ALL THE "VIVA ELVIS" Album, Single - News & Reviews
VIVA ELVIS on the 38th Emmy Awards: Fans who tuned into 38th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS, witnessed an exciting performance from Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil from the hit Las Vegas show.
'Viva Elvis – The DVD' The Promo Trailer: After all the fans mixed feeling about Viva Elvis, now comes the DVD! STAR is proud to announce a new viewing experience with Viva Elvis – The DVD. Many fans wondered if this would get done, most knew that it was just "A Matter Of Time". Well, it has happened and it’s out soon!
New 'Love Me Tender' VIVA ELVIS Videos: iTunes have uploaded a new original Viva Elvis video, 'Love Me Tender'. Sadly not featuring too much Elvis but still effective and the ending is brilliant.
Go here to YouTube the official 'Love Me Tender' Viva video (sadly not available in all countries) or check your iTunes
|Jan 2011 - 'Viva Elvis' receives a Makeover: Originally, it was the old Elvis Presley recordings that stayed out of the spotlight in Cirque du Soleil’s Viva Elvis. They were raw -- and to be honest -- ancient in terms of our digital age. As the show continued to change, tweak and polish itself to perfection, the masters of music went to work, and now it’s their new soundtrack that drives the spectacular.
Producer Erich van Tourneau notes that now after more than a year of studio engineering, it’s the new soundtrack that propels the show along at a much faster pace and energy.
In the early stages of Viva Elvis, it told a familiar story in an almost flat monotone. It’s now been given new blood with excitement and a controlled but frantic fever pitch. The narrative has been cut down and the Col. Tom Parker character relocated. The dancing seems faster and more electrically charged. Now it’s all showmanship throughout and makes the blue suede shoe even larger than it is with the dancers sprawled all over it.
I didn’t see major changes to the "Jailhouse Rock" number, which is my favorite in the show. I still sat mesmerized watching the performers walk upside down in the air. How can you improve on that feat anyway? The amazing trampoline gymnastics seem faster and more challenging. Even the showgirl "Viva Las Vegas" finale seems a bigger and better spectacle.
|Cirque has a reputation of always fine tuning and tinkering its productions, and now a year after it opened, Viva Elvis has found its heart and soul -- and produced its own soundtrack music for Elvis to rock on for years to come. There’s no danger that he’s ever going to be forgotten.
Elvis isn’t leaving this house for a very long time.
Go here for full article.
VOTE for Viva ELVIS - as it also celebrates Elvis' 76th Birthday: The cast of Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil paid tribute to Elvis Presley on what would have been his 76th birthday by presenting a cake at the end of their Saturday night show. The cake was created by Ashley Kupets, one of the Viva ELVIS acrobats. Singers from the show performed their rendition of "Happy Birthday" while the audience sang along and clapped.
|Sign a Virtual Birthday Card for Elvis - and win a Trip To Vegas! The cast of Viva ELVIS will be celebrating Elvis' Birthday on Saturday January 8. Last year at the end of the show, the singers performed their own unique rendition of "Happy Birthday" while a birthday cake was brought on stage.
In 2011 you can WIN a trip to Vegas and sign Elvis' cute virtual Birthday card at the same time.
CLICK HERE for a chance to win.
Features some great footage of the dancers and acrobats singing Elvis a "Happy Birthday".
Worth a quick visit.
|'Viva Elvis' UK special Double-CD: While the 'Viva Elvis' release has got varied reviews depending on whether you think Elvis' originals should be updated/remixed or not, SONY UK release a 2CD version with Elvis' originals on the second CD.
The undisputed King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, remains one of the most iconic and powerful forces in popular culture. This new sound echoes Elvis' own versatility and ability to master all music genres, from Delta blues to rockabilly, from raw soul to gospel, from Southern folk to Vegas pop, while incorporating elements of garage rock, punk, urban and hip-hop.
Go here to Amazon UK for details - This deluxe edition includes a second disc featuring the original songs.
Click here to EIN's positive 'Viva Elvis' review.
Click here to EIN's negative 'Viva Elvis' review.
- 2010 VIVA ELVIS News
"American Idol" Carly Smithson joins the Vegas 'VIVA Elvis' Show: “American Idol” contestant Carly Smithson will join the cast of Cirque du Soleil’s “Viva Elvis,” in perfromances from last weekend.
The Irish singer was a sixth-place finalist on the show’s spring of 2008 season, won by David Cook. She has since been part of the rock band We Are The Fallen.
Smithson will not receive any special billing in the Elvis tribute and was not brought in to pump up ticket sales, a Cirque spokeswoman says.
Artistic director Gene Lubas “selected her based on her performance, not her name,” says the show’s publicist, Ann Paladie.
“We will not be advertising Carly as the star of the show,” she adds. “None of our shows have "stars" as such.”
VIVA ELVIS misses out as Beatles Downloads tops 2 million: Late last week the move of the Beatles to the legal downloading sphere via the world's biggest music retailer iTunes ricocheted around music's digital landscape. Today EMI, the Beatles' record label, announced that in their first week on iTunes, they sold more than 450,000 digital albums world-wide.
In addition, the Fab Four shifted two million downloads of individual tracks. The label also acknowledged to several sites that gross sales for the week were an impressive $10 million.
The Beatles iTunes sales figures compare a little unfavourably to last year's remasters CD series. The band sold 15 million units including a combined 626,000 copies in the first week of sale in the American market. According to Billboard, Apple sold 119,000 albums in the US, including 13,000 digital box sales.
Meanwhile 'VIVA ELVIS' sales are far lower than hoped and in the UK the album has already dropped from #19 to #52 in this week's official U.K chart.
Does SONY no longer care about marketing Elvis into the charts and radio stations knowing that Elvis will always keep on selling at a steady pace no matter what?
Whereas The Beatles have always been marketed with the clever concept of only one MAJOR release every year or two, SONY/BMG have always continued The Colonel's philosophy of continuous-multiple-repeat-releases as often as possible with no consideration to key quality product. Hence the same-old Elvis Christmas compile every year. (see below)
Doing this however makes major key releases get left behind and bundled in with all the other sub-standard product. The Public Domain multiple releases also vastly dilute Elvis product.
'VIVA Elvis' sales stand at only 13,381 in the USA as of this week.
As for marketing The Beatles, Apple will invest heavily in a media campaign centred around the Beatles heading into the Christmas shopping season, including television commercials and full-page ads in outlets such as The New York Times.
'VIVA Elvis' - also released in Vinyl: Besides the numerous variable CD releases of the 'Viva Elvis', a vinyl version has also been released. The same 12 tracks from the CD are featured but now pressed on 180gm heavy vinyl release. There is a European pressing and a UK pressing possibly for March 2011 - and a USA pressing available early December, all with the same tracklisting.
'VIVA Elvis' Japan release: EIN's Brian Quinn reports that the Japanese edition of the 'Viva Elvis' album is to contain 14 tracks including a "Love Me Tender" duet featuring Miho Fukuhara plus the JXL Remix of 'A Little Less Conversation'.
