There are no official numbers, but it’s estimated that there are somewhere around 85,000 Elvis Presley tribute artists in the United States.
It’s quite a commitment. Besides competing for “Best Elvis” bragging rights and participating in Elvis festivals from Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach to London and New South Wales, Australia, the world’s Elvies live like Elvis himself, taking a different stage night after night.
On Saturday, Rick Wade and Terry Turner, two top tribute artists, will perform in a Legendary Tributes concert in Newberry at the Newberry Opera House. Beyond spot-on Elvis tributes (they don’t call them impersonations any more), the duo take on a varied slate of artists that includes Tom Jones, Conway Twitty and Jerry Lee Lewis.
“Rick and Terry have known each other for years, but this show is their first time performing together,” said promoter Carole Polk. “They’re both incredibly talented –Terry plays the piano when he does Jerry Lee – and bring years of experience to the stage.”
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They’ll also bring dozens of costumes – so many that travel by plane is prohibitive.
“We’ve got wigs, capes, sequined jumpsuits, jackets with jeweled lapels – every artist has his own look and needs several outfits,” Polk said. “It’s all so heavy that we’re always over the weight limit. But it’s worth it. They look amazing.”
Legendary Tributes kicks off at 8 p.m. After the show, the artists will be available for photographs.
Tickets are $31, or $41 for VIP. For more information, visit www.newberryoperahouse.com
Katie McElveen, Special to The State