The McPherson Opera House
By Lydia Lowe (photos by Bob Hunter)
Joseph Hall brought Elvis to life on Saturday night at the McPherson Opera House. It was a fitting tribute to the King of Rock and Roll. Last year's show was amazing but this year's show topped it. And next year, Joseph Hall will be back with his full band from Branson and I can hardly wait for that show.
On this night, the stage lights dimmed, black and white vintage film of girls waiting to welcome Elvis began playing on the screen at the back of the stage, and a giant blue vinyl record spotlight swung around the auditorium as Elvis took to the stage.
This year's show was was Elvis through the years. Each of the costume changes depicted another chapter of Elvis' musical career. The evening began with Elvis from the 70's. Some of the songs from that era that Hall performed on stage were: See See Rider, Suspicious Minds (one of my favorite Elvis songs) the version that Hall sang was faster than the original version, and Can't Help Falling In Love.
Before each segment began, the announcer, Hall's father, Kyle Hall, gave historical context to each segment in the show which along with the costume changes, put the audience into the proper frame of mind for the performance at hand.
Then it was time for Elvis from the 50's and the hits just kept coming. Some of the songs in this segment were Shake, Rattle and Roll, Teddy Bear-Don't Be Cruel. Hall through teddy bears into the crowd during this song.
Before each segment began, the video footage on the screen at the back of the stage changed to vintage footage from the era that Hall was portraying. As Hall took the stage for the GI portion of the concert, black and white footage of Elvis being drafted and prepped for service were shown on the screen.
Elvis Presley served three years in the army and the next segment covered a few songs from that era. The songs that Hall sang during this portion of the show were Now Or Never which features the music of O Solo Mio with different lyrics, of course, Love Me Tender, and Blue Suede Shoes.
Then we moved into the 60's and these songs I was more familiar with and they included another one of my favorite Elvis songs, Kentucky Rain which I thought was moving much to fast as Hall sang, but I know that entertainers take some poetic license with their arrangements so that might explain it. Then In The Ghetto, Yesterday, A Little Less Conversation, Rubberneckin', and Viva Las Vegas.
The evening ended with a few gospel selections as Hall's guitarist joined him on stage to accompany him. Hall sang How Great Thou Art and it was superb!
Hall does an amazing job of portraying Elvis in this tribute. He encourages audience participation, he interjects humor into the show and his timing is dead on when he does it. It's hard to know at times if it's Hall doing Elvis or Elvis doing Hall. That confusion leads to an amazing tribute to Elvis Presley that can't be missed. April 2016 Hall will return to the McPherson Opera House and no doubt to a sell-out show (his past two shows have sold out) and he's bringing his full band from his Branson show. Mark your calendars now because each show gets better and better. You won't want to miss next year's show.