Sunday, March 25, 2012

"I've Seen It About Five Times"

Standing ovations at the end of "An American Trilogy" at the Forum Arena in Copenhagen.

I had a great time in Copenhagen yesterday, watching Elvis Presley In Concert together with my brother and some 4,500 additional fans at the Forum arena. Unlike two years ago, when me and my wife arrived a quarter of an hour late to the Wembley Arena in London to see Elvis perform "live on screen," this time around I catched the show from the start.

With the help of Google Earth, the map on the screen zoomed into Copenhagen and the Forum arena. This was followed by footage of Elvis (not the real thing but looking the part) walking along the corridors, handing his glasses to Joe Esposito, and then walking onto the stage, kicking into high gear with "See See Rider" from the Aloha concert. Very effective.

Having attended the show in London (well, most of it, anyway), yesterday's concert didn't bring many surprises song wise. In fact, the song lineup between the last tour and this one were almost identical as far as I could make out, with the majority of the footage taken from Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite and That's The Way It Is.

One nice addition I spotted was the inclusion of "Funny How Time Slips Away" from Elvis On Tour, complete with Elvis' dialog "I'd like to turn the houselights up and take a look at you." The lights in the Forum arena were then turned on, and the audience shown on the two smaller screens while Elvis smiled on the big screen in the middle. Then it almost felt like the real thing.

"Love Me Tender" also offered a strong illusion of a real Elvis concert. First, the audience started to applaud wildly when Elvis started to sing, after which he responded "Thank you." And after finishing the song (and kissing a lot of girls), he said something like, "I'll get to you in the balcony in a minute," at the same time looking in their direction. I couldn't help myself, but glanced at the audience seated higher up in the Forum arena, at the first floor. Another illusionary moment.

I also liked the fact that the producer Stig Edgren had incorporated some funny moments with Elvis on stage, like when he plays a toy guitar before singing "Love Me Tender." But sometimes I wondered if the audience laughed because they recognized those scenes, or if they thought it hilarious. Maybe it was a little of both.

Elvis Presley In Concert is an impressive production, especially considering the musicians and singers on stage are now in their early seventies. And the audience clearly had a good time, proof being the many standing ovations, on songs such as "How Great Thou Art," "Suspicious Minds" and "An American Trilogy."

Counting yesterday's show, I have now seen Elvis Presley in Concert (or Elvis–In Concert as it was known at the beginning) five times. Nothing can beat the first in 1999, but I've enjoyed them all (my only bit of criticism being that the song lineup differs so little from tour to tour).

Two years ago in London, I thought I'd seen the show for the last time as I walked out of the arena. Yesterday I was thinking the same thing. After all, the production has been around since 1997, and the musicians aren't getting any younger.

But who knows, I might be proven wrong again. In fact, I wouldn't mind that a bit. How about an Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite 40 year anniversary concert next year?

Additional reading:


MĂ„rtenbrother said...

Yes, I also had a great time! The material from On Tour was great, in that it's the footage where the stage and auditorium remind the most of how it looked at the not so cozy Forum arena. Too bad the sound from those scenes are not suited this kind of concert. Yes, the people on stage are older and may not be playing and singing as well as in 1973, but it was sure nice seeing them all, including Norbert Putman on bass guitar. It didn't seem appropriate to shout "Wake up, Put!" at all!

Thomas said...

I agree, I would like to see more footage from On Tour, but as you point out, the sound is way too bad, with a lot of hising background noise. I think when we saw the show in 1999 and 2000 there was a lot more of the 1972 material present, but I can understand why it has been removed. And Norbert Putnam on bass was a great addition, it was a good thing we didn't bring along that big banner reading "Wake up, Putt!" that we talked about.

MĂ„rtenbrother said...

But it would have been fun! ;-)