Elvis at a urinal during a celebrity lookalikes convention in Las Vegas. The enduring popularity of Elvis here goes back to his ”Vegas Years” - a record-breaking seven-year run between 1969 and 1976 when he was the ”must-see” act.
Las Vegas – Been There

Bright light city gonna set my soul on fire

Photo by David White

Las Vegas – Been There Bright light city gonna set my soul on fire

As well as being the world capital of magic, Vegas is also the ultimate destination for one other set of showbiz wannabes, of which Paul Casey is one.

Jim Elliot
Jim Elliot

As his onstage act ends, I watch him look up from his guitar, run his fingers through his jet-black slicked-back hair and raise one side of his mouth to a position that hovers somewhere between a smile and a sneer. “Thankyouverymuch,” he grins as the last notes of See See Rider fade away and the crowd leaps to its feet in applause, whooping and hollering for more.

Yes, Casey is an Elvis impersonator, but in Vegas, where Presley tribute acts are a dime a dozen, he’s the King of Kings. A two-time ‘city entertainer of the year’, Casey is the official Elvis Ambassador of the Vegas tourist board and his ‘Elvis The Musical American Trilogy Show’ is packed to the rafters whenever he can squeeze in appearances back in his home town. It’s a lavish production with 42 songs, 16 costume changes and the official stamp of approval of members of Presley’s own Memphis Mafia.

Vegas is a mind-boggling city where bigger, better and brasher is everything, but longevity is not one of its strong points. When something serves its purpose, or rather, when it stops making money, it simply gets ripped down and something else is built in its place.

So what will Casey do when the inevitable passage of time means it’s time for someone to steal his crown? “I don’t know how long I can go on for,” he says, “But I do know that Elvis has been good to me. I’ve been lucky. I’ve worked with his estate, I’ve recorded in his house, I’ve done lots of movies but, above all, my singing of Elvis Presley material enabled me to go through all my schooling. I went to college and graduated with four degrees, the last one being law. When the day comes, I’ll probably go into entertainment law.”

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Elvis-costumed 14-month-old Jaden Brittell of Las Vegas is held up by his mother during the Las Vegas Halloween Parade. The spirit of Elvis lives on in various shows on the Strip and Vegas is also home to the Flying Elvi, a ten-member amateur skydiving team dressed like the king who have all averaged at least 3,000 jumps each. Photo by Leila Navidi / Las Vegas Sun

Leila Navidi

Leila Navidi

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Agency
Las Vegas Sun
Aperture
ƒ/2.8
Exposure
1/15
ISO
2500
Focal
28 mm

Elvis-costumed 14-month-old Jaden Brittell of Las Vegas is held up by his mother during the Las Vegas Halloween Parade. The spirit of Elvis lives on in various shows on the Strip and Vegas is also home to the Flying Elvi, a ten-member amateur skydiving team dressed like the king who have all averaged at least 3,000 jumps each.

 

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