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Review: 'The Wonder Of You' Concert Melbourne Australia


By: David Troedson
Source: Elvis Australia
June 12, 2017 - 8:20:54 PM
Elvis Reviews, Elvis Articles, Elvis Photos, Elvis News, By David Troedson

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Elvis was in demand backstage!
Elvis was in demand backstage!
I had the pleasure of attending 'The Wonder Of You' sold-out concerts in Melbourne two nights running, Friday, June 9 and Saturday, June 10 during which I was totally enthralled for practically every minute.

It is tempting to compare these concerts with the forerunner,'Elvis The Concert' in 1999 and the renamed 'Elvis Presley In Concert' in 2006 (the first being far superior to the second, much bigger screens to begin with) and while that is more than reasonable, these concerts are in many ways very different.

Today the TCB band is no longer a part of the show, (Actually they are, James Burton in particular, albeit in the same 'live on screen' adaptation as Elvis) replaced by a 40-piece orchestra. Instead of endeavoring (successfully!) to replicate the original Elvis concert sound and feel we have a new concept, giving us the live in concert version of the recent chart-topping CDs, 'If I Can Dream' and 'The Wonder Of You' (both with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra).

Elvis Presley Video An American Trilogy (part) (01:29)

Click to view the video

Elvis News Latest Audio (and video) updates: Video filmed by David Troedson.

But it was ELVIS everyone came to see and seeing him move on such a large screen was amazing, and the reproduction (as all audio is) of his voice with the added power of this orchestra is just something you cannot match outside a concert hall.

'The Wonder Of You' lacks for nothing, it is just a bit different. Clearly, the audience felt the same way I do, as was evident both during and at the conclusion of the show with many giving a standing ovation, partly seen in the video below. (Although this is after An American Trilogy, so not the conclusion of the concert which was 'If I Can Dream').

Elvis: 'The Wonder Of You' Concert Melbourne 2017.
Elvis: 'The Wonder Of You' Concert Melbourne 2017.

I talked with probably 30-40 people over the two nights and only two said they had been to the 1999 and/or 2006 concerts, with a couple even indicating the original format put them off a bit. This speaks volumes for the IMPACT the new CD releases have had, that the show sold out three nights in Melbourne, plus two in Sydney along with single nights in Perth, Adelaide, and Brisbane. Of course, the excellent promotion by Ralph Carr helped more than a little! along with his contacts and wide exposure via channel 9 and Richard Wilkins

On Friday night I had seats 6 rows from the front, which provided a unique experience. To see the orchestra up close, the drummer, singers, Jerry Schilling (more on Jerry below) including the four (4) video screens up close and easy to see was amazing. On Saturday night I was further back and also found a seat right up the back so as to compare, which was fascinating watch the stadium as a whole, both the show and the packed arena.

'Love Me Tender', Melbourne June 9, 2017.
'Love Me Tender', Melbourne June 9, 2017 (Photo credit David Troedson).

For the Australia tour, we had a top class orchestra under the musical direction of pianist Chong Lim one of Australia' must respected Musical Directors, producers, and composers with an impressive list of credits including as a record producer, multi-platinum CDs for Australia's John Farnham, Olivia Newton-John and many more. Also on stage were other long-time members of the airtight John Farnham band alongside the Philharmonia Australia commercial orchestra.

And from all reports, and certainly, for the two shows, I witnessed they musicians faithfully reproduced the sound of the albums, 'If I Can Dream' and 'The Wonder Of You', with also a number of songs not on the albums.

The crowd favorite

An American Trilogy received the biggest response, a sparkle among gems. (see video).

Jerry Schilling: The Master Of Ceremony

Jerry Schilling: The Master Of Ceremony.
Jerry Schilling: The Master Of Ceremony.

Jerry Schilling introduced the show and came on stage at times throughout to talk about Elvis with the highlight probably his own home movies which again, on the big screen was amazing. He also walked through an appreciative audience to start the second half of each show taking questions. I have read at least one media review that commented negatively on this (and most of Jerry's involvement). CLEARLY, the reviewer was not Elvis fans and just do not understand the connection and the viewpoint of the Elvis fans in attendance, Jerry was fantastic and the crowd showed their appreciation for that.

For those that say 'I could stay at home and listen to the CDs', I have to say, you would have to have problems with your hearing if the live concert sound wasn't far superior and Elvis' presence via huge scenes is unmistakable.

I had the honor to meet Jerry Schilling backstage after the concert on June 9 for a few minutes.

Jerry Schilling and David Troedson, backstage 'The Wonder OF You' Concert, Melbourne June 9, 2007.
Jerry Schilling and David Troedson, backstage 'The Wonder OF You' Concert, Melbourne June 9, 2007.

