Elvis Presley fans flocked to Martin Exeter Hall on May 13 to hear Donny Edwards’s musical tribute to The King.
A casino headliner who appears before the diehard Elvis crowds in Las Vegas, Edwards says he enjoyed his first time playing in 100 Mile House, while the folks at the hall did, too – and differently than the Vegas crowds.
“The demeanor of the crowd was definitely different. In Vegas, people just get crazy, you know?
“What was nice about here is that people loved the show, but they are respectful of the show.”
The tribute artist explains he chose to emulate The King because “Elvis is the greatest entertainer there ever was” who everyone knows by his first name alone.
“Even though there are some stereotypes about Elvis, which don’t really fit him … the diehard fans, you just see generation after generation.”
Edwards says there are only three entities that meet this status of entertainer – Elvis, The Beatles, and Michael Jackson – and Elvis outsold them all.
“Nobody put on the shows Elvis did, and you see each generation, one after another, just [following that music].”
Explaining he was not a huge fan himself growing up, at age 21, he met people Elvis worked with who said “wow, where do you do this” thinking Edwards was impersonating the King. He thought about it for another six years, and then decided to give it a try.
The only way he was willing to do this was by honouring Elvis’ material, musicians and memory, he explains.
“I try to bring honour – I go in as a fan. If Elvis was the audience, how would I want to perform my show for him, to show him that I am doing this as a tribute?”
Edwards says because some shows don’t honour Elvis in a true tribute to his talents, and so he likes to always include trivia and fun facts about the life of The King during his own shows.
“To this day I am the only Elvis tribute artist to perform on the grounds of Graceland.”
Along with a full concert, an eight-piece band, and a backup singer, Edward’s show was opened by another Vegas headliner, Diamond Jones, with his talented tributes to Neil Diamond and Tom Jones.
The awesome Elvis expert says he is having a good time and loves performing in Canada, and plans to be back in the west to appear in Alberta this fall. For those who missed it, Edwards will be at the Gibraltar Room in Williams Lake on Saturday, May 20 starting at 7:30 p.m.