Hollywood actor Dennis Quaid, best-known for his portrayal of rock n’ roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis in the 1989 biopic, “Great Balls of Fire,” was in Niagara Falls Saturday night, but there were no movie cameras in sight.
Quaid, who for 18 years has fronted a rock band, Dennis Quaid and the Sharks, was in town for a show at the Bear’s Den inside the Seneca Niagara Casino.
Fans who came out expecting to see an actor portraying a musician, were treated to quite a surprise: Quaid can flat out sing. Add to that prolific songwriting and versatility— playing the guitar as well as the keyboard—it quickly became clear Quaid isn’t capitalizing on his famous name to put bodies in the seats. He is a bona fide rock star with a second career that rivals anything he has done on the big screen.
Dressed head to toe in white, Quaid flashed his famous Hollywood smile and, at 64-years-old, dazzled the crowd, working the stage with an energy and vigor that belied his age.
The evening was a perfect blend of covering timeless classics (“Riders on the Storm,” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”), alongside several of Quaid’s better-known original compositions (“Closer to You,” from the soundtrack of “The Big Easy,” among them).
Best of all, Quaid looked like a guy having a blast on stage, and it was contagious. Casino crowds are famously docile, but Quaid had people dancing and singing along as he mixed in plenty of banter with the crowd, something the intimate setting of the Bear’s Den favors.
As he closed his set and said his goodbyes, “Great Balls of Fire” was noticeably missing from his playlist. But, after shaking hands with fans and tossing out guitar picks, Quaid offered up a bit of his Hollywood flair, and returned to the microphone to belt out the Jerry Lee Lewis classic.
With a surprising vocal range, a fun stage presence and a talented quartet of musicians backing him, Quaid delivered an evening of feel-good, nostalgic rock n’ roll.
Dennis Quaid and the Sharks, June 23 at the Seneca Niagara Casino's Bear's Den