Saturday, November 17, 2012

Concert review - "The King: Eras of A Legend"

Recently, my husband and I were asked to review a new "Elvis Presley" show being put together by a friend of our's production company. 

The show, featuring renown "Elvis" tribute artist, Kraig Parker, is a multi-media presentation of the many different eras of the life of Elvis Presley, and is called "The King: Eras of A Legend." 

Here is our review:





Elvis Presley may have died in 1977, but his music lives on in countless tribute artists. One of the best of those, Kraig Parker, wowed Wichita Falls again Thursday night when he debuted his new "The King: Eras of a Legend" show at Memorial Auditorium.

Depicting the distinctive periods in Presley's long career, "The King: Eras of a Legend" opened with Arlington, Texas student Drake Milligan's dead-on take of what it must have been like when Elvis Presley first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry.

Milligan followed that up with what Presley was like on the Louisiana Hayride, and during his first chart success. It was impressive to note that Milligan went through three different costume changes within a blink of an eye during his portion of the show!  Pretty cool!

The large and respectful audience warmly awarded the talented 14-year-old with rousing applause. It looks like there is a new Elvis star in the making.

Parker took over from there.

Kraig Parker has performed as Elvis all over the country in various different styles of shows, and is well-known for his dead-on look of "The King" and his vocal stylings that sound so much like Presley! So going into the show, the North Texas audience members might have thought they knew what to expect from this new show, "The King: Eras of a Legend." But show creators have structured the performance in a way that delighted even somewhat jaded fans when he launched into music from Elvis' early TV experiences. Songs like "Shake, Rattle and Roll," "Train, Train," "Treat Me Like a Fool," and "Don't Be Cruel" delighted the crowd.

A quick onstage costume change later, and Parker was transformed into Presley during the King's movie years. He sang "Rock a Hula" and "Blue Hawaii" from Elvis' Hawaiian movies before changing into a racing jacket for "Little Less Conversation," "Love My Baby," "King Creole," "Return to Sender" and, after another onstage costume modification, "Jailhouse Rock."



The lights faded and then Parker was back in the black leather outfit from Presley's legendary 1968 comeback special. Parker re-created the famous TV show with songs like "Heartbreak Hotel," "All Shook Up," "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" and "Make My Dreams Come True."




During the intermission, Charles Stone came on stage to talk about his experiences as the real Elvis Presley's tour manager in the 1970s. His personal recollections and anecdotes about "The King" kept the crowd spellbound, and most audience members would have liked to have heard more.

Then the excitement level in the auditorium went through the roof to the opening strains of "Also Sprach Zarathustra," Presley's signature opening music during his Las Vegas years and beyond. With a full band blaring away, and drummer Rod Foster pounding out the familiar old grooves, Parker appeared in a startling white jumpsuit and launched into his trademark "CC Rider."




Music that defined so much of Presley's most successful years as a legend, including "Burning Love," "Sweet Caroline," "In the Ghetto," and "The Wonder of You," had many in the crowd coming to their feet with each new number.

And Parker's between-song patter kept the mood light and fun.

When he sang an extended version of "Love Me Tender" while women in the audience lined up for a kiss and a scarf, it brought back memories of what it must have actually been like in the Las Vegas Hilton showroom during his time there. It was so cute to see these ladies so excited about getting a kiss on the forehead and a silk scarf wrapped around their necks. There were girls of all ages in line to see Kraig, from a tiny little girl to more than one giddy "mature" lady!

By the time Parker changed into the kind of jumpsuit Presley wore during his last appearances, the crowd was no longer seeing Kraig Parker on stage; that was Elvis up there, and he was magnificent.

Parker's "The King: Eras of a Legend" was a spectacular experience that the audience won't soon forget.  If you are a fan of the late, great Elvis Presley, and if you get a chance to see Kraig Parker in concert, I highly recommend that you do so!  It's an event that you won't soon forget!

Be sure to check out Parker's website, www.thekinglives.com for more information on his upcoming shows, plus many pictures and videos from his performances!


(Photos courtesy of www.thekinglives.com)
 

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