The Original Elvis Tribute Show: Europe 2010

Source: Arjan Deelen
March 13, 2010

The new Elvis Presley show for 2010 is a classy and dynamic tribute that incorporates The King's greatest performances like 'Suspicious Minds', 'All Shook Up', 'Return To Sender' and many, many others. Lead singer Robert Washington's electrifying vocals capture the raw power and intensity of 'the real thing', while the inclusion of Elvis associates Duke Bardwell on bass and Michael Jarrett on keyboards add a great deal of authenticity to this remarkable show. For both men, this marks the first time that they participate in an Elvis tribute tour, and they both represent largely unexplored parts of the Elvis story that add fascinating new insights into that story. 'The Original Elvis Tribute 2010' breaks away from all the usual clichés surrounding Elvis tributes; instead, it's centered around several unique individuals with very different backgrounds, brought together by their admiration for Elvis Aaron Presley. More than 30 years after his death, Elvis' legacy is more alive than ever, and this vibrant new show tells you why. It's a one-of-a-kind celebration of The King that features some of his finest music, performed by those who were there when Elvis shook the world.

Above, listen to a special message about the tour from Michael Jarrett.

It's quite a scoop that bassplayer Duke Bardwell will be a part of this tour

[About the song: Elvis said, 'They tell me you write songs, too'. I said, 'Yeah, I do ... I really enjoy doing that. That's what I was doing when I met Ronnie Tutt'. He said, 'Why don't you play me some of your songs', and I said, 'I really don't know where to start'. He said, 'You got a favorite?', and I did have a couple of favorites. I had written a song as a wedding present to my sister titled ‘You & I'. I played it for him ... And he was sitting there, he always had this way of sitting ... He would always cross his leg with his ankle up on his knee, and his foot was always vibrating, you know, nervous energy just buzzing. I played the song for him and he didn't say anything, so I started thinking 'Well, he didn't like that', so I was trying to think of what to do next for him, and then he said, 'Play it again'. So I played it again, and he still didn't say anything. Then he said, 'Play it again'. His foot was buzzin'. So I played it again. I started catching dirty looks from some of the guys, because they had business to take care of ... monkey business (laughs), and this wasn't part of the party plan. But if he wanted me to play it again, they could dirty look me all they wanted to ... I'd play it again. I don't know how many times I ended up doing that song, but I had to do it over and over again, until finally everyone left but me and him. I didn't know ... I knew that he was hearing something in it that was getting to him. I had no idea what part of it it possibly could have been. I didn't know what was going on. I was really confused. Finally he got off the couch and said, 'I want you to contact Colonel Parker's office when we get back to L.A., because I want to record that song' ... From and interview with Arjan Deleen, online next week]

Duke Bardwell

Duke worked both on stage and in the studio with The King in the mid-70s, and in all he played bass on 181 concerts. Yet he's always avoided media exposure about his association with Elvis, and this tour marks the first time that Duke does an Elvis-connected tour since that original association ended back in April '75. Duke experienced some great highs with Presley, including Elvis' first concerts in Memphis in 13 years (Duke gets an unusual name-check from Presley on the live album), the two amazing Houston Astrodome shows in front of 88,000 people, the dynamite shows at the L.A. Forum with celebrities like Led Zeppelin in the crowd … but there were also the lows. During the period that Duke worked with Elvis, the latter's problems with prescription medication were really beginning to take hold. Duke was there that infamous night in Las Vegas, when Presley told a stunned audience that he was sick of the rumours flying around about him, and that if he would find those responsible, that he would pull their tongues out 'by the roots'. Duke acknowledges that it was generally a difficult period, but nevertheless he still talks about Elvis with a great deal of affection, and he's genuinely proud of the highlights from that period, which include playing bass one of Presley's finest 70s rockers, 'T.R.O.U.B.L.E.', as well as being asked by Elvis to sing and perform a solo piece during one of the Lake Tahoe concerts, an unusual honour that The King only bestowed upon 3 or 4 others during his entire career!

Duke Bardwell, Charlie Hodge and Elvis Presley : 1974
Duke Bardwell, Charlie Hodge and Elvis Presley : 1974.

