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I've Seen The Light (Review of Fridays Elvis TV Fest)

Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:43 am

"The-Nation-s-Favourite-Elvis-Song-has-made-me-see-the-light" preview of Friday nights prime-time ELVIS fest on ITV, brilliant non-Elvis fan observations . . . .

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/columnists/m ... -the-light

The Nation’s Favourite Elvis Song has made me see the light
I'LL be honest with you, it’s quite rare for me to experience a blinding epiphany while watching an ITV entertainment show. But that’s pretty much the effect The Nation’s Favourite Elvis Song has had on me. I’m not kidding.

Elvis Presley, it’s finally struck me, in a moment of startling realisation, really was extraordinarily special. His squillions of adoring fans have been right all along. Why has it taken me all this time to twig? What kind of cloth-eared ninny am I?

Before you go: “Hang on, what show are you talking about, Mike? Did I miss it? When was it on? Why didn’t you tell us, you four-eyed fatso?”, let me just explain I’ve been watching a sneak preview.

The programme isn’t actually being broadcast on ITV until this Friday night, November 8, at 9pm. So hey, no need to panic. I’ll remind you again on the day, in that thing I write in the paper.

But yes, daft as it sounds, watching this preview really has had a powerful effect on me.

It’s not because we’re talking about a particularly ground-breaking piece of television here (as you’ll see, on face value it’s just another of those countdown shows – old clips, assorted talking heads, a Top 20 that nobody had particularly asked for, based on who knows what criteria exactly…), but simply because it’s bombarded me, for 90-odd minutes, with remarkable, mesmerising footage of a performer I grew up thinking was a bit naff.

Now, to anyone who’s a proper hardcore fan of Elvis Presley, let me instantly apologise for thinking / saying that. I do appreciate it’s bordering on sacrilege. And like I say, I’ve seen the light now. Hallelujah.

But you have to understand that’s just the way it used to be. To me, and to my mates, Elvis Presley wasn’t the radical, smouldering, snake-hipped young rock’n’roll icon that a previous generation would remember him as.

Mention the name Elvis to us and we’d just think of a deceased, overweight cabaret artist who used to stomp around the stage in a daft white jumpsuit. Cheesy, wheezy, embarrassing and deeply uncool. There was just no connection to us kids. Why would there be? Hey, we were into cool, cutting-edge stuff, right?

Like I say, if you’re a proper Elvis fan, I’m really sorry for such idiocy. Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry. But look, I’m just recalling the ignorance of youth here. Youth and the sort of narrow-minded music snobbery that often goes hand in hand with it.

The trouble is, it’s sometimes hard to shake off that kind of blinkered attitude. So, over the years, my views on Elvis haven’t really changed, mostly because I’ve had no particular reason to reconsider them.

We all do this a lot, don’t we? Yes, we do, don’t lie. We’re forever pigeon-holing the people and things we come across in our lives – making a knee-jerk decision as to what we feel about them, then stubbornly refusing to budge. It’s because it’s easier that way.

Let’s face it, there aren’t enough hours in the day to keep reassessing stuff. And besides, we like to tell ourselves that sticking rigidly to an opinion, come what may, is a sign of strength. Even though it usually just means you’re a narrow-minded jerk.

So, yes, suddenly being bombarded now with so many clips of Elvis – performing songs such as Jailhouse Rock, Heartbreak Hotel, Suspicious Minds, Always On My Mind, The Wonder Of You etc. – has been a chance for me to finally challenge my lazy, petty prejudices.

And I’m so glad I did, because if you really love music (and anyone who doesn’t is deeply dubious, if you ask me), you should be opening up your mind to every kind of music imaginable. Sod what’s cool. Bugger fashion.

The simple fact is, those were, and are, superb pop songs. And when Elvis Presley performed them, he injected them with a kind of magic.

Watching the old concert clips, even the later ones, when the guy clearly wasn’t at the peak of health, I now see a man with a unique gift for keeping his audience spellbound.

Even at a stage in his career when he could have got away with just going through the motions, he looked as though he was giving it absolutely everything, feeding off the crowd’s adoration. It was as if he wasn’t so much singing the songs as living them, even if it physically hurt.

