This is Elvis

The New Alexandra Theatre


If seeing is believing, then Elvis truly is not dead and he’s living on in the shape of Steve Michaels. Internationally recognised and awarded, his passion for the King of Rock has led to his worldwide success.

There are Elvis tribute acts galore, but this is something else. Mr Michael’s more or less embodies the spirt of Elvis in a way that goes beyond mere imitation.

This new show directed by Bill Kenwright focuses on 1968, a period of time where Elvis’s career was said to be over. Having not performed in public for ten years, what was to be a Christmas TV special in fact opened the door to a complete comeback.

Following its success Elvis was desperate to reconnect with his fans and play live again. He envisioned a tour with his old band and a tour bus like the good old days. However his controlling manager The Colonel had other ideas and booked him to play Las Vegas. Although initially reluctant, this move was lucrative for both of them and resurrected the Elvis we all know today complete with the white suits and rhinestones.

What’s great about this show it that’s it’s pared down. No fancy newsreel video or convoluted props or staging to help someone become an image of the man or capture the era.

Placed on a stage setting similar to the 1968 TV special it’s just about the music, the skill of Steve Michaels and a blisteringly tight band under the leadership of Steve Geere, left to conjure this genuine portrayal of the man.

If this performance was just about the vocals then you would be well satisfied. There’s an attention to detail with both the lead and backing vocals that surpasses anything you might have heard before.

In fact, one of the most engaging songs in the first half was a version of Treat Me Cruel. Primarily done in its original Do Wop style with just a couple of guitars and male vocals harmonies, it’s perfectly performed and is one of the twenty songs in the first half alone.

The second half is simply a straight head on performance as if we were present at an Elvis Las Vegas show. There’s no additional drama added between the numbers, it’s just the band and Elvis doing what he does best. Never once do you feel that Michaels is impersonating as his interaction with the band and their connection to each other is infectious and real.

Although this is clearly a tightly rehearsed and perfected show, it looks like Elvis is in total control, complete with his signature power punches in songs like Burning Love, all choreographed with energetic precision.

Even ad libs from the audience were dealt with in humorous character as if this concert were real. One lucky lady in the front received a scarf and kiss from Elvis and she was clearly affected by the gesture, so for more than a moment you completely forget that this not the real thing.

Heading towards the close we get to hear a great rendition of American Trilogy and then after a couple of timely encores they played Jailhouse Rock with such drive and enthusiasm that it was useless to try to remain in your seat.

You really don’t have to be a diehard fan to enjoy this show; it’s the closest thing to ever seeing Elvis the man for real. both visually and audibly. It features 40 songs and is nothing but an evening of solid, pure entertainment during which, Elvis has clearly not left the building. To 24-03-18

Jeff Grant


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