Jerry Lee Lewis – Live at the Star Club, Hamburg (1965)
There are pianists that play with great subtlety, fingers barely grazing the ivories, softly sustained notes & tempos rarely approaching the classification of lento.
At the other end of the spectrum, “The Killer,” Jerry Lee Lewis.
It sounds like each of the 88 piano keys take a beating, lightning fast glissandos at every turn, with right hand octaves pounded insistently throughout.
My great fear of attending live concerts is going to a show where for the musicians, it’s just another stop on the tour. Where the audience interaction is stilted, “Good evening…(read teleprompter)…Kingston,” and the performance is phoned in at best.
The Star Club audience members were treated to a proper show: the energy is indescribable. Would it sync up to a metronome? It would be a shame to impose such constraints on the band. Not being familiar with any Jerry Lee Lewis studio records, it’s hard to picture such (Billy Mumphrey-esque) unbridled enthusiasm being captured as effectively outside of a live performance.
The movie Top Gun featured the line, “I feel the need…the need for speed”
Top Gun also featured this nod to Jerry Lee:
Great Balls of Fire is among the 13 tracks included in the frantic Hamburg recording. If you find yourself with a similar need for speed, you needn’t look any further.