Elvis is still alive and shakin’ in our generation

This week's Hammertime looks at the Elvis and how his spirit lives on in people's hearts.

My wife and I don’t go out to concerts that much anymore, but when we do, it is usually to re-live the ‘The Legends’ from back in our favourite rock and roll era of the 50s, 60s and 70s, where, for a couple of magic hours, we can transform ourselves back into the wonderful moods and moves of music and memories. This past weekend, four members of our family had the pleasure of attending the ‘Return to Grace” concert at a jam-packed Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton.

The majority of the happy-go-lucky audience were mostly 50 plus and beyond, and we were treated to a dazzling and colorful performance of music, song, comedy and glitz that followed every exciting and rollicking chapter of the amazing but sadly not nearly long enough career of ‘The King’, Elvis Presley. Led by perennial Elvis impersonator Steve Michaels from Ontario,who claims that he started imitating Elvis in Grade 4. The exceptional and energetic cast of the show features 30 multi-talented dancers, singers, and musicians within a spectacular setting of pyrotechnics and sparkling costumes. This lavish Elvis tribute show (www.returntograce.ca) has been touring across the nation in front of audiences since opening with 24 sold-out shows in Niagara Falls in 2010, and presents close to 50 Elvis songs that highlight the King’s overwhelming musical talents,personality, passion, good looks and popularity over a span of 23 years. It didn’t take very long for most of us to start clapping, singing, swaying and occasionally whooping it up for those forever famous Presley favourites from the movies to the army to Hawaii to Vegas and through the roar of rock and roll to his great love of Gospel music and on and on until 1977.Thank goodness he has forever had a place in our hearts through the sales of over 1 billion records, tribute shows, and the wonderful memories at Graceland, where he rests.

Throughout the show Michaels’ non-stop songs, gyrations and quick changes into the colorful and very tight costumes of leather and lace drew ongoing cheers and quite a few screams as he sang, shook, and roamed across the big stage. During the performance when one lady called out from the audience to ‘take-it-off’, he quickly came back with, ‘Sorry ma’am, I had enough trouble getting it all on.’ During the always romantic renditions of ‘Love me Tender’, our Elvis paused to share his colorful and famous scarves and a kiss to several thrilled members of the audience, who really didn’t want to let go. For the curtain call he of course presented that great song ‘I did it my way.’ that so passionately tells the amazing story of the life ofElvis Presley from birth on January 8, 1935 in a humble two-room shack in Tupelo, Mississippi, to a handsome young man who had a normal childhood before bursting into a sensational musical career in 1953 at the age of 18, served in the military from 1958-60, starred in over 30 movies from 1960-1967, made a comeback from 1968-73, and tragically passed away onAugust 16, 1977 in Memphis, Tennessee at the age of just 42.

In the meantime, I will be wandering around singing Elvis songs for the next month or so, while for those of us who were inaction during the age of bobby-sox, fender skirts, sock hops, the twist, Teen Town, blind-dates, drive-ins, and white bucks we will never forget ‘The King.’

Have a great week, all of you.