TVD Live Shots: Wanda Jackson with Toy Soldiers, 12/30 and 12/31

PHOTOS: CAITLIN McCANN | Philadelphia-based rock ‘n’ roll band Toy Soldiers spent the last couple days of 2013 on the road opening and being the backing band for living legend, The Queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson. The first night was at the Columbus Theatre in Providence, RI, and the second was New Year’s Eve at The Hamilton in DC opening for Dr. John, who was added to the line-up. This is a photo story about the shows and what Toy Soldiers’ lead singer and bandleader, Ron Gallo, had to say about his time spent with Wanda, what he learned from her, and how it made for an amazing end to one hell of a year…

“I spent the last two nights of 2013 sharing the stage with a 76-year-old woman, a living legend who has been pursuing music her whole life. Almost 60 years, a few hits, 30+ albums, endless ups and downs, and an Elvis Presley later, she is to this day the sweetest, funniest, most badass person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and playing music with.

Cold weather training for the Wanda Jackson setlist at our new home, Dr. Dog’s former Meth Beach Studio, in Philadelphia, PA.

“Her name is Wanda Jackson, and she embodies what music, and really life, is all about. She could be home in a golden rocking chair looking back on a life 99% of people would change nothing about, but instead, she’s still up there rocking like she always did and always will do, straight till she can’t, because she ‘just loves to sing’ and ‘would do it no matter what.’

“I had no idea what to expect, but I was blown away and beyond inspired for the first time in a while. Wanda was the perfect person to meet and work with during this crazy period of transition as we closed out what was a crazy year for me and the band.”
Ron Gallo

“A lifetime of piano playing, and this is what they give me,” says Luke Leidy as he stares into his new apartment.

“Running up the stairs,” crying at Mercury Lounge, NYC.

Matt Kelly: All sleep from Brooklyn.

Bill McCloskey and all his friends at Columbus Theatre in Providence, RI.

Even birds have Instagram. Columbus Theatre, Providence, RI.

“I wonder if they know I don’t play this thing.” Ron Gallo at Columbus Theatre in Providence, RI.

Wanda Jackson’s and Toy Soldiers’ first rehearsal at Columbus Theatre in Providence, RI.

Apple: Revolutionizing Rehearsal. From left: Ron Gallo, Wanda Jackson, and Bill McCloskey.

Dominic Billett lounging, texting with boot cup-holders.

Columbus Theatre Marquee. Providence, RI.

The show begins. Columbus Theatre, Providence, RI.

Joe Fletcher joins Toy Soldiers for “Drunk and Single (For George Jones)” at Columbus Theatre in Providence, RI.



Last minute nerves before Polyester Ron Gallo takes the stage.

“I’ve never done this before.”

Good ol’ show notes.

And there she is… Ladies and Gentlemen, Wanda Jackson!

“Shakin’ All Over”

Guitar Solo. Matt Kelly.

Wanda sings “The Funnel of Love”

We did it!

Wanda Jackson Setlist from Night #1 at Columbus Theatre.

Good Morning—I didn’t know they had cables in heaven? The home of Bryan Minto, Providence, RI.


NO WRINKLES! Crowne Plaza Hotel, Washington, DC.

Toy Soldiers kicking off NYE at The Hamilton in Washington, DC.

A fashionably late Wanda walks in the door and onto the stage.


Precious backstage moments.

Family photo. Clockwise from top left: Luke Leidy, Dom Billett, Wanda Jackson, Ron Gallo, Bill McCloskey, Kyle Perella, Ali Wadsworth, Matt Kelly.

Talking about the good ol’ days.

“To Ron: Rock On… Wanda Jackson.” Amen.

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