UPDATED with YOUR Comments- 'VIVA ELVIS'- The King Butchered! CD review: After a slew of positive reviews presented on our site below , EIN contributor Arjan Deelen provides another viewpoint about the new 'VIVA ELVIS' album.
Now updated with your comments
Wednesday 17 November 2010
|'Viva Elvis' Charts Update: While some Elvis purists deride the VIVA ELVIS album, perhaps unnecessarily since it is after all an album of the Cirque stageshow, the initial chart placings have been disappointing.
United States = 45 (approx see below)
United Kingdom = 19
Netherlands = 13
Australia = 45
New Zealand = 21
Ireland = 15
Switzerland = 26
>>> Brian Quinn comments: The first week sales of 'Viva Elvis' The Album are in for the U.S.A. and they are much worse than expected. It sold 12,622 copies and will enter The Billboard Chart give or take one or two places at No.46.
I find this result extremely disappointing. There must be a genuine reason why this release has not done as well as expected and I do not accept that some Elvis fans do not like it as the main reason. I suspect people did
|not know of its release and that SONY have failed Elvis with marketing the album. Even the 2008 'Christmas Duets' fared better.
It is extremely frustrating when one looks at the forthcoming Michael Jackson Album due out on 14th December which has already got an advance in the U.S.A. alone of 800,000.
Sunday 14 November 2010
Three new 'VIVA ELVIS' CDs Review: Reviews from around the world are in general positive about this new release including....
New 'Bossa Nova Baby' picks fans: The 'Bossa Nova Baby' "cute-dancing-babies" video has been gaining popularity (see below) while other fans have suggested 'Bossa Nova Baby' as a single.
EIN reader Gary Tanner notes, "It needs to be released as a single asap because, apart from being catchy and lively, it will work great in nightclubs. Also BBC Radio 1 and 2 shouldn't refuse to play it as it isn't a classic hit. This will help promote the album which is awesome."
Priscilla Presley talks about 'VIVA ELVIS' album: Priscilla Presley recently sat down in a chic Beverly Hills hotel to talk about the new album and her life with Elvis to QMI. These are the highlights of the interview.
Q: What do you think about the musical arrangement of Viva Elvis?
Priscilla: The album is inspired by the Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas. They are famous for taking risks and it's a great partnership because Elvis is known as someone who also liked risks. So if you have to take a risk, this is the album to make. There's no question that many people will like the album and I hope that the young generation will like it. It's possible that some purists will be disappointed, but the point of the album is to keep Elvis up to date, contemporary. This album is playful, pleasant. He would have been 75 years old this year; the Cirque du Soleil celebrates his music, his films, his home life.
Q: What is your favourite song on the new album and why?
Priscilla: I love Suspicious Minds. Many of my personal memories of Elvis are connected to this song. He knew it would be a success.
Q: You have previously said that Elvis flew into a terrible rage when he heard a version of Suspicious Minds that he believed had been altered by (then-manager) Colonel Parker. What do you believe he would think about the arrangements on Viva Elvis?
Priscilla: What counts is the celebration of Elvis and the Cirque du Soleil's interpretation. As for Suspicious Minds, Elvis had a vision in his mind for this song, and he didn't appreciate someone else interpreting it differently.
Q: The songs on the album are among the ones in the Cirque show. Did you have any say in that?
Priscilla: I had no part in it. It's the Cirque.
Q: Elvis recorded more than 800 songs but the Vegas show, and the album, don't include several hits like That's All Right, Teddy Bear, If I Can Dream and Such a Night. Why?
Priscilla: It's a celebration of Elvis, not a celebration of his hits. The Cirque du Soleil chose songs from the "young" Elvis. And they also wanted the songs to represent his movies.
Q: Your contract with the Cirque du Soleil includes several future projects including a show in Europe and Asia. Is this finalized and if so, what sort of shows are you doing?
Priscilla: It will depend on the exact plans. But I love that other countries, where Elvis is only known from his recordings and videos, get to experience this kind of thing. People want the complete Elvis experience, the touch, the feel. These projects will be well thought out and planned.
Q: Elvis died 33 years ago. What do you miss most about him?
Priscilla: I miss his smile, his sense of humour, his presence. He was a really unique person.
Click here to the full interview
|New Viva Elvis album has local tie with Erich Van Tourneau: VIVA ELVIS Producer Erich Van Tourneau talks with Vegas Deluxe.
The interview includes...
"Elvis' voice is the heart of this project," Erich told me. "I was taking vocals he recorded 66 years ago back in 1954 and painting new colours on them to make it relevant in today’s music. It was the most interesting project of my life and at the same time the most complicated."
"A lot of his best material goes back to the ’50s when he was a dangerous rebel who created a musical revolution. It was the ultimate technical technique to bring him back to life today. It was like changing an old black and white movie into HD super sound. Remember when he recorded ‘That’s Alright,’ it was in mono -- not even stereo!
|"I used a state-of-the-art program, which in some way makes audio-engineering history, where we took the heavenly choir of the Jordanaires, changed the key and transposed the vocals to get the perfect note of the chords. You couldn’t have Elvis more modern if you ever tried to beat what we did. It’s as if Elvis is here in the room with us because we wanted him living in 2010."
Click here for full interview and photos.
'Bossa Nova Baby' (New Version) Video: It's one of those "cute-dancing-babies" videos that could possibly go viral.
This one is sanctioned by Sony(UK) who hope the clip catches on as a VIVA ELVIS promotion.
|'VIVA ELVIS' Rolling-the-dice in Vegas: Since the massive City Center casino complex opened in Las Vegas last December amid the steepest decline in tourism in decades, its owners are still scrambling to figure out how to fix the 67-acre development's financial problems. Closing the 'Viva Elvis' Cirque du Soleil show was suggested as one cost-cutting option.
The $8.7 billion project, with its hotels, condominiums, casino and giant mall designed by Daniel Libeskind, is the largest privately funded construction project in the U.S. It was supposed to usher in a new era of sophistication and urban living in the gaming capital. But it almost collapsed before it opened, and because of its huge scale, its fortunes and those of Las Vegas are closely linked.
Over the summer, executives of Dubai World and MGM Resorts International, which jointly own the project, studied and rejected the idea of closing two of the site's three hotels and the 'Viva Elvis' Cirque du Soleil show, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
City Center hopes to make back some of its extra costs by leasing about 200 of the units. An MGM chief executive chalked up the disappointment with City Center to the slower-than expected recovery nationally and in Las Vegas, and to the time it takes for a new resort to gain traction.
Monday 8 November 2010
'VIVA ELVIS' CD Review: EIN contributor Brian Quinn was one of the very first to hear the new Elvis album 'VIVA ELVIS'. He totally agrees with the EPE/Sony publicity, describing the CD as PHENOMENAL and with an AMAZING sound. Truly a listening and emotional experience and genuinely revolutionary in concept - which should give it an excellent chance for a Grammy Award next year.
Portuguese "Love Me Tender" duet: The Portuguese "Love Me Tender" duet, only available on the portuguese edition of the new album "Viva Elvis", is by thier singer Aurea.
Thursday 4 November 2010
Sony (UK) Answers Queries re 'Suspicious Minds' - new Duets Album etc: This week EIN contributor Brian Quinn asked a Marketing Director from SONY (UK) about Elvis marketing and their release policy.
