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Review: Wanda Jackson at Radio Radio


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Wanda Jackson, Daniel Romano, Bigger Than Elvis
Radio Radio
Friday, October 5

"I'm not gonna sing every song I've recorded; we'd be here till next Tuesday." So said country and rock and roll legend Wanda Jackson, who played a rousing set of her songs form her decades long career at Radio Radio last Friday. Jackson, who began recording at the dawn of rock and roll ('The hardest way to make an easy living' she calls it), kicked off with the classic "Riot In Cell Block Number Nine," to roaring applause from an audience who knew just who they were seeing and what they were in for.

Jackson entertained with anecdotes between songs, sharing stories about her meeting Elvis Presley (her first touring partner) and her time recording with Jack White, who produced her 2011 release The Party Ain't Over. Backed by a tight band led by Daniel Romano, also her opening act, Jackson did two Presley numbers, adding tough-minded grit to 'Heartbreak Hotel' where Presley found palpable sadness. As a singer, Jackson is at the top of her game. When she goes into a country number --complete with yodeling -- she's just daring you to writer her off.

After a stomping "Rock Your Baby," Jackson set about going through tracks from The Party Ain't Over, the most memorable performance being her version of 'You Know I'm No Good', from the late Amy Winehouse; but where Winehouse imbues the tune with world-weary regret, Jackson makes lines like 'I told you I was trouble' sound like a dare to find out more. From there Jackson gave us 'I'm Tore Down', from her newest release Unfinished Business, a rousing number that is prime Jackson.

After tearing into the gospel tune "I Saw The Light," she was goaded back on stage by her bandmates and the crowd, ending the night with a "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"/"Hard Headed Woman" medley, a tremendously thunderous capping off of a pitch perfect night from a rock and roll queen who can still conjure the thrill of '50s rockabilly and serve up a master class of badass-ery to her inheritors.

Openers Daniel Romano and Radio Radio staple Bigger Than Elvis kept the country rock spirit flowing leading into Jackson's set, with Bigger Than Elvis laying down their signature stomping sound in renditions of classics like "American Girl" and "Do You Wanna Dance." Romano offered a more mellow, tears-in-beer set, the quiet before the storm that was Jackson.


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