LAS VEGAS, NV. Worth the price of the affordable admission is Brown Productions’ Elvis tribute show, All Shook Up, currently playing seven days per week inside Planet Hollywood’s V Theater and starring Travis Allen.
Travis Allen is an ETA/Actor whom I’ve had the privilege of watching grow from a good Elvis vocalist into a superb Elvis vocalist. Watching him perform in All Shook Up reminded me of how great a performer he is as an Elvis vocalist.
After the show Jeanne-Marie and I had a chance to catch up with Travis. I listened more than I talked and just took some mental notes for the next blog post. Travis shared about the positive, exciting changes in his life, the success of the show, and how proud he was of the success of Tierney’s show in Hawaii. Tierney is Travis’ lovely and talented wife. While the two talked I noticed something about Travis. He looked happy.
His happiness made me think about something I noticed about some ETAs who finally get their stage. There comes a moment, an epiphany I believe, for every talented ETA who steps away from the contest arena of trying to become the Ultimate ETA and seeks to become something more. Sure, the goal to be crowned the best of the best in Memphis still resides in the heart, but it’s no longer the priority. Whenever this epiphany happens there seems to be a change in the ETA’s perspective and they simply look happy, or rather, happier. I saw that in Travis while he talked, and in hindsight, during his performance. When that epiphany came for Travis Allen, I don’t know, and honestly he may have never had an Elvis epiphany and I am simply romanticizing my observation.
Nevertheless, the perceived happiness radiates from the stage to the audience and is one of the key factors that makes the All Shook Up show great. The venue is small and probably only packs out to just over a hundred seats, but it makes the musical more personal. Travis kicks off the musical from the early years of Elvis and sings all the familiar songs from that era backed by a three piece band. Dressed in the gold lamé, black slacks, and white/black leather shoes, Travis draws us into the era. Over the next 45 minutes you are pulled back in time and dazzled by the unique Elvis energy he successfully emulates for the audience. You can feel the energy because it’s more than just imitation; it’s genuine.
The show is emceed by Mick Tiano who entertained us in-between sets with musical imitations and reminded me of Andrew Dice Clay. Fortunately, Clay didn’t show up, but Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis did. Ray Charles and Sammy Davis, Jr. made an appearance along with the ever flamboyant Liberace. The imitations were entertaining and kept the audience warmed up for the next set.
Emcee Tiano exited stage right as the theater darkened. Lights flashed wildly as the heavy drumbeat of Sprach Zarathustra pounded in our chests with rising anticipation. Travis appears onstage wearing the Aloha jumpsuit. The same infectious energy from the early years transfers over to the next set with equal delight as he greets adoring fans before slinging on the guitar and singing Burning Love. It stays hot for the rest of the show as he sings American Trilogy, Suspicious Minds, My Way, and many other iconic songs from the concert years. One of the best things about Travis’ interpretation of Elvis is he doesn’t over exaggerate Elvis’ stage movements. The fans are not lost in movements and remain absorbed in the song waiting for the climatic end notes that our ears attune towards. When Travis hits those notes the audience erupts in applause and cheers.
Travis looks happy and seems to have found his stage for the time being. He gives the fans his best Elvis so that all of us can share in that happiness. I know I was happy. Everyone else in the audience seemed just as happy, too.
Bring your cameras to catch those happy moments. Brown Productions allows everyone to take all the pictures they want and share them on social media. Kurt Brown, president of Brown Productions, seems to share the same generous spirit of Elvis by keeping the ticket prices as low as possible and letting the fans take pictures.
All Shook Up is the best and the only all Elvis tribute show on the Las Vegas Strip. It is well worth your hard earned cash at reasonable prices and you can upgrade to include a couple of drinks. Rock it like Elvis!