Published July 3, 2014
By Patrick Lacombe, Journal reporter
Elvis Aaron Presley, also known as “The King Of Rock And Roll,” left this earth August 16, 1977, but his spirit, music and humble manner lives on in Kraig Parker. Parker and the Royal Tribute Band is known the world over for their impressive tribute to Elvis. The sights and sounds of his show have drawn the highest accolades from the likes of people who worked with Elvis and were his closest friends.
Kraig and the Royal Tribute Band hit the stage at the Cultural Activities Center last Saturday night in Temple and rocked the packed auditorium for nearly two hours, singing hit after hit. They had many people standing and dancing in the aisles through the whole show.
The format of the show began with the traditional opening theme of Elvis’ concerts: “Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss (better known as the theme to the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”). The crowd stood and applauded wildly as Parker made his entrance to the stage and opened with “That’s Alright” followed by “Proud Mary.”
During the show, Parker worked the crowd, interacting with them just as Elvis did during his concerts. During the song “Love Me Tender,” Parker picked up several scarves and put them around his neck while walking to the front of the stage. Women rushed to the front in hopes of getting a kiss along with a scarf, which was one of Elvis’ trademark moves during concerts. The first set ended with the classic hit “If I Can Dream.”
After a brief intermission, Parker returned to the stage singing “See See Rider” followed by “Burning Love.”
As the concert was drawing toward the end, Parker mentioned Elvis’ love of gospel music and how his faith carried him through many trials in his life. He then broke into one of Elvis’ favorite hymns, “How Great Thou Art” with the crowd standing and extending their hands in the air, waving back and forth in praise.
When the song ended, Parker expressed his appreciation for America’s military and veterans. That led into a huge crowd favorite, “American Trilogy.”
The Royal Tribute band, complete with a horn section and backup singers, complimented his mighty vocals on “Battle Hymn Of The Republic” and had people in the audience wiping away tears during the song.
The show closed with a perfect rendition of “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” As Parker left the stage, he received a standing ovation with shouts of “more, more” coming from the audience. The crowd then filed out into the lobby for a meet-and-greet with Parker, who stayed until he hugged every person and shook every hand in the house.
Maggie Shorr and her husband, Asa, made the trip from San Antonio to see the show.
“I saw Elvis live in ’77 a few months before he died,” Maggie said. “This whole show was like déjà vu to me. He looks like Elvis and sounds like Elvis. It’s almost as if the rumors that went around that Elvis wasn’t really dead are true. I can’t believe he’s not the real Elvis.”
“It was really good, and I’m glad we came,” Chela Figuero of Killeen said. “He’s got the spirit of Elvis. We will definitely go see him again.”
Kraig Parker and the Royal Tribute Band are based out of Dallas and will be playing later this month with the Missouri Symphony Orchestra.
“We are the only Elvis Tribute band that plays with symphonies,” Charles Stone, Parker’s tour producer as well as Elvis’, said. “We don’t show up with a four-piece band. We make this as close to the original Elvis concerts as possible. When people leave from here, they know they have seen a class act.”
To see concert dates and learn more about Kraig Parker and the Royal Tribute Band, visit their website at www.thekinglives.com.