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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Tale of Two Elvii

     Saturday night at The McPherson Opera House and there were not one, but two Elvis impersonator's on stage.  The only place that you can see multiple Elvis performances in one night is Las Vegas, so McPherson hit the big time Saturday night.

     Up first was Brian Lee Dunning who kicked off the evenings festivities with Elvis from the 50's.  He had the look, the sound, and the moves.  He appeared to be made of Jello as he gyrated around the stage.  Dunning had more moves than the real Elvis.  I have seen quite a few Elvis impersonators but I've never seen any of them dance like Dunning did Saturday night.  He threw himself, quite literally, into his performance.  And that guy can move!  Maybe he's double jointed.  I don't know but it was an experience to watch him dance.  He can sing too.  He sounded so much like Elvis that if you closed your eyes you'd swear the real Elvis was in the house.  Of course, then you missed the dancing which would be a shame.  Dunning is sure to make a name for his self in the Elvis business.

     Time for the main event and Marshall Matthews as Elvis from the 70's.  Matthew's came out attired in the classic white jump suit that Elvis is known for with all the sparkles.  He sang a wide range of Elvis songs from the various eras; 50', 60's and 70's.  He sang my two favorite Elvis song's: Kentucky Rain and Suspicious Minds.  He also sang a few covers that Elvis sang during his Las Vegas shows; Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers) and Proud Many (Credence Clearwater Revival and Tina Turner).  He sang a lovely rendition of Are You Lonesome Tonight, a 1926 Al Jolson hit. One of the best performances of the evening was when Matthews sang It's Now or Never.

     During the intermission, Brian Lee Dunning returned to the stage in a different outfit but still in character as a Rockabilly Elvis.  I'm not sure what songs' he sang, I remember singing along, (in my mind), he's just so much fun to watch!  Dunning has so much energy and he is in character the entire time he is on stage.  Such fun.  I think it's safe to say that if he were to appear on Ed Sullivan with those moves back in the 50's, he would have gotten in as much or more trouble as the real Elvis did back in the 50's.

     Matthews returned to the stage after intermission and continued with his spot on performance, now dressed in a black jumpsuit full of sparkles. Throughout the evening Matthews was accompanied by a full band, The Memphis Kings, which is comprised of music teachers and others from around the state, including Denny Brunk, from McPherson, who was on hand to help out with trombone and back-up vocals. Elvis with a full band and back-up vocals was impressive.  In fact, Matthews and Dunning even did a song together on stage.

     An evening of music, feel good songs, incredible dancing, and Elvis.  Matthews has two upcoming dates in Oklahoma in November.  I'll leave you with an Elvis fun fact, I was told that if there are two or more Elvis impersonators on a show together, they are called Elvii which is considered the plural for multiple Elvis.

     Coming up in November at The McPherson Opera House, on November 6 The Mike Steinel Lone Star Jazz Quintet will perform and then the following night on November 7 The Wrinkle Neck Mules will perform.  Jazz on the 6th and something called, heavy folk metal, among other things, on the 7th.  I can't wait.


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