While Elvis has certainly left the building known as Earth, the “King” is still ruling Las Vegas via scores of wanna-be Elvis Presley’s who perform in all shapes and forms. Come to think of it, much like Elvis himself. These Presley look-alikes can be found in casinos, bars and the dance and music company — Cirque de Soleil. There are Elvis’ dealing your blackjack cards at a Vegas casino, walking the bride down the aisle for her wedding, or even falling from the sky. The falling ones, by the way, do wear parachutes.
Elvis and Vegas have a long history. Presley, in the 1950’s tried to bring his rock and roll to the beginnings of the early Strip, but his brand of music did not take off then. A decade later, though, Presley was a sensation in Sin City, consistently selling out venues to his wildly enthusiastic audiences. How beloved is Elvis in Vegas? Take a walk in your blue suede shoes down to the Riviera Hotel and Casino, 2901 Las Vegas Blvd. S., and you’ll find a star, the 27th, dedicated to the rocker just outside on the Strip’s Las Vegas Walk of Stars. (Another Vegas luminary, Liberace, has his star nearby on the sidewalk as does Rat Packer Sammy Davis, Jr.)
OK, let’s say you’ve had a night of gambling, partying and (perhaps) a bit of imbibing beverages. You are meandering your way back to your hotel when you look up in the sky and see multiple Elvis’ descending from the heavens, where his fans assume Presley wound up. No, it’s not the liquid effects of the night before. These are, hopefully, the Flying Elvi , 7910 Bermuda Road.
The Flying Elvi, perhaps best known to mass audiences from the 1992 Nicolas Cage-starring movie, “Honeymoon in Vegas,” is a 10-member skydiving team dressed as, yes, Elvis leaping out of planes. The team, which jumps from their planes at altitudes of up to 12,500 feet high, performs all over the country as well as in Vegas. The group is available for a variety of special events. And if you’ve decided to dive into a wedding, the team will act as groomsmen for that special, and newly married, hound dog.
The renowned Canadian performing group, Cirque du Soleil, has also joined the Elvis bandwagon in Vegas with their stage show, “Viva Elvis.” The production is housed in the recently opened Aria Resort and Casino, 3930 Las Vegas Blvd., and gives audiences a fusion of live music, dance and acrobatics that explores the life that was Presley. The King’s songs, as performed by Cirque’s orchestra and performers will probably leave you all shook up.
A classic Vegas Elvis act is found at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, 3595 Las Vegas Blvd. S., where fans of the King can find Peter “Big Elvis” Vallee singing Presley tunes in Bill’s lounge. And, yes, Big Elvis is, well, rather “big.” But five times a week, Vallee brings back Elvis’ songs in a complimentary one-hour concert that also features gospel, R&B and country hits. The audience at the Strip casino is encouraged to join Big Elvis in song and maybe participate in some whole lotta shaking moves.
Elvis, including various other headliner celebrities – both dead and alive – can be found dealing the cards at the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino, 3535 Las Vegas Blvd. S., as part of the casino’s daily show featuring the “Dealertainers.” Blackjack dealers, costumed as Elvis, Cher, Stevie Wonder or Dolly Parton, among others, flip the cards to guests from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. daily and, hopefully, the dealers won’t be cruel to your bets.
Finally, Vegas offers plenty of wedding chapels featuring Elvis impersonators for those fools who rush in including the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, 1205 Las Vegas Blvd. S. The Viva offers a number of Elvis-themed weddings, starting out at about $260 for an appearance by the King, singing a song and giving viewers a free internet broadcast. There are a number of other Presley packages available to make the happy couple simply say, Viva Las Vegas.