If mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery, then a group of Elvises paid the ultimate tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll on Sunday, January 15th, as they brought down the packed house at Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Centre. “The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Event,” ELVIS LIVES, was held for one night only in Atlanta. (And that’s a damn shame! So, for those of you who missed it – pack your bags and take a road trip to go see ‘em! OR request that they stop back through Georgia. A list of tour dates is provided below, but keep reading to see how Elvis will make it worth your while to go. *wink*wink*) But what a fitting way to celebrate Elvis a week after his birth date (January 8)!
The two act show ran flawlessly for about three hours with one brief intermission. Four tribute artists sang, hip swiveled, pelvic thrust, and boogied down as Elvis during different stages of his life and career. The Elvis heart throbs include Victor Trevino, Jr., Kevin Mills, Ben Klein, and Bill Cherry. Victor Trevino, Jr. (Our TBB exclusive interview with him!) was the first up and played the young Elvis through the height of his 1950’s popularity and as Elvis during his time in the army. Kevin Mills took it from there as the movie star Elvis who falls in love with Ann-Margaret (Lori Russo). A black leather clad Ben Klein was 1968 Comeback Special Elvis and flashy jumpsuit-wearing Bill Cherry was Las Vegas Concert Elvis through 1970’s Elvis. All acts were approved by EPE (Elvis Presley Enterprises) Graceland to be a part of the production prior to performance – that means these guys were the cream of the Elvis impersonator/performer crop!
The show was every bit as hunka hunka as you could imagine with tanned, pomade styled black hair, tight pants wearing Elvises giving it their all on stage. The show even included a light display, backup singers and dancers, a live band, and a video screen. It was a full on Elvis party! The video screen was used as a tool to show off Elvis pictures, provide images during transitional background stories, and as a big video picture for the current stage show so those in the back could clearly see the current Elvis performer. (My only gripe with the picture screen was during “Jailhouse Rock” when they showed a cheesy digital jail graphic and during “In The Ghetto” when they opted to show pictures of slum-like areas and people hard on their luck – it didn’t tie back in with the way the rest of the show was going.)
As Elvis grew up before our eyes on stage, he also became more personable. Klein’s 1968 Comeback Special Elvis (third Elvis out of four) joked with the crowd and played his mom’s favorite love song, “Are You Lonesome Tonight” on an acoustic guitar. I don’t know if it was the full on leather suit (he made jokes about its comfort) or his smile, but women in the first few rows were yelling, “Take it off!” to which he replied, “You first,” with a sly smile. Here’s where I should mention that the crowd was comprised mostly of senior citizens and probably 50/50 of men and women. (There were also some younger folks in the crowd too. I saw a guy who was probably in his 30’s, dancing and singing his heart out next to his pregnant wife.) When he sang “Suspicious Minds,” the crowd really started to dance in their seats and sing along. During intermission and after the show, I found out that quite a few of the older folks had seen Elvis in concert before (including my mother!) and thought that all four Elvises were spot on in their performance, but mostly, they loved Cherry’s performance as Las Vegas Concert Elvis through 1970’s Elvis.
Cherry didn’t fail to disappoint – especially the women on the first row! He had his Elvis Vegas gear on, including several scarves, and the women went nuts. Senior citizens started acting like teenage girls! It was like the most amazingly hilarious and weird twilight zone episode ever! (I about fell out of my chair!!) After he hugged and kissed the first lady and gave her one of his scarves, it was like sharks that just smelt blood – they all started reaching up to grab him. He even had to tell one eager women to close her mouth when he kissed her! He ended up giving his last scarf, which he dabbed on his sweaty brow, to a little girl who was being held up by her daddy because she was “too cute!” And every single time Cherry turned around in his tight white pants – and he do so often! – the women screamed and howled like hound dogs on the trail of a fox. Everyone knew the show was coming to a close as Cherry sang, “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” which is the last song Elvis always sang at all of his performances.
Lord Almighty! I definitely felt my temperature rising higher as four hot Elvises nailed their performances on stage – and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only audience member to feel that way! If you get a chance, definitely go see ELVIS LIVES live so that you can celebrate rock ‘n’ roll history and see why the real Elvis was indeed deserving of the title, “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
ELVIS LIVES 2012 Tour Dates:
01/19 – Lafayette, LA — Heyman Performing Arts
01/20 – Dallas, TX — Majestic Theatre
01/21 – Texarkana, TX — Ross Perot Theatre
01/23 – West Palm Beach, FL — Kravis Center
01/25 – Ft. Pierce, FL — Sunrise Theatre
01/26 – Lakeland, FL — Lakeland Center
01/28 – Jacksonville, FL — Times Union Center for the Performing Arts
01/29 – Pensacola, FL — Saenger Theatre
01/30 – Little Rock, AR — Robinson Music Hall
01/31 – Broken Arrow, OK — Broken Arrow P.A.C.
02/01 – Columbia, MO — Jesse Hall
02/02 – Lawrence, KS — Lied Center of Kansas
02/04 – Rosemont, IL — Rosemont Theatre
02/06 – Sioux City, IA — Orpheum Theatre
02/07 – Cedar Falls, IA — Gallagher-Bluedorn P.A.C.
02/08 – St. Louis, MO — Peabody Opera House
02/09 – Lexington, KY — Lexington Opera House
02/10 – Clinton Township, MI — Macomb Center for the Performing Arts
02/11 – Lima, OH — Civic Center
02/12 – Champaign, IL — Assembly Hall
02/15 – Great Falls, MT — Mansfield Theatre
02/16 – Idaho Falls, ID — Colonial Theater
02/17 – Billings, MT — Alberta Bair Theatre
02/18 – Bozeman, MT — Brick Breeden Fieldhouse
02/19 – Casper, WY — Casper Events Center