Brian Quinn: Why was the new 'Suspicious Minds' single not released in the UK?
- A. Basically due to a lack of airplay and no support from the radio stations. Radio 1 and 2 would not play it and other radio stations also. This would appear to be down to the managers of these programmes being over 40 and steeped in the tradition of one should not mess with the original releases. In the circumstances we decided to pull it and save the embarrassment of having the single appear at around No.50.
BQ: Why is 'Suspicious Minds' appearing on the 'Now That's What I Call Music' No.36?
- A. It is only on the U.S.A. version of this album and the idea is for Elvis' music to gain exposure to a younger demographic.
BQ. As Elvis and Susan Boyle are both SONY artists why have the release dates of both their latest albums been scheduled for the same date - 8th November?
- A. People do not realise how difficult it is to schedule a record for release. There was no conspiracy as to both their albums being released on the same date and in fact it may actually benefit Elvis and Boyle in that they appeal to roughly the same demographic. Many people only go out to buy a record once or twice a year and in this instance Boyle fans will see the 'Viva Elvis' album in the stores alongside and may be tempted to buy it also. Of course this similarly works to Boyle's credit.
BQ. Why are there only 12 tracks on the 'Viva Elvis' album?
- A. Because the producer of the album felt that they were the best of the bunch basically and was not prepared to put his name to any of the others.
BQ. When will the TV Campaign begin for the 'Viva Elvis' album in the UK?
As for 'downloads', Sony state that due to the demographic of those who download singles it was highly unlikely that Elvis would have achieved a high chart placing. The record world is a different place to when everyone had to go out and buy hard copies. If they were still the norm then 'Suspicious Minds', with a modicum of airplay, would have had a great chance of a Top 3 single, in the UK at least.
Saturday 23 October 2010
New "Suspicious Minds" Single now on iTunes: "Suspicious Minds," the lead single from "Viva ELVIS - The Album," is now available to download on iTunes! The album will be available November 9th in the U.S. and November 5th internationally.
Viva ELVIS - The Album re-imagines the king’s own vocal performances in a broad variety of new musical settings. This new sound echoes Elvis' own versatility and ability to master all music genres, from while incorporating modern elements of garage rock, punk, urban and hip-hop.
EIN notes that it is very odd to use a Fifties Elvis image for a 1969/2010 Remixed Elvis song!
OCT 6 'Viva Elvis - The Album' Special 2CD version: EIN contributor Brian Quinn has the news hot-off-the-press that there will also be a 2 CD version of 'Viva Elvis'. This will be as follows:
The 2 CD version to be released in the UK will be priced at about £1.25 (US$2) more than the single CD version.
|Listen to 'Viva ELVIS - The Album' samples: You can now preview "Viva ELVIS - The Album" before it becomes available in November via Amazon.com.
The tracklist & remixers are listed below.
1. Opening (mixed by Robert Meunier & Erich van Tourneau)
2. Blue Suede Shoes (mixed by Serban Ghenea)
3. That's Alright (mixed by Brendan O'Brien)
4. Heartbreak Hotel (mixed by Brendan O'Brien)
5. Love Me Tender (mixed by Robert Meunier & Erich van Tourneau)
6. King Creole (mixed by Robert Meunier & Erich van Tourneau)
7. Bossa Nova Baby (mixed by Serban Ghenea)
8. Burning Love (mixed by Serban Ghenea)
9. Memories (mixed by Robert Meunier & Erich van Tourneau)
10. Can't Help Falling In Love (mixed by Serban Ghenea)
11. You'll Never Walk Alone (piano interlude) (mixed by Robert Meunier & Erich van Tourneau)
12. Suspicious Minds (mixed by Brendan O'Brien)
GO HERE TO LISTEN & pre-order.
|OCT 1 - Viva Elvis' Album - Big UK Marketing Campaign: Look out for the huge promotion and marketing that is planned in the UK for the new 'Viva Elvis' The Album. Cirque du Soleil, Pricilla Presley and the album producer Erich Van Tourneau are all undertaking the promo circuit and Priscilla has already appeared on “The One Show” and with other Major TV interviews being lined up.
- The Marketing aspects will feature a very heavy TV campaign across ITV, C4, Five and satellite space booked from launch up to Christmas plus a national “X Factor” launch-spot the day before release. There will also be outdoor poster campaigns and radio campaigns booked with Heart, Smooth and Capital radio stations. There will also be On-Line Facebook, Youtube and Google promotions.
There will also be plenty of national press campaigns and full page adverts.
The presss publicity has already started with The Sun today writing "Elvis Gets A ReVamp On New Album; HERE'S a real treat for ELVIS fans. The King's new album - his first in 33 years - sees the late singer's music reworked for Cirque Du Soleil show Viva Elvis"
Go here for the SUN article..
'Viva Elvis' Album – Worldwide Update: It is now coming to light that a lot of countries are going to get an extra local bonus 'duet' track with an artist from that country. The Belgian version has 13 tracks including 'That's All Right', 'Burning Love' plus a 'Love Me Tender' Duet with Belgian singer Dani KLEIN from the group Vaya Con Dios. This is in addition to the 'Love Me Tender' remix.
An Aussie duet is reported to be on the ' Viva Elvis' Album downunder version to be released on November 5th. The 13 track album will include an Australian artist Duet. (TBA).
SONY state that they believe it is a fantastic new Elvis album and will be a big record when compared to any artist.
Please go HERE for info on how YOU can help promote this new chart release.
(News, Source;Brian Quinn/ElvisInfoNetwork)
|SEPT 17 - 'Viva Elvis - The Album' Tracklisting: According to Sony(UK) the following is the tracklist for the 'Viva Elvis' album:
2. Blue Suede Shoes
3. Heartbreak Hotel
4. Love Me Tender
5. King Creole
6. Bossa Nova Baby
8. Can't Help Falling in Love
9. You'll Never Walk Alone
10. Suspicious Minds.
As we already knew, there were over 40 tracks recorded for the session including 'Burning Love' which is absent from this list. Sony state they are going to let fans hear the album tracks very soon.
Go here to Amazon for $12 album pre-order and promo clip.
Out November 9th
Listen to the New Elvis ‘Suspicious Minds’ Single: 'Suspicious Minds' is the new single already playing on international radio. A stunning version with a new 2010 twist, Elvis' vocal sound as if it were recorded last week! To be officially released on October 25th.
Thanks to ElvisDinnerShow you can check out this great Elvis live video edit to the new VIVA Elvis single.
LISTEN TO London's 'Elvis Forever' concert: Broadcast last night the BBC presented a dazzling roster of musicians at Elvis Forever, a concert celebrating the music of Elvis Presley, with Radio 2 Breakfast host Chris Evans and Priscilla Presley, in London's Hyde Park Sunday 12 September. It's great to hear such a loud crowd roar for ELVIS!
Click here for PODCAST. NOTE the live show starts 20 minutes in.
|AUGUST 30 - VIVA ELVIS - Behind the Scenes at Cirque: ARIA's Viva ELVIS cost more than $100 million to develop and stage.
