A Tribute Fit For A King: Elvis In The House provides fitting curtain call for the Bosque Arts Center’s 41st Annual The Big Event fundraiser as tribute artist Al Joslin channels the king of rock and roll in the Frazier Performance Hall
CLIFTON – The band’s swelling notes of the iconic 2001 Space Odyssey Theme – symbolic of the sun rising over the horizon – held the promise of something spectacular. As Elvis tribute artist Al Joslin burst onto the stage in a spectacular white bell bottom suit for the up-tempo “CC Rider,” the lavishly embroidered Aztec-inspired gold sun caught the spotlight wherever he went.
Embodying the legendary Elvis Presley from head to toe with the white patent leather shoes, the massive bling rings, the five-inch belt buckle, the hip-grinding moves, the jet-black hair, down to the mutton-shop side burns, Joslin made the Elvis illusion feel almost real and so familiar to everybody. And then the ability to belt out a collection of classic songs with a deep, velvety voice made the show everything the enthusiastic audience could have hoped to witness.
Much like Elvis, Joslin’s talent, charisma, and showmanship charmed the crowd within seconds. Concluding each song with Elvis’ signature “Thank you very much,” and a lot of direct interaction with the audience – shaking hands with many of the guests, allowing photos to be taken after the show – solidified his evening’s success.
On Friday before the show, the entertainer won over BAC Big Event guests by making an appearance at the Viva Las Vegas Casino Night, allowing for photo opportunities. Being the early birds, when Sue Fielden and her Ramona Sowder saw Joslin before the concert, before he had changed into his alter ego, they asked him whether Elvis was already in the house. As a response, Joslin broke into song with the line “Well Hello There,” from the song “Funny How Time Slips.” They knew right there and then, they would be in for a treat, and couldn’t wait for the concert to start.
A multi-award-winning Elvis tribute artist from Houston, Joslin has taken his show across the country and overseas over the past 20 years. Considered one of the top Elvis tribute artists in the business, he finished in the top five in the world at the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest in Memphis multiple times. Joslin considers it a highest privilege to give tribute to the greatest entertainer of all time, the one and only King. Before singing some gospel songs Elvis loved, he added “but there is only one true King, and that’s Jesus Christ.”
Joslin, backed by an amazing Clint Wayne Sturgeon band and the Linda Lee Singers, definitely channeled the King’s spirit into the house, rattling the windows of the Frazier Performance Hall. And like in Elvis’ golden days, there were ladies at the front of the stage, swept up in the rhythms, reaching up for one of the scarves with the sweat off his brow. People were dancing in the aisles, swaying, clapping and toe-tapping along to each and every beloved song.
The incredible talents of background vocalists Linda Lee and her 21-year-old son Isaac were the perfect addition to the show. Especially the gospels and slower songs in Joslin’s repertoire made their incredible, powerful voices shine. A Dallas resident, Linda has sung back ground vocals of another Elvis tribute singer Kraig Parker too.
With an extensive amount of Elvis staples to choose from, Joslin picked 25 songs – something from each Elvis era, and in each genre from a little bit of fifties pop, a bit of country, a bit of rock and roll, a few beautiful ballads, to some throaty blues. The songs just kept on coming and it seemed that everybody got to hear at least one favorite of theirs.
Showing his vocal power and range, Joslin went from the popular “You Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog” to the sultry “Please Love Me,” the fun “All Shook Up,” and “Such a Night“ to the powerful “You Gave Me a Mountain,” and the inspiring gospel song “How Great Thou Art.” Included in the show was also a tribute to the recently deceased Olivia Newton John with the more country-inspired gospel song “Wherever You Go.”
Invited by a business associate of theirs, Sigi and Carlos Dias came in from Dallas to hear the show. Lauren San Tagati, whose room when she was in high school was decked in Elvis posters, joined them. She got to hear several songs of her list of favorites like the up-tempo true rock and roll anthem “Blue Suede Shoes” and the Righteous Brothers original “Unchained Melody,” which Joslin sang towards the end of the concert singing without band accompaniment, sitting behind the key boards, hitting the high notes impressively and effortlessly. San Tagati’s night was complete, when she was lucky enough to receive a trophy scarf from the hand of the talented and engaging entertainer.
Evidence that music remains cross-generational, Mimi Nickie Tigner from “The Gap” brought her 16 and 12-year-old grandsons Noah and Ian along to enjoy the show. Noah particularly loves Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra. He got to hear the Sinatra signature song “My Way.” And Mimi’s cherry on the cake was when she got to shake “Elvis’” hand when he made one of his tours around of the venue.
Every heart melted when Mr. “Love me Tender” Joslin sang a sincere declaration of love to his wife and mother of his young children with “And I love You So.” An ardent Elvis fan, Jamie fell in love with Joslin after one of his shows; the rest is history as they say. For this evening, Jamie wore her blinged-out Elvis earrings and a hand bag matching Joslin’s fabulously flashy suit. Both Jamie’s mother as well as Joslin’s parents were present for the show, thrilled to see Joslin perform and support the family.
Unlike most concerts that end with an up-tempo, humdinger, smash hit of a song, Joslin went another route, choosing the contained, smoldering love song “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You,” leaving the audience wanting more.
The King is alive in talented tribute artists like Joslin, who carry forth the legacy of one of rock and roll’s greatest, pop-culture changing and best-selling musicians of all time. And for those in the audience at the Bosque Arts Center’s Frazier Performance Hall Saturday, Elvis was truly in the house.
Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
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