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 Elvis Lives on in the Elvis Tribute Show 
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Post Elvis Lives on in the Elvis Tribute Show
Elvis Lives on in the Elvis Tribute Show
by: Johnny Thompson

‘You either have rhythm or you don’t. And when you have it, you’ve got it all over.’ These words have been uttered by none other than the king of rock ‘n’ roll Elvis Presley. And although the king himself is no more, these words hold true today more than ever. They put into perspective the efforts of thousands of Elvis tribute artists who are engaged in keeping his legacy alive in the form of the Elvis tribute shows.

Anyone who has ever attended an Elvis tribute show in Las Vegas will testify to the excitement and exhilaration that pervades the performance venue. These shows are a sincere attempt to capture the true essence of the king, and best represent the Elvis legacy. In keeping with Elvis’s own energized and charismatic performances, an Elvis tribute show is guaranteed to be high energy and very physical.

A lot goes into pulling off the perfect act which wows the audience and brings it to its feet screaming with adulation. Elvis was never just a voice. It was the whole package of music, look, performance and charisma that had millions of people under his spell for twenty long years. Recapturing all this and more, in front of a critical audience, requires a special effort.

Getting the look right is not so difficult. A lot of manufacturing companies duplicate the authentic rhine stone studded jumpsuits using the original, exclusive designs of Bell Belew and Gene Doucette. A good Elvis wig takes care of the trademark side burns and the quaff. Assorted jewelry on the fingers and around the neck, and the artist is all set to take the stage.

The real test of the tribute artist begins when he takes the stage. The artist has to get all the thousands of nuances that make up Elvis, just right. The artists put their all into each hip shake, rattle and roll. The deep soulful eyes, trademark snarl, pout and unique body stance have to be perfected down to the T. Lip synching doesn’t have much of an impact. So the artist has to work on his voice, tone and inflection to sound just like Elvis. A good, live band also goes a long way in building the right tempo.

The show itself is very high octane. The audience is awestruck by the uncanny resemblance that the tribute artist bears to the King. And then the artist starts his note- perfect rendition of Elvis’s million selling hits like Jailhouse rock, Heartbreak Hotel, Blue Suede Shoes, and the audience goes crazy dancing to the foot tapping music. All tribute artists prefer to have the concluding act as the legendary Vegas spectaculars and the tempo reaches an ear-shattering crescendo. Reactions are extreme and have to be seen to be believed. Some members of the audience appear thunderstruck, while some are even drawn to tears.

It’s amazing that the King’s legacy lives on even thirty years after his death. The popularity of the King, that has sustained this line of work, is beyond comprehension. Each tribute artist puts his all into every performance. Some people may say that a tribute artist has no identity of his own and is known only by his Elvis impersonation. But what keeps him coming back to it year after year, show after show, is seeing the reaction on people’s faces. He does it because he loves the devotion and adulation he sees on people’s faces. He does it because of his love for Elvis and his music.

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Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:05 pm
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