Last week I was invited by Carlin Music to see Elvis singing with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the O2. I really appreciated the invitation and it was great to spend time with colleagues, but schlepping over to Greenwich on a cold Wednesday night was not my first choice of how to spend an evening. Who goes to events like this? Who goes to see an artist who died 40 years ago and had never appeared on a London stage? How were they going to pull this off?
Filling the 20,000 seat O2 is a tough ask at any time, but for a dead artist? These were ambitious promoters.
How wrong could I be? When I got to the stadium, there were literally seas of people trying to get through security before 7.30. So many that I wondered just how they were going to get all these people seated.
I was too young to appreciate Elvis in his first blaze of fame and by the time he was making his comeback I had discovered Motown and Philly Soul. Elvis seemed to me an old-fashioned rocker whose onstage gyrating was frankly embarrassing.
I have been to many concerts and had the privilege of being there when an artist ‘breaks’: Bruce Springsteen, Manhattan Transfer, Earth Wind and Fire, and Genesis among them. The atmosphere is magic when the audience totally appreciates that in that moment they are seeing and experiencing genius. Last Wednesday was one of those inspiring moments.
Elvis is the King. He is (was) stunningly beautiful – the young woman sitting next to me was literally falling in love as the concert went on. He sings like an angel, moves like a devil and has a sense of mischief in his eyes. Listen to me – I am talking like he is still alive! Last Wednesday I totally understood why this man lives on. Elvis knew how to play an audience, with a smile, a wink and a move of the head. And he doesn’t throw away one lyric of any song. If you have never heard him sing “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” or “Bridge over Troubled Water”, then treat yourself. His new album, ‘The Wonder of You’, is sheer magic.