Wanda Jackson at Rhythm Room: Crowning the Queen of Rock

Categories: Concert Review

wandacrown.jpg
Adriane Goetz
Wanda Jackson shows off her tiara at the Rhythm Room.
Wanda Jackson has been dubbed many titles, most of which are some play on "The Queen/First Lady of Rock/Rock n Roll/Rockabilly." This year she finally got that official recognition when she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an "Early Influence."

Last night, a 71-year-old Jackson proved what the giddy crowd already knew when she rocked the socks off the Rhythm Room in Phoenix.

Jackson kicked off her set with the 1958 hit "Mean, Mean Man," and played a variety of her country, rockabilly and gospel hits, as well as a few of her contemporaries' hits such as Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" and Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On."

When the petite (she had to be less than five feet tall) Jackson took the stage, the crowd of 21 to 81-year-olds roared with excitement. Donning a white, fully-fringed top with enormous diamond-esque earrings, Jackson still dresses in the glamorous style she brought to country music over 50 years ago.

jacksonvert1.jpg
Adriane Goetz
Wanda Jackson performing at the Rhythm Room.
​It's a well-known fact that Jackson's first tour was with Elvis in 1955 and that the two briefly dated, but before she played one of his songs Jackson told a heartfelt story about her time spent with "The King" and how she still treasures the ring he gave her when they became an item.


For a 71-year-old woman who has been a devout Christian for over three decades, Jackson's performance was far from vanilla. The spunky starlet was met with hooting and hollering when she described her and Presley's romantic relationship as "not traditional dating," as well as when she described how her favorite feature of her pink, custom-made guitar is the way it sits perfectly under her breast.

One memorable moment in the evening was when the ladies from Brenda Lee Pin-Up (who booked the show) presented Jackson with a plaque and a tiara to show their admiration. Jackson was visibly moved, and wore the tiara for the rest of her performance.

If you've read this far without knowing who Wanda Jackson is, shame on you for not knowing (but good for you for being interested anyway). At any rate, you should watch this video of her playing Elvis Presley's "Hard Headed Woman."

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Wanda Jackson at The Rhythm Room

Better Than: A duet between Wanda Sykes and Jermaine Jackson

Personal Bias:
I own three fringe-trimmed western shirts and four pairs of cowboy boots.

Random Detail: Local boys The Cadillac Angels also served as Jackson's backup band.

Further Listening: Janis Martin, Jo Ann Campbell, Alis Lesley

One Last Thing: At one point Jackson doused the particularly annoying drunk males with her water bottle.

My Voice Nation Help
0 comments

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Clubs

Loading...