Lisa Marie Presley gets better every time I see her. Always a great songwriter and singer, Lisa’s performances this weekend were a far cry from her shy performance in 2003 when I first saw her. When Lisa opened for Chris Isaak in support of her first album To Whom It May Concern, her mic was turned down so low I could barely make out her words. Now 10 years later, Lisa Marie Presley blows audiences away with her impassioned performances, including singing a cappella and playing the drums.
This weekends’ back to back shows in Vienna, VA and Sellersville, PA were no exception. Last year’s first leg of Lisa Marie Presley’s Storm and Grace tour were songs off her third album of the same name. For this leg of the tour, Lisa has added songs from her first two albums: “Lights Out,” “Idiot,” S.O.B,” and “I’ll Figure it Out.” Coincidentally, these are four of my favorite Lisa Marie Presley songs.
Although I only live an hour from Vienna, VA, I left my house at 2:30 Friday afternoon for Lisa’s 8:00 show at The Barns at Wolftrap because I knew the Friday afternoon traffic on the DC beltway was going to be a nightmare. At 3:45 I arrived at the McDonald’s on Leesburg Pike, just a few miles down the road from Wolftrap. Using their free WiFi, I streamed tv on my kindle while dining on delicious items from the dollar menu as my pre-concert dinner: a mcdouble, a mcchicken, and a sweet tea all for $3! About an hour and a half later, my friend Birgit arrived. We chatted for a bit and then headed down the road.
We arrived at the bar at the Barns at Wolf Trap just as the doors opened. It was a much nicer setting than the McDonald’s. The place was really cute – actually looked like a barn, but nice. We sat at a table right next to the where Lisa Marie was doing her sound check. So although we did not have the VIP package that night (as they did not offer one), we were able to listen to the entire sound check. As we looked around at the people filing in, it was obvious they were not the typical Lisa Marie Presley fans. These were most likely ‘subscription’ people – those who get tickets to all the shows at that venue. It was an older crowd who were dressed as if they were going to the theater rather than a concert.
When the doors opened at 7:30, we were in our seats. Although I was disappointed it wasn’t a general admission show like last year’s in Lancaster, PA, I had a great seat for this one! I was on the aisle in the second row just left of Lisa. As I sat down, the man in front of me asked, “Are you Deena?” I was initially startled, but then flattered that someone knew me from my blog and tweets. Paulie and I became fast friends this weekend, hanging out at both LMP shows in Virginia and Pennsylvania.
With no opening band, Lisa Marie Presley took the stage at 8:15. She opened the show in typical fashion with “So Long” followed by “Over Me” and “Storm of Nails.” Lisa talked about writing “Weary,” the fourth song, with Richard Holly from the British band Pulp. This was the first song they wrote together, then went on to write more for Storm and Grace. Introducing the next song “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” Lisa talked about how she was surprised this one got so much attention when songs off her first two albums were of very similar subject matter.
Lisa then took a seat and did an acoustic set of “Just a Dream,” “Soften the Blows” and “Idiot.” Lisa said “Soften the Blows” was one of her favorites off Storm and Grace. She introduced “Idiot” as the meanest song she’s ever written and ironically is the one everyone loves (myself included!). Lisa said he enjoys hearing everyone’s stories about how they love “Idiot” and what it means to them. When I met her in Lancaster last year, I told her I used to play it as my ‘get excited’ song while I was getting ready to go out. Lisa said the person she wrote it about is still very much alive and is still the most self-centered egotistical person on the planet.
While introducing her band, Lisa noted that it was the bassists’s first show. David Hoffman got the call the day before when Lisa’s previous bassist had to leave the tour because his wife had a baby. David learned Lisa’s songs in less than a day – some they didn’t even sound check. He did a great job! Throughout the show Lisa kept asking if everyone was having a good time. These subscription folks weren’t really showing her the love she deserves.
The set continued with Lisa’s first single “Light’s Out.” One of my favorite lines is from this song, and I always get really excited when I hear it – as Lisa noticed. When she sang, “And I’ll be damned if I ever get this, little son of a bitch from Memphis” I waved my arm and pointed to her and she did the same back to me. The next song was “S.O.B,” another one of my favorites off her first album. (are we sensing an SOB theme here?) Closing out the set were “Un-Break” and “Sticks and Stones.” These are my two favorite songs off Storm and Grace. Not only because Lisa plays drums during both songs, but also because the lyrics are fantastic! Lisa starts off “Sticks and Stones” belting out the chorus a capella – WOW! The second half of the concert was definitely my favorite.
As Lisa left the stage, we moved up to the stage – because apparently second row isn’t close enough. So we were front and center in front of Lisa as she came back out for her encore. She started with “I’ll Figure it Out” from her second album Now What and closed with Tom Petty’s “Need to Know.” Sadly, it was all over by 9:30 – just an hour and fifteen minutes after it began. I did manage to get the set list though. I have gotten one from every leg of all of Lisa’s tours. I was surprised “Storm and Grace” was left off the set list. “People” was on the set list, but it wasn’t played.
