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Tuesday, 28 October 2014 00:00

Trent Carlini Brings The King to Life

When you think of Las Vegas many things come to mind – gambling, bright lights, monstrous hotels and casinos to which one can easily get lost, glamorous showgirls, dry heated air, the Bellagio fountain, The Rat Pack, Bugsy Segal and Seigfried and Roy. But maybe the largest association one has with Vegas is none other than the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley himself. After flopping in Las Vegas during the 1950s (they just weren’t ready for rock n’ roll), Elvis returned with a vengeance in the late 1960s and had several highly successful years as a residency and touring act until his death on August 16th, 1977.

Since the King’s passing there have probably been more Elvis impersonators than one can count, and though most may go unnoticed, Trent Carlini does not. Formerly known as the Las Vegas Hilton where Elvis performed with regularity, Carlini currently performs an amazingly inspired tribute at what is now called Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Known as one of the best Elvis impersonators in the business, Carlini does not disappoint.

Set in the Shimmer Cabaret, a 350-seat theatre, fans are treated to a very intimate Elvis experience that is a true celebration of Elvis’ life and music. Trent Carlini packs an accurate, and highly entertaining, musical chronology into his 75-minute show that starts with Presley’s earliest hits like “Blue Suede Shoes” and keeps on rolling through the 1970s. Touching on the movie years, we hear classics like “Rock-A-Hula”, “G.I. Blues”, and of course “Viva Las Vegas”, before Carlini appears in that famous leather suit for some ’68 Comeback Special action. Carlini also dons Elvis’ legendary white suit for an emotionally stirring rendition of “If I Can Dream”.

“The King starring Trent Carlini” gives audience members a taste of Elvis Presley’s music in a way many thought could not be done. Carlini’s vocal ability to sound like Presley is haunting, his likeness almost uncanny at times, his movements right on and he even captures some of the late legend’s renowned charm whether it be in joking with the crowd or letting off a simple impish grin. Band members play along with Carlini but are not exposed until a few songs in, adding another dimension to the show. Expect a good amount of audience participation, as Carlini prods the crowd to sing along on occasion (or on their own!), invites the ladies to step up to the stage for a kiss, personally greets a good amount of the crowd during “Love Me Tender” and later passes out scarves to the adoring women in true King fashion.  

With each period of Elvis’ life, Carlini sports the proper attire from Presley’s Lansky collection to his well-known jumpsuits (complete with karate demonstrations). We get a little history lesson along the way though the main focus is on the music, as it should be in a tribute show. Pumping out the Elvis faves like “Hound Dog”, “Jailhouse Rock” (one of Carlini’s self-proclaimed top choices), “Burning Love”, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “The Wonder of You”, fans leave the theater feeling as though they got their full dose of Elvis-mania. The show concludes on an apropos note with Carlini’s powerful version of “American Trilogy” that really gets the goose bumps going. Carlini hits the song’s final note with precision and might – a note that so many other tribute artists substitute with a lower octave.

There is a huge variety of shows to see in Las Vegas, but this is one that should be on your must see list, Elvis fan or not. It is a show for all ages and one that anyone who likes to rock can enjoy. “The King starring Trent Carlini” is completely entertaining and thoroughly engaging. Trent is one of the best in the business and what better place than to relive, or get a taste of, the musical performance of Elvis Presley.

“Thank you. Thank you very much.”   

Published in Theatre Reviews

....a few minutes in, Human Nature welcomed us to the 'party'.  Their shiny shoes and bow tie look indicated to me to get ready for a class act!  From Sidney, Australia, these four men who referred to themselves as ordinary guys, proved within minutes to be 'extra ordinary'.  With a love for music and dance as teens they performed as a barber shop quartet, but soon shifted to Motown, loving the beat and soul of such groups as the Temptations.  Motown was birthed in the United States in the late 50's, but soon reached the ears of Mike, Andrew, Phil and Toby lighting a fire that never quit.

During the performance the highs and lows of harmony was done beautifully.  Music and rhythm aside, just watching four handsome men, suited up, brought class into the house and heightened the crowd with anticipation.  "Shop Around" brought back memories for me, and when "Stop in the Name of Love" filled the room it took you back in time when young people would escape into the fun of music.  This show was family friendly, but it wasn't a surprise to see the seats filled with older folks who related so much with the Motown sound.

Mike, Andrew, Phil and Toby have been together musically for twenty-five years.  The lead singer Mike, who initiated this 'dream' said it all began with "I'll Be There".  Their relationship with Smokey Robinson is genuine and productive in honoring Motown, and Human Nature is continuing to keep the heart and soul of Motown alive.  The energy level these guys had, the 'moves' and quality singing certainly is worth checking out.  Each performer is gifted, but the four together were amazingly entertaining. There was just the right mix of performance and audience participation to really keep the fun going.  Backed up by the Hollas Band Las Vegas, Human Nature brought home a sound that brought history back to life!  It just couldn't have been better!

Smokey Robinson’s Human Nature: The Motown Show is currently playing at The Sands Showroom inside Las Vegas’ glitzy Venetian Hotel and Casino. With hits from the Four Tops, The Supremes, The Temptations and Stevie Wonder you’ll find this show to be one of Vegas’ most fun and inspirational.

Published in Theatre Reviews