Ever wanted to visit Graceland to find out more about Elvis Presley but lacked the money or the time? Fret not because this special exhibition at the O2 really delivers.
This exhibition which opened at the O2 last year has proved so successful that although it was originally supposed to close in August this year, it has now been extended to January – such is the huge fascination and popularity of Elvis that has endured long after his death.
What makes this particular display or tribute to him so special is the way in which it concentrates on the high points of his life and career, stopping before his personal life spiralled out of control. Yes it means that perhaps it is not as fully rounded as it could be, but it does remind visitors of why he was so unique and special in the first place.
It is such a personal and intimate exhibition, whether you are looking at his personal items such as his wallet with a picture of him and his daughter Lisa-Marie or his various discs charting his achievements as an artist, you really do feel that you are getting an insight into his life.
But of course, so many people are aware of his career success that it is more of his private life that is fascinating for people to find out more about. It has to be said that it is rather humbling to see where he originally lived with his mother and father and their struggle with money and to read his school reports that suggest he was a rather modest, quiet and hardworking child – yet no one suspected just how successful he would come.
There is such a variety of material and objects on display that visitors really do get an opportunity to know the private side of Elvis that very few people got to know and this really makes you feel sad that there was never an opportunity to see this private side to him more often because his public life took over. This feeling is added to by the fact his voice is quite clear throughout the exhibition, whether it is his music playing in the background or snippets of interviews that really helps get to the heart of him as a person rather than just a hugely popular singer.
But the exhibition is filled with a positive vibe that truly captures his spirit and brings him back to life in a way that is thrilling for those who weren’t around when he was at the peak of his career and stirs up memories for those who were.
If there is one downside to the exhibition it is the lack of information and what there is isn’t easy to find or see because of the lighting and the size of the plaques with the information on. Of course there are objects with various facts of when they were used etc but it just didn’t seem enough.
However, this probably won’t bother anyone who is a huge fan and is still easy enough to enjoy as you walk around.
The special film at the end ties the whole exhibition together nicely and ends it on an emotional note as to the loss of such a great talent at a young age. Filled with a mixture of performances from different concerts, it is a lovely nostalgic way to end the exhibition.
Elvis at the O2 is on at The O2 arena until the 10th January.