Mean Old Man

The Killer strikes back at the Revival Festival

Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis (by Gary Miller)

Teasing the introduction to “Great Balls of Fire” early into his set on Saturday for the third annual Revival Festival at the Nutty Brown Amphitheater, Jerry Lee Lewis outlined his modus operandi with what could be affectionately referred to as dirty old man banter: “It’s like making love to a lady. You have to ease into it … and then you pay for it.”

Lewis is well passed being the Million Dollar Quartet’s Last Man Standing, reaching that point where the thrill of actually seeing him far outweighs the performance he’s able to give. The Killer’s down to just one note these days – a course, blues drawl – but he proved that he can still pound the keys with barrelhouse abandon during his calling card "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and the Chuck Berry standard “Sweet Little Sixteen.” It was a fitting and fun end to the Revival Festival, a tribute to all those tattooed 1950s pin-ups and rockabilly groovers, with a set full of his classic country gems for Sun Records like “She Even Woke Me Up” and “You Win Again.” Nothing topped that between-song, old-man banter, though.

“I don’t want no headstone on my grave,” he chuckled after the similarly titled Charlie Rich tune. “I want a monument.” He’ll get one too.

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