Had Elvis Presley not died young then he might well still be with us: it would be the King of Rock and Roll’s eighty-ninth birthday next week – startlingly youthful for somebody who revolutionised the world back in the ’50s and died in 1977.
The decades since his death have seen the legend of the man almost as busy as Presley himself ever was: in the last couple of years alone he’s been the subject of two major films – 2022’s ‘Elvis’ and Sophia Coppola’s current ‘Priscilla’.
There have also been numerous ‘live’ experiences over the years, most notably the long-running Elvis: The Concert, an ongoing concert tour that began in 1997 and had Presley’s ’70s backing band playing live to recorded footage of the King.
However, as Elvis’s sidemen grow older, technology gets more advanced, and other dead or disbanded musicians rack up critical acclaim for brand-new concert presentation, it seems inevitable that the time is right for the Elvis industry to enter a new, immersive era.
‘Elvis Evolution’ is a new show from Layered Reality, the company best known for its long-running London immersive theatre hits ‘The War of the Worlds’ and ‘The Gunpowder Plot’. Made with the full permission of the Elvis Presley estate, it’s due to launch in London later this year and expand to Tokyo, Berlin and, of course, Las Vegas.
The exact nature of the experience is currently a little vague, but we’re promised that it will climax in a full-on concert presentation that will use ‘state-of-the-art AI & holographic’ to bring the star to life ‘using thousands of the global megastar’s personal photos and home-video footage’.
The obvious comparison that springs to mind is ABBA’s ‘ABBA Voyage’ experience. Presumably this will be a bit less fancy than that, seeing as how it seems unlikely to involve a purpose-built venue and certainly won’t have had the actual live Elvis. Still, ‘Elvis Evolution’ has the potential to be quite something, and it’s certainly a savvy idea. Following ABBA, Kiss have indicated they are effectively retired now but will reincarnate as a pre-recorded concert experience, and no doubt a lot of other artists will soon follow suit.
As we say, specifics are vague, but we’re promised ‘Elvis Evolution’ will debut in central London in November, and will also feature an Elvis-themed restaurant (peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches, yum) which will host an afterparty every night.
More information on ‘Elvis Evolution’ should become forthcoming as the year wears on – to be the first to find out more, sign up for the show’s waitlist here.
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