"Memories of Elvis" featuring Steve Davis and the Mid-South Revival The Pageant Jan. 12, 2013
Dead for more than 35 years, Elvis Presley's ghost returns to St. Louis every January to throw himself a big ol' birthday bash. But there are no party hats and peanut butter-and-banana sandwiches -- it's all booze, dancing and rhinestones out the wazoo.
Elvis impersonator Steve Davis has kept "The King" alive for more than twenty years through his "Memories of Elvis" extravaganza, which returned Saturday night to the Pageant. Flamboyant jumpsuits! Patriotic backdrops! Buddy Holly and Patsy Cline (creating a "dead people-palooza," as the evening's emcee suggested)! Davis' show prides itself on accurately depicting the details of Presley's live performances, right down to the tears on his screaming fans' faces. Some highlights:
1. Davis' set opened with a trailer for his upcoming movie, Elvis the Apostle. Let me sum up the images that flashed during the trailer: Bible verse, guitar, motorcycle, fence, Davis singing in profile, American flag, bike, lunch, police, hospital, rosary, more singing, crying, sad lady, praying Elvis, concert, the Arch, Davis singing in shadow, the Arch steps, jumpsuit, bike wheel, purple motorcycle, ElvisTheApostle.com. Whew.
2. After the trailer, the audience was teased further with "Ready for the King?" superimposed over a 50-foot image of Davis' jumpsuit-adorned crotch. Davis appears to be a righty -- and I'm not talking about his hand.
3. With nearly 20 performers waiting on stage, Davis finally appeared, donning an indigo jumpsuit covered in silver studs and rhinestones. I froze in terror for a moment, having a Clownvis Presley flashback, but it quickly passed. Davis' entrance song: "C.C. Ryder," naturally.
4. "Memories of Elvis" covers Presley's songs from the Sun Records years through his final Vegas performances. Within the first 30 minutes, the audience was treated to "Burning Love," A Little Less Conversation," "Jailhouse Rock" and "Treat Me Nice."
5. The first teddy bear was thrown onstage during "Never Been to Spain," the fourth song.
6. Davis often referenced "the Spirit," encouraging the audience with "If you get louder, you might get the Spirit on you." Yes, my friend and I made jokes Adam Sandler would be proud of.
7. Davis was backed by the Mid-South Revival, a band full of musicians who played well and got into their hammy roles. The alto sax player wore a SpongeBob tie.
8. "Little Sister" included a wonderful performance of the Beatles' "Get Back" and featured sax, guitar and drum solos before returning to the original song.
9. Davis and his backup singers -- the Double Trouble team and opener Rivertown Sound -- left the stage during "Polk Salad Annie" while Mid-South continued playing and featured a bass solo. The singers later returned in choir robes, while Davis donned his famous white jumpsuit that featured an extravagant rhinestone eagle on the back.
10. "In the Ghetto," "How Great Thou Art" and "Down by the Riverside" were featured in the gospel portion of the evening, a time when many audience members fetched more booze.