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Thursday 22 April 2010

Hurricane Wanda

I had the great pleasure and privilege to see the wonderful Wanda Jackson in concert at the Luminaire last night. I spent the entire time with an enormous smile on my face. So benign was my mood that only once did I feel the need to swear at the Hoxton tosspots standing behind us.

At 72 Wanda isn't as nimble as she once was but she looked great, was utterly charming and her voice is as good as ever. The scream she unleashed in the middle of "Riot In Cell Block Number Nine" was that of a woman fifty years younger.

Not only that, she is a consummate professional. When lesser so-called celebrities were crying off their commitments because of the volcanic ash, Wanda and her husband made it over from Germany where she was playing last week by train, boat and just about every form of transport apart from plane. She apparently had only four hours sleep before coming on and playing a great show.

The whole set was excellent, so if I single out three performances they are more by way of examples than highlights. The first was the aforementioned "Riot In Cell Block Number Nine". The second was "Hard Headed Woman" which she did as a duet with support act Imelda May. Imelda was excellent in her own right, and Mr F now thinks of her as the daughter he never had.

The third example was a top notch rendition of a song that is not only my favourite Wanda recording, but one of my favourite recordings full stop. And in a week that combined Wanda and a volcano, it was particularly appropriate. It is, of course, this one:

"Fujiyama Mama" - Wanda Jackson

As a bonus, here are a couple of lesser-known gems that didn't get played last night, one country and one rock 'n roll.

"My Big Iron Skillet" - Wanda Jackson

"Honey Don't" - Wanda Jackson

And to finish things off for today, here she is back in her younger days.

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