Elvis Week Blog 10 – Elvis Week 2018 Wrap Up

BY JON WATERHOUSE

They don’t make the appropriate adjectives to describe the phenomenon that’s Elvis Week. To quote the 1973 Elvis tune, “it’s just impossible.”

Still I’ll attempt to take care of blogging business by providing a snapshot of the 2018 edition’s greatest hits. This year’s installment came loaded with amazing musical performances, revealing live interviews, eye-widening surprises, fan fellowship and more with Elvis Presley as the unbreakable common thread.

Candlelight Vigil

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Nothing speaks to Elvis’ enduring and continuing impact on the world like this annual procession of fans. On Aug. 15, the eve of the anniversary of his passing, the Elvis Week tradition continued. Thousands of fans with candles in hand made their way up Graceland’s winding driveway to pay their respects at Elvis’ gravesite.

Listening Party for “Where No One Stands Alone” Album Release

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The acclaimed new Elvis album –a contemporary reimagining of Elvis gospel songs with new instrumentation, arrangements and background vocals– received the ultimate kick-off event. Co-producers Lisa Marie Presley, Andy Childs and Joel Weinshanker, along with Sony Music’s John Jackson, treated fans to a behind-the-scenes look at the album’s creation.

Darlene Love

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For the first time at Elvis Week, this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer gave fans the gift of an exclusive live performance peppered with her own Elvis memories. Her set featured Love classics, her own take on Elvis songs and music she recorded with Presley himself.

The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley Concert

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Several of Elvis’ back-up vocalists (Elvis’ Imperials and former members of J.D. Sumner and The Stamps Quartet) brought Presley’s favorite genre to life on the Graceland Soundstage. The show’s finale featured both groups along with Andy Childs recreating the latest version of Elvis’ “How Great Thou Art,” a highlight on the “Where No One Stands Alone” album.

The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest

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Some of the top Elvis tribute artists from around the world battled it out for the premier title. Ben Thompson of London, England took home the win, which includes an Elvis Presley Enterprises performance contract and a cash prize of $20,000. Fun fact: Thompson can be seen as Elvis in the 2017 sci-fi blockbuster “Blade Runner 2049.”

The Live Interviews

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Elvis Week onstage hosts Tom Brown, DJ Argo and Andy Childs wrangled live conversations with a wide variety of Elvis world luminaries. Among the highlights: “’68 Special” director Steve Binder, music legend Darlene Love, TCB band drummer Ronnie Tutt and others.

Elvis Fans from Around the World

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Each year fans the world over converge upon Memphis for Elvis Week, and 2018 was no exception. The lobby at the Guest House at Graceland, the 450-room luxury resort, remains a great spot to mingle. I met fellow enthusiasts from Australia, Japan, Ireland, England and elsewhere. One night I ran into award-winning musician and fellow Elvis fan José Feliciano, who treated lucky guests to an impromptu, late-night mini set in the Guest House lobby. Only at Elvis Week.

Graceland’s New Chapel in the Woods

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Elvis Week 2018 marked the unveiling of this new wedding venue. On Aug. 13, Marc Caudel and Julie Guardado, who met at Elvis Week in 2015, exchanged vows, marking the 2,000th wedding, dedication or vow renewal to take place on Graceland grounds. Following the wedding, 10 couples renewed their vows in a single ceremony, an event Graceland dubbed “A Day of Love.”

’68 Special 50th Anniversary Celebration

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This production ranks as one of the most unique and powerful happenings I’ve ever witnessed at Elvis Week. Event producer Andy Childs combined a screening of the “’68 Comeback Special” with live recollections from the TV special’s creators, insightful video interviews with Priscilla Presley and others, and a rare onstage viewing of Elvis’ iconic “’68 Special” costumes. The Tennessee Mass Choir took the stage, backing Elvis during the special’s gospel medley and “If I Can Dream.” Priceless.

Elvis Live in Concert

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With the help of video technology and concert production wizardry, Elvis was back in the building. A live band featuring former members of J.D. Sumner & The Stamps Quartet and Olivia Newton-John’s touring musicians performed in sync with Elvis’ isolated vocal tracks and live concert footage. Original TCB Band drummer Ronnie Tutt stepped behind the kit for the last four, show-stopping songs.


4 Comments

  1. KAREN DAVIES

    I thoroughly enjoyed all the blogs, posts, pictures and any and all ELVIS!! My first visit was October 2017. A very moving emotional experience. I’ve loved him since i saw him on TV in 73. I was 9. Going to see the 68 movie for the 2nd time tonight!! ♥️♥️ TCB!!

  2. Julie Caudel (Guardado)

    Thank you for making this yet another memorable Elvis Week. It was an honor to be the first couple to wed in the new chapel. You keep Elvis, his legacy, and the love he had for his fans, very much alive. #ElvisForever

  3. DEBBY Lynn

    I know i might sound silly to so people but i fill like elvis in our knowledge of how he love Christian music thew the gospel songs with the two people still here on earth he loved dearly are bring
    People from all over to find there way threw elvises strong voice that sang these songs of gospel & i my self get a sense of our good Lord Jesus is close by excepting people as the except Jesus as there savior. All because of elvis & his blessed voice that loved gospel music the most ive heard his daughter speak of and many other people that knew elvis. I pray every yr when fans come to graceland they will leave with the love elvis sang threw the songs of gospel will bring them to a life in christ as i know it did for elvis and it dose for me. May no man stand alone.

  4. Non Other Like Elvis…No One can ever Replace him…the One n Only…So Loved n Admired

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