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Concert Reunites Elvis Fans Once More - Return To Splendor

By Christopher Blank, August 18, 2002 | Other
In The Commercial Appeal we found a review of the 25th Anniversary edition of 'Elvis The Concert' in The Pyramid in Memphis. Who'd better than a reporter from The Commercial Appeal from Memphis to review this concert.

Concert Reunites Elvis Fans Once More - Return to Splendor

After a week of speaking the name, studying the photos and listening to old recordings, even fans can start to feel as though Elvis Presley never endured the thousand natural shocks flesh is heir to. The legacy occasionally feels as complex as a quartet of syllables, a perfect face and a warbling voice.

But Friday night's "Elvis - The Concert'' at the Pyramid spectacularly united the three into the closest audiences will ever get to experiencing the real Elvis since his death in 1977. Though the show has been around for several years, the 25th anniversary of the performer's death warranted something special, something different.

And that's just what was delivered to the sold-out audience of Elvis fans gathered in Memphis from around the world. To the delight of all, Lisa Marie Presley even sang. Not live, however.

After intermission, the newlywed (to Nicolas Cage) came onstage and tentatively introduced a tune from her new album (to be released soon).

"You made me/I love you" out came her slightly country-esque voice.

The tune, written for her father, brought the crowd to its feet. Lisa Marie didn't have to say much. Instead the president of Elvis Presley Enterprises left the talking to her mother, Priscilla, who introduced the emotionally charged show by saying "you have given so much back to him.''

The production famously grafts Elvis's original vocals and live concert footage projected on a screen, with a hard-rocking band playing live beneath.

The first part of this special concert focused on young Elvis, creating a montage from the Ed Sullivan Show and various movies. More documentary than dramatic, the first half didn't work the same kind of magic as the second, which uses footage primarily from Elvis's concerts in the 1970s.

It is in the latter shows - when the performer locks eyes on his audience, karate-chops in a jumpsuit and curls his lip while singing "hunka hunka burnin' love'' - that the legacy of Elvis truly connects.

If ever he were to have pulled a Lazarus, however, there was no better time than the revival of the show's first half, when an extended set of gospel tunes provided the evening's most stunning moment. This is what has been missing - a reminder that Elvis's three Grammies (plus one for life achievement) were for gospel tunes.

His backing vocal groups reunited for this event. First, the Jordanaires brought Peace in the Valley. Then the Imperials helped Elvis with He Touched Me, J.D. Sumner and the Stamps rounded the bases with Why Me Lord. Finally, the Sweet Inspirations joined in for the grand finale of the first half, How Great Thou Art.

The concert continued well past 11:30 p.m., concluding Elvis Week by showing that the singer still has the stuff, even if he's no longer with us.

The video for A Little Less Conversation came after Priscilla's announcement that Elvis Presley Enterprises is just getting started with new ways to introduce Elvis to future generations. From remastered and remixed recordings to possible Broadway musicals, there's no end to Elvis's legacy.