The most recent addition to the Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil family of productions in Las Vegas opened last February, and so far is winning great reviews. It is fascinating to take a peek behind the curtain to better understand all that goes into creating such a dazzling production.
Most interesting is the fluid nature of the show, which isn’t locked in. Artistic Director Gene Lubas said it’s more akin to a living organism, adapting and changing in time. "Over time the show really develops into something. The beauty of working with Cirque is that it isn’t like Broadway, where the show opens and is locked. We can keep judging by audience response what is working and what is not working," says Lubas.
In fact, a lot of the show has already changed since it started in February. Producers made it more biographical and used more music to tell the story, but not necessarily in a chronological order. It also ends with Elvis’ triumphant comeback in Las Vegas and doesn’t address his final years. All the acts are driven by the song book, said Lubas, to keep the show moving so there is very little dialogue.
|"We are heading in the right direction. The audience is now getting on their feet and having a great time. The beauty of this is that a lot of Elvis songs are less than four minutes so it’s bang bang. We were really able to take the highlights and positive aspects of his life and work in the Cirque magic and do an abstract biography. We tried to do it so it’s not a boring history lesson."
Aside from incredible acrobatics and dance from the performers, the music is of course the main reason people come to the show. But most of the songs have been rearranged with a modern spin so a new generation could fall in love with him and his music, Lubas said. For example, a 1960s Bossa Nova Baby song was turned into a hip hop mash-up, while another song was turned into a reggae song ('King Creole'). "Blue Suede Shoes" was transformed into a new hard rock song. Over 600 well-positioned speakers create some of the crispest sound we’ve ever heard, adding to the energy of the room as audience members actually feel every beat pulsating through them.
|But the real magic is what’s happening backstage. Technical Director Dave Dovell has worked on two other resident shows and faced many construction challenges…like getting 14 separate lifts installed and having them work seamlessly twice every night. In all, there is $68 million of lifts and machinery.
Interestingly, Priscilla Presley was not heavily involved in the production. While Lubas says she provided great resource material such as home movies – which have been incorporated into the production – she didn’t really offer up her thoughts until the show was about to open.
"She saw what we were doing and then offered suggestions, saying things like, ‘Don’t make it look like Grease cause Elvis wouldn’t want it that way’," said Lubas.
(Go here to the full original article)
Go here to Cirque du Soleil VIVA ELVIS website.
AUGUST 23- 'Burning Love' possible New Single from 'Viva Elvis': Reports are that a newly updated 'Burning Love' from the up-coming album 'Viva Elvis' could be the new Elvis single - and fans are suggesting that it could be a worldwide smash.
Note that according to SONY(UK) the video clips from 'Viva Elvis' are very different from the tracks on the CD which were done exclusively in the studio and have much better sound. Further comments are that there will be no duets or solo songs by female artists as in the VIVA ELVIS show. However, new female backings are used on certain tracks.
(News, Source; ElvisInfoNet/BrianQuinn)
Tonight VIVA ELVIS and 2010 Miss Universe: The 2010 Miss Universe Pageant is on tonight, August 23 and Viva ELVIS by Cirque de Soleil will be part of the exciting lineup!
During the swimsuit competition, audience members will be treated to a medley of songs by performers from the hit show, which can be seen exclusively at ARIA Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
The 2010 Miss Universe Pageant will be broadcast live in the USA on NBC at 9 p.m. ET.
Over the weekend the Miss Universe contestants were guests of Cirque du Soleil for a performance of Viva Elvis at MGM CityCenter’s Aria.
Since its world premiere on February 19, 2010, Viva ELVIS has been heralded by critics as a sure-fire hit.
I bet Elvis wished he had been there for the show.
Fabulous new VIVA ELVIS video: New on YouTube is this 9 minute HD video clip which gives a good impression of what to expect from the new VIVA ELVIS soundtrack album. Elvis' voice is mixed clean and up-front and the concept to produce something new and fresh-sounding isn't as scary as some may feel.
|MONDAY JULY 26 - "VIVA ELVIS" – CD to be released November 2010: Legacy Recordings in cooperation with EPE and Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil proudly announces the release of Viva ELVIS - The Album, a 21st century celebration of Elvis and his music, featuring the voice of the King in a whole new context. Viva ELVIS - The Album will be available everywhere this November.
The undisputed King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley remains one of the most iconic and powerful forces in popular culture. "Before Elvis," said John Lennon, "there was nothing."
After Elvis, the world looked and sounded different. With a swivel of his hips and the power of his voice, Elvis broke down barriers and shattered the status quo, revolutionizing the worlds of music, film and fashion while signaling a seismic shift in gender, class, race, and generational relationships. The Elvis revolution continues with Viva ELVIS - The Album.
The postmodern studio masterwork invokes the spirit and essence of Elvis from a contemporary perspective while furthering the revolutionary impulses of Elvis' sound. Viva ELVIS - The Album re-imagines the king’s own vocal performances in a broad variety of new musical settings.
|This new sound echoes Elvis' own versatility and ability to master all music genres, from Delta blues to rockabilly, from raw soul to gospel, from Southern folk to Vegas pop, while incorporating elements of garage rock, punk, urban and hip-hop.
"Viva ELVIS is a tantalizing musical experience," said Adam Block, Senior Vice President/General Manager, Legacy Recordings. "It's so creative and so contemporary, it effortlessly places Elvis in a current context that appeals to fans of all ages and all kinds of music. There's a freshness, a newness to these songs that grabs you and shakes you and ultimately testifies to the remarkable artist Elvis remains to this very day."
"What would the songs of Elvis be like if he were doing them for the first time today?," asks the album's producer and arranger Erich van Tourneau, Musical Director and Arranger for Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil. "We set out to evoke the soul and spirit of Elvis Presley while building a bridge between his music and future generations of fans."
Working with tens of thousands of samples of Elvis’ voice, van Tourneau and Bombardier often wove several sequences and sounds into the same songs, sometimes changing details such as the key and tempo. In creating Viva ELVIS - The Album, van Tourneau was looking to accentuate and boost the emotional charge of the songs with the incorporation of ragga, punk or hip-hop elements into classic recordings. In all cases, however, the goal was to respect and understand the essence of the original recordings.
In celebration of all eras of Elvis' musical genius, Viva ELVIS - The Album includes songs from Elvis’ rise to fame in the ‘50s, his movie soundtracks, his triumphant return to the stage in the “’68 Special,” and his ground-breaking appearances in Las Vegas. "Burning Love," "Suspicious Minds," "Blue Suede Shoes" and "It's Now or Never" are among the songs that have been re-imagined and transformed for Viva ELVIS - The Album.
The first opportunity to hear a sample from this ground-breaking album will take place during Elvis Week in Memphis on Saturday, August 14, during the event “Conversations on Elvis.”
Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil, a harmonious fusion of dance, acrobatics and live music, opened earlier this year in a specially designed 1,800 seat theater at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. A tribute to the life and music of Elvis Presley, Viva ELVIS focuses on the essential humanity of the one superstar whose name will forever be linked with the history of Las Vegas: Elvis Presley. Significant moments in his life – intimate, playful and grandiose – blend with timeless songs that remain as relevant today as when they first hit the top of the charts.
