I never really considered myself a huge Elvis fan, as I was just 10 years old when he died. I had heard his songs, definitely, and had seen a few of his movies, but not many of them. The year that he died, 1977, was right around the time when WTBS, Ted Turner’s original “SuperStation” became popular and started playing movies all the time.
As I have grown older, and my musical tastes have expanded, changed, contracted, etc., I’ve come to appreciate Elvis’ music. He truly did define a new genre, the very beginnings of rock-n-roll, and then proceeded to cross so many genres that few artists since have accomplished as much , in rock, gospel, pop and even big-band crooning like Sinatra and company.
Plus, Elvis’ fame was truly amazing. He was hugely famous, the world over, and during his fabled run of concerts in Las Vegas in the 1970′s, during most of those years one out of every 2 visitors to the city saw his show. He was famous at a time when there was no 24-hour news cycle, and dozens of shows – not to mention websites and blogs – that are devoted to everything “celebrity” and “fame.” Elvis put the fame in famous, and then some!
But enough about Elvis…
Stepping into Elvis’ shoes, and performing for folks who were die-hard fans and actually saw the man in concert, is certainly a daunting task. And doing it as well as long-time Elvis tribute artist Dwight Icenhower does, is nothing short of amazing. What is doubly amazing is that a show with Dwight Icenshower and the Promiseland Band is actually two shows in one. One with Dwight dressed as 50′s Elvis, singing songs from the 1950′s and 1960′s, and then a second half featuring Dwight in the familiar 1970′s era white jumpsuit that Elvis wore in Vegas and elsewhere.
I am by no means a “music critic” – I’m just a fan – but I can say that there is a very good reason why Dwight is known as “The Voice” by followers and Elvis fans. Simply put, he has the moves, the sound, and the awesome singing voice – and range – of the original Elvis down pat. Watching him perform, it’s easy to forget that this is just a man, even a very young man, born four years after Elvis’ passing, that is just imitating Elvis.
And “imitating” is too weak a word, as is the often used “Elvis impersonator” label. It takes more than just a white jumpsuit, a wig, fake sideburns, and singing like the man, and saying “Thank you very much..” in his fast blurred way of saying it – to truly pay homage to one of the greatest performers ever in American music. You can tell that Dwight, and the Promiseland Band, are truly fans of Elvis, and it’s the ultimate compliment that he has the following he has, and some truly supportive fan club members, who from conversations I had with some in the Adelphia balcony, really do follow him from show to show.
The Dwight Icenhower and Promisedland Band Elvis Tribute Show was the first-ever sold out show at The Adelphia, and we hope to have him back – soon! In the meantime, if you are reading this somewhere other than Marietta, Ohio, if Dwight and the boys are playing near you – anywhere near you – and you consider yourself an Elvis fan, you owe it to yourself to catch his show. You will not be disappointed, that I can guarantee you.
Below are some photos from the show, courtesy of Robb DeCamp.