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(Updated 8:30 a.m., Aug. 31)
'Double Trouble' Elvis tribute pure magic

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Let me first say that I've never been to an Elvis tribute concert. And though I am a fan of some of his music, I am not a mega-fan like my old friend Earl McRae, who had the privilege of playing squash with the King back in the day, used to be.

So when a friend asked me if I wanted to go to the Double Trouble show with her on Aug. 26, I said, "Sure, why not."

Pete Paquette (foreground) and Dean Z sign autographs afte their Aug. 26 performance at the Shenkman Arts Centre. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The show produced by Paquette Productions features Pete Paquette -- a Hawkesbury boy based out of Toronao who is one of the top Elvis tribute artists in North America -- and Dean Z from Branson, Missouri, who won the 2013 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest in Memphis.

Whoever put the show together is a genious. The two men's voices are amazingly complimentary and they have identical body types (although my friend notices that Dean's chest is clean shaven and Pete's is not). The highlight of the nearly three hour show were the three duets they did together.

After the pair opened the show together with Elvis' 1967 hit, Double Trouble, Dean kicked things off with an energetic set that featured a number of early Elvis classics (as if every song isn't a classic) performed with the same gyrations that made Elvis a heartthrop to women around the world including a few who were in the audience at the Shenkman..

Paquette picked up where Dean Z left off, singing a series of songs from Elvis' movie career including King Creole, Viva Las Vegas, G.I. Blues, Girl Happy, and Girls! Girls! Girls!. The pair closed the first set with a gospel medley performed with the Tonettes.

After a brief 15 minute intermission, Dean was back on stage singing a number of songs from Elvis' 1968 Comeback Special including Heartbreak Hotel, Hound Dog and I'm All Shook Up.

The highlight of the set was when Dean recreated the moment in the Special when Elvis did an off-the-cuff jam session with his band. Dean did the same with The Rockin Royals Band and the revue's three back-up singers -- The Tonettes -- taking song suggestions from the crowd that included Wooden Heart which he sang in English and German.

Paquette came back on stage in the second set to cover the 70s known as Elvis' concert years.

I lost track of how many songs the two men covered, but let's just say that the audience certainly got their money's worth.

As someone who does not listen to Elvis on a regular basis, I had forgotten how many great songs he recorded.

During the early part of the concert Dean Z and Paquette both took the time to explain to the audience the difference between an Elvis impersonator and an Elvis tribute artist. It was obvious from their words and their performances that their appreciation of the King goes well beyond mere respect. They truly love the man and have a deep desire to continue to pay tribute to the King of Rock and Roll.

I was blown away by their voices. I was blown away by their energy and the way they interacted with the audience. But most of all I was blown away by the respect they had, and showed, to both the legend and the folks who came out to see them.

Paquette will be returning to the Shenkman Arts Centre on Dec. 8 to recreate the Elvis' Christmas special and he will be bringing the award-winning Patsy Cline tribute artist Amberley Beatty with him. I know I won't miss it, and niether should you. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the online box office at www.shenkmanarts.ca.

Dean Z performs during the Double Trouble Elvis tribute concert at the Shenkman Arts Centre on Aug, 26. Fred Sherwin/Photo

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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