It's testament to the greatness of Elvis Presley that a dead guy put on probably the best concert I've seen so far this year.
The visage of Elvis Presley via video screens, backed by his original TCB backing band, rocked Radio City Music Hall Tuesday night in an unexpectedly dynamic and exciting show.
As you might imagine I'm a huge Elvis Presley fan. And I have to admit, since "Elvis Presley In Concert" began touring around in the late 1990's, I've been dying to see this show. If just to see guitar legend James Burton and drummer extraordinaire Ronnie Tutt tread the boards playing The King's music live and in person, this was a show I've always wanted to catch. But there's always been one thing or another that has kept me from seeing it.
So since the show was announced in mid-December I'd been looking forward to finally seeing "Elvis Presley In Concert." And after I interviewed promoter Stig Edgren last week I dusted off some Vegas-era Elvis and the soundtrack to this show to get in the mood.
But as the show drew near I started to get cold feet. Maybe it was the idea of seeing someone long-dead perform to 5,000 people, or maybe it was because I adore Elvis so and I didn't want the image I have of him to be sullied by something not befitting a "king" that as curtain time closed in I wasn't so sure this was the show for me.
Looking around Radio City Music Hall didn't seem to help. The crowd was old; not at all your usual concert crowd. But then I noticed something else. Everyone was happy. It was like a reunion of sorts. Precisely because this was a different kind of crowd it was maybe a little more special. After all, Elvis fans don't get to see Elvis on stage very much.
So let's just say that as the lights went down I was dubious but hopeful.
And then the band kicked in to the familiar strains of "See See Rider" and the excitement kicked in and Elvis, well, walked out. In pristine footage from "Aloha From Hawaii" Elvis prowled the stage and surveyed the crowd. And then he started to sing.
For a moment Elvis was there. He sounded great. And he looked, as I kept saying to myself, magnificent.
There really was only one Elvis. Sinatra, Michael Jackson... Elvis in his peak performing years -- that voice and presence -- was untouchable.
I could certainly quibble. The good folks at Elvis Presley Enterprises could reinvest in this show and upgrade some of the film and audio, because the technology that has come along since this show was first developed could make this good show great. Elvis's "comedy" bits just don't work (especially since there're audio problems that make it hard to tell what he's even trying to say). TCB drummer Ronnie Tutt seemed to really struggle (maybe it was playing to a click track rather than The King himself) and he and guest bassist Nathan East -- dare I say it -- never really locked in. And the show is long, even if it does move along at a decent clip.
So since the 35th anniversary of The King's death is coming and the Elvis Estate does love to mark those anniversary's, and since most fans will have by now caught the show at least once, how about revisiting this show and updating and upgrading it for the new millenium? Make an investment; push the technology.
But really, "Elvis Presley In Concert" exceeded my expectations. Like I said, a guy who's been dead more than 30 years rocked the house Tuesday. Not bad.
Source; examiner.com - Youtube / EpGold