Viva ELVIS - The Album is a 21st century venue for rock's first and biggest superstar. The King's Music Lives!
Go here to EIN's 2010 ELVIS CD News for all the extra new VIVA ELVIS CD details
You can pre-order it from Amazon. It is priced cheaply at only US$11. Go here for pre-order.
And for more VIVA information, go to www.vivaelvis.com.
|JULY 2010 - 'Viva ELVIS - The Album' new CD: The brand new Elvis CD from the 'VIVA ELVIS' stage show is to be released in October.
As described by SONY.... Viva ELVIS - The Album, is a 21st century celebration of Elvis and his music, featuring the voice of the king in a whole new context. The undisputed King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, remains one of the most iconic and powerful forces in popular culture. "Before Elvis," said John Lennon, "there was nothing." After Elvis, the world looked and sounded different. With a swivel of his hips and the power of his voice, Elvis broke down barriers and shattered the status quo, revolutionizing the worlds of music, film and fashion, while signalling a seismic shift in gender, class, race, and generational relationships.
The Elvis revolution continues with Viva ELVIS - The Album. This post-modern studio masterwork invokes the spirit and essence of Elvis from a contemporary perspective, while furthering the revolutionary impulses of Elvis' sound. 'Viva ELVIS - The Album' re-imagines the king’s own vocal performances in a broad variety of new musical settings. This new sound echoes Elvis' own versatility and ability to master all music genres, from Delta blues to rockabilly, from raw soul to gospel, from Southern folk to Vegas pop, while incorporating elements of garage rock, punk, urban and hip-hop.
No cover art is yet available and you can pre-order it from Amazon. It is priced cheaply at only US$11. Go here for pre-order.
|VIVA ELVIS CLIPS: Cirque du Soleil Unveils Viva ELVIS. Viva ELVIS, a harmonious fusion of dance, acrobatics and live music, is a tribute to the life and music of Elvis Presley. Nostalgia, modernity and raw emotion provide the backdrop for his immortal voice and the exhilaration and beauty of his music. Discover Viva ELVIS:
Go here for some interesting YouTube clips
The Viva Elvis Opening in Las Vegas
Cirque du Soleil Unveils Viva ELVIS - Highlights 1
Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil - Official Trailer
LAS VEGAS (Mar 20, 2010)
Midway into Cirque du Soleil's latest eye-popping Las Vegas production, Viva Elvis, there's a segment saluting Elvis Presley's love affair with Hollywood.
It's an upbeat, thigh-slapping, ersatz Western number in which one of the troupe's dancers, outfitted as a movie cowboy, spins a lasso that keeps expanding until it seems to take in half the stage at the Aria Resort & Casino, where the show had its glitzy premiere last month.
Impressive as that was, it underscored how the Canadian company can't get a rope around the mythic figure that is the King of Rock 'n' Roll. All the signature Cirque elements are here: breathtaking acrobatics, dazzlingly inventive sets, joyfully inspired costumes and imaginatively reimagined music -- the bulk of it derived from Presley's recordings.
But Cirque's creative team set a standard for itself, and others, with the Beatles-driven Love show just down the street, which is not easily equalled, much less surpassed. That venture not only taps the musical spirit, but also touches the magical soul of the Fab Four, something that Viva Elvis aspires to only fleetingly in paying homage to pop music's other titanic figure.
Love brought the Beatles to Las Vegas without a hint of shlock, a mission apparently impossible with Elvis, given that his association with Sin City virtually defined the contemporary notion of pop-culture kitsch.
Cirque might have attempted to ignore that aspect of his career, but instead embraces it, and often in witty, mostly affectionate ways.
Viva Elvis is skewed toward fans who are captivated by the cultural excess of Graceland rather than those drawn to the startling power of his best music.
The show, for which tickets run $99 to $175 US, unfolds chronologically, and incorporates lessons learned from Love in the lively deconstructions and reconstructions of nearly three dozen of his studio recordings. Presley's vocals are often detached from the original instrumental backing and paired with a live band that belts with considerable gusto.
Cirque's smart move from the outset was bypassing the use of any male singers for live renditions of his songs: Several numbers that are rendered anew are sung by female cast members, occasionally in duet with the King's disembodied voice.
But Viva Elvis doesn't spend a lot of time trying to explore the mystery of Presley. It prefers to celebrate the public figure, and does so with great affection, if not meticulous attention to historical accuracy or cultural credibility.
The show's use of the character of Colonel Tom Parker as narrator paints him as a sympathetic father figure -- "With Elvis," he states, "every day was an adventure!" -- overlooking the self-enriching career and life direction the one-time carny gave him. "Elvis put Las Vegas on the map!" the Parker character intones without a hint of irony or self-serving bluster, a statement with which fans of Frank Sinatra might take issue.
It also gives equal weight -- and value -- to both his fallow Hollywood years and his creatively explosive '50s period, when he truly left the world all shook up.
One of the few times the show taps the pathos and tragedy of Presley's life story -- what makes that story so emotionally rich -- is in the delivery of One Night.
Instead of the ribald R&B number that Elvis transformed from One Night of Sin into One Night With You, it's rendered here as a disarmingly graceful ballad, sung by a woman in contemporary tank top and jeans as she watches two men athletically working their way around a gigantic guitar-shaped metal framework.
The men are dressed in the standard-issue teen boy uniform of the '50s: white T-shirts, cuffed blue jeans and black oxford shoes, representing Elvis Aaron and his twin, Jesse Garon, who was stillborn.
At the end of the number, while Elvis scales the neck of the guitar climbing toward the heaven-bound headstock, Jesse drops from one of the bottom rungs into a pit below, one hint at the personal loss that haunted Presley throughout his life.
There's also a gorgeous and moving aerial pas de deux in which two members of the troupe float effortlessly through the air to accompany the weightless sound of Elvis' vocal on Are You Lonesome Tonight?
Among the other individual pieces, Got a Lot O' Livin' to Do takes an audio clip in which Presley expresses his youthful passion for comic books as the foundation for a fanciful trampoline workout for acrobats in various superhero-inspired costumes. Bossa Nova Baby incorporates a nerve-testing, chair-balancing act full of characters in garish '60s hipster duds.
The two most striking numbers are the military-based treatment of Return to Sender that follows film footage of Presley's 1958 swearing-in as an Army private, and an electrifying reinvention of the iconic Jailhouse Rock movie production number.
The show goes on to reference his fairy-tale wedding to Priscilla Beaulieu, as well as their tempestuous life together -- minus any allusions to the birth of daughter Lisa Marie.
Elvis Presley became the single most influential pop musician of the rock era by unleashing an innate genre- and colour-blind talent that let him transcend his dirt-poor origins and achieve a previously unimaginable level of worldwide success.
Cirque du Soleil clearly loves Elvis tender, but in the end, Viva Elvis never lets him step off the mystery train.
|MAY 17th - Priscilla Presley talks about New Las Vegas Show Viva ELVIS: Priscilla Presley joined Fox 2 last Monday to chat about Cirque du Soleil's new Las Vegas Show.
