesture at Kenny Lovelace and started to leave again, with a kind of a dancing step! Yes, he was in a great physical shape that night! He disappeared and there was no getting him back this time. The whole huge hall kept applauding and shouting "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!" for more than ten minutes, in a vain attempt to get him to do an encore. We didn't see him again.

It was one fabulous night!!!

Charlie T.C.B.:

As we arrived in Sofia it was about 11 a.m. and we hurried straight to the National Palace of Culture, wondering if our tickets were there. On our way to the Palace we noticed a lot of very nice posters in Sofia's main street announcing Jerry Lee's concert. Fortunately, the tickets were waiting for us at the box office just as our friend Martin Stoyanov from Prima Agency promised. Cheers Mate!

It was 14 years ago when we saw the Killer last time in Belgrade, Serbia and we were eager to see if he is still that good as they say. Around 7:45 p.m. the place was packed and people were shouting "Jerry,Jerry". More than 4000 people, young and old, Bulgarians and foreigners, in a beautiful theatre.

The show started at 20:15 p.m. with Kenny's greeting: "Good evening Sofia, Bulgaria. We are glad to be here." The first song was a great version of Columbus Stockade Blues, where Kenny proved he's a singer too! Instantly we noticed how good the band was and the sound too. After that Bill Strom took the mike and sang Charlie Rich's "Lonely Weekends" and you couldn't  help but move your feet. Those guys can give a great show even without the Killer, because they are legends too. Songs that followed were Matchbox and Bye Bye Johnny. People were very enthusiastic, but when good ole Killer suddenly showed on stage at 20:30, the whole place exploded to a standing ovation.

Kenny introduced him briefly and Jerry started with a strong piano pumpin' Roll Over Beethoven shouting "Roll Over Beethoven, Boogie Woogie Beethoven!" After that he slowed down with Hank's You Win Again, just to be back with a superb Rockin' My Life Away. Fast songs were followed with a good light show and at the end of each song the lights went up and people were shouting and applauding very emotionally. Over The Rainbow was a real treat, he always does it from his soul. "There's a land that Jimmy Swaggart  dreams of..." After this one Jerry turned to the audience and asked them which song they wanted to hear. Now, that doesn't happen too often, as I know. Somebody asked for Whole Lotta Shakin' and the Killer gave him a free lesson: "Whole Lotta Shakin' sure will be done, but first you have to be nice to her,just like I am, singing' some ballads and Whole Lotta  Shaking comes at the end."

Instead, he sang Chantilly Lace and then Sweet Little Sixteen. After that my second favorite of the evening came: Me and Bobby McGee with Jerry singing "Lalala-lala,lala dee-dee, Lalala Me and Bobby McGee", with great piano work. Than the Killer got sentimental, talked about his divorce and joked about loosing his car, saying that from then "he does the running". This was an intro to a very emotional She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye, which he ended with teasing, "Bye baby", and waved his hand. After that he sang Another Place, Another Time and hit the piano lid three times at the end. Maybe they put something in my beer, I am not certain about this last one: Was it just She Even Woke Me Up? We'll see about that.

When he started the pumpin' intro to Whole Lotta Shakin' the place exploded again. People were jumping, shouting, running up and down and the till then tight security gave up and let us go. Kenny's guitar work was fantastic, especially during this one, and they sounded very tight, almost like on original version, only longer. Jerry ended this one with his boot on the piano, with loud approval from the audience. Lights went up again and people were standing, giving him and his band a loud applause. Then he said "Lord, Have Mercy" and ran into Great Balls Of Fire. The whole place was on their feet and he ended the song with hitting the piano stool and throwing it 2-3 meters away. He went back for it, put it back on place and started to leave, or maybe he really changed his mind when he saw the reaction, went back with kind of dancing moves to the piano and did a few verses of Boogie Woogie Country man and left the band to finish the song with some nice instrumental work. Kenny thanked the audience, and the show was over at 21:10 p.m.

The show lasted 55 minutes and each song was a Killer, not a Filler, treated with full respect, and it was amazing how well 69 years old Jerry Lee played and sang, full of energy and charisma. Great job done by Prima Agency to bring such a legend to this part of the world. People were shouting for another 5-10 minutes, but the Killer was all gone, leaving us to wonder if it was really true.


Last update: August 17, 2007
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