Yonkers Hudson Riverfest, USA (04.07.2002):

 

Report and photos from Kay Martin:

(photographs copyright by Kay Martin any use of the photographs without permission is prohibited. )

 

 

Jerry Lee Lewis at Yonkers Hudson Riverfest - July 4, 2002 What could be a better celebration of the Fourth of July than a get-together of Jerry Lee fans, a Lewis show, plus fireworks? Long-time Jerry Lee fan Jerry Koshel was thrilled that the Killer would be headlining this year's annual Hudson Riverfest in his home town. On a really hot day, we gathered at his house: Kirk Lundstrom traveling all the way from Maine, Katy and Bob Sernerchia from Rhode Island, Tim Congdon from upstate New York near Albany, Linda and Don Gervasi from Queens and yours truly from Brooklyn. We spent the afternoon swapping JLL stories, listening to his music, enjoying the repast prepared by Jerry K, and each other's company. We left our vehicles behind to avoid the crush of traffic in downtown Yonkers, and took Metro North two stops south to the venue. It was so close, we could see the stage from the train platform! Since it was so very warm, before he arrived, I took pains to see that cooling fans would be placed on stage and that cold bottled water would be available for Jerry. The stage was set up right on the banks of the Hudson River and the scheduled fireworks finale was to be set off from a barge afloat in the middle of the river just behind the stage. Breezes were blowing, but they weren't really bringing the temperature down by much. As we waited for Jerry to arrive, we met other fans we knew and caught part of the performances of the opening groups, Roomful of Blues and The Persuasions. Jerry was scheduled to go on at 8:15 and the fireworks to begin at 9:15, but Jerry's plane landed late and his limo pulled up about 8:30. The band hustled on stage to set up, and began warming up the crowd (as if they needed it!). Our group accompanied Jerry into his air conditioned trailer/dressing room while he got comfortable and relaxed before the show. Soon, Michael Lee came in to tell Jerry it was time to go on. The security people had set aside an area in front of the stage for our group and we had a fabulous vantage point, as you can see from the accompanying photo. When Jerry hit the stage, the crowd of thousands of people was really enthusiastic and rockin'. We all enjoyed the following songs: Roll Over Beethoven Sweet Little Sixteen Drinkin' Wine Spo Dee O Dee C. C. Rider Rockin' My Life Away Georgia Boogie Woogie Country Man Johnny B. Goode Don't Put No Headstone On My Grave Money (And a rare) Blues Like Midnight (at which point Kenny reminded Jerry that the fireworks had to begin and HE began fireworks of his own style:) Whole Lot Of Shakin' Goin' On Great Balls of Fire (what a perfect intro to a fireworks display!!!) As Jerry kicked over the stool and headed off the stage, the musical fireworks were over and the pyrotechnics began. The crowd that had been dancing in the aisles was screaming for more, but Jerry headed right for the limo that had been parked alongside the stage. However, the driveway they used to enter was now completely overrun by people, so the band's van and Jerry's limo stayed put until after the last firecracker exploded. Most of our group stood at the river's edge and enjoyed the fireworks display. The City of Yonkers went all-out for the fabulous pageant. Jerry watched it out of the limo windows and I saw it through the limo moonroof as we talked. His rib still hurts and he believes he still has a touch of pneumonia. You would never know during his show because he is a trooper and once he begins performing, he gets into it. When the fireworks ended, the Yonkers police force were able to clear the driveway and direct the van and the limo out. Our group headed to the train station for the ride back to pick up our cars and head home. While we waited for the train, we "liberated" a HUGE poster for the show (which was, of course, now OVER), similar to the one I emailed to everyone a week or so ago, and presented it to our host, Jerry Koshel, as a souvenir of the day that his hero came to town and put on a show.....