ELVIS AT THE 02
Photos courtesy of Rob Tysall
Whether you’re a dedicated Elvis Presley fan or simply curious about this iconic musical legend, the new exhibition at the 02 is an amazing insight into the personal world of the King of Rock and Roll – Elvis Presley.
Elvis at The 02: The Exhibition of His Life which opened on 12th December and runs until 31st August 2015 showcases an amazing 300 personal items, used and owned by Elvis that have come straight from the Presley family’s treasured archives at his Graceland home in Memphis, Tennessee.
The fascinating exhibition put together by Priscilla and Lisa-Marie Presley is intended to give the world a a glimpse of Elvis not just as an iconic performer, but as a son, a husband, a father and a friend.
Priscilla Presley said: “Elvis meant so much to me and our daughter Lisa, but we both know that our family truly shares him with the world. His legacy lives on today not only through his music, but by those who share in the love and admiration of what he contributed to the world of entertainment. While each and every item contains a lifetime of memories, we are more than happy to allow these treasured memories to leave Graceland, if only for a short time, so that his fans and the curious can learn about who he was as an artist, and understand what he was really like at home, by seeing the things that he surrounded himself with.”
For Elvis fans the exhibition is an opportunity of a lifetime, and there’s such a ripple of excitement and anticipation as you walk through the sprawling 02 to where the exhibition is being staged, with his music being played in the background even before you arrive. When you reach the actual exhibition, there’s so much to experience – firstly the massively impressive photography that lines the walls and the audio and video presentations allowing you to hear and see Elvis performing and giving interviews. There’s even a virtual tour of his Graceland home.
Wandering from hall to hall you discover so much of his personal life as you trace the story of Elvis’s humble beginnings through to legendary superstar. Give yourself a good few hours to enjoy this unique opportunity. You’ll find so much from small personal items like his school reports from Gloster Street Junior High in Tupelo, Mississippi and Hume High School in Memphis to his cars and guitars and so very