Updated: Aug 21
✦ The audience was more than ready to bring the house down, and Elvis never felt more alive than when so many have gathered to pay tribute to and celebrate this amazing artist.
What a blast we had at The Biggest Elvis Show on Earth on Saturday night at the ICC Darling Harbour Theatre in Sydney! The excitement had been building up all this time and we were certainly not let down!
Veronica Lind and Stephanie Pursehouse drove to Sydney to interview the stars, Paul and Anthony Fenech, who made the magic come alive. Stephanie is a huge Elvis Presley Fan and has been following tribute artists for many years.
Each Elvis Tribute Artist has a personal touch
Father-and-son Elvis Tribute Artists, Paul and Anthony Fenech are very clear that it's not about mimicking the King of Rock n' Roll. Paul explains it's about bringing in his own personality, and to represent Elvis in the best way he can. It's an interpretation of the artist, and each tribute artist does it in their own unique way. Paul personally loves, and what he feels he does best is, Elvis' movement on stage, his feeling and power during the performance. That's what he trains to deliver more than anything.
Anthony seconds that, and he himself notices different things about Elvis to what his father notices. They could both be watching the same clip of Elvis and they'll both see something completely different. That's actually the beauty of Elvis Tribute Artists. Each brings what they see of Elvis to the stage. If what people want is the same thing then they might as well just watch the real Elvis. For Anthony, it's important to see your own version of Elvis and deliver that, whether it's the classic eyebrow raise or the pinky movement.
Some people may call it doing an impression, or an impersonation. However, Paul and Anthony Fenech are true professionals in what they do, because above all else, they highly respect the artist they are paying tribute to, and they constantly strive to present their uniqueness and personal touch to their interpretations.
Many have reached out to Paul and Anthony about becoming tribute artists themselves. The one piece of advice they always give is:
"If you're going to be a tribute artist, just do it respectfully."
It's the only thing they need to focus on the moment they get on stage. It's not about doing it for the money or popularity. That would totally ruin the industry of tribute artistry.
Growing with Elvis
When Anthony Fenech started this career, he was at the age of Elvis in his early 20s. He was able to relate to Elvis of that age and it felt natural to him. There is something wonderfully organic about this profession, in that Anthony is doing what feels natural and identifiable to him at his age. He does not do what his father Paul does e.g. with the jumpsuits.
Anthony knows that as he gets older, he may well transition to that as a natural path in his career and growth. Right now, he is aligned with the young Elvis, he sees things that he relates to e.g. the rawness, the rebellious nature, the young man that took a lot of risks.
Unique father-and-son partnership
Many are curious to learn more about this unique father-and-son duo who are Elvis tribute artists. What are the odds of finding that in the industry!
Anthony and Paul excel at the different stages of the portrayal of Elvis.
"A lot of people think that I show him (Anthony) everything. I don't show him anything. He's his own person. He develops his own style. And he's seeing it differently to me anyway. He sees Elvis in his own way." - Paul Fenech
This is the incredible respect and professionalism from one tribute artist to another, in spite of them being a family. Of course, as a father, Paul is always there to guide Anthony, not just in his career but in life, work, relationships, everything, but he gives his son free rein to explore his own artistry.
Having grown up watching his father pay tribute to Elvis, Anthony was of course heavily influenced. Still, it was Anthony's call to dive into this industry.
"I wouldn't ever push him to do Elvis. I mean, why would anyone want to push their own child to become a tribute artist to perform like somebody else? I would tell him to perform like himself first. He's made his journey on his own."
It's no wonder Anthony has risen to his level of professionalism and skill, having this immense freedom, trust and respect from a father who understands and values the industry.
Anthony certainly reciprocates this support he has received from his father.
"The beautiful thing about it is that we have this sort of bond through Elvis."
The King lives on... and on... and on
It is an irrefutable fact that the King of Rock n' Roll lives on and will continue to do so through time.
For Anthony, Elvis and his music is essentially timeless. Anyone of any age, gender, stage of life can look at every single one of Elvis' songs, read the lyrics and identify. There's a message for everyone in Elvis' voice - he still speaks to us through time.
