Cory Courtney
Jerry Lee Lewis. Credit: Cory Courtney

Stagecoach kicked off on Friday with a whole lot of interesting things going on—and I am not even talking about the happenings on the Main Stage.

Son Volt played in the Mustang Tent in the afternoon—which created a schedule conflict for those (like me) who also wanted to see the Zombies play in the Palomino Tent next door.

While the Zombies’ 1960s psychedelic rock ’n’ roll won over a crowd that nearly filled the Palomino Tent, Jay Farrar and the rest of Son Volt also put on quite a show, holding most of the crowd as the band played.

Son Volt, coming off of a lengthy hiatus, actually played at the first Stagecoach in 2007. The group sounded magnificent, producing a stellar show that included edgier, rock-influenced stuff, as well as more country-sounding songs that included slide guitar.

After the Zombies and Son Volt, “The Killer” himself, Jerry Lee Lewis, finally enjoyed his Stagecoach debut. He’d been booked at Stagecoach before—only to drop off the schedule soon after being announced.

While it was great to finally see Lewis grace the Palomino Tent and play for the Stagecoach crowd, it wasn’t a perfect performance, production-wise. His intro was a video of his contemporaries such as the late Johnny Cash, the late Chuck Berry, Keith Richards and Steve Allen talking about him over archive footage—but the audio only played for a portion of it, as Jerry Lee Lewis walked to his piano with some assistance. He got a very welcoming and warm ovation.

After the botched intro, Lewis finally began—but the sound levels were off. Lewis’ piano sounded faint, unless you were standing up close. The tent was full, but it was obvious people were not hearing it—and were trying to give him a pass anyway.

Still, as a rock ’n’ roll fan who hadn’t yet had a chance to see Lewis, it was still very pleasing to watch. Yes, he did play “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On.” However, his set list was visible on his piano, and it included more than the eight songs that he played. He was scheduled for close to an hour, but he played for only about 30 minutes—before he stood up and walked off stage to a standing ovation.

Brian Blueskye

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Brian Blueskye moved to the Coachella Valley in 2005. He was the assistant editor and staff writer for the Coachella Valley Independent from 2013 to 2019. He is currently the...