Trent Carlini has been doing his Elvis tribute show forever, in various venues on and around the Las Vegas Strip, but right now he is performing at the Las Vegas Hotel on Paradise at 6:30pm. The show lasts around an hour and ten minutes and plays seven nights a week. For a man pushing fifty, he does not lose energy and puts on a good show. He dances like Elvis, does some great classic Elvis poses, has about a dozen costume changes, and he even does a couple of pretty impressive kicks.
He begins with early Elvis songs, and we go chronologically through his career. He does start to look a lot more like him once we get on to the period when he grew sideburns. He does not change the wig, and he does not put any padding in the jumpsuit for older Elvis. I must assume that he changes the songs around a little every now and again, because people keep coming back, and he would get very bored if he always performed exactly the same stuff.
The show opens with music, a film and a dancer. At first I was quite pleased that there was a dancer, because a tribute show can be a bit dull without something else to watch besides the singer. They’re not the real thing, after all, so not as exciting to watch. After a couple of acts I realized what a brilliant dancer she is, and she is a great compliment to the show.
I think Trent Carlini probably knows Elvis better than Elvis knew Elvis. He has obviously watched him on TV for hours, and he must be a huge fan. He captures the mannerisms and moves very well. But only Elvis sounds quite like Elvis, and he does not quite get the voice. When he spoke to us, he gives us the impression that he designed the show, and I like the way it is done. There are so many costume changes, backdrop films, and movement around the theater that you do not get bored. He talks to the audience a little, but not too much, and throws in a few jokes, which always win points with me.
There is a point near the end where he mops his sweat with a scarf to give away, as, presumably, Elvis did. There were quite a few ladies of a certain age in the audience who knew what was coming and went up to the front to get this sweaty prize. There is just no accounting for some the behavior of some people. This is a good example of keeping the energy up in the show, and providing some authenticity, and, for me, providing some comedy. My only criticism, and this is major one, is that there was no “Suspicious Minds.” How can we go on together, Trent, without “Suspicious Minds?”