By Lisa Morgan

Wanda Jackson, all 78 beautiful, sparkling, hot pink tasseled, storied years of her, showed up to a sardine packed Pappy and Harriet’s house of adoration Saturday, January 30th.  With her husband and granddaughter by her side, surrounded by tenured, seamless musicians, Jackson managed to chisel and chip her way even deeper into the hearts of her fans.  Escorted by the beefy corn fed security guards who had their hands full clearing a path to the stage for the icon, Miss Wanda once again looked as if she was sitting at the kitchen table with family and friends.  Yes, she was sitting and she apologized for that explaining that with her recent knee replacement came infection and a very rough recovery, one that might have taken any other performer out for quite a bit longer, but not the tenacious Wanda Jackson.

While she may have chosen to sit through her performance for obvious reasons, the performer made an art out of chair dancing.  She weaved her amazing stories into the songs to the delight of the audience.  One young guy even shouted out, “Tell us another story,” like a kid would ask a parent.  We were all enchanted, so much so that this writer couldn’t find it in her heart to take notes as opposed to soaking the moment in.  I can tell you this, the Queen of Rock cannot talk about Elvis Presley without all the love in the world showing through her words and she payed tribute to him, explaining that if it wasn’t for him, she would have never ventured into the rockabilly genre that she became known for.

The biggest news of the night, which was received with deafening cheers and applause, was the announcement that the First Lady of Rock and Roll would be recording her new album, “hopefully out by this summer!” She also let it be known that it would be recorded and produced by none other, than fellow female Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Joan Jett on Jett’s Black Heart Records in New York.

Wanda Jackson put on quite a show, and I doubt the audience ever blinked, fearing they would miss something.  We were so pressed up to the stage it felt like an awkwardly long group hug. We quickly got past the awkwardness and at times, crankiness, as we shared the common joy of being entertained by this very special lady.  Toward the end of the show, her voice began to fade, the only sign that Jackson had been through quite a physical ordeal recently.  One thing that never dimmed was the light in her eyes and in her spirit.  As she left the stage and gingerly made her way to the exit, those near her reached out to help her step off the stage.  They would have carried her on their backs if she would have let them.  And even though the performance was shorter than she’d hoped for, there was not a single person there disappointed.  A little bit of Wanda Jackson is worth a million bucks and it was an honor to be among those present that night.

I cannot talk about this epic night without giving mention to Wanda Jackson’s opening act.  Jesika Von Rabbit has been a music staple in the high desert since her early days of Gram Rabbit.  The woman even has her own designer nachos on the world famous Pappy and Harriet’s menu.

The crowd was no thinner for her show than it was for Jackson’s, and the audience reveled in it.  Von Rabbit could have chosen any route in music.  She is drop dead gorgeous and has an absolutely incredible voice.  But Von Rabbit is more than a pretty chick singer.  She is an innovative creator and expressionist as well as one hell of an entertainer.  Her sequenced beats, samples and mixes tested the depth of Pappy’s sound system (which passed with flying colors by the way) and delivered her music into the back of our teeth.  Her show is brilliantly non-sensical; a sonic and visual spectacle that is unlike any other and you cannot take your eyes away.  She is an artist that you just have to keep coming back to see, because you evolve every time you do. Jesika Von Rabbit and her entourage of stage characters were the perfect choice to open for a legend, as she embodies the rebel spirit that helped Wanda Jackson break limitations set on women back in her day.

This show proved once again that the ownership of Pappy and Harriet’s knows what they’re doing, as they have quickly become a destination venue.

Jesika Von Rabbit will be doing a DJ gig at Tryst in Palm Springs on Feb. 20th and at the Viper Room in Hollywood on Feb.17th.