During his European tour Jerry Lee and his band played two sold out shows at the Wimbledon Theatre in London (UK) on 07. November 1966.
With him on the tour his friend and road manager Cecil Harrelson and Memphis Beats members Morris Tarrant (drums) and Herman Hawkins (bass). Guitarist Charlie Freeman & organist Dan Daniels didn´t go on the tour because they couldn´t get passports.
Colin Berlin of Capable managment booked all the shows of the tour apart from the Switzerland shows.
I went to both early and late performances and both were packed. On the bill with Jerry were Lee Dorsey, who closed the first half and couldn´t understand why no-one seemed interested to hear him sing his latest hit *Working In A Coalmine*, and a number of British groups including a then unknown outfit from Australia called The Bee Gees. They came on just before Jerry and were given a pretty rough reception. Jerry was announced to thunderous applause, and as he walked on the whole audience leapt to its feet. He was in top form and the first show was pretty wild with Jerry really rocking it up….
….At the end of this performance I managed to get in at the stage door and go up to the dressing room to see Jerry - it was the first time I had met him in person, tho’ not the last I’m glad to say. He was sitting there in an armchair looking as relaxed as if he’d been there all evening, instead of having just put on a wild show and then done an interview for the pirate radion station Radio England. We had to wait till this interview was over before we could go in and see Jerry. He seemed really glad to see us - gave that famous grin of his and shook hands. I was too excited to say much except tell him he had put on a great show, he autographed some photos for me, then we went downstairs and started lining up for the second show….
….Well if the first show was good the second show just defied description! It was the wildest show I´ve ever seen Jerry perform, and that´s saying something. Jerry responded to the packed audience, which was in a state of wild rockin´hysteria from the very start. He opened with a rocker and then a few country numbers, then he turned to the audience and hollered´D´you wann hear Rock´n´Roll or Country?´ ´Rock´n´Roll!´ everyone screamed back, and man - rock´n´roll was what we got! His voice that nite was as wild and rasping as on the´Star-Club´album, and he did a whole string of rocking number without stop - I can´t possibly remember them all now but they included Hound Dog, Long Tall Sally, Hiogh School Confidential, Mean Woman Blues, Great Balls of Fire, Shakin´ and Good Golly Miss Molly. I´d give anything to hear a recording of that show….
…At this frantic pace it wasn´t long before crowds of cats had invaded the stage, and the show finished in a chaotic climax such as I have never seen before or since! As Jerry stood on the piano shakin´ and screamin´, shaking a warning finger at over-enthusiastic fans standing round the piano who wanted to climb up on top with him, the stage was a seething mass of jiving fans and battling police who had suddenly appeared from nowhere and were trying to stop the show, but Jerry just went on rocking! Police helmets started flying, and finally they brought the curtain down with a large section of the audience behind the curtain with Jerry, who rocked on unseen by the remainder of the audience until the end of the number! This show must surely go down as one of the wildest ever put on in this country since the´50s.
Setlist (by Tony Papard):
1st show: Little Queenie, You Win Again, Mean Woman Blues, Lovin´Up A Storm, Your Cheatin´Heart, What´d I Say, Great Balls of Fire, High School Confidential, Whole Lotta Shakin´Goin´On, Good Golly Miss Molly.
2nd show: Little Queenie, You Win Again, Jenny Jenny, Hi Heel Sneakers, Lewis Boogie, Mean Woman Blues, Down The Line, Great Balls of Fire, High School Confidential, Whole Lotta Shakin´Goin´On.
10 numbers each show, so about 30, 35 minutes - 40 maximum! Hound Dog andÂ Long Tall Sally were not in either set - my memory 6 years on was obviously deceiving me as I later found the original program on which I’d written down the numbers directly after the show.
From The Boppin´News No 8:
After staying the night in Birmingham, we all rocked´n´rolled on down the M1 to London, where Graham Knight performed a miracle by getting all of us into the hotel, where we met Jerry Lee and Morris. Jerry Lee looked a bit tired, but all signs of this vanished in the 1st house at Wimbledon! As in every show he opened with LITTLE QUEENIE, and also included MEAN WOMAN BLUES, LOVIN´UP A STORM, HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL, WHAT´D l SAY, GREAT BALLS OF FIRE, GREEN GREEN GRASS OF HOME, YOUR CHEATIN´HEART, etc The Wimbledon theatre had probably never had a real, live rock´n´roll show on before, as when Jerry opened up into SHAKIN´only two guys were waiting in the wings to keep order. By the end of SHAKIN´the stage was swamped with rockin´cats then, amid all the ravin´, Jerry ROARED into MISS MOLLY, and got down from the piano about half-way through this classic to do a wild piano solo, and finally left the stage to chants of´Jerry Lee´,´More´and a near-riot! After this l heard many cats saying that this was the wildest first house they´d ever seen, and l ain´t fakin´, I´m inclined to agree with them!…..
….In the 2nd. house , after opening with LITTLE QUEENIE and YOU WIN AGAIN , Jerry was ravin´along with the audience, all of whom, except the very squarest, had left their seats at the first strains of LITTLE QUEENIE. Anyhow, Jerry said it was kinda obvious that we didn´t want the country numbers, and he would do pure ROCK´N´ROLL for the rest of the show. Unfortunately the bouncers had got organised this house, and those cats, who got on stage promptly got thrown off, including Smjth-Warren, who got on the stage after coming flyin´over the backs of the seats! Well, it was a good try anyway, Dad ! This was a real wild performance, and the only one in which Jerry did DOWN THE LINE and his very own treatment of his very own song, LEWIS BOOGIE. Oh, man, I´m getting all shook up just writing about it again! Well, in this house there was no encore, as soon as the strains of SHAKIN´had died they brought down first the curtain, then the safety curtain, and finally lined the stage with cops and bouncers. The chants of ´Jerry Lee´,´More´,´Bring back the King´ (Danny) , and various insults thrown at the cops and the cronies, interrupted only by´bangers´going off, must have lasted for a full 10 minutes.
Many Thanks to:
Dan James Coffey