The Belgian Elvis Matters fan club did it again with their Elvis Classics II show.
Last night a small stage packed with a seventy piece orchestra from Belgium, a five peace rhythm section, a backing group, Tony Smith and Jenson Bloomer from the UK and Elvis’ former conductor Joe Guercio from the US brought a series of “Elvis Classics” back to life. And in a way we don’t hear them that often.
The eighty men and women on stage knew what they were doing, after all they performed this concert one year ago too, and it showed. Jenson Bloomer provided the vocals as we know he can, Tony Smith made us wonder “James who … ?” and Joe Guercio was having fun on stage directing the orchestra, we even saw him jump up and down on stage. We must also credit the normal conductor of the orchestra Alex Steurs for the arrangements and preparing the orchestra for Joe, he could simply pick up his conductorstick and finetune the arrangements "Elvis style". Besides the orchestra, Joe - and at moments Jenson - also directed the audience.
Elvis was a fan of the big show stopping numbers and these songs lend themselves to be performed by a classical orchestra. Especially big songs like “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “What Now My Love” sound so much better with a big orchestra backing the vocalist; the addition of an orchestra to his band when Elvis returned to live performing wasn’t done without reason.
The Concert Band Mol – Rauw is a Harmony band, this means that there are a lot of instruments like flutes, trumpets and saxophones on stage, and these have a very distinctive sound. We only saw one violin, next to two contrabasses, providing the strings. A lot of Elvis’ slower classics require a little less trumpet and some more strings for the full orchestral effect and more delicate sound these ballads require.
As for the up-tempo songs, the stage rocked, the eighty men and women on stage put up a wall of sound blowing the visitors solid into their chairs. But Jenson is showman enough to get the audience on their feet and dancing in front of the stage with hits like “Suspicious Minds”.
The fan club already announced a volume III to end this series of concerts … the bad news is that this series will end, the good news is that it will go out with a bang, so keep an eye on the this and the Elvis Matters site.