In paying homage to the music of Elvis, Cirque du Soleil set out to present the songs of the King of Rock n Roll in a contemporary form that evokes the spirit of Elvis in every way.
"A celebration of Elvis' musical legacy"
Click here to the interview and some nice clips of the VIVA show.
'Viva Elvis' Sony CD: Brian Quinn reports that Sony executives will be meeting in New York later this month to review the master recordings from the 'Viva Elvis' Show to finalise track listing and decide on which ones to release as a possible single or singles in advance of the Album release in September. The Marketing strategy will also be on the agenda.
(News, Source;BrianQuinn) March 2010
JUNE - Snoop Dog Visits Viva ELVIS: Cirque du Soleil’s Viva Elvis at Aria in MGM’s CityCenter has become the must-see for celebrities on Las Vegas trips, including non other than Snoop Dogg, who saw the show on June 21 with his daughter. Snoop took her to the show for her birthday, and they loved it! Not only were they waving the Elvis flags that they caught during the finale but Snoop and his daughter posed with the cast after the show.
After the show, the family went backstage where Snoop was greeted with shouts and cheers. He posed for photos and then his daughter joined the group. The cast and Snoop sang Happy Birthday to her.
Snoop praised the cast, saying this was the best show he’s ever seen and "Jailhouse Rock" was his favorite song. On his way out, he was heard saying “Man, this was a defining moment in Snoop history!”
"You ain't nothin' but a Hound Dizzle" says the Snoop.
Overseen by Cirque’s artistic guides, Guy Laliberte and Gilles Ste-Croix, the $100-million production was written and directed by Vincent Paterson. It follows Elvis Presley’s life and music, from his poverty-stricken childhood in
As with all of Cirque’s more recent productions, a tremendous amount of engineering and technical advancement went into Viva Elvis. Wired.com was offered an exclusive backstage tour of this Presley tribute.
To serve up an idea of the backstage machinations, the staging area measures more than 150 feet from floor to ceiling. The sides and the rear of the stage are fixed areas, while the center is composed of 16 platforms, separated into 12 sections that can rise to a height of 10 feet. Depending on the scene, the platforms may at various times in the show support performers, singers, dancers or set elements. The widest platform measures 18 feet by 80 feet and is raised by four powerful motors 26 feet below the stage.
The most impressive technological achievement in the show might be the automated computer system that moves the massive set pieces designed by Mark Fisher. Weighing as much as 45 tons, many of the show’s larger backdrops, massive high-def video screens and acrobatic elements would require a small army to move into position. Even then, the odds that a sea of stagehands could do the moving with any measure of speed or precision are slimmer than a girl saying no to a date with Presley in 1956.
Also, when you have fearless acrobats flying hither and yon above hidden webs of life-preserving nets beneath the stage, the always-safety-conscious Cirque engineers need everything onstage to be exactly on point. So, the producers and designers employed a digital sensor system that reads the position of the sets — employing the torque of powerful rack-and-pinion engines to slide or elevate the necessary backdrops and props into place.
Stagehands position reflector tubes in key backstage positions. Digital readers locate the reflectors and use them as reference points to position the sets. If the set is dark for dramatic purposes or obscured by smoke effects, the system “remembers” where those reference points were.
If any moving show element goes as much as 5 mm out of line, the safety cut-offs kick in faster than a hip shimmy, freezing the set. Yes, the show stops in its blue suede shoes for a bit — but that’s better than an injury to a member of the company.
Viva Elvis is drawing strong crowds, despite the ongoing recession rocking the entertainment capital of the world. It’s contracted for a 10-year run at the Aria, and tickets start at $100. It’s a safe bet Elvis will not be leaving the building anytime soon.
“Thank you very much.” (Review, Source: John Scott Lewinski, wired.com)
(Review, Source: John Scott Lewinski, wired.com)
Larry Geller's Review of Viva ELVIS: In contrast to Marty Lacker's views below, here is another review from Larry Geller:
Hal Wallis once said “An Elvis picture is the only sure thing in Hollywood.” The same might be said of “Viva ELVIS Cirque du Soleil,” one of the few sure bets in a struggling Las Vegas today.
But then, this was Cirque du Soleil, known for their creativity and professionalism, so perhaps they would surprise me. Yet how could anyone or any show possibly capture and convey the magic of Elvis? The set designer for the show, Mark Fisher, acknowledged the challenge they faced in creating this show when he said, “Elvis has transcended reality and become a kind of mythic figure.”
Look, we all know only too well that Elvis has left the building and no one can truly bring him back. But to my utter amazement and great joy I soon realized that – in a unique and spectacular way - I was experiencing Elvis once more, sitting there in the Elvis Theater at the Aria Resort and Casino. In an eye-popping extravaganza, he dances, laughs, sings and goofs as he explodes on a massive screen. What a brilliant move, bypassing the use of any male singers for live renditions of his songs. Elvis plays Elvis, coming to life as never before. His image on the huge screen above the stage is so compelling, I had to force my eyes to look at the stage to watch the amazing performers. And they are truly amazing dancers, gymnastic-acrobats and singers, all united in Cirque du Soleil’s celebration of Elvis’ remarkable legacy.
The show hits the highlights in Elvis’ life and career, taking us on a journey that includes his musical roots in the southern church, his youthful fascination with comic superheroes, his army years, his love affair with Hollywood and his own movie career, culminating in his record-setting Las Vegas triumph.
On a personal level his relationship with Priscilla and their wedding are beautifully and gracefully portrayed. I loved the aerial ballet of two couples floating above the stage in wedding rings.
One of the most poignant and intimate moments was when “Viva ELVIS” soars into metaphor in a tender rendition of the ballad “One Night With You”. Two young men that we recognize as Elvis and Jesse Garon execute soulful acrobatics, alone and together, on a guitar-shaped apparatus suspended in front of a starry night.
“Viva ELVIS” is truly a spectacle, theatrically and dramatically chronicling Elvis’ musical biography. Rockin’ good music, breathtaking acrobats and dancers, dazzling sets and costumes play off stunning archival footage and iconic images of Elvis, making this the perfect experience. I left the theater feeling totally satisfied…yet wanting more. (News, Source:http://www.larrygeller.blogspot.com)
MARTY LACKER comments on "Viva Elvis" (28 Feb 2010): As for the negative reviews of VIVA Elvis Cirque show, although I haven't seen the whole show, I have seen a number of video clips as well as have read many of the reviews from the Vegas papers and elsewhere and have read the comments by people who have seen it.
I hate to say this but you know me, I tell it like it is. I knew it wouldn't be great for two reasons, one is the Elvis input came from Priscilla and two of her ass kissers and none of them are that creative, plus I knew she would slant it from her point of view and also make sure it was partly about her two. Her minions agree with whatever she says because they get thrown a bone by her every once in awhile and they need it. One of them works for her and EPE, so they're not gonna' do anything to make her mad at them. Naturally she had to include herself in that show by including the wedding. If they wanted to show the real Elvis, as they claim they were doing, they should have had a number of girls around him, not just her. What about Linda Thompson,Anita Wood and another that he really loved, Ann Margret.
