Listen: Danny Balis Talks The Night The King Bucks Backed Wanda Jackson for The Ticket

Categories: DFW Music News

Perhaps, back on Monday, you caught my recap of last Saturday night's Wanda Jackson show at the Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff? Yeah, y'know, the one I referred to as "a once-in-a-lifetime offering"? Uh-huh. That one.

Well, now, courtesy of the folks over at KTCK-1310 AM The Ticket, and the lads on the afternoon drive-time show "The Hardline," a few more notes on the gig -- or, more specifically, some backstage insight, courtesy of show producer Danny Balis, who, aside from moonlighting as a solo performer himself, also plays bass in The King Bucks.

The Bucks, of course, backed Jackson at this show, and, earlier this week on their radio program, Balis shared with hosts Mike Rhyner and Corby Davidson his thoughts on how things went down. Balis' insight here is pretty unique -- he talks about the band's lone rehearsal with Jackson during soundcheck, how Jackson forced the Bucks to make some tweaks and key changes to their prepared offering, and how nervous-slash-great he felt about the whole night.

Having myself seen Balis backstage at the Kessler just before Jackson arrived, I can attest to most of his sentiments: "I feel like I'm going to puke," Balis told me backstage, when I caught him after a hush-hush Bucks huddle and asked him how he and the rest of the Bucks were feeling heading into the set. He didn't puke, turns out.

Instead, he lived to tell about an experience he now says he was "lucky" to stumble into. So, on that note, after the jump, give Dan Paul's "Hardline" talk a listen. There, you'll also see posted his Facebook recap of the night.



Writes Balis:

it will take some time for me to fully get my head around what we were a part of last night at the kessler theater in oak cliff. we showed up at the venue around 4 pm for soundcheck and a run through of the set. mrs. jackson arrived around 5:30, tired from a flight and gig in DC the night prior, also suffering from laryngitis. she was a trooper, singing the entire setlist with the band, often changing keys of the songs on the fly to accommodate her limited range due to her illness...guiding the band through arrangements and tempos with hand signals, with a feisty, yet sweet demeanor. the show was supposed to start at 8 pm, but wanda informed jeff liles that "honey, rock and roll doesn't start until at least 10:30". that must be true, because she didn't arrive back from her hotel until almost 10:45, greeted by a standing room only crowd, most of which had been there since 6 o'clock. i was one of the first people she met when she came into the green room, looking tired and pulled me down to whisper in my ear, "honey, i don't even know if i can talk. my voice has gotten so much worse since soundcheck". i assured her that she was going to do great once she got on that stage and that we had her back. "ok, honey". i knew she was gonna kill it.

she tore through the set, complete with anecdotes about jack white and elvis. you would have never known she was sick. i have never in my life seen a performer command a crowd like she did last night. during "there's a riot going on", she let out a scream during joe's guitar solo that literally made the hairs on my arms stand up. i teetered on the fence the entire night of tears and smiles. it was overwhelming to think of the history of this woman...the people she has performed with...the amazing musicians that have backed her...the places she has played...and her place in history as a true pioneer. a punk rocker well before that term became what it is now.

after the show, we chatted for a moment about my mother's career in music and about the time that i met elvis as a 6 year old. i didn't get a photo with her. i didn't get her to autograph anything. i didn't want to remember that moment with her like that. i just wanted feel like i had been there before. like i was in WANDA JACKSON'S BAND. well, at least for one night.

sometimes you just get lucky.



Location Info

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The Kessler Theater

1230 W. Davis St., Dallas, TX

Category: Music

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2 comments
Bigjondaniel
Bigjondaniel

Gruber is right. The Kessler is the best sounding venue in Dallas. I could see Balis was nervous. It was hilarious. He was like a title kid at a recital. Danny from Lake Higlands should give the King Bucks more credit. They were great

Aaron Barker
Aaron Barker

Danny Balis is the sweetest guy. Good for him and the Bucks. If I hadn't been outta town I woulda been there. Kudos friend.-Aaron Barker

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