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Vegas Cool: Mark Anthony and the magic of Elvis

Mark Anthony as Elvis

They say the heart wants what the heart wants, and it does. Mine wants music. Craves it, digs it, loves it, adores it, must must have it because it dips down into the very soul of who and how and what I am. Yes music, but most of all? Elvis Presley music. It’s my air. I need it to survive. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing like that feeling of sitting in the very front row, waiting for the show to start -waiting for Elvis Presley’s music to once again give wings to your soul – the creak and luxury of the leather seats, the smell of theatre and the dim heavy dark red velvet stage curtains, majestic,  just a few feet from the stage in front of you. Heartbeat, heartbeat, you can feel the anticipation of the audience, it’s in your chest – and it’s the energy of Elvis Presley in the air. Ahhh there’s nothing like it. And me? I travelled, by plane, all the way to Adelaide to be there. From Melbourne. Yes that’s right, this crazy goose travelled further south in the middle of a cold winter. Am I nuts or what. Yeah well it’s these crazy out of freaking nowhere adventures, that keep me sane.

Do you know what I love about Mark Anthony? I love that when he walks onstage, you become part of it. From the first moment, it’s like a shift in reality and suddenly it’s The International Hotel, Vegas, 1969 and from the first fade of lights and the first screams of ecstasy; from the first realisation that the music is about to hit, he draws you in and you are part of it. There is something completely Elvis-esque about Mark Anthony. He captures the very essence of the man, and then teases us with it, all lithe and mean – that sneer, that half giggle – it’s Elvis Personified, oh Lordy, and tonight he’s in the stunning red and black three piece Cossack suit, pure Vegas ’69, bathed under stagelight and it’s perfect. And the band hits it and he starts singing and moving, and the backup girls are digging it and singing high-pitched harmony, and he’s got us, every freaking second, he’s got us – and every freaking second is pure heaven Elvis music bliss.

He gives us CC Rider, the way it was originally done, before the tradition of the 70’s had set in. It’s raw and new – not what most of the crowd expected – and oh what a delightful shock. This is the breakout Elvis, fresh from the Comeback Special, Elvis NOW before he was documented in That’s The Way It Is – this is Elvis re-discovering who he is and what he’s made of, and Mark Anthony is not just playing the role, he’s living it and he’s taking us along for the ride, and for an Elvis Presley fan, there is nothing better. The energy, the band, the light show, the music, THE MUSIC – it’s Rubberneckin’ groovy cool classy like only Elvis can – the Memphis Flash all grown up and how. I don’t know what it feels like or how many hundreds of hours it’s taken him to be up on that stage, doing what he does so freaking flawlessly, like it’s second nature, but I do know that from down here in the front row, he is the closest we’ll get to the real deal, and I love that he’s given this to us. I love that he loves the man so much – so obvious from the way he gives a billion percent to every note, every gesture, every move and nuance – I love that it’s a humble, genuine, respectful tribute; I love that he gets it technically right, vocally right, and that those moves of his not only replicate but resonate the real Elvis, to a standard I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. I love it! I love it so much.

For the second half of the show, it’s Elvis 70, the white jumpsuited svelte young superstar that the audience know and adore. Now it’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, Mystery Train, Polk Salad Annie and hands down the best version of Just Pretend I have ever heard. Ever. Perfectly captured and so beautifully sung, it’s the entire threatre as one – magic threads connecting us all. Mark Anthony is a master at what he does, but it’s not just about the performance. It’s about the little things: recognising the old man who’s dancing on his own in the corner, playfully grabbing his hat, making us laugh and making him feel special; it’s the way he wanders down to the back rows during Love Me Tender, reaching back into the crowd who reach out to him; it’s the humble acknowledgment of one of the best backing bands out there, the gratitude, the thankfulness, the genuineness about Mark Anthony that makes his time on stage so special.

Yes I love the performer and the performance, but most of all, I love the glimpses he gives us. We know he’s not Elvis (and he knows it too), but here and there, there are those brief moments when we swear to God, THIS is exactly how it would feel to be at an Elvis Presley show, THIS is what the magic of the International Hotel would have been like, THIS is what it would have felt like to be in the presence of The King onstage. He takes us there. What an incredible thing to be able to share with an audience. When the night finally ends and the red curtain falls (and we die a little inside), we take away something more than just the memory of a great performance. We take away a little bit of the magic of Elvis Presley himself.

The heart wants what the heart wants.

Mark Anthony – thank you for the music.

 

[Linda Memphis, July 2017]
© 2017 Linda Memphis

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How To Slow The $@#% Down: Four tips to help you savour the moment and create clarity in your life!

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Does it ever feel like your life is a movie stuck on fast-forward? Like no matter how hard you try, there are never enough hours in the day, or no matter what you do, there’s always more to be done? Does it feel like you always need to move faster, think harder and work smarter to get ‘there’?

