On what would have been Elvis’ 84th birthday. Para Hills Community club was the venue for a ‘Return of the King’. With Matt Birse as Elvis, backed by his band All The Kings Men; Matt Newton (Keyboard and Backing Vocals), Ren Disanto (Drums and Backing Vocals), Gary Passmore (Bass and Backing Vocals) and Michael Shade (Guitar and Backing Vocals)
It’s amazing, that 42 years after his death. There are still Elvis tribute artists performing the songs and recreating the iconic moves of the man.
Matt Birse is Adelaide’s premier Elvis tribute act. He has the looks, the voice, the costumes and the moves. He has performed his show in many locations around Australia. From the famous Parkes festival–where he enjoys a tremendous following each year- to cruise ships, small country towns and private functions.
As the band strikes up the iconic intro ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, the tension builds. A cheer erupts throughout the room and Matt appears, walking through the crowd toward the stage. Many people want to shake his hand and grab a selfie with him before he’s even started his performance. Women are drawn to the tall, handsome figure with more than a striking resemblance to the great man. He makes it to the stage and strikes a pose with his guitar before the band launches into ‘CC Rider’.
Matt has a charming manner when he’s interacting with the crowd. Both on and off the stage he is a true gentleman. His powerful stage performances are suitable for all ages and portray Elvis at his fittest and most energetic, during those famous Vegas performances of the early 1970s.
The hits kept coming all afternoon, with great songs such as ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘Hound Dog’, ‘You’ve Lost that loving feeling’, ‘In The Ghetto’ and many many more. ‘Viva Las Vegas’ was a big hit, and the often overlooked tunes such as ‘Stranger in the crowd’, ‘Big Hunk O Love’ and ‘Hurt’ are delivered with style and passion. The two 1.5 hour sets were a smorgasbord of Elvis hits covering the greatest years of the kings career. And the dance floor was full from the first song to the last.
As the band plays ‘Love me tender’, and many adoring fans gather at the front of the stage. Matt hands out scarves, with kisses for the ladies and handshakes for the guys. It’s times like these that you see just how diverse the audience is. The capacity crowd comprised a diverse demographic, with ages ranging from young children to pensioners, both male and female. Not enough scarves were available to satisfy all those wanting one.
I heard one man near me say “Do they know it’s not the real Elvis” as he watched people jostle to be near Matt. And I thought to myself they know, but this is as close as anyone can get to the real thing. Even if Elvis was still around, I could see Matt enjoying this same success, as it’s so easy to forget this is not the real thing.
These powerful, passionate performances of Elvis’ shows are a testament to the hard work and dedication of the band. They deliver an enjoyable and realistic Elvis experience. For anyone who wishes to experience the ‘Real thing’, this is it.
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