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Friday, May 24, 2024

Elvis, Lewis, Cash and Perkins come to life at Savannah Center

Victor Trevino’s transcendental Elvis moment came midway through his, raw, down and dirty Presley medley Tuesday at Savannah Center.

Victor Trevino shakes things up as Elvis.
Victor Trevino shakes things up as Elvis.

After a grinding, scalding, shimmy-shaking version of “One Night With You,” Trevino as Elvis fell backwards on the stage floor. Then he got up and said: “My pants are all dirty.”
“Take ‘em off,” someone in the audience yelled.
“Wow,” said Trevino as the King. “What kind of party people do you have here in The Villages?”
The kind of people who came of age with rock and roll. That’s why the musical production “A Night to Remember: Presley, Perkins, Lewis and Cash,” had the joint jumping for two performances.
Tropical storm Colin blew through The Villages on Monday but on Tuesday a rock and roll hurricane hit town. It was all thanks to those Southern boys – Elvis played by Trevino, Carl Perkins (Eddie Clendening), Jerry Lee Lewis (Lance Lipinsky) and Johnny Cash (Ben Hale) who helped invent rock and roll.

Eddie Clendening played the music of Carl Perkins.
Eddie Clendening played the music of Carl Perkins.

They all came together as the famed Million Dollar Quartet back on Dec. 4, 1956. It became a Broadway musical. “A Night To Remember” is similar to the stage play, but without dialogue.
Clendening as Perkins, started the night off in rockabilly  style, playing such vintage hits as “Matchbox,” and  “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby.” Clendening, whose lead guitar work held this show together, really hit his stride with the all-time classic, “Blue Suede Shoes.”

Lipinsky brought manic acrobatics to Jerry Lee Lewis’ antics at the keyboards. Lipinsky came on stage sporting a gold lame’ jacket and mile-high pompadour.
He launched into “Sea Cruise” and was soon bouncing all over the stage and atop of keyboards. The audience seemed just as rambunctious.
“Look at all these wild teenagers in The Villages dancing to the devil’s music,” Lipinsky said. Then he turned to a hard-driving country sound on a cover of Ray Price’s “Crazy Arms,” and wailed like a hound dog.
And what Jerry Lee Lewis tribute would be complete without “Great Balls of Fire?”
Lipinsky was bursting with rock and roll fever on the song that shook his nerves and rattled his brain, as Old Jerry Lee might say.

Watch video of last night’s performance:

Lance Lipinsky played Jerry Lee Lewis
Lance Lipinsky played Jerry Lee Lewis,

Lipinsky soon had the crowd clapping, stomping and singing-along. Lipinsky seemed to be doing inversion therapy at the keyboard, bending so far back at times he was almost upside down. At the end of the number, the singer earned a long and loud standing ovation.
Hale, as Johnny Cash, picked up where Lipinsky left off. The first number Hale sang was a spirited version of “Folsom Prison Blues.” Then, he dug out an old Cash rockabilly chestnut, “Get Rhythm,” and played it to perfection.
After singing the Cash standard, “I Walk the Line,” Hale invited Darcy Wood on stage for the role of June Carter Cash. She combined with Hale for a stirring version of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe.” Then the two added a jumping dose of country rock on “Jackson.”

Darcy Wood as June Carter Cash joins Ben Hale as Johnny Cash for a duet.
Darcy Wood as June Carter Cash joins Ben Hale as Johnny Cash for a duet.

Trevino came on to close the show as Elvis. The performer bears a striking resemblance to a youthful Elvis. But it wasn’t just Trevino’s looks that made the act work. He had the Elvis moves down pat, and was also strong on vocals.
Trevino opened his set with “Shake Rattle and Roll.” He followed with a couple of other rockers, “Big Hunk of Love,” and “All Shook Up.” Then came the song that launched Elvis at Sun Records, “That’ All Right Mama.”
“The more you scream, the more I shake,” Trevino told the crowd and before you could say, “Hound Dog,” women began screaming, hooting and hollering.
It was that kind of show, filled with energy, youthful talent and lots of rock and roll power. The audience seemed just as inspired as the performers.
“We couldn’t end this without a gospel song,” Clendening said. “We’re doing it in honor of these singers who gave so much to all of us.”
The singers all joined forces on a joyous “Down By the Riverside,” and the audience joined in. It was an uplifting finish to a show that honored the memories and music of four rock and roll pioneers.

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