Last Sunday, the Winspear welcomed Elvis, Elvis, Elvis-The Ultimate Tribute to the King to Edmonton, a show first produced by Les Vogt in 1979. In the show, three Elvis impersonators get on stage to charm the crowd with Elvis Presley’s all-time favourites, allowing us to experience a little bit of who he was, both as a person and as a performer. It is now 2012, and Elvis Elvis Elvis continues to bring crowds together to celebrate the legacy of Mr. Presley. And in Edmonton, it was Cody Slaughter, Danny Vernon, and Shawn Klush giving life to the King.
I never really thought that impersonators could be so convincing. I, of course, have only seen Elvis Presley in movies and videos, but his energy and his dance moves are legendary. And they were very much present in this show. All three performers were convincing as Elvis, from the flashy, decade-appropriate costumes, to the deep voice and sexy attitude. Yet they each had their own unique Elvis spirit.
My favourite? 1950s Elvis Cory Slaughter. He, as the young Elvis, had an energy hard to describe. He moved from one end of the stage to the other at least five times during each song. And yes, he did Elvis’ most characteristic dance moves, making the audience cheer in awe.
It went something like this…
But perhaps what made him stand out was his unlucky relationship with the 1950s classic microphone that, due to his very active performance, failed him a couple of times. On one occasion, the connecting cord fell off the microphone, and Slaughter turned around to the band and laughed with a combination of embarrassment and mischief— whoops! Then, after using the microphone to lean backwards during a song and do an awesome dance move, the microphone bent. Yet the crowd enjoyed his reaction to the incident,
“Do we have another microphone? Something happened to this one.”
The production team may have not enjoyed this act as much as the audience did.
It was then the turn of 1960s impersonator Danny Vernon—bad boy Elvis. His black leather suit may have driven more than one lady in the audience crazy.
I was more busy noticing that the second impersonator began his act with a medley of Elvis’ most famous songs—songs, however, that had been performed by Slaughter. I would have liked to hear them do different songs, since Elvis has quite the repertoire, and during a tribute it’s a shame that so many songs have to be left out. Sadly, in this show, it was no other than “You Were Always On My Mind” that failed to make an appearance.
But that’s alright I guess, since they performed Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” best known nowadays from Edmontonian Micheal J. Fox’s performance in the movie Back to the Future (1985).
Shawn Klush was The King during his concert years, and he was more about the show than the music. I was quite entertained by his speeches and interactions with the ladies that had gathered at the front of the stage to get closer to him, talking about his personal career and giving some insight into Elvis’ songs. He was quite the lady-killer, and it may have been due to his costume: Elvis’ most famous white jumpsuit that we always get to see in any movie that features Las Vegas.
On top of it all, the performers stayed after the show for a meet-and-greet in which they signed and sold their CDs and pictures.
After having the chance to see this show, I can honestly say I can see these videos and think: that is exactly how I saw it at the Winspear!
-Ana M. Osorio