|THE ORIGINAL ELVIS TRIBUTE 2009
Written for Elvis Express Radio by Jutta Vetter
Text and photos, Jutta Vetter © 2009 Use with permission
Turku the intensity of the songs was very strong. The audience loved his versions, and Jarrett also seemed happy to get a great ovation
from his audience.
Personally, I also liked the rocking Just Because performed by Thierry Le Coz in Tampere very much. “This one’s for my girlfriend”, he
said with a grin on his face. I thought he was going to perform something really romantic, but he immediately started rocking to Elvis’
catchy Sun Records tune instead.
The Finnish Elvis fans were having a blast in mid-May: The Original Elvis
Tribute 2009 performed at Klubi Tampere on May 15th and at Klubi Turku on
May 16th. This tribute show had already twice performed in Texas before
coming to Europe - one of the gigs as a warm-up for James Burton & Band.
From Finland the tribute band continued to Poland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium
and the Netherlands.
“We feel that this is a very special show, because it's a genuine tribute to Elvis
featuring some of the finest singers and musicians around. This show is done
with class and passion for the man and his music. No silly impersonators in
white glitter-outfits - this show is about the music”, promised organizer Arjan
The warm-up band for the two Finnish gigs was Whistle Bait with its rocking
Elvis movie tunes.
One of the most interesting performers of The Original Elvis Tribute 2009 was Duke Bardwell,
Elvis’ bass player from 1974 to 1975 – Duke played 181 gigs and some studio sessions with
“I never counted the gigs”, Bardwell told me after the show. “Someone else did it for me.”
This one was Duke’s first visit to Finland as well as his first Elvis tribute, and obviously
enjoyed it very much. On stage, he seemed really happy and relaxed - a skillful bass player!
He also chatted with his audience and created a nice and relaxed atmosphere for the whole
band to play in. As a person he was a really charming gentleman with a nice southern
accent, who still clearly respects Elvis.
Another interesting person in this line-up was Michael Jarrett – writer of the Elvis songs I’m
Leavin’ and I’ll Be Home On Christmas Day. He also played the keyboard during the shows.
The other performers were Ted Roddy (vocals&harmonica), Marc Singer (drums), Thierry Le
Coz (lead guitar) and Vikki Lee (backing vocals & guitar). In Turku also Michael Jarrett’s
daughter Michele performed (backing vocals in two songs).
Roots-singer Ted Roddy didn’t even try to imitate Elvis, but rather interpreted his songs in a
skilful, original way with his deep baritone voice. Drummer Marc Singer never skipped a beat,
and is really an amazing drummer.
Originally from France, Thierry Le Coz with his rockabilly style and great guitar
riffs was really rocking at both shows! It was of course also great to have a lady
on stage - Vikki Lee played and sang with style.
One of the highlights of the shows was Duke Bardwell’s own bluesy version of
Heartbreak Hotel. In Turku, he also performed his own beautiful song You&I,
which he originally had written for his sister’s wedding. This song can be heard
on Duke Bardwell’s album Angel’s Wings (1999).
Once, he had performed the song to Elvis who insisted on hearing the same
tune over and over again. Elvis liked the song so much that he wanted to
record it immediately, but unfortunately never got the rights for the song due to
some contract restrictions.
Michael Jarrett performing his own songs I’m Leavin’ and I’ll Be Home On
Christmas Day on stage were also very touching moments – especially in
The show covered songs from Elvis’ whole career, and I was happy to notice
that this tribute did not only contain hits, but also songs such as Walk A Mile In
My Shoes, Way Down, His Latest Flame, Rubberneckin’, Fame And Fortune,
Power Of My Love, T-R-O-U-B-L-E, Polk Salad Annie and Puppet On A String.
The shows ended with two great encore-songs. Most of the songs performed
during the two gigs were the same, but some minor changes in the set list were
Both gigs were more than two hours long. The 300 first to arrive at the venue
were rewarded with a free Elvis promo-cd especially made for the shows in
Finland. This album contains 24 Elvis songs, all of which are recorded with
Duke playing the bass.
From my personal point of view, I enjoyed both gigs very much – I think the
Tampere show was very good, the Turku show was excellent!
E.E.R ADDS: For more information of this tour visit www.elvisnews.dk