Steve Michaels Brings Realistic Elvis Christmas Concert To Guelph

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Steve Michaels
The Wonderful World of Christmas
River Run Theatre
Guelph, ON
December 8, 2012
In his lifetime Elvis Presley had only performed five concerts outside of the United States – all of them here in Canada in 1957 – with stops in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver. This has left the vast majority of the world without a live glimpse of the King of Rock N’ Roll doing what he did best. However, those in attendance at Steve Michaels (Kabakos) Elvis tribute show at the Guelph River Run Centre this weekend got the feeling that the King of Rock N’ Roll is alive, well and loving the holiday season.

Michaels performed his seasonal hit show The Wonderful World of Christmas to a capacity crowd for more than two hours, complete with a five-piece band, three piece horn section, four background singers and a church choir. Comprised of mostly Elvis’ Christmas favourites, this Michaels show also featured a handful of Elvis hits and a mini Aloha from Hawaii set, complete with the glitzy jumpsuit, cape and Also sprach Zarathustra intro.

Now I have to be honest here. I’m not one for tribute shows, cover bands or look-a-like shows, but this one seemed completely different. Not only does Michaels look remarkably a lot like the King, but he has a sensational voice that sounds a close to the original Elvis as humanly possible. There are even moments during the show where his humour, movements and mannerisms are so much like the real deal that one could easily forget this wasn’t the real thing. It’s easy to see why The Wonderful World of Christmas has become an Ontario tradition spanning about 14 years. The musicianship is on the money, the song selection was warmly selected and the costumes… Oh the costumes!

During the show Michaels told the crowd that he had to pack for two every time he went out on tour, but what he didn’t mention was that his clothing choices for Elvis were stunning and were worn with love and pride. The time and effort put into the costumes became evident as the audience witnessed four choices ranging from a gold coat that looked like the one Elvis wore in Ottawa in 1957 to the climatic jumpsuit from the afore mentioned Hawaiian set.

During the show fans heard Christmas selections from Elvis’ two Christmas recordings, including Blue Christmas, the Wonderful World Of Christmas and the outstanding Santa, Bring My Baby Back To Me. For his three encores Michaels let the audience select the songs If I Can Dream, My Way and How Great Thou Art.

Michaels is exact and caring in his performance and quite honestly it only took about three minutes before all doubt and uncertainty with the “tribute” tag diminished. It’s a world-class act that The King would have been proud to watch and if this is only his Christmas show, it’s going to be exciting to watch Michaels in the full If I Can Dream performance, which showcases Elvis’ career from the 50s to the 70s in explicit detail. That show comes to Guelph on May 31, 2013.

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