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|ELVIS & HIS ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ROCK THE O2
November 25 2016 - Elvis Express Radio / Lee Dawson
When it was first mentioned on our show a few years back if the virtual Elvis In Concert would continue after the original TCB Band have retired, there was divided opinions and at
that time, I was firmly of the opinion that for me, Elvis must move onwards and not come to a halt just because original musicians are getting too old to carry on and have a well
deserved rest and after what I witnessed Wednesday evening (23rd) at the O2 Arena in London has made me realise how pleased I am that Elvis has been allowed to move on.
ELVIS and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra took the stage at the O2 Arena in front of an estimated 18-19,000 fans
There can’t be many artists who would sell out an arena 40 years after their death but then there aren’t, nor have there ever, been many artists like Elvis Presley.
The premise of the show is simple. Take footage of vintage Elvis concert performances, show it on a big screen and get the orchestra to accompany the great man.
In reality it’s a far more complex – and at times – thrilling experience.
It’s all too easy to be sceptical about Elvis, his legacy tarnished slightly by the thousands of karaoke singers and his love of rhinestones and a jumpsuit.
But what this show does is reaffirm his peerlessness as an artist and singer.
Bear in mind that playing live was a full orchestra and at times even they struggled to keep up with the power and the majesty of the King in full cry.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has made two albums accompanying Elvis and many of the songs featured in the two hour show.
Priscilla Presley, resplendent in velvet gown, was on hand to introduce proceedings – she has played a major part in the project getting off the ground.
The setlist wasn’t just a greatest hits either. Highlights include a lesser known song, Don’t, from early in Elvis’ career but it was the blockbusters like In the Ghetto, Suspicious Minds
and the emotional American Trilogy which got the best response.
There was a slightly surreal moment – as if watching a dead rock and roll legend perform ‘live’ in front of your eyes isn’t surreal enough – when Priscilla walked along the front row
asking stunned audience members their name and where they came from. Faced with a 10-year-old Elvis impersonator in full garb made by his gran, even she was taken aback.
But it was the music that everyone had come for and it didn’t disappoint.
The RPO were magnificent adding power and, when needed, lightness to the songs. The backing singers did a sterling job and for a rock and roll section it was great to see the
musicians singing along and at one point leaping out of their seats and jiving along to the music.
The packed crowd was a mixture of the worshippers, the curious and possibly the sceptics.
By the end, the show left no-one in any doubt. Elvis is and always will be the king of rock and roll – and so much more besides.