Also joining the show is songwriter Michael Jarrett on keyboards

Michael Jarrett learned his chops while on the road with Jerry Lee Lewis, who ended up praising him for his playing. Michael wrote 'I'll Be Home On Christmas Day' for Elvis, who recorded it for his hugely popular 'Elvis sings the wonderful world of Christmas' album, which is one of the all-time bestsellers in the Presley catalogue. The original demo for that song had a verse in it which included the names of Michael's children, but Elvis skipped that verse for the released version. Imagine Michael's surprise when an outtake was released a few years ago where Elvis did sing that verse! Michael also wrote I'm Leavin' for The King, and it was released as a single A-side in late '71. The song had a great deal of significance for Presley, who often referred to it as 'one of my favorite songs', and he always seemed to enjoy performing on stage during his final years. Michael says that Presley's versions of his songs are quite close to the original demos as recorded by him – even down to the phrasing. It will, therefore, be interesting to see Michael perform these songs on stage just as Elvis originally heard them. Michael Jarrett continues to write songs, and still performs regularly in his homestate California together with great musicians like Albert Lee, but this tour marks the first time that he does something Elvis-related. It's interesting to note that Elvis' original version of the Michael Jarrett song 'I'll Be Home On Christmas Day' was recently cited as the 2nd most important Christmas song ever by Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.

Michael Jarrett
Michael Jarrett

New for 2010, Robert Washington is the lead vocalist

Robert is one of the best Elvis sound-a-likes worldwide; His voice is so close to 'the real thing' that he has stunned even the people from Elvis' inner circle, including emcee Al Dvorin, rhythm-guitarist John Wilkinson, and bodyguard Sam Thompson – who have all been very generous in their praise of Robert. He has also worked with several of Elvis' musicians like D.J. Fontana and The Jordanaires on various occasions. For Robert, it all began on that fateful day, August 16th, 1977. He was celebrating his 19th birthday, when he heard the tragic news of Elvis' passing… Ever since that day he has felt a special connection with The King of Rock & Roll.

Robert Washington
Robert Washington.

Today, Robert Washington is a thrilling live-performer who has wowed audiences all over the U.S., England and Japan. He has appeared in the movies 'The Faithful' and 'Let's Play House', and he's also featured in the award-winning documentary 'Almost Elvis'. Robert won the World Champion title at the prestigious 'Images of Elvis' contest in Memphis in 2003. He's greatly looking forward to this tour, which will mark the first time that he tours Europe. With his strong stage presence and his fantastic voice, he will be a great asset for the show.

This amazing band will also feature some of the finest musicians around, including Hollywood session-player Marc Singer on drums (a.o. 'Star Wars', 'Raiders of the Lost Arc'), gorgeous singer / model Sue Moreno on backing vocals, and the sensational Chris Casello on guitar. We are very proud to have Chris on this tour, as he's a true guitar virtuoso who has worked with artists like Bo Diddley, Raul Malo (The Mavericks), Vince Gill, Kid Rock and Br-549. He's also a tremendous solo-performer whose latest album 'The Chris Casello Trio' is a fabulous display of American roots music. Like everybody in this very special production, Chris has always been a huge Elvis fan and he's really looking forward to playing all the Scotty Moore / James Burton licks on this tour.

This remarkable show is not to be missed!

General Points May 02, 2010 - Effenaar, Eindhoven (Holland)
General Points May 03, 2010 - Malmitalo, Helsinki (Finland) Sold out
General Points May 05, 2010 - Ritz, Vaasa, (Finland)
General Points May 06, 2010 - Roma, Antwerp, (Belgium)
General Points May 08, 2010 - Bolwerk, Sneek, (Holland)
General Points May 09, 2010 – Poznan, (Poland) (Open air concert in historical center)
General Points May 12, 2010 – Cultural Center, Katowice, (Poland) (TV taping with Polish artists)
General Points May 14, 2010 - Madrid, Sala Heineken, (Spain)
General Points May 15, 2010 - Rock Planet, Pinarella di Cervia (Ravenna), (Italy)

Articles about Elvis Presley Interview with Michael Jarrett, songwriter, I'm Leavin'
Articles about Elvis Presley Interview with Duke Bardwell

The Original Elvis Tribute Show: Europe 2010

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