The Million Dollar Quartet, a tribute to the one and only time rock ’n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins came together for what has become of the most famous recording sessions of all time, returned to Caesars Windsor for a fun night of entertainment on Thursday night (Oct. 10).
It’s December 4, 1956 and newcomer Jerry Lee Lewis is at the Sun Record recording studio in Memphis Tennessee preparing to record piano on some songs with established Sun artist Carl Perkins. Elvis Presley stops by the studio unexpectedly with his girlfriend and producer Sam Phillips calls Johnny Cash in to the studio leading to an impromptu jam session. The Memphis Press-Scimitar was called to the studio by Phillips to witness this session and take a now iconic photo of the four legendary musicians around a piano. The resulting story and photo in the next day’s paper went under the heading, “Million Dollar Quartet”, and the musical of the same name is based on this famous session.
While the musical is based on an actual event, the details of that evening have been changed in the name of entertainment and the musical is more of a tribute to the four singers/musicians rather than a documentary of any sort. Elvis’s girlfriend was a dancer, not a singer as portrayed in the musical, and most of the actual songs performed at the real session were gospel. The musical does a good job of introducing each artist and highlighting songs and moments from their early careers. There was a fair bit of comedy inserted, particularly with the Jerry Lee Lewis character making him out to be a rather immature ladies man. The truth is, all four were fairly close in age in their early to mid twenties at this time.
The production itself was fairly simple with a set depicting the Sun record studio and musicians in the roles of Clayton Perkins on stand up bass and W.S. Holland on drums. The actor in the role of Sam Phillips occasionally took the spotlight as a sort of narrator to the story. The musicianship and singing was fairly good, with the actors having a similarity in sound to the actual legends but not so much in the looks department. I think maybe it was good that they didn’t try too hard to replicate their physical appearance but did pay attention to details like wardrobe and Perkins’ gold top Les Paul. My only real complaint about the show was the sound. I found the guitars were often too low and the mix was off. It’s a musical, the sound is pretty important!
Ultimately the show was a decent look back on four icons who changed American music for the better and helped influence a whole generation of musicians that followed them through the 60’s and 70’s. Sam Phillips was a bit of a visionary and helped make it happen. This was as much about him as the musicians he discovered.
For more information about Million Dollar Quartet visit https://www.milliondollarquartet.net
The show was the third in the Caesars Windsor Cares 2019 Concerts For A Cure Series. The next show happens on October 17 featuring Country Music legend Billy Ray Cyrus performing an all ages show.
Additional shows in the Concerts For A Cure Series include The Chieftains & Glass Tiger (Oct 18), Daughtry (Oct 24), Jim Gaffigan (Nov 3), Walk off the Earth with special guest, fast rising local pop singer Christie Palace (Christie Palazzolo) opening the all ages concert (Nov 7), Logic – Ages 16+ (Nov 10), City and Colour (Nov 20), Charlie Brown Christmas – All Ages (Nov 23) and We Will Rock You – All Ages (Nov 29 & 30).
For more information or to purchase tickets please visit the Caesars Windsor Box Office or online go to https://www.caesars.com/caesars-windsor/shows</a>
Article by Dan Boshart
Dan Boshart is a talented photographer from Windsor, Ontario, who is looking forward to spending more time on concert photography when he retires from his full time job in the automotive industry. In addition to shooting bands, he has an interest in travel, architectural and street photography. Some of Dan’s photos can be viewed on Instagram and he can be followed on Twitter or his 27th Floor Photography Facebook Page.