Concert Review - The Elvis Spectacular
Waterfront Hall 9th September 2006
By Alan Thompson
THE ELVIS SPECTACULAR, starring Jim Brown aka The King once again lived up to all expectations and more.
Belfast singing sensation Jim Brown was on top form and if anything is getting even better as The King. The show simply explodes as The King takes to the stage in his gold flamed jacket taking us back to Elvis’ Rock ‘n’ Roll root, blasting out That’s All Right. Jim, backed by the four member TCB band and the three girl Sweet Sensations simply has to be heard to be believed.
The show takes us through the young Elvis period including immortal hits such as Heartbreak Hotel, Don’t Be Cruel and Teddy Bear. Jim then dons his GI uniform to perform Elvis’ greatest hits from the early sixties and his movies. This part of the show has Jim performing an unbelievable rendition of the classic It’s Now or Never. Jim Brown performing this particular number is simply outstanding.
Jim then changes into the black leather gear to perform The Comeback Special section of the show – the highlight of which is a mind blowing version of If I Can Dream. Jim and the band put their heart and soul into the number, which as the show entered the interval, had the audience shouting for more.
During the changes of costume the show was kept flowing by Sweet Sensations lead singer Diane McCracken. Diane, an accomplished professional in her own right, had a brilliant rapport with the audience and treated us to a few hits including a great performance of the Dusty Springfield classic, You Don’t Have to say You Love Me.
My own personal favourite part of the show, the Las Vegas era, then descended upon us as Jim took to the stage having slid into a magnificent white jumpsuit. The place went mental as The King belted out Burning Love. I thought the roof was going to lift off the auditorium! People rocked – and I’m not just talking about the younger element, pensioners in their Seventies went wild! Crowd favourites I Just Can’t Help Believing and The Wonder of You followed. The King dished out silk scarves to the adoring fans and a woman leapt on stage to collect hers!
Jim slowed things down a bit with the Jim Reeves classic, Welcome To My World (which Elvis performed at the greatest live concert ever – Aloha from Hawaii in 1973) and the Righteous Brothers classic, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. A powerful playing of My Way followed before The King once again upped the tempo with a medley of favourites including Blue Suede Shoes and All Shook Up.
A highlight of the performance then followed as Jim performed Can’t Stop Loving You following directly into Hurt. Only Jim Brown’s incredibly powerful and wide ranging voice could have transferred the finale of the former into the explosive opening of the latter. Fantastic stuff!
As if this all wasn’t enough it seemed the whole show had simply been a warm up for the breathtaking finale. As the band briefly left and returned to the stage the incredible encore followed – Suspicious Minds, American Trilogy and the traditional Elvis show ender Can’t Help falling In Love. WOW! I was left breathless, speechless and ecstatic. What an encore, what a show, what a voice!
I first saw The Elvis Spectacular starring Jim a couple of years ago and the show remains as fresh as ever. Jim came ‘out of character’ more on this occasion having great crack with the audience. He emotionally told how he had loved Elvis as a young child and each of those present had a part to play in keeping the memory and music of Elvis Presley, the greatest entertainer of all time, alive.
The show was founded almost ten years ago by The Elvis Spectacular’s musical director and TCB Productions dynamo, Mervyn Boyd. What began as a ‘one off’ tribute to mark the Twentieth anniversary of the tragic passing of The King has evolved to become the world’s premier tribute performance. The show, with Jim’s incredible voice, goes from strength to strength. 2007 will mark the Thirtieth anniversary of the untimely death of Elvis. The Elvis Spectacular promises to be at the forefront both locally and nationally in marking that special milestone.