OpenFest 2006 - Share the Freedom

October 18, 2004

Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On at the NDK

Updated Oct 19th: moved to the Art category.

Yep, the NDK - the Bulgarian acronym meaning the National Palace of Culture - was really shaken by a rock'n'roll star, no, a rock'n'roll legend, NO, a rock'n'roll idol today - Jerry Lee Lewis came to Sofia! Not alone, either - he brought a band of merry men from Memphis, Tennessee, who did a great job of building up the mood with several songs, some old, some new. And then, the moment we'd all been waiting for - the side curtains parted and quietly, nonassumingly, the Killer walked on stage, sat down at the piano, his hands caressed the keys, and...

I think it was not just me, I think I'm speaking for most of the audience here when I say that we were more than half expecting him to open with Great Balls of Fire or Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On. However, the moment he struck the first chord we knew he'd done one better - in the hall that had hosted countless symphonic concerts and opera performances, Jerry Lee Lewis had the nerve to call out to Beethoven to roll over and tell Tchaikovsky the news; and judging by the applause, there *was* news to tell, too!

Y'know, the man's still got it in him - well, okay, so he slurred a little bit when speaking (not when singing, though!), so he called it quits after barely an hour - but one thing I know, I'd *love* to be able to sit at a piano and play like this "when I'm sixty-.." - no, not sixty-four, but just a couple of months short of seventy! A couple of times he even got physical, and even though those were none of the assaults on the piano of Way Back When, he did jump up, kick back his stool and do a couple of rock'n'roll steps, and he kept on playing all along.

I don't think there's much more to tell. I was raised on this music, on Balkanton LP records of Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis, Mungo Jerry; the mere thought of actually hearing "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Roll Over Beethoven" live, here, in Sofia, was - I dunno - not even a dream, but pure fantasy. Apparently I was not the only one, since the audience was pretty much evenly distributed among all age brackets, and when the lights went down at the beginning, there was even a bit of shouting from a small child whose parents obviously want to start him or her on the right track early on! Just behind me, there were a couple of Americans; next to me were three ladies speaking German; I think on the way out I passed a group speaking Dutch; but every time Jerry Lee Lewis broke into one of his wild solos, we would all shout and beat time as one. Yes - it *was* a dream come true.

Woof, it's been some time since I wrote a blog entry this long. Oh, and just for the record - he did play "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On".

Posted by roam at October 18, 2004 11:31 PM