Chris Issak brings great music, showmanship to Penn's Peak
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Chris Isaak performs at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe, giving an incredible show that consisted of ballads, up-tempo songs, and some covers from the 60s and 70s.
Chris Isaak has been given the nickname "Mr. Lucky" because of the success he's had with his music and acting.
Last night at Penn's Peak, it was obvious that his talent and showmanship are probably more responsible for his amazing accomplishments than Lady Luck.
Isaak put on a terrific show, singing his own songs as well as an assortment of cover tunes of his recording heroes like Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison.
He demonstrated a personality rarely seen by modern performers.
His music would have been sufficient to keep his audience's attention, but he went further - joking with them, walking into the crowd to sing one of his songs (where he was hugged by a couple of girls and even sat with one), and surprised two female fans by calling them on stage and having them dance next to his bass player.
It was 90-minutes of non-stop, entertainment during which he Isaak through a 26-song set list. His curtain call consisted of a change of his attire and five songs, all of them great oldies.
The two girls invited to dance on-stage while he sang "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" from his "Forever Blue" album were Lisa Burgert of Lehighton and Ellen Farewell of Bethlehem. They attended the concert with Farewell's mother, Lorraine Habl of Effort. They said they've been friends since attending high school in Long Island, N.Y. and have been to numerous Chris Isaak concerts.
"It's like the millionth time we saw him," gushed Farewell. "It was a great concert. He has such a beautiful voice."
Habl said this is the first time she has seen Isaak and "I loved every minute of it."
When Isaak left the stage and went into the crowd, Sharin Suchodolski of Willow Grove temporarily ditched her boyfriend sitting next to her and ran to Isaak, giving him a hug.
Isaak was neatly attired in a red coat with gold sequins and matching pants, accented by a white shirt. He strummed his trademark white Gibson guitar while singing the first three songs, then traded off on several other guitars during the concert.
He ditched the coat halfway through the show.
When he returned for his curtain call, he wore a suit coat and pants that consisted entirely of silver squares, looking like the material might have been metalic.
He opened the concert with the romantic song "Beautiful Homes" and continued for the first part of the concert singing his own songs which was a great mix of up-tempo tunes and ballads: romance and heartbreak.
The Stockton, Calif. native told how he grew up listening to his father's albums and then went into an 11-song set of some of those older songs. The crowd ate it up.
He said he plans to release an album containing many of these old time favorites.
Among the oldies but goodies that he sang were Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," Elvis's "It's Now Or Never" and "Can't Help Falling In Love;" Jerry Lee Lewis's "Great Balls of Fire," and Orbison's "Pretty Woman."
"It was an incredible show," said Lee Clober of State College. "I'm out of breath. He is great. I hope he comes back to this lovely venue."
Next on the calendar at Penn's Peak is Hollywood Nights with special guests Separate Ways the Band. Hollywood Nights, which plays tribute to the music of Bob Seger, performs Friday at 8 p.m. Separate Ways the Band does a Journey tribute.
On Saturday night at Penn's Peak, veteran performer Robin Trower will be in concert for an 8 p.m. concert.