Crowd roars, women swoon and Elvis rocks in ‘Elvis Lives’


Elvis shook, rattled and rolled in Omaha during the “Elvis Lives!” tribute concert at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha.

The Jan. 11th show paid tribute to four phases of Elvis Presley’s music career, featuring three tribute artists.

The 2 hour+ concert featured songs, such as “Jailhouse Rock,” “Blue Hawaii” and “In the Ghetto.” It combined multi-media presentation with the live performances.

Gold record as seen at Graceland. Photo by Mallory Trudell
Gold record as seen at Graceland. Photo by Mallory Trudell

The tribute artists stayed in character throughout the show. They did a great job mixing humor with song.

The show opened with the “1950’s Elvis.” Dean Z performed as the young Elvis. After watching black and white footage of Elvis in the early days, Dean came on stage and started singing.

Dean was the 2013 “Ultimate Elvis” winner. The “Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist” contest recognizes the best Elvis “tribute artist.” In the old days, they were called impersonators.

Dean looked just like a young Elvis. His moves mimicked The King’s almost to a T.

I wasn’t the only one to notice.

IMG_9532Dozens of women took turns approaching the stage for a chance to kiss The King. One woman went for seconds. That brought a quip from young Elvis, “You look familiar, baby.” The sold out audience erupted with laughter.

Once Dean’s set concluded, photos and video filled the screen with Elvis’ service in the Army. Audio of Elvis talking about his military service filled the background.

Then, as Elvis mentioned his discharge and getting signed for movies, out came the second Elvis tribute artist.

Graceland. Photo by Mallory Trudell
Graceland. Photo by Mallory Trudell

Jay Dupuis performed the second phase of Elvis’ career as “Movie Elvis.”

He sang “GI Blues” from the movie of the same name.

From the movie “Blue Hawaii,” he sang “Blue Hawaii” and “Rock-a-Hula Baby.”

He also performed a couple of songs with a back-up singer as Ann-Margaret.

Dupuis was a finalist in the 2013 “Ultimate Elvis” contest. He is one of the few Elvis tribute artists who performs all phases of Elvis’ career, according to his bio.

The movie portion of the concert was probably my least favorite of the show. It had nothing to do with Dupuis’ performance. I think it was that I wanted to hear more of the hit songs.

Following a short intermission, Dean Z came back on stage wearing black leather. His “’68 Comeback Elvis” opened with songs from his NBC special. Can you believe that a big name celebrity, such as Elvis, would actually do a network TV special? I can’t see any of the so-called top performers today doing that.

Graceland exhibit. Photo by Mallory Trudell
Graceland exhibit. Photo by Mallory Trudell

I remember watching that concert with my oldest sister, Sandra. I think she threatened my life if I didn’t behave during it. I kid (I think).

The segment opened with footage about world headlines, including Martin Luther King’s assassination, Vietnam Conflict, Richard Nixon’s presidential win.

Dean again sang some of Elvis’ early hits. Women again fawned over The King.

The Lisa Marie. Photo by Mallory Trudell
The Lisa Marie. Photo by Mallory Trudell

The thought hit me as I watched the 1968 Elvis that he would only be around for another nine years. It may have been morbid, but it was in my head.

Then, footage came on again, announcing Elvis’ Hawaii concert. The 1973 concert marked the final phase of Elvis’ career.

Bill Cherry, aka “Concert Years Elvis,” came on stage, wearing a jump suit made famous by Elvis.

Photo by Mallory Trudell
Photo by Mallory Trudell

Following a song from that concert, Cherry moved into the Vegas concerts performed by Elvis.

Photo by Mallory Trudell
Photo by Mallory Trudell

Cherry performed songs, such as “Suspicious Minds,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” and (my favorite) “In the Ghetto.”

Cherry, the 2009 “Ultimate Elvis,” performed Elvis’ martial arts moves as he sang and talked.

Photo by Mallory Trudell
Photo by Mallory Trudell

Again, women rushed to the stage for a kiss. A little girl came up. She barely reached the stage, so a gentleman got out of his seat and held her up so she could kiss Elvis. That brought a round of applause.

One woman threw a bra on stage.

“I guess you don’t need it, huh, baby?” he joked. That again brought laughter.

Cherry did a great job as “Concert Elvis.”

He asked all veterans and active duty military members to stand. He then led a round of appreciation for their service.

Then, as Elvis would do, he sang a medley of patriotic songs to honor them.

Photo by Mallory Trudell
Photo by Mallory Trudell

That performance concluded the concert.

The three Elvises (or, is it Elvi?) came together for a one-song encore.

As a side note, Omaha’s Civic Auditorium was the site of one of his final concerts. He performed here in June 1977. The concert was filmed (along with a show in Rapid City, SD) for a CBS special. It aired in the fall of 1977 as a tribute to The King.

Elvis' hit records at Graceland. Photo by Steph Engel
Elvis’ hit records at Graceland. Photo by Steph Engel

Disclosure: Thank you to Omaha Performing Arts for the complimentary tickets. However, all comments and thoughts belong to us. We will be open and honest regarding service and/or attractions.