For all the talk of resurrecting Elvis Presley as a hologram and taking him, virtually, back on tour, fans of The King would say there is no better celebration than the annual Elvis Week that takes over Memphis every August.
This year it's taking place August 10-18, overlapping the 35th anniversary of the legendary singer's death on August 16th. Skeptics would say it's just one more way to shore up the earnings of a dead celebrity who ranked second (behind Michael Jackson) on Forbes magazine's 2011 "top earning dead celebrities" list, bringing in a hip-gyrating $55 million.
Elvis Week 2012 is the culmination of a year-long celebration expected to draw the largest crowds ever — including Elvis himself. That's right, the "Elvis 35th Anniversary Concert," to be held on Thursday night, August 16 at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, features "a spectacular live music experience starring the real Elvis Presley via video," according to information distributed by Elvis Presley Enterprises.
Elvis' appearance will indeed have to be pretty spectacular to match up to another dead celebrity's "live" debut in April. That's when the deceased Tupac Shakur, thanks to holographic wizardry, shook it up with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog on stage at the Coachella music festival in California, much to the jaw-dropping amazement of fans. The company behind that feat are planning to take Presley's image on a 3D tour, too.
In addition to Elvis, the concert will include special appearances by two living Elvis relatives, Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley. Also present will be original members of Elvis' band, backup singers, recording sessions, and more.
The Elvis extravaganza's opening event will take place at AutoZone Park in downtown Memphis beginning at 5 PM on Friday, August 10. A street party hosted by the Memphis Redibrds will consist of live bands, a classic car show, and an appearance by the Budweiser Clydesdales.
The "cornerstone event" of Elvis Week 2012 will be the Candlelight Vigil marking the opening ceremony of Elvis Week on Wednesday, August 15 at 8:30 PM at Graceland's front gate. Admission to the vigil is free and open to the public. There will be nine days of special events and musical performances at the new "Elvis Week Main Stage at Graceland," including the "Memphis Celebrates the King Music Fest," the "Elvis Songwriters Showcase," "The Elvis Insiders Conference," and "Conversations on Elvis." Mary Ann Mobley, an Elvis movie co-star, and Al Wertheimer, an Elvis photographer, will be part of the Conversations series.
Perhaps the most bizarre and novel event is the "Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest," now in its sixth year. Elvis tribute artists from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Japan will compete at The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in two rounds. The top ten semifinalists will compete for the top spot on Saturday, August 18. Whoever wins will be able to say, "Elvis is in the house — and it's me!"
Say what you will about Elvis Week 2012 — whatever you may think of it, the event not only keeps the fire burning for that hunk of burning love that is the Elvis Presley legend, it also keeps filling the coffers of Elvis Presley Enterprises.