Secondly, ELVIS IS NOT BROADWAY, he's not a musical theater stage show, he proved that in his crummy musical travelogues they called his movies. He called them that himself after awhile with a couple of exceptions in the early years. Cirque's Beatles show is different in that the people the Beatles mainly appealed to came ten years after Elvis and by then the music taste was different.
Elvis was raw Rock N' Roll and R&B and that is so far from Broadway it's the difference of night and day. The biggest reason his comeback special was so successful was, in addition to the fact that he had not been seen on TV by the masses in a number of years until then, the Black Leather Segment was the real Elvis Presley,not those other staged segments that were just like his movie scenes. If the entire Special had been like the Leather segment it would have been even more highly acclaimed.
One famed reviewer in the Las Vegas Review Journal made mention that, "one of the main aspects of Elvis' life, the men around him he trusted and bonded with all of his career,The Memphis Mafia, is not even hinted at in the show". Once again,Priscilla strikes out of pettiness, which I personally believe is a reason none of the other women including Ann Margret, are not mentioned or depicted. It's all about Priscilla, his ex-wife.
As someone who is experienced in the production of music and shows having produced and directed a number of them successfully, I am deeply disappointed in this opportunity that presented itself in Vegas to depict and honor the memory of one of the greatest entertainers of all times and one who meant a great deal in my life, was done so shabbily. I realize that is my opinion but it also seems, also by the reviewers, I am not alone in that opinion.
I do think though that if you can, you should see the show and form your own opinion.
Read more of Marty's Musings on EIN
|'Viva Elvis' not universally applauded: Cirque du Soleil's tribute doesn't tap into the essence of the King of Rock 'n' Roll.
When Cirque du Soleil premiered the Beatles-based “LOVE,” in 2006 at the Mirage Resort, the barre of excellence was set anew for this Montreal-based entertainment behemoth in terms of artistry, technology and shear pop culture magnitude.
Cirque announced soon afterward that its next subject for a Las Vegas mega-production would be Elvis Presley, which seemed a logical (if not more daunting) progression. After all, Elvis was
But miss it has, and after experiencing the 90-minute “Viva ELVIS” gala premiere Friday night at the plush Elvis Presley Theatre inside the Aria Hotel at CityCenter, the reason becomes clear: Somewhere along the creative road, the production lost sight of the essence of Elvis Presley. (Trust me, it won’t be found in a group of rollerskating “bridegrooms” in one of the silliest giant wedding cake sendups this side of Busby Berkeley.)
Part Cirque, part rock concert, the production — written, directed and co-choreographed by Vincent Patterson — is eye-candy to the max, a color-rich explosion of Andy Warhol-meets-Bob Mackie-meets- “The Folies Bergere.” With its cast of 28 acrobats, 30 vibrant dancers (this show is almost entirely driven by dance), four female vocalists (the only male voice in the production is that of Presley himself) and a scorching nine-piece band that steals the show, “Viva ELVIS” is not the story of Elvis’ life, but a celebration of his legacy, the show’s program informs. To that end, glorious montages of home movies, vintage news reel footage and clips from Presley’s feature films provide the video backdrop to the action way, way below on one of the largest proscenium stages ever constructed.
Despite all that and more, Cirque has not quite figured out what it wants to do with Presley. Was he the King of Rock and Roll, or the king of kitsch? Do we really need pole dancers to sexy-up “It’s Now or Never” (which has incidentally been re-mixed in a minor key)? And when it comes to hearing Elvis sing, the show too often splits that duty between his vocals stripped from those master tapes and the aforementioned very capable female singers who tackle the Presley songbook in contemporary solo efforts or in funky “duets” with the King. A weakly written narrative delivered by an actor portraying Presley’s lifelong manager Colonel Tom Parker as a jolly old fella is just too much to forgive.
There are moments when the show does find its way: A brassy, big-band sendup of “Don’t Be Cruel” is a marvelous take on the classic. “All Shook Up” is reborn as a rousing spiritual in tribute to Presley’s
In the end, what’s missing in all of Cirque’s re-Elvising of Elvis is the heart and soul of the boy who would be king. Presley delivered rock and roll, blues, gospel and pop, with an incomparable dose of soul always at their core. Presley’s ability to cross all musical genre (and color) lines with the greatest of ease was his forte, from his earliest recordings, to his incomparable ’68 “Comeback Special” (shamefully missing from the production, since that television special paved the way for Elvis’ return to the Las Vegas stage) to those jumpsuited ’70s shows at the International Hotel that were the hottest ticket in town.
If you know little about the life of Elvis Presley or his music, “Viva ELVIS” will do little to enlighten you, though it will entertain you. But you will walk out of the theater knowing nothing of the deep faith Presley brought to “How Great Thou Art,” or the sexiness he brought to “Jailhouse Rock,” or the spirited rockabilly he brought to “Mystery Train.” It’s those musical qualities and abilities that made Presley the artist he was, and ultimately the pop culture icon he became. It’s those qualities that will forever be his true legacy. Now that’s something to celebrate. (Review, Source: Miriam Dinunzio suntimes.com)
|"The King" Makes a Triumphant Return to Las Vegas in the World Premiere of Viva Elvis: The tribute to the life and music of Elvis Presley by Cirque du Soleil has opened at ARIA Resort & Casino at CityCenter.
With Priscilla Presley in attendance a celebrity crowd celebrated the world premiere of Viva ELVIS, the newest resident show by Cirque du Soleil, at ARIA Resort & Casino at CityCenter in Las Vegas, on Friday night.
The show, a harmonious fusion of dance, acrobatics and live music, is a tribute to the life and music of Elvis Presley. It is a partnership between Cirque du Soleil and Elvis Presley Enterprises LLC, a CKX, Inc. company.
Robert F.X. Sillerman, Chairman and CEO of CKX, Inc., said he was thrilled with the premiere. "When we first considered the idea of a production to capture the true essence of Elvis, we knew it had to be a show conceived and performed by the creative geniuses of Cirque du Soleil," Mr. Sillerman said. "Given that we were working with Cirque du Soleil, which has such an extraordinary track record, and an icon of the
|magnitude of Elvis, I was concerned that I had set my expectations too high. But from what I saw Friday and from the reactions of those who attended the premiere, including the critics, I am amazed to say that my hopes for the show have been exceeded."
Mr. Sillerman continued, "As the reviews have said, Viva ELVIS is a show the devoted Elvis fan will love, but it reaches beyond that. It will be thoroughly enjoyed by the casual Elvis fan, by the fans of music from Elvis's era and by anyone who ever listened to rock and roll. It is also a show that will be loved by fans of Cirque du Soleil, as it takes their talents to an entire new level."
Go here for more Viva ELVIS Opening night photos.
Cirque du Soleil triumphs with Viva Elvis - a glorious celebration of the King!: Art, architecture, and Elvis.
Those are the three key elements, beyond gaming, which are meant to draw a whole new demographic to the just-opened $8.5-billion CityCenter urban development in Las Vegas – a project that is often described as the biggest gamble ever made in Sin City.
The Cirque du Soleil’s Viva ELVIS has had more pressure on it to succeed than any of the six previous permanent Cirque shows in Las Vegas. And early reports, based on a premature unveiling of the work in December, were not favourable.