It’s alarming that for so many of us, our lives are like one massive ‘To Do’ list. We clock up kids play dates, coffee dates and after work drinks like there’s no tomorrow; push for bigger, better, picture-perfect homes; strive to always stay on top of social media, the local gossip, the latest news; and cultivate hip and healthy homemade meals even when we walk in the door late – not because takeaway is bad for us but so that we can prove to ourselves and the world that we ‘have it all’. Work life – tick, family life – tick, social life – tick, sleep – wait, what’s that? At the end of any given day, we pile into bed, bodies aching and minds racing to power up for more of the same tomorrow – all the while wishing that we had just a few more hours in the day.

This is living?

Why is it that it’s obvious to us that it’s better to choose quality over quantity where material things are concerned, yet we throw away our time as though it counts for nothing?  How can we learn to see each moment as valuable and precious and treat it accordingly? Because it’s the little things – it’s in the moments – that we truly experience life, and make memories to cherish.

Well, savouring the moment and creating clarity in your life not as difficult as you might think!

The simple solution? Slow the $@#% down!!

  1. Prioritize: Understand What’s Urgent and Important
    One the greatest mistakes you can make is to label everything you’re doing as something that ‘has’ to be done, and done fully. If you are thinking this way, then you are, in effect, labeling everything as urgent and important – potentially wasting time and energy on things that don’t necessarily require your full attention. The end result? You’re left rushing around trying to make time for the things that actually are important. Something is only urgent if your survival depends on it. If your bill is overdue and your electricity is about to be cut off? Well yes, then paying that bill is pretty urgent. Getting a report in before deadline? Yes, that’s important too (you don’t want to lose your job). But responding to an associates every inbox or text message with a hundred word paragraph (because you have to spell everything out for them)?  Not urgent, and potentially not even that important. Keep your responses to a minimum and schedule in a phone call for the queries that do require a full or urgent response. It’s actually faster to talk than text, and you won’t be wasting time going back and forth with a dozen messages that most likely will keep interrupting your work flow. You can slow your life down significantly by making a list of all the things you normally do in a day, and weeding out or cutting down on the ones that aren’t urgent or important. Re-prioritise these, delegate them to someone else, or even take them off that ‘to do’ list altogether.
  2.  Ask Yourself Is It Important – To Me?
    After you’ve sorted out what’s truly urgent and important, it’s time to evaluate what’s important to you. Family, friends, hobbies – what makes you happy? What re-energises you and inspires you? Put aside time for these things, and give yourself permission to indulge in whatever it is that makes your life worth living. Embrace the things that are important to you and say no to the others. Cut out anything that doesn’t add significant value to your life. For example, all those extra curricular activities that you’re doing, not because you particularly want to, but because you think you should be doing them (for whatever reason). Same goes for all the extra curricular activities your kids are doing. Ask them what they want to do. Let them do just one or two after school activities that they really enjoy rather than dragging them to three or four (or five or six) because that’s what you’ve let yourself believe that kids ‘should’ be doing at their age. Choose quality over quantity! Cut ruthlessly and make an effort to thoroughly enjoy the things you’ve chosen.
  3. Make Private Time A Priority
    Now that you’ve narrowed down what’s urgent and important, and identified the people and things/activities that you have decided are most important to you, it’s time to take a look at putting aside some time for yourself. Yes, really! Just as sleep is essential for our bodies to rest so that we can get up again each morning and make the most of the day ahead, it’s also important for us to rest and relax our minds so that we can think with ease and clarity. Slow your life down by taking some time out for you. We need time alone to reflect and appreciate, to restore and centre our minds away from the rush and clutter of daily life. Even if it’s just ten minutes a day – go for a walk, read a book, or just sit in a garden somewhere with sunshine overhead and the breeze brushing against your face. ‘Me time’ is absolutely vital to our well being.
  4. Live In The Moment
    Very young children live in a timeless world. They aren’t focussed on yesterday or tomorrow, they live fully in the here and now, embracing everything in front of and around them. You can slow your life down significantly by taking every opportunity to you can to look at life through the eyes of a child. Give 100% to whatever task you have at hand, regardless of what it is. Appreciate the positives in every situation, and make a determined effort to embrace them.

When we are anxious and stressed, we breathe in short, shallow breaths and this doesn’t properly sustain us. While there may still be air going in and out of our lungs, we are out of whack. It’s not an enjoyable experience. In order to calm your body and mind so you can function at an optimum, you need to take the time to breathe slowly. Then and only then does everything else come into focus – allowing you to look around and smile. Re-prioritising and re-delegating tasks, understanding what’s important to you as a person, allowing yourself private time, and making an effort to live in the moment are all strategies which will help you truly breathe – and live at a pace that allows your life to truly come into focus.

Clarity of mind and quality of time cannot be rushed. Slow it down – and your life will thank you.

Cheers!
Linda Memphis

© 2017 Linda Memphis

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