At a recent concert, Rick Springfield paid tribute to musical legend Jerry Lee Lewis, who died on Oct. 28, by performing “Great Balls of Fire.”
Here’s a flashback from a 2016 fan trip, where he sang the song, with Tim Gross on keyboard and sharks swimming in the background:
I saw Jerry Lee Lewis perform live in June 1999, at the same venue I saw RS perform about three months later that year, in September 1999, so they’ve shared the same stage in the past. (Actually, probably many stages, since they’ve probably toured many of the same cities through the years.) This was also the venue where RS performed during his most recent concert in Arizona this past August, at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.
I don’t remember much about the Jerry Lee Lewis concert (it was back before I had a cell phone and I don’t have any pics or videos from that concert), but that it was cool to hear him performing “Great Balls of Fire” live. I remember expecting him to start jumping around and playing the piano with his feet (as he did in performances in his younger days), but he appeared to be pretty frail, although he was only 64 at the time. (My perception of age has certainly been skewed seeing RS perform these past few years, as his energy on stage at age 73 is amazing.)
My only other knowledge of Jerry Lee Lewis comes from “The Million Dollar Quartet” and Dennis Quaid’s role in “Great Balls of Fire,” so I don’t really have much more to add here except appreciation for his musical contributions to the world.
Speaking of works of art based on musician’s lives, the “Late, Late at Night” musical based on Rick Springfield’s autobiography, is still going strong and is scheduled to be performed in Sydney, RS’s birthplace, on Nov. 11. (The playwright Kieran Carroll was recently interviewed on the Radio Carrum podcast.)