I was recently fortunate enough to win an Anchor contest which netted me two tickets to The Ultimate Tribute to the King. It was an evening of traveling back and then forward in time, to find that the “King” is alive and well, at least in Calgary and area. (And, they never did say that Elvis had left the building!) The Jack Singer Concert Hall was packed and the enthusiasm was palpable, even before the show started! My music loving cousin and I were amazed at our excellent seats, right in the middle and just enough rows back from the stage to prevent the worry of being drenched by sweat or somehow becoming part of the show (we’re both pretty shy).
This traveling show features three Elvis impersonators, from three different Elvis periods. First up was Cody Slaughter, who opened with a lively rendition of Shake, Rattle and Roll – Cody not only looks and sounds like Elvis, but he definitely has the moves, too! I can remember listening to my parents and grandparents discuss things like Medicare, forced air furnaces and Elvis the Pelvis during Sunday dinners. I did not understand any of it at the time, and right up until last Monday night, didn’t fully understand the Elvis references! This segment was high energy fifties frenzy, everybody knew all the words to all the songs, and the crowd went crazy! Accompanied by the Memphis Beats Band, Uptown Hornz and the TCB Singers, Cody led us through the early Elvis years and it was nothing if not fun! He established a rapport with the audience that carried through the entire evening. I could list song after famous Elvis song, tell you about his blue suede shoes, or his hair! Oh, and the thing he did with his lip, must not leave that out. It kind of made me wish I had been born a little bit earlier and maybe a lot further south – what a thrill it would have been to be at an early Elvis show. For me, Cody Slaughter nailed it, when I think of Elvis this is the Elvis I remember best.
Next came Ted Torres, or as I call him: “Leather Elvis”. He crooned! Again, this performer naturally involved the audience, and he also had the voice and the moves! Now my memory is trying to trick me, but I’m pretty sure this was the segment when the teddy bear was tossed into the audience and things got a little frantic just behind us, but good manners prevailed! Leather Elvis is the definitive Elvis.
Last up was Shawn Klush, in the white jumpsuit: It seemed that the whole evening had been building up to this moment – the room went dark, the Space Odyssey theme was very loud, and the tension mounted! He did not disappoint, he joked, he sang, he played, he was Elvis! He wore a blue scarf around his neck but it soon flew into the audience, followed by countless others, and the fans stormed the stage in an effort to receive their little bit of Elvis memorabilia. My good natured cousin chuckled throughout this part of the performance but I know she was wishing she wasn’t so shy! But we were in the middle of the row, if you remember. Way too hard for a shy person. Some time back, Shawn entered and won an Elvis impersonator contest which was held at Graceland and he has been wowing audiences ever since. He has a real presence on stage and you can tell that he is enjoying himself as much as the audience is enjoying him. I would have to say that this was my favorite Elvis.
During each segment of the show, Elvis stopped the music and asked that the house lights be turned up so that he could see the audience, and every Elvis remarked on how large and enthusiastic an audience it was. Not to be left out, the Memphis Beats Band and the Uptown Hornz were an integral part of the show, the fellow on keyboards actually lived in Calgary as a child, but I must give an honorable mention to the “upside down behind the back” playing lead guitar player and emcee, he is a very well rounded musician! Two girls danced and sang backup throughout the show, and we were treated to a solo by one of them that gave everybody chills! A very talented and tight group, complete with a sixties drum set.
After countless standing ovations Elvis, Elvis, and Elvis signed autographs and posed for pictures in the lobby, while members of the band wandered through the crowd and chatted with the fans. Of course by then “White Jumpsuit Elvis” was wearing his signature sunglasses, probably so his jewelry wouldn’t blind him!
What fun! Thank you to the Anchor, from someone who never wins anything! It was worth the wait.