Review: Elvis Presley’s Aloha From Hawaii, Grand Opera House

8 Nov 2014 @ 11.34 am
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Gordon Hendricks as the king

  Elvis Presley’s Aloha From Hawaii
  Grand Opera House, November 7

It may have been cold, wet and miserable outside in York on Friday nignt, but that was far from the case inside the Grand Opera House, where Gordon Hendricks transported us to Hawaii for his tribute to Elvis – Aloha From Hawaii.

I was brought up on Elvis, I vaguely remember watching the concert on the TV with my mother as a young child, and whilst this isn’t my favourite era of Elvis music, I was looking forward to the show.

Add to that I took along my mother, a hardened Elvis addict who’s seen numerous tribute acts, and this was always going to be an interesting evening.

When Gordon first stepped out on stage I couldn’t help comparing him to a Ken doll. I’m not sure what make up he was using, but I couldn’t get past the plastic artificial look.

Luckily whatever it was soon wore off, and I spent the rest of the evening falling in love with his smile and the twinkle in his eye.

I know I was sitting in the dress circle, but trust me; there was just something about him that convinced me the twinkle was there. It’s OK, I’m not going senile, someone else agreed with me.

Gordon certainly looks the part, his well fitted Seventies jumpsuit festooned all over with jewels was complemented by a detailed eagle on the back. Even his hair looked real, the fringe moving in such a natural way when he flicked his head. And that’s before he started wiggling his behind at us!

This guy has the performance down pat. From the subtle little gestures, the low squatting positions on stage, the hip thrusts and even the laugh. Let’s just say the ladies certainly enjoyed watching him perform.

The show is as true as possible to the original live show, with a few extra numbers thrown in. I could see my mother visibly tense at the beginning of some of the more difficult songs, but that was soon replaced with a look of absolute joy as he performed them flawlessly. This guy has an amazing voice.

After listening to his rendition of American Trilogy I can see why he has won so many awards. Like me he was brought up on Elvis, but unlike me, won Stars In Their Eyes back in 2005.

My mother tells me that I have seen Gordon perform previously as Elvis, a few years ago in Batley. I’m sure she’s right, but all I can say is he must have improved tremendously, as there is no way I would have forgotten the performance this guy gave tonight.

I may not have seen as many Elvis tribute acts as my mother, but I’ve still seen a fair few, and for me he was head and shoulders above the rest. Even my mother said he was the best British tribute she’s seen. Now coming from her that’s high praise indeed.

The audience at the Grand Opera House can sometimes appear difficult to please at shows like this – not this evening, from early in the first half Gordon had them eating out of his hand, they were loving it.

He has a natural presence on stage, engages the audience flawlessly, and throughout it all you’d swear he was having a great time himself. He just looks so natural in the role.

Because it’s a replication of the show in Hawaii it also had one of the largest backing groups I’ve seen. Between keyboards, brass, drums, guitars and backing singers I counted 19 people as well as Gordon on stage.

The sound was excellent. Gordon’s voice more than a match for the Grand Opera House acoustics, and of course there was a lot of audience participation, ending with a standing ovation and requests for an encore.

What I really loved about this show, aside from the faultless performances, was the music – so many songs that you just don’t hear other tribute acts perform.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and I for one will definitely go see Gordon perform again if he comes back to York.