Monday, February 15, 2010

Elvis has left Bigfork ...

Yesterday was our 22nd wedding anniversary. Rick & I dated for 7 years before we got married, so we've actually been together 29 years altogether. Wow -- 29 years. Anyway, last night we celebrated by seeing an Elvis impersonator. I live in Bigfork and it's a really small town in NW Montana. Not much happens here in the winter. In fact, many of the stores in town close up for the season. So, having a concert on Valentine's night was a big deal. The show sold out so fast that they added a 2pm show. We went to the 8pm show and there wasn't an empty seat in the entire playhouse.

Now I'm really skeptical when it comes to Elvis impersonators. I've seen a few before and have never been too impressed. I know that's because I've seen the real Elvis in concert. It's hard to see a fake, if you know what I mean. And a lot of times, impersonators make fun of the performer, over-exaggerating things. However, Ryan Pelton wasn't like that. He was good. If you've ever seen that music video of Celine Dion and Elvis, you've seen Ryan. He has an incredible side profile that looks just like Elvis. He has Elvis' songs, moves, and sense of humor down really well. I was impressed.

Unlike other impersonators, Ryan covered way more of Elvis' career. He came out as a 50s Elvis with a pink sports coat and black trousers. Then he changed into his Army uniform and sang some of songs from GI Blues. Later he came out in just swim trucks and a Hawaiian shirt and did some songs from Blue Hawaii. After that it was the black leather from the '68 Comeback Special, followed by of course, the white jumpsuit from the 70s. And of course, he tossed out stuff during the show. During the Army segment, he tossed out a few tee shirts and some teddy bears. At one point, he had this toy gun that shot teddy bears way out into the crowd. During the Hawaii segment it was leis. And during the 70s segment it was scarves.

Of all the concerts I've seen, no one comes anywhere close to Elvis. I've also seen how people act at concerts, especially women. The excitement at his shows is indescribable. I've never seen anything like it. But for whatever reason -- even an impersonator can bring out something strange in people. At one point, Ryan jumped offstage and walked around the theater greeting the audience. People rushed from their seats and stood in the aisles to shake his hand. Others wanted hugs and kisses when he gave them leis and scarves. It was the weirdest thing. I guess for some people, Elvis has become so incredibly huge that even an impersonator can bring out a thrill for them. I think I said "Hi Ryan" when he walked by and shook my hand. Not that I wasn't impressed with his talent -- it just felt different for me.

A single lady sat down next to Rick and she must have been in her 20s. Before the show started she turned to us and said, "I got to see him last night. Want to see?" Then she whipped out her cell and showed us a bunch of pictures she had taken. I don't think it was at a show. I think she just saw him in town. However, she went on and on about him and said how she thought he was even better looking than the real Elvis. Umm, no he's not. Ryan is a handsome man, but when you look at him face on, you can see the difference. I didn't argue with the lady though and just smiled a lot.

The people amazed me though. A few little girls came up to stage and that sent a rush of emotion to me, thinking how I was the same age when I saw the real Elvis. If only I knew then what I know now! But what cracked me up were the women who came up and nearly pushed the girls aside to get a scarf or some other item that probably cost the crew 15 cents from Oriental Trading. Amazing! There was one particular lady dressed in sparkly gold lame. She had already won the raffle prize of a signed poster, but she came up to the stage and made sure she got a lei before a little girl could get one. After Ryan was about to leave the stage at the end, she was there again. There were 2 scarves still on the table on the stage and the gold lame lady snagged one. Another lady did the same seconds later. I don't know. Maybe they're huge Elvis fans and a cheap scarf is as close as they'll ever get. Or, maybe they're big fans of Ryan. I just think it's funny how an impersonator can bring out that much of a star-struck feeling in some people.

Regardless, Ryan puts on a good show. He's going to be in Polson this Thursday, which is only a half hour from here. Plus, he's all over this part of Montana all this week. I think later in the tour he heads up to Canada. It was funny hearing him joke about Bigfork. He travels in a tour bus and if you've even been to Bigfork, you know how tiny the little village is. He joked how it took them 5 hours to get from Polson to Bigfork because they passed it 5 times. That was funny because it's totally possible to miss the village if you're not paying attention. I took a little video and have one of those up on my Facebook page, along with more pictures. But anyway, even though I'm very skeptical of Elvis impersonators, Ryan Pelton IS worth seeing. His show is fun and he has a great band. But the best thing for me was how respectful he was of Elvis. I think Elvis would be honored by Ryan's performance. If you get a chance to see him, I recommend it -- fun show!


  1. It sounds like you enjoyed the show! As for some of the audience members, I think this time of year people get a little stir crazy. They were probably just letting off steam. I'm with you though, I'm not one to make a scene in public.

  2. You are an inspiration to young people everywhere. 29 years!!!!

  3. That is some rather strange behavior. But at least you and your sweetie had a good time. Congrats on 29 years.

  4. That sounds like a fun show! I can't believe ladies were pushing little girls aside to get a memento!
    Happy Anniversary, Rena and Rick!

  5. 29 years of togetherness - well done! It's a real celebration:) The 'fake' Elvis sounds really good. We have them here too but I've not watched any of them in action.

  6. Wow - 29 years.... with the same man! That deserves a prize! lol (OK, Vince and I have been together for 21 years but I had to say it!)

    The show sounded interesting. I have been to a few impersonator shows and found them interesting. And last month I saw "Jersey Boys" which is on Broadway and in London right now - I saw it in Toronto. And it is the story of Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons which is basically an impersonation show! It was awesome though and got me back into some really cool music!

    The 'fans' sounded fascinating though. (Come on Rena, tell the truth - you threw you undergarments up on stage!) We won't tell. hee hee