Paul agrees and shares about how at some of his functions and events, he's had younger people coming up to him, requesting him to do Blue Suede Shoes or Hound Dog. And these are young people asking for songs by an artist that had already passed away, way before they were born, and singing songs that were recorded 30 years before they were born. How in the world do these young people know Elvis? And yet, it's clear as day that Elvis' music is timeless, he's still with us, it's in the very fabric of his music. For Paul, it's a blessing to be able to do what they do, and bring Elvis' music to everyone who loves this artist.
"It was the best two minutes of my life!" - Anthony Fenech, on having about 50 women who went down to the stage to kiss him.
Fans of Elvis Presley: From left to right: Stephanie Pursehouse, with Paul Fenech and Veronica Lind (we love Stephanie's Elvis skirt!) - Sam and Alex had a great time - Kathy and Eric Marinovic with Kylie Chapman going wild with delight at the Biggest Elvis Show on Earth
Hear it from the audience themselves!
FUN FACT: Australia's Matildas beat France in the Women's World Cup 2023 that same night! It was a double celebration with just amazing vibes all around. The audience simply went wild!
Rev up the energy!
While Paul and Anthony Fenech and the incredible team of 115 musicians and orchestra on stage are the stars making the magic come alive, it really is the audience who are the main motors for revving up the show. They are an essential component of what makes an Elvis show simply electric. When the audience screams for more, it injects a megawatt jolt of energy to all the performers. It's a massive powerhouse, and you simply have to be there to experience it for yourself.
FUN FACT: John St. Peeters revealed The Biggest Elvis Show had broken the record previously held by another one in Melbourne, because they had a staggering 115 musicians on stage in Sydney on Saturday, 12th August 2023!
So if you were one of the lucky ones who were there to witness the Simply Brilliant performance, do share your thoughts and experiences with us! If you haven't, keep a lookout, because we're sure there will be more shows to come.
Let Marty Rhone and John St. Peeters know how much you loved this and that you want more! Email us and tell us what you think?
Rock Proms coming on Saturday 14th October 2023 at State Theatre Sydney. Book tickets here.
Massive kudos to Marty Rhone and John St. Peeters for all their hard work to put this show together. It was a mammoth effort and Elvis fans are certainly very grateful to have experienced this electrifying performance!
If you haven't read our Brilliant story where we interviewed Marty Rhone on how the idea of this show came about, dive into it here.
Not enough of Elvis? Read our article here about the one and only immortal King of Rock n' Roll!
Another important duo that made the show a reality
The Biggest Elvis Show on Earth is full of duos, and beyond Paul and Anthony Fenech, Marty Rhone and John St. Peeters, there is another duo that we may not immediately be aware of, but they are as important as the other pairs in bringing this amazing show to audiences in Sydney.
Marty Rhone and John St. Peeters showed David a video of their Elvis show in Melbourne and simply asked if David would be able to provide it for them. A simple question that brought an unhesitating YES from David. For David and Elsa, they see their role as simply using their media contacts to tell people about the show, to "put bums on seats" and to finance it. They may make it sound simple but it is the key first step to making this show a reality.
So you must be thinking by now, David's got to be an Elvis fan himself too!
In fact, David himself, as a born entertainer, has done an Elvis Tribute show on his cruise and he even got himself a lovely Elvis suit for $1000! Unfortunately he lost the suit in an incident and John St. Peeters knew how disappointed David must have felt being an Elvis fan. He asked if David would like to be a part of the Elvis show, jokingly, to "help pay for your suit"!
Having known both Marty and John for years, David knew this duo would prepare a show that would blow him out of the water. They do top quality shows that get bigger and better each time. If you enjoyed this Elvis show, don't miss out on their Rock Proms!
After all the excitement from the show, David and Elsa are patiently waiting for their cruise boat to return from Yamba where it's getting painted up and survey engines checked. When the boat returns they'll be up and sailing with weddings, parties and dolphin spotting cruises. They're excited about Christmas as they're nearly booked out for Christmas parties!
Thank you to David and Elsa for bringing the audience to this amazing Elvis show!
David Lazarus & Elsa Barbosa
t/ 0417 681 031 or 0434 393 199
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