The Wharf - - News - Laura En­field

Laura En­field checks out a rock’n’roll trib­ute at The O2

First we had Prince and now The King has ar­rived at The O2. Or rather a daz­zling col­lec­tion of his be­jew­elled jump­suits, capes and belts. Elvis On

Tour is named af­ter the singer’s 1972 doc­u­men­tary and cov­ers the pe­riod 1969 to 1977.

It shows his evo­lu­tion from black leather-clad sex sym­bol to fully fledged jump­suit-wear­ing icon through more than 200 arte­facts from Grace­land.

De­signed by Bill Belew, the cos­tumes are the star of this show, start­ing as fairly plain and be­com­ing more in­tri­cate. By 1973 most of his out­fits had match­ing waist length capes and heav­ily em­bel­lished belts.

Cu­ra­tor Angie March­ese said: “Through­out the years they be­came very elab­o­rate and al­most took on a per­son­al­ity of their own.

“Elvis was very much in con­trol of the show and as it pro­gressed so did the stage wear.”

It also be­came heav­ier – the Am­ber Stones suit weigh­ing in at 50lbs – and Elvis used to re­hearse with weights at­tached to his torso and limbs to pre­pare. Along­side the vis­ual ele­ments, vis­i­tors will learn about his re­turn to the stage af­ter many years mak­ing films.

One of the most valu­able ex­hibits is the heavy gold belt Elvis was gifted by The In­ter­na­tional in Las Ve­gas for break­ing world at­ten­dance records there, with more than 101,509 peo­ple go­ing to his shows at the ho­tel. The 21-stop au­dio guide gives a mind bog­gling ar­ray of facts and in­cludes videoed per­for­mances and in­sider info about what it was re­ally like to travel with The King.

Elvis toured ex­haus­tively over this eight year pe­riod, of­ten rac­ing from the end of one con­cert to the next, spawn­ing the phrase “Elvis has left the build­ing”. Many be­lieve it was this pun­ish­ing sched­ule that led to the break­down of his mar­riage and health. It’s clear his fans came first.

In the words of the man him­self: “I like to please the crowd and ex­cite them and keep them happy.”

And it feels like this ex­hi­bi­tion is try­ing to hon­our that. Thank you very much.

The O2, North Green­wich, un­til Feb 4, 2018, from £12,

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