Conclusion

This is a must see show, just an unforgettable experience, and America it is coming to you next!

VIP

For those that took up the VIP 'Jungle Room' package hosted by Richard Wilkins there were Official Elvis Presley Museum artefacts on display and the night was kicked off in style with special appearances from Jerry Schilling who (obviously) talked about Elvis, and on most nights Australia wide, 'If I Can Dream'/'The Wonder Of You' album producer Don Reedman. Post-concert Chiong Lim and many band members also were in the VIP room.

Official Elvis Presley Museum artifacts on display.
Official Elvis Presley Museum artifacts on display.

Richard Wilkins and Jerry Schilling.
Richard Wilkins and Jerry Schilling.

Elvis was in the room too!

And very popular making for a great photo opportunity.

David Troedson with Elvis. Tiiu Sara with Elvis.

Henry Skillz (Ralph Carr Management), ELVIS, mother and daughter, Gitta Opassi, Tiiu Sara.
Henry Skillz (Ralph Carr Management), ELVIS, mother and daughter, Gitta Opassi, Tiiu Sara.

And Don Reedman

David Troedson and Don Reedman (Saturday June 10, 2017).
David Troedson and Don Reedman (Saturday, June 10, 2017).

Promotion

There was fantastic promotion from Ralph Carr Management with billboards and as you can see in the photo below taxi advertising. Along with many TV promos via Richard Wilkins and the channel nine 'Today' show.

Taxi.

Articles about Elvis Presley Jerry Schilling talks about the Wonder Of You Tour
Interviews with or about Elvis Presley Interview with the producers of 'The Wonder of You'

Interviews with or about Elvis Presley Interview with Jerry Schilling

Elvis Presley CD, Book and DVD Reviews Review: If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra CD
Elvis Presley CD, Book and DVD Reviews Review: The Wonder OF You: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra CD

Buy 'The Wonder Of You: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra' CD
Buy 'If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra' CD

Review The Wonder OF You Adelaide May 28, 2017

Patrick McDonald, The Advertiser (Adelaide) May 29, 2017

ELVIS never even entered the building but his presence was still palpable in vocal and video form as he 'fronted' a 40-piece orchestra for 'The Wonder of You' concert.

Inspired by new orchestral arrangements on the recent album of the same title and its predecessor, 'If I Can Dream', this Adelaide Entertainment Centre show featured footage and Presley's isolated live vocals from old concert films, as well as some studio recordings, while the band and orchestra played in time to click tracks on stage.

The concept - and technology and source footage - is basically the same as that employed, to much greater emotional and visual effect, 18 years ago when Elvis's original 1970s musicians and backing vocalists toured the world.

The Wonder OF You audience.

On that previous occasion, it was so convincing that the audience's eyes kept shifting from screen to stage, expecting to see their idol standing there among the other players.

Here, there was a greater visual and atmospheric divide, although the music and vocals still came together seamlessly and often to beautiful effect.

Under the musical direction of pianist Chong Lim, and featuring other long-time members of the airtight John Farnham band alongside the Philharmonia Australia commercial orchestra, this setlist had more of an easy-listening feel.

Musical direction of pianist Chong Lim one of Australia' must respected Musical Directors.
Musical direction of pianist Chong Lim one of Australia' must respected Musical Directors.

After an orchestral overture of If I Can Dream, the concert proper started with a string of performances from the Aloha From Hawaii broadcast, starting with Burning Love, which was decided heavy on the snare drum and vocals.

The orchestration was more effectively heard on the lush Welcome to My World, a fat brass section punctuated a truly bluesy rendition of Steamroller Blues, there was a flute and trombone intro added to the slinky strings of Fever and You Gave Me A Mountain built in an epic crescendo.

Then we cut to Las Vegas and footage from That's The Way It Is for You Don't Have to Say You Love Me and I Just Can't Help Believing.

While the orchestral concept generally worked best with such late-era Elvis material, there were a couple of unusual highlights to follow: a fabulous fresh arrangement of the early Leiber-Stoller ballad Don't and a harp and acoustic guitar led rendition of Love Me Tender.

Like the lavish percussion of It's Now or Never and the sweeping strings of Can't Help Falling in Love, these featured Presley's studio vocals without any accompanying performance footage.

Thundering timpani also sent a shiver down the spine on How Great Thou Art, part of a more gospel-flavoured bracket which included In the Ghetto and a hushed strings rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water.

