This latest exhibition at The O2 devoted to Elvis’s career concentrates on his touring years – offering a good insight into the work that went into creating his live performances.
While Elvis never performed live in the UK, this exhibition provides an insight as to what it would have been like to have worked on one of his touring shows as well as the thrill of what it would have been like to have seen him live.
Elvis on Tour the exhibition features a huge number of costumes that the singer wore on his numerous concerts as well as footage and documents that provide a detailed insight into just how much work went into creating Elvis’s live performances.
Wondering around this display with headphones on, relaying information that visitors can take in at their leisure, it feels a very personal experience that will leave visitors with very individual thoughts about one of the world’s best known and loved singers.
In particular, there is one documentary that provides a fascinating in depth look at the way in which Elvis performed live but also how he was essentially a very private man – due to the overprotectiveness of Colonel Tom Parker – who might have progressed his career but restrained his development as an artist. While it is fascinating, it also goes on for a full twenty minutes – with nowhere to sit down which is frustrating.
However, the exhibition did begin with fascinating backstage footage of Elvis preparing for a performance, that offers a real glimpse of what he was like as himself. This is interspersed with footage of people arriving at the concert, building up the atmosphere for the performance – as well as this exhibition and what it might reveal.
While the numerous costumes fascinate those who perhaps wished they got to see Elvis live, some of the most interesting elements of this exhibition are actually the documents on display. From the gruelling schedule to the cost of some of the costumes that were worn, these reveal just how big these performances were and how hard everybody worked on them – not least Elvis himself.
Overall, it is an exhibition that will fascinate those who never saw him performing live but also for those who are feeling nostalgic – however it is just lacking slightly in richness of material that the O2’s previous Elvis exhibition had to make it completely satisfying.