So, I’m wearing the "Elvis - The Concert" T-shirt I got last night at the show, and someone comes up to me and says "is that the impersonator that's in that show"? It then struck me, not to many people know what this show is about and the historical significance of it. I politely and enthusiastically replied, "NO, it's really Elvis in the show, on a screen, and all his original band members and orchestra are playing live! It's the closest thing to ever seeing Elvis in concert"!
Well, that's the sad part. It's the twenty fifth anniversary of Elvis' passing and on august 24th, 2002 at the Aladdin hotel in Las Vegas, the king made yet another historic sold out performance. I saw "Elvis - The Concert" 4 years ago at the Hilton Hotel (the king's original stomping ground) during the twentieth anniversary tour, and that was just as exciting. Then, the Hilton dealers and workers were all wearing buttons that said "He's Back", what an eerie feeling that was. I thought for a moment that I was back in time, really waiting in the same lines that Elvis' fans did at the Hilton all those many years ago.
Back to august 24th, 2002. "Programs, get your Elvis programs here"! yell the vendors as we entered the auditorium. Poster adorned the hotel stating "Elvis - The Concert" and "One Night Only". The tension was mounting. About a month ago, ordered three tickets for this show, for me, my wife and 4 year old daughter Nicole. She has become a fan ever since seeing Disney's Lilo and Stich, and if you ask her what her favorite Elvis song is, she will quickly reply.."hunka, hunka burnin' love". So, I thought it would be really neat to have her see what might be the last time we could ever get this close to "Elvis in Concert".
We get to our seats, not bad for $35 a pop, and wait. I have to walk around a little, so i go back to buy a T-shirt, and a deck of Elvis' playing cards for my daughter. Back in my seat, the auditorium is filling up quickly and the row behind us as well. "Hey, I talked with Jack (Soden) last night and thanked him for bringing the show back to Las Vegas, and he is here tonight" i hear someone say! This is bigger than I thought; in fact a few "big wigs" from E.P.E were at the show.
"Daddy, when is he going to come out"? ask my daughter. "soon"! is my reply. The anticipation is too much to bear, so i had to walk around again and get some snacks. After an hour and a half waiting, the lights dim slowly, the sound of the first notes from "2001 - A Space Odyssey" start to play ... LOUD! A chill goes up my spine as the thought of actually seeing Elvis hits me for a split second. The song continues and the smile on my daughter's face is as big as mine, but with a sense of slight bewilderment. As "2001" turns into the smashing drums to the opening riff of "See, See Rider" the crowd goes wild, for after 25 years, Elvis Presley once again takes the stage in front of adoring fans. As the first line of the song plays."oh, See...See See Rider", my eyes glaze up and i almost start to cry. Maybe it was the excitement of the show, maybe it was the sadness of "Him" not really being here, maybe both. In either case, sitting here, in 2002, watching my idol on stage, and watching my wife and daughter do the same, I can't help but think to myself ... "life is good"!