Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

March 5, 2009

Matt Lewis' Elvis

City Stage, Springfield
through March 8, 2009
by Eric Sutter

He was the King... he was the Guitar Man, and was a poor country boy who became a Rock idol. He hasn't left the building. Matt Lewis was raised far away from Tupelo, Mississippi but his spirit for entertainment is similar to that of Elvis. He impersonated the mannerisms, gestures and voice of Elvis extremely well -- almost eerily at times. He began his show with the featured song "A Little Less Conversation" from the 1968 movie "Live A Little, Love A Little." The song kept the memory of Elvis alive when it returned to the charts in 2002 by Remix JXL for the Nike World Cup commercial.

Dressed in the early-years style of gold jacket and black slacks with acoustic guitar, he performed a medley of early hits including "Return to Sender" with back-up by local musicians Jim Henry on electric guitar and Guy DeVito on bass. The show was fast-paced and broken up into segments of Elvis' 23 year career. The movie years featured the "Jailhouse Rock" 6240 prison uniform along with two female dancers as correctional officers. He rocked "Follow That Dream" and ventured into "Blue Hawaii" with "Rock-A-Hula." A warm "Love Me Tender" ended the set.

The '68 Comeback Special had another medley of rockin' hits such as "Heartbreak Hotel." With "Baby Let's Play House," Lewis dressed in black, flirted with the audience, and women screamed as Henry played an exciting guitar solo. "In the Ghetto" was a stand-out that brought forth a strong emotional response. He closed the first half with "If I Can Dream."

The jumpsuit Vegas years with the passionate "Burnin' Love" and "Suspicious Minds" featured the dancers in white GoGo boots and red wide-sleeved mini-skirts. "My Way" readied the thrilled audience for the Gospel sing-a-long "Amen" and the cheer down of "Crying in the Chapel." The patriotic "American Trilogy" moved the audience deeply. Matt Lewis encored with a wild "Viva Las Vegas."