The king is back in town | VailDaily.com
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The king is back in town

Special to the Daily Elvis lives ... Well, in the form of Mike Albert and his tribut performance, which will visit the Vilar Center on Sunday. Albert has been on the Oprah Winfrey show and toured with Elvis' original back-up bands.
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BEAVER CREEK – There is one immortal figure that is likely the most impersonated individual of all time.And of those trying their chops at Elvis Presley, Mike Albert has received his share of props (approval, that is). Albert first saw Elvis on the big screen in Columbus, Ohio, when he was a child. Like millions of others across the globe, a fascination was born. He would invite people over to sit in his living room and sing along to Elvis records.”I liked him from the very start,” said Albert, who, along with his Big “E” Band will bring the “Ultimate Tribute” to the Vilar Center Sunday.”I always loved to entertain people. I’d sing to his records and people would sit there and watch me.”For the last 16 years, Albert has taken his show on the road. So convincing is Albert’s Elvis tribute that he has been asked to tour with Elvis’s former backing vocalists J.D. Sumner and the Stamps and the Jordanaires, and to represent the king at Elvis conventions.Albert and his band have made it onto the Oprah Winfrey show and A Current Affair. Audiences have been caught shedding tears during Albert’s renditions of Elvis ballads.

But even in the midst of all of this success, at the end of the day, Albert puts his sideburns away.Not a first-person impersonator”I don’t even look like Elvis,” Albert said. “My hair is brown and curly. I wear a wig and sideburns that I glue on. I don’t look like Elvis 24 hours a day.”Albert doesn’t talk about Elvis in the first person either.”I’m always like, ‘This was from Elvis’ movie,’ not, ‘this was from my first movie.’ There are certain things that Elvis could get away with that impersonators can’t get away with,” he said. While some true Elvis fans are adamant about not endorsing impersonators, Albert says he’s inspired some converts.

“We’ve had quite a few people who are real Elvis fans, they’ve heard about our show so many times, but they would never go see an Elvis impersonator,” Albert said. “They finally get talked into it and they appreciate the way we deliver. They come back. That’s the best testimonial.”The force of Elvis is a phenomenon, and one of which Albert has taken a significant glimpse.”When a man will stand for a half hour after the show, a grown man, and says, ‘I don’t want an autograph or a picture or anything, but Mike, you did a good job,” that makes me feel pretty good,” Albert said. “Singing a few of his ballads – ‘American Trilogy’ or ‘In the Ghetto,’ I’ve seen people in the front row just crying. I’ve even seen a few guys shed a tear. It puts me into character so much more when I see a response like that.”As for an explanation of Elvis’ immortality and his everlasting die-hard following, Albert believes it has something to do with the enigma surrounding Elvis’ limited public appearances.”Col. Parker always preached less is more,” Albert said. “Today, when Jennifer Lopez or somebody hits the big scene, they put them on all the shows and overexpose. You say, ‘OK. There she is again.’ With Elvis, it was like, when do we get to see him? Then he died when he was 42.”Friends with fans



Having exceeded his prime aesthetically, Elvis died of a heart attack in 1977 while sitting on the toilet. He had starred in 33 films and has sold a billion albums worldwide. In addition for being credited for inventing rockabilly, Elvis scalded his identity into the history of rock-n-roll, and also blues and gospel. Albert’s aim is to hit every octave of Elvis favorites in exactly the same key as the king. He also hopes to gain some comrades along the way.”My goal is to be friends with Elvis fans; not to make them my fans, but to make them my friends and know that I respect Elvis for what he was,” Albert said. “I’m just pretending to be Elvis a little bit.”Elvis tributeWhat: Mike Albert & The Big “E” BandWhen: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Vilar Center of the Arts, Beaver CreekInformation: Tickets are $40 and available at the box office, at http://www.vilarcenter.org. For more information, call 888-920-2787



Its difficult to single out a square foot in Darla Goodalls bedroom that isnt covered with some piece of Elvis paraphernalia.The owner of the Turntable restaurant and hotel in Minturn just returned from Denver last week with a brand new Elvis item a hollow clay object shaped like the lower half of a body wearing a white sequined suit and boots. Its a wine bottle holder. Elviss head complete with sexy, turned up lip and sun glasses is designed to be placed on top of the bottle.The hotel includes an Elvis theme room, and a larger-than-life wooden model of Elvis and one of Marilyn Monroe can be found in a glass case in the Turntables dining area. But Goodells bedroom features about every Elvis action figure ever made, special edition china plates, posters and sparkly trinkets.People give me a lot of things, Goodell said. I saw Elvis when he was on Ed Sullivan. Wed watch every Saturday night. He was this guy who would get up there and just …Goodell pauses to demonstrate an erratic hip gyration.Theyd only show him from the waist up after that.According to the fan club at the Turntable, which is putting on its own Elvis tribute for Spring Fling on March 25, Elvis distinctive movements are what made him an international superstar.Ive been a fan all my life, ever since I was a little girl, said Debbie Gustafson. Whats so great about Elvis? His movements from his hips, from the waist down the shaking. The guy who (comes to the Turntables Spring Fling) isnt too bad. He does shake his … caboosy.Lola Esparsen, also a Turntable staffer, sometimes does her own Elvis impression and sings along with impersonator Ron Cody when he comes to the restaurant for the Spring Fling.I gave her a wig, Goodell said of Esparsen. She dresses like Elvis sometimes when hes here and sings real low like him.Goodell said that before his early death in 1977 at age 42, Elvis was considering buying property in the Minturn area.Where Kings Ranch is behind Minturn, he was going to buy that at one time, Goodell said. He said that when he was in Vail, nobody bothered him I wouldve, if Id ever seen him. He used to snowmobile at night.Goodells favorite Elvis tune is The Wonder of You, and she said that she is a big fan of his movies as well as of all genres of his music.I wish I would have been in one, she said of his films. I would have had a little kiss.Doni Watts, who, like the Turntable contingent, will see impersonator Mike Albert and his band perform perfectly rendered Elvis tunes Sunday at the Vilar Center, said she hopes that the performance will allow her to relive seeing Elvis live in concert in the early 1970s.The one thing I remember about that show is that when Elvis came on stage, the friend I was with said, Take a look at those boots. He was wearing these crazy, gaudy things, Watts said. All I could say to my friend was, Whos looking at his boots?Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext.14632, or sfarnell@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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