There’s one particular clip of him performing Suspicious Minds that almost reminds me of one of those wild religious US preachers, whipping his audience into a near-frenzy. In the wrong hands, that could be scary. In Elvis’s, it just looks like the greatest gig you could ever wish to attend.

I’m not suggesting I’ve become the world’s greatest Elvis Presley obsessive overnight. I shan’t be making a pilgrimage to Graceland anytime soon.

It’s just that, thanks to immersing myself in so much superb old footage, I really do think I get it now.

And I can’t help thinking we should all take time to do this, now and again. Stop to reassess something or someone you’ve had a pig-headed opinion on for too many years. Open your mind and just see what floods in.

Next up, I might try changing my mind about Gordon Ramsay.

Admittedly, that could take a little longer.

Mike Ward (Daily Star Newspaper)

* The Nation’s Favourite Elvis Song (ITV) is on Friday November 8 at 9pm.

Re: I've Seen The Light (Review of Fridays Elvis TV Fest)

Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:51 am

Watching the old concert clips, even the later ones, when the guy clearly wasn’t at the peak of health, I now see a man with a unique gift for keeping his audience spellbound.

:smt023

Re: I've Seen The Light (Review of Fridays Elvis TV Fest)

Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:52 am

How refreshing, after drifting through that Jack Good thread! Isn't Life Strange? :)

Re: I've Seen The Light (Review of Fridays Elvis TV Fest)

Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:02 am

Cool. There are many more out there, I think, who would think differently had they the chance. (We won't get this show over here. One of those things.)

Oh, and uh, I like Gordon Ramsay. (We get "BBC America." Which is not the BBC.) Sure, he acts like a Grand Prix, but he actually cares about the people. imho

Thanks!

rjm

Re: I've Seen The Light (Review of Fridays Elvis TV Fest)

Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:50 am

What a refreshing write up

Re: I've Seen The Light (Review of Fridays Elvis TV Fest)

Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:22 am

It's a great write up, and I'm looking forward to the show, but:

Watching the old concert clips, even the later ones, when the guy clearly wasn’t at the peak of health, I now see a man with a unique gift for keeping his audience spellbound.


If it turns out that the footage he's referring to with Elvis "not in the best of health" turns out to be TTWII and Aloha, then I'll tear my hair out, and the guy has just gone back to the stereotype of his youth!

Re: I've Seen The Light (Review of Fridays Elvis TV Fest)

Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:02 pm

DarrylMac wrote:It's a great write up, and I'm looking forward to the show, but:

Watching the old concert clips, even the later ones, when the guy clearly wasn’t at the peak of health, I now see a man with a unique gift for keeping his audience spellbound.


If it turns out that the footage he's referring to with Elvis "not in the best of health" turns out to be TTWII and Aloha, then I'll tear my hair out, and the guy has just gone back to the stereotype of his youth!



Yes, it's probably those same performances! But, let's hope the public still love what they see. That would make it all worthwhile.

Re: I've Seen The Light (Review of Fridays Elvis TV Fest)

Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:08 pm

AVSP

Thanks for posting it. I never would have seen this piece otherwise.

The Daily Star has one of the largest circulations of the newspapers in the UK, so a very positive article in there is great. Shame, the paper is also one of the grubbiest of the tabloids!

Still, Mike Ward’s enthusiasm suggests that the programme will be good. No doubt, the more specialist fans will complain about opinions expressed by speakers and grumble at any factual errors. But, these are the sort of things that don’t concern the non-fan. They want to be entertained or won over, and sometimes both. It will, I think, be a powerful show that will convert even more sceptics. It’s can do good.

Roll on Friday. I’m sure this programme will be a winner for many who don't quite get Elvis or even like the sound of his voice.

Re: I've Seen The Light (Review of Fridays Elvis TV Fest)

Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:20 pm

Yes I don't think this kind of publicity can harm anybody, its about the music, something we have always campaigned for, well done Shiver / ITV and EPE for giving us something special that Elvis could be proud of.

Elvis is timeless and the 50's, 60's 70's pigeon holes we all argue about on here will all merge into one retro memory for the general public it is either a good Elvis song or not to them.