One of Elvis's old buddies, Jerry Schilling, acts as master of ceremonies but would be better kept to a scripted introduction and sharing his home movie memories, rather than aimlessly walking through the audience after the interval with a microphone.

The Wonder OF You audience.

Once the music restarted, it was with a brassy burst of Trouble which ran into Guitar Man from the famous '68 Comeback Special.

However, the orchestra seemed largely lost in the following bracket of 1950s rock 'n' roll classics on which the electric band took the lead.

The full ensemble returned to form with the chimes and strings of Memories and the show's uplifting title track, The Wonder of You, and threw some great conga drums into Suspicious Minds.

The big showstopper, American Trilogy, featured a new flute introduction but, oddly, replaced the usual mid-song flute solo with one by a trumpet before reaching its huge, triumphant conclusion.

An encore of If I Can Dream, this time with vocals and footage from the 1968 show, brought the night to an end but constant advances in digital and visual technology would suggest we haven't seen or heard the last of Mr Presley.

After all, the trailer for the forthcoming sci-fi film sequel Blade Runner 2049 features a fleeting glimpse of Elvis - again taken from 'That's The Way It Is' - singing on stage in holographic form.

Elvis Presley the Wonder of You Review (Melbourne Australia June 9, 2017)

Andrew Bistak (Impulse Gamer)

Elvis Presley (aka The King) is a legend and although it's almost been 40-years since his death, his music is still just as powerful and unfortunately for Australians, he never had the opportunity of touring Australia until now. Thanks to modern technology which boasts four giant screens plus a 40-piece orchestra, fans of Elvis both new and old can now experience something not only very monumental but quite special as Melbourne is treated to the Elvis Presley the Wonder of You experience. Using past footage of Elvis from concerts and his films plus the live music from an orchestra and back-up singers, Elvis Presley the Wonder of You is a true concert spectacular that almost makes it feel like the King is actually performing.

The Wonder Of You.The Master of Ceremonies for this leg of the tour is Jerry Schilling who had a very close friendship with this music icon who helps set the scene of this performance. Schilling recounts to the audience some of the stories of Elvis and how The King touched so many people from across the globe, including some interesting anecdotes. Although Elvis is no longer with us, Schilling creates a link for the audience, however where this presentation really shines is of course through the music itself. Matched with the exceptional orchestra and back-up singers, Elvis Presley the Wonder of You is quite a powerful performance which also tugs at your emotional heartstrings. Given that, it's quite a loud experience!

The Margaret Court Arena is almost the perfect venue in Melbourne that although is quite big, it still manages to contain the performance and more importantly, create some excellent audio in the process. One downside to the performance on opening night is that at times, the singing of Elvis seemed to overpower the live orchestra which is a very small negative. Nonetheless, hearing Elvis performing An American Trilogy with the live orchestra was definitely a wow moment and there's plenty of them throughout the concert. Another clever aspect of the performance was the lighting which really helped create that concert experience.

Furthermore, seeing the actual footage of Elvis on the giant screens not only showcased the talent of this man but also his wide range of vocals that becomes quite an immersive experience from start to finish. Songs such as Always On My Mind and You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' are lifted to a new level thanks to the live music that not only pays homage to the original songs but creates a new experience for both new and old . Another highlight of the performance was using some of the home videos and photos of Elvis such as him growing up or seeing a proud father and mother with their baby daughter Lisa Marie.

So as you become drawn into the music and imagery, at times you could be mistaken in thinking that Elvis is actually live on the stage and that is where Elvis Presley the Wonder of You succeeds in creating the unthinkable and the illusion that one of the greats was actually performing right here in Melbourne Australia. All in all, Elvis Presley the Wonder of You was enjoyed by everyone as fans of the King came together to experience the unimaginable, Elvis Presley performing once again thanks to some clever use of technology and of course the excellent orchestra led by renowned conductor Chong Lim.

Elvis Presley the Wonder of You is a beautiful amalgam of classic rock meets orchestra that with the clever use of modern technology, it brings back one of the forefathers of rock 'n' roll.

'Elvis: Live in Concert' is produced by Elvis Presley Enterprises.

Articles about Elvis Presley Jerry Schilling talks about the Wonder Of You Tour
Interviews with or about Elvis Presley Interview with the producers of 'The Wonder of You'

Interviews with or about Elvis Presley Interview with Jerry Schilling

Elvis Presley CD, Book and DVD Reviews Review: If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra CD
Elvis Presley CD, Book and DVD Reviews Review: The Wonder OF You: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra CD

Buy 'The Wonder Of You: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra' CD
Buy 'If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra' CD


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Elvis Presley Video Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD

Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD + 16 page booklet.

Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever.

This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.

The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.