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'Suspiciously Elvis' rips it up at The Tabernacle

By James Simmins
'Suspiciously Elvis Photographs taken by  Karolina Webb who specialises in portraiture and social photography, see further examples of her work at www.karolinawebb.com
 
The Tabernacle seemed totally transformed last Friday night for the 'Suspiciously Elvis' tribute. With the stage bedecked in colourful balloons and 'Suspiciously Elvis' banners, there was a palpable sense of excitement buzzing around the audience.
 
As the 7-piece band (Bass, Drums, Keys, 2 Guitars and 2 Backing Vocalists) came on stage and struck up a version of "Ce Ce Rider", the audience was mostly seated but, charmed by Ivor Potter's charismatic performance as Elvis, which included plenty of joky lyrical twists, audience walkabouts that seemed to reduce some people almost to hysterics, as well as great performances of so many classic Elvis numbers, it was not long before the front of the auditorium was packed with dancing bodies. Dressed in a white flared jumpsuit studded with large red rhinestones, a gold lion motif belt with gold chains, white boots and classic 'Elvis' shades, Ivor stood in the classic split-legged Elvis stance whilst performing an impressive repertoire of kung fu kicks, spins and gyrations.The band were dressed in matching black & red cowhand shirts. Two very tall leggy dancing girls, dressed in red basques, with huge red feather headdresses gave a highly energetic performance that really helped to get the performance off to a flying start.
 
'Suspiciously Elvis Photographs taken by  Karolina Webb who specialises in portraiture and social photography, see further examples of her work at www.karolinawebb.com

By the time 'Elvis' broke into an emotive version of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling", he had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand - a bit later when he performed "One Night With You", a lot of (mainly girls) were up on the floor dancing, with screams of 'Elvis' resounding from the audience. A version of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" towards the end of the first half had the whole audience up on their feet singing the chorus and waving their arms in the air in an unbelievable spectacle that was reminiscent of a human field of corn swaying in the breeze.

'Suspiciously Elvis Photographs taken by  Karolina Webb who specialises in portraiture and social photography, see further examples of her work at www.karolinawebb.com
After the intermission, the second half of the show was more upbeat, starting with a jiving version of "Blue Suede Shoes", which was accompanied by some great honky tonk piano. Always the comic, 'Elvis' often substituted more risque lyrics into many of the songs, raising many a laugh along the way. Now dressed in white flares embossed with gold buttons, wearing another gold belt and a flowery black & white jacket, Ivor launched into an upbeat version of "Jailhouse Rock" that included a stunning guitar solo, accompanied by the band who were now dressed in black shirts embroidered with white flowers. From the beginning of the second half the front of the auditorium was packed with people dancing, with many people jiving on the balcony as well..

Next was "All Shook Up" and as the feather girls returned, this time clad in white, 'Elvis' was on a walkabout again, standing on tables in the auditorium whilst belting out a really authentic style vocal. At this point Ivor asked the gaggle of girls gathered around him at the front of the stage for any requests which were overwhelmingly asking for 'Suspicious Minds'. After reading out a list of dedications (birthday's etc.), Ivor belted out an immaculate version to the adoring throng, which included more than 100 people up on their feet dancing. After that followed a string of upbeat classics - "Johnny B Goode", "Burnin' Love", "Return To Sender" (with 'Elvis' cueing the lyrics up for the audience to sing) and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On", before dropping into an emotive version of "(I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You", which finished the show - by this stage hysterical fans were literally throwing themselves at Ivor's feet and trying to grab him and it was inevitable that there would have to be an encore.

Geed on by the now fairly hysterical crowd, 'Elvis ' returned to the stage and whipped straight into an impressive version of "Viva Las Vegas" - by now it seemed that everyone was up on their feet, dancing and singing along. Just to ratchet the energy up a little more, the band then sprung straight into an upbeat rendition of "A Little Less Conversation", which was very well recieved. As a final epitaph to the evening, Ivan then wrapped up the show with a powerful "My Way", walking again into the auditorium for one final time before standing on a table with his arms outstretched to the packed balcony. Mobbed by his now adoring fans, there was almost no need for him to sing, as the crowd collectively crooned the lyrics to end the show.
 
'Suspiciously Elvis Photographs taken by  Karolina Webb who specialises in portraiture and social photography, see further examples of her work at www.karolinawebb.com 
After the show, Ivor, still dressed in the full regalia, spent a good half an hour in the lobby posing for photographs with fans, chatting and signing autographs. Having spent time during the day, as well as on a couple of previous occasions, with Tristan and others promoting the show, he seems to really genuinely enjoy living the 'Elvis' experience. With a great band, a very authentic voice, plenty of Elvis moves and a convincing image and stage presence, Ivor seemingly has the whole show down to a tee. I don't think I seen such an enthusiastic response to any act at The Tabernacle before and it is surely only a matter of time before we see the return of the King...
 
'Suspiciously Elvis Photographs courtesy of  Karolina Webb who specialises in portraiture and social photography, see further examples of her work at www.karolinawebb.com 
 
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