The King is in the Guild-ing

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Colin Ainscough speaks to the man who is bringing Elvis Presley back to life in Preston

Organising Papal visits to New York and Los Angeles, presidential inaugurations and Olympic closing ceremonies, as well as producing shows for the some of the biggest names in music over the past 40 years, is just another day in the office for self-taught LA-based events producer Stig Edgren.

Elvis on stage

Elvis on stage

However, Stig’s latest production is a little different.

He is bringing Elvis back to a sold out Preston Guild Hall next Wednesday, May 7.

But this isn’t the first time he has taken The King on tour.

On the 20th anniversary of Elvis’ death in 1997, Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises got in touch and asked him to put on a one-off event, after they had heard about his work on Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable video, which featured a duet with her late father.

Stig Edgren - The man behind the production

Stig Edgren - The man behind the production

Stig explains: “They asked me if it was possible to do a two-hour show using Elvis Presley’s footage.

“The original concept of the show was to have Elvis perform on a screen, and he would literally be singing lead vocals.

“Throughout his concert performances they always had an isolated vocal track, and that was the key to the show.”

Stig also brought together Elvis’s band The TCB Band, who had not played since his death, and the result was, to use Stig’s words, “phenomenal”.

This then gave birth to a show that ran until 2013 and consisted of more than 200 concerts, visiting the UK six times, and selling out venues across the country.

Now, in 2014, Stig not only brings a new theatrical production to the UK, but also a new band, as well as some effects that he hopes will take the meld of video and live to the next level.

I asked Stig if the technology he is using was similar to that of the 2012 2-Pac Coachella Festival performance, where an almost 3D image of the iconic rapper was projected on stage?

“I’ve been asked hundreds of times, why don’t you do a hologram, or Elvis in 3D, but to me it crosses a sort of line.

“It’s okay for an opening or closing effect, but a two-hour show is a bit much for me.

“The technology we use is rather simple. There’s no great tricks, other than the way we project it and the surface that we put it on. We use some very basic theatrical elements, like scrims, where you can project and still see through, so there’s a layered dimension in it, but we use what I call theatre 1-0-1.”

The production will also be using new wireless audio technology for the band and staging techniques to breathe new life into a show that has run for the best part of 20 years.

Without having seen the show it’s difficult to imagine how this projected performance of Elvis will feel to audiences, but the fact that these shows have sold out across the globe makes me believe that it must be something quite special. The event in Preston is now sold out, but Stig did hint at a new production, not involving Elvis, which should be ready for 2016.

You can watch the full interview on lep.co.uk/video.

Keep visiting lep.co.uk next week, for footage from the event.