So what do Ben Klein, Aaron Wong, Mori Masumara and Brian Simpson have in common? They're all Elvis impersonators. And they were all at the Kay Meeks Centre in West Vancouver doing a benefit concert for the city area food banks.
So tonight I spent the evening with my Elvis companion Susannah - she's a HUGE fan and for our 40th birthdays we took a pilgrimage to Memphis, via Chicago and New Orleans. Tonight we spent three and a half hours with various incarnations of Elvis - from the 50s Elvis in a pink jacket, blue suede shoes and pink socks, to the 60s Elvis in a gold lame jacket, to the Aloha from Hawaii Elvis in a red jumpsuit, and finally the heavy and tired and old concert Elvis in a white jumpsuit.
Here are my rankings:
Masumara - the Japanese Aloha from Hawaii Elvis - best body despite probably being the oldest. He's been an impersonator for 25 years and he learned to sing Elvis in Japanese - he sang us part of Heartbreak Hotel with the Japanese lyrics.
Wong - the youngest of the Elvises and definitely the cutest - and told maybe the best joke of the night. I guess you recognize me, right? The young Jackie Chan? But I guess you didn't know that Elvis was Chinese from 1956-1958 - and then he converted. He's from Vancouver and I so wanted his jacket.
Klein - the 50's and comeback special Elvis - sounded most like Elvis, had the biggest voice with absolutely no problem carrying the songs.
Simpson - having a bad night for sure -
The crowd was as entertaining as the performers. Susannah and I - I'm 50, she'll be so soon - were pretty close to the youngest people in the crowd. There may have been a dozen people younger than us - but that was it. Satisfying, as it doesn't happen very often anymore.
I wondered how many of the people in the audience had seen the real Elvis? (Count me in - San Diego in 1975 or 76) I wondered how many of them traveled around seeing various Elvis imitators? I wonder how many of them regret not seeing the real Elvis even if they weren't fans when he was alive? I wondered how it is that a man who's been dead almost thirty years still has such an effect on people? I wondered why it is that many people remember specific concerts - the Hawaii concert, the 68 comeback special, one of the Ed Sullivan shows? And mostly I wondered how different the world would be today if Elvis hadn't been born?
I remember where I was when I heard he died. Do you?