Donny Edwards, Ryan Pelton, Sean Klush
Elvis Birthday Bash
Pike Performing Arts Center
Friday, Jan. 12
Donny Edwards, Ryan Pelton and Sean Klush made hearts flutter and cameras flash at the Pike Performing Arts Center Friday night. They swiveled their hips, fell to their knees and played guitar with irresistible charm. For one night, these performers sent fans into frenzy as they performed in honor of the infamous Elvis Presley.
From Chicago, Ill., Edwards, Pelton and Klush specialize in different eras of Elvis’ stardom. From rockabilly hits to his movie years, each had the crowd wondering if they had visited the local plastic surgeon. Though awing, their resemblance to “The King” was frightening.
The Elvis birthday tribute show celebrated 72 years of hunka hunka burnin’ love and blue suede shoes. Edwards beamed with youth and energy as he brought to life those early performing years. “How many of ya’ll ever got a teddy bear before?” teased Edwards as he prepared to sing the only song worth a stuffed animal. As he threw the little grizzlies into the audience, he told us he just wants to be our teddy bear.
From around the time of the civil rights movement, Pelton gave us Elvis after those beginning years of success. Showing complete mastery of the pelvic region, he told us he just couldn’t “Help Falling in Love.”
Finally, Klush brought back the decadent years of one-piece suits and brightly colored towels. He showcased his backside and told everyone to give him “A Little Less Conversation.” By far the longest performance, Klush sealed the tribute show with the reinvention of long-ago backups “The Sweet Inspirations” and Elvis’ actual drummer and friend, D.J. Fontana. It seemed some people couldn’t suspend the reality these were impersonators. The further a person was past their teens, the louder they screamed.
These performers aren’t just musicians, they’re students. They’ve researched The King as any scholar would study Shakespeare. Attention to detail and commitment to performance helps the essence of Elvis seep out of every pore.