But when the show finally opened at the Aria resort in CityCenter this week, all doubts were swept away.
|"Viva Viva Elvis" says US Time Magazine: There he is, in vivid black and white, onstage at Las Vegas' new Aria hotel-casino, squalling "Blue Suede Shoes" on a gigantic screen behind a jukebox-shaped set. Below him, eight musicians serve as his amped-up house band while a dozen dancers practically leap out of their tight pants and pedal pushers. At centre stage is a huge shoe, which another half-dozen revellers use as a trampoline, performing double somersaults in time to the music. The King looks down, smiling as if in approval of this spectacular union of two crucial elements--one past, one present--of Vegas show biz. Elvis Presley, meet Cirque du Soleil's Viva Elvis.
From his first concert series at the International Hotel in 1969 until his death in 1977, Elvis was Las Vegas. Glammed up in sequined duds that would make a showgirl or Liberace envious, he pleased his aging audience, singing his early hits that once had the musk of sexual revolt but by then were golden oldies. And while he redefined Sin City's notion of a headliner show, the town changed Presley as well. At the end, the kid from Tupelo, Miss., may have been more Vegas than Elvis.
|The Strip has another king now. Since 1993, with the opening of Mystère, the Montreal-based Cirque has come to dominate Vegas entertainment with such theatrical extravaganzas as the water show O and the martial-arts epic Ka--pieces that in scope and technical éclat are to the typical Broadway show what Avatar is to the 1933 King Kong. In 2006, Cirque pulled off a Beatles homage, Love, but that was sedate stuff next to this audiovisual-balletic-acrobatic explosion from director Vincent Paterson and "director of creation" Armand Thomas. They've concocted an experience that's both symphonic and in every way fantastic.
Beginning and ending with Elvis '56 ("Blue Suede Shoes" to start, "Hound Dog" for the finale), the 90-min. show, now in previews before its official opening Feb. 19, sprints through Presley's youth, his first phenomenal success, his Army service, his marriage to Priscilla Beaulieu, his movies and the Vegas years. This is hagiography, not biography; it's no warts, all wonder.
The wonder comes not just in the death-taunting circus feats--trapeze agility, high-bar gymnastics--that are the company's hallmark but also in the superb editing of Elvis clips (by Ivan Dudynsky) and the savvy sampling of the musical material (by Erich van Tourneau) that revises and refreshes the Presley oeuvre. No tribute show can touch this one in its level of sophistication and its power of evocation.
Got a Lot o' Livin' to Do
In Vintage Cirque style, Viva Elvis often soars into the symbolic, the oneiric. To suggest the star's closeness to his twin brother Jesse, who died at birth, the show offers, to a tender rendition of the ballad "One Night," a vision of two young men in James Dean--ish white T-shirts and jeans, executing soulful acrobatics, alone and together, on a guitar-shaped apparatus suspended in front of a starry night sky. At the end, one of the men--Jesse--falls off into the abyss.
There's plenty of vigorous terpsichore (this is as much a dance show as a circus show), but Viva Elvis can't stay earthbound for long. In the Army section, to the tune of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?," two figures on wires--a soldier abroad and his girl back home, holding a letter she's written him--execute a poignant pas de deux; they never touch until at last he grasps the letter and presses it to his chest. The Elvis-Priscilla courtship is staged with a man and a woman reclining on separate beds, then (to "Love Me") rising in sleep to meet their dream lovers on large airborne engagement rings in two complementarily sensual couplings. Cover the kids' eyes!
The very smart choice of songs covers both the canonical ("Heartbreak Hotel," "Jailhouse Rock," "Burning Love") and the merely fabulous ("Got a Lot o' Livin' to Do," which accompanies an ecstatic amusement-park bit with high-bouncing superheroes). Of course the climax is "Viva Las Vegas," with 40 Elvis impersonators and a dozen chorines filling Mark Fisher's staircased set and the Big E back onscreen, overseeing the riot of color and movement.
The real Vegas has had its profits pinched by the Great Recession lately. But luxe, energy, sexual threat and primal rock 'n' roll are back in fashion on the Aria stage, where Cirque is throwing its most joyous party ever--and where Elvis lives.
Viva Elvis - Gold hit or lead bomb?: Las Vegas remains the foreclosure capital of America. Tourism is faltering; Nevada faces a $1 billion budget deficit; and Crystals contains only retailers like Tiffany, Yves St. Laurent, Tom Ford, Prada, and Cartier – and restaurants like Wolfgang Puck or Eva Langoria Parker's would-be celebrity boite, Besos.
Aria has even put The King on steroids. Viva Elvis, the new Cirque du Soleil musical whose opening has been postponed twice, is getting raspberries from preview audiences.
Just down the street, Carl Icahn recently purchased the new $2 billion Fontainebleau Hotel and Casino project (only 70% complete) out of foreclosure for $186 million. There is trouble in River City. (News, Source: Robert Julian, ebar.com)
Sir Paul McCartney to be at Viva Elvis VIP opening: Plans are well underway for the star-studded VIP celebration for Viva Elvis' premiere Feb. 19 at Aria at CityCenter, and Cirque du Soleil is expecting Paul McCartney and members of The Beatles Love family at The Mirage to attend.
Cirque officials also are hoping for Ringo Starr with Barbara Bach, Yoko Ono with Sean Lennon and George Harrison's widow Olivia. All of them are fans of Elvis' music, and both John Lennon and Harrison have admitted that the King of Rock and Roll inspired the two Brits.
Additionally, Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie Presley are scheduled to attend next week's premiere at the Elvis Theater in Aria. Other musicians and Hollywood stars have already accepted invitations. It will not be a red carpet gala, but in fact a blue carpet celebration paying tribute to Elvis and those blue suede shoes.
As the spectacular $100 million production nears its official unveiling, Viva Elvis still is undergoing creative fixation by Cirque's top producers. This past week the production suspended four nights of previews, including Saturday night's late show, for continuing rehearsals as segments were deleted and numbers added.
This is said to be a normal part of Cirque's creation process, as the colorful, action-packed musical nears its premiere. Priscilla Presley herself has shuttled back and forth from her Malibu, Calif., home watching over and approving the changes as the Elvis show takes its final shape.
"Nothing is wrong, and it's all going to be absolutely incredible when it's really seen for the first time. The exciting audience responses through previews have been phenomenal and wonderfully enthusiastic with supportive suggestions," a theater source said. A source also has confirmed that the Elvis character on stilts has been dropped from the show.
For those who want to witness the star turnout, the blue carpet starts at 6 p.m. Feb. 19, with a post-premiere gala planned for that night, possibly lasting past the midnight hour. (News, Source: Robin Leach, Las Vegas Sun)
Cast of Viva ELVIS Celebrates Elvis' 75th Birthday: The cast of Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil celebrated Elvis’ 75th birthday Vegas-style. At the end of the performance on January 8, a Jean Phillippe Maury pastry masterpiece was brought on stage as the cast sang "Happy Birthday" to Elvis. The cake included a solid chocolate guitar and Elvis silhouette and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone after the show!
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