After the show, Birgit, Paully and I waited by Lisa’s bus in the rain with hopes of meeting her – again. Unfortunately, she did not stop but we waved to her as she boarded her bus. We did have a nice conversation with her drummer John, who told us way more than we should probably know. But he is a really sweet guy and a great drummer. He told us that Lisa’s drum sticks aren’t really real. After about an hour, we tore ourselves away and headed home.
The next morning I didn’t wake up with my usual sad-that-it’s-over concert hangover because I was going to see Lisa Marie Presley again that night in Sellersville, PA! I stopped by CVS to get my usual road trip snacks and was on the road by 12:30. Two and a half hours later, I was at my hotel in Quakerstown just a few miles from the Sellersville Theater. I was unsure whether I actually needed to spend the money on a hotel when it was only a 2 1/2 hour drive back home, but I was really excited I did because I was exhausted after the concert.
I met my new friend Paulie at the Washington House, the tavern next to the theater. Sitting in the booth next to us was Jeff and Kristin Newman. I have been chatting with Jeff online for past year during Lisa’s Storm and Grace tour. We were both at her shows in Baltimore and Lancaster, but never met in person. Sitting in the booth on the other side of us was Stacy, as in Presley’s Pride Stacy! I have been reading her website for 10 years at least. It was great to finally meet her! It was a real love fest in Sellersville Saturday night.
Paulie, Jeff, Kristin and I had the VIP package for Lisa’s show in Sellersville. This was to be my fifth time meeting Lisa Marie Presley, although it would turn out to be the shortest visit. We were to check in at 5:00 and the sound check was supposed to start at 5:30, but Lisa was running late. They said her four-year-old twins weren’t cooperating – so we weren’t let into the sound check until after 6:30. We walked into the 400-seat theater and went right up to the stage. Lisa said that sometimes for the VIP package, they just pretend to do a sound check, but in this case they were actually doing a sound check. She performed “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” and “Un-Break,” so I was pretty happy.
After the sound check was over, we lined up to get our picture taken with Lisa. We were told ahead of time that there would be no autographs. I thought this was strange because Lisa always signs and is very gracious about it, but I think it was the venue’s policy not Lisa’s. So I walked up to Lisa and told her the show the previous night was great, although the crowd was a little quiet and then told her about how nice her drummer was to talk to us in the rain. She agreed that he is sweet. Our picture was taken and that was that. No Q & A session, but we did get a Storm and Grace goodie bag, which was actually pretty cool. It contained an autograph 8×10, a small poster, LMP guitar picks and LMP keychain. We went outside to discuss our encounters with Lisa while we waited for the doors to open for the show.
For this show, there was an opening band. Much to my surprise (because I don’t like sitting through opening bands), Chuck Schaeffer’s rockabilly / country music was pretty good – although his “Folsom Prison Blues” left a lot to be desired. He was about to play his final song when someone came out and told him to play a few more. Obviously Lisa’s twins were still not cooperating. After the opening band, I moved from my seventh row seat and stood in the aisle next to the first row, but behind the tables that were situated in front of the stage.
Lisa Marie Presley finally took the stage just before 9:30. For this show, I put down my phone and enjoyed the show (without taking any notes). I just rocked out with Lisa. In between “Un-Break” and “Sticks and Stones,” Lisa said that she was a ‘wannabe drummer” – that she had always played drums. Just another reason I love her. The set list was the same as the night before, but this time the audience was more enthusiastic. Although there was a few weirdos in the crowd. Lisa dedicated “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” to those who were there for whatever sick reasons (most likely referring to the man with the long hair and sideburns) rather than there to actually hear her music. About halfway through the her performance, some man shouted out “ELVIS!” to which I replied “NO!” Anyone who knows me knows I am a HUGE Elvis Presley fan. I moved to Memphis to live where the King lived. But I like Lisa for Lisa, for her music. Like the previous night, Lisa’s show quickly ended after just an hour and fifteen minutes. We didn’t wait by Lisa’s bus after the show because we couldn’t find it, but then saw it fly by. I guess she was in a hurry to get to her next show in Massachusetts.
Both shows this weekend were great and probably the best I’ve ever seen of my 17 Lisa Marie Presley shows. I enjoyed the show Friday night in Vienna,VA more because I was closer to Lisa so I felt more a part of the show. But I enjoyed the overall experience Saturday in Sellersville, PA more because of the road trip, spending the day in Sellersville, the VIP meet and greet and sound check, and the audience was more into it. Also, it was nice to put down my phone, not take notes and just dance and sing along with Lisa.
It takes a lot of guts for Lisa Marie Presley to get out on that stage night after night to an audience of mostly curiosity seekers who still after 10 years and 3 albums ask the question, “Will she sing any Elvis songs?” NO!!! She is not an Elvis tribute artist, she is Lisa Marie Fucking Presley and you ain’t seen nothin yet!