- Category: Arts & Entertainment
- Published on 17 February 2013
- Written by Jim Bardwell
If you missed Donny Edwards performance in Gilmer last Friday night, then you really missed an exciting stroll down memory lane. And, you missed out on seeing a very talented young man who brings Elvis to life during his 2+hour tribute show. Edwards (Elvis) shakes, rattles and rolls on stage as a young Elvis Aron Presley, dressed in 1950s attire and playing and singing the songs that were no doubt heard streaming from almost every East Texas boy’s hotrod rolling up and down Highway 80 in Gladewater - which was well represented at the show not only by my wife Suzanne and me, as well as my son and daughter-in-law, Josh and Jennifer, but also by true-blue suede shoe fans John Paul Tallent and his wife Beverly, as well as Stephani Chance and her friends visiting from Italy. Since Elvis is a universal icon, I’m sure there was no language barrier that The King could not knock down Friday night.
After performing for Dolce & Gabbana's show during Fashion Week in New York,
Edwards had been asked to perform on the David Letterman show Friday night - as the closing act for Letterman's week-long Elvis tribute. Fortunately for us - he chose Texas over frigid New York City. Letterman’s loss was our gain. Edwards is an international, multi-award winning Elvis tribute artist and is one of the most sought after performers in the business, bringing his show to stages in casinos, theaters/venues, fairs/festivals, corporate/special events, cruises and production shows, all over the world.
This was my first Elvis concert - and before my wife jumps in here and tells you how she missed seeing THE Elvis back in the winter of 1976 because of my stupidity, allow me to soften the blow by admitting publicly - Yes Dear, I was wrong, terribly wrong, and very stupid. And no - I guess we couldn’t see Elvis anytime.
You see - while Captain Ahab has his great white whale Moby Dick, and Captain James T. Kirk has his nemesis Khan - I have Elvis. No not Donny Edwards - but Vernon and Gladys’ baby boy from Tupelo, Mississippi.
It was a dark and stormy night in Commerce, Texas at our little frame house on Sycamore Street. (Actually, I think it was daytime, cold and clear skies - I just thought a little drama might help me as I plead my case.)
Anyway - my lovely child-bride came home from her day at East Texas State University all excited. It seems a friend of hers had tickets to see Elvis. The King was performing at the Memorial Auditorium on Dec. 28. And yes - she had access to tickets - FREE tickets at that. And as any starving college kid will tell you - Free is good!
Well, it was December and I was sports editor at the Commerce Journal and the ETSU Lions were in a big Lone Star Conference Christmas tournament that same weekend. And yes - I said those now famous words ...”Suz, we can see Elvis anytime.” In retrospect I can clearly see now that I was an idiot. Oh yeah, what a fool I was - the kind Elvis sang about in “Treat Me Like a Fool” or “A Fool Such as I.”
I can’t tell you how many times the words - “we can see Elvis anytime” - have haunted me. I thought I needed to cover the basketball game. I thought I was right. I hang my head in shame like a hound dog every time I think about it.
I guess I’m just lucky Suz didn’t leave me right then and there and go to the show by herself. And especially after Elvis passed away the very next summer - August 16, 1977. Oh yes - that date will forever be etched into my brain. (But that’s another column entirely. I'll just say for now - truth really is stranger than fiction when it comes to Elvis)
So, thank you Donny for giving me a second chance - of sorts. It might be 37 years too late, but I finally got to take Suz to see Elvis. And Donny, thanks for taking the time to visit with us backstage. Thank you, thank you every much.