I've got a question for you; which artist or performer have you always wanted to see live but couldn't?
For me, I have three; Michael Jackson, The Beatles and Elvis so imagine my excitement when I got the opportunity to watch one of the number 1 Elvis tribute artists live on stage at the Manchester Palace Theatre.
As I walked into the beautiful auditorium, I was surrounded by lots and lots of Elvis'. The Theatre was bustling with hound dogs and blue suede shoes and there was great atmosphere in the air and a buzz over Lee 'Memphis' King's performance as the great entertainer himself.
The show started with a video introduction on the backdrop, giving us a brief history of Elvis' life and some video clips of the original and then we were ready to meet 'our' Elvis. As Lee strolled out dressed in a black leather jacket with black trousers, he immediately got the audience's attention and when he started singing and belted out some of the early hits one after the other, he gained the audience's respect.
This is a tribute artist that is dedicated to the voice, the look and the overall 'Elvis' experience, and tonight while he was singing, I felt like I was there at that '68 Comeback show, I felt like I'd somehow been allowed to see The real Elvis live!
After the first few songs, I did notice Lee getting a bit nervous; with him explaining that he had nerves with it being a home show, but he had I reason to be nervous and I just let that go because his voice made up for it, especially in performances of 'My Way' and 'Suspicious Minds' which were just fantastic.
There was a number of costume changes throughout the set and the show worked in a sort of chronological order finishing off with the Las Vegas era and an outfit made by the same designer that designed Elvis' actual stage outfits.
I was very happy to see a full live band behind Lee which was not only capable but extremely talented and one of the highlights of the show was the inclusion of a fantastic String Section, this gave so many of the songs, new depth and character; improving on already good live songs and making them great ones!
There were a varied mix of Elvis songs performed tonight in Manchester from some of his most well known hits to songs which Elvis liked which were maybe not as well known, with a back catalogue as big as his, there was obviously going to have to be some left out, I would of liked to hear 'A little less conversation' and 'Viva Las Vegas' and feel that this show was geared more towards to die hard fans as opposed to me who just likes mostly the hits.
When the music wasn't playing and Lee wasn't singing like the King, it did get a little awkward at times, with the audience quite raucous and as such introductions to songs sometimes felt like an argument between members of the audience and the performers, and it came across a little under prepared, a bit thrown together and to be honest I was just waiting till the music could start again as that is when Lee 'Memphis' King is Elvis, not when he's telling a few flat jokes or impersonating audience members badly, the music is definitely where his talent lies.
As we came to the end of the show, the audience were singing along to every word, Lee as Elvis was doing his thing, firework pyrotechnics were going off, the band were on top form, it sounded fantastic, it looked fantastic and it felt amazing to watch.
This is as close as you will ever get to see Elvis live!
Take the opportunity to see a star in his own right, and one who performs Elvis like no other.
Reviewer: Max Eden
Reviewed: 8th September 2016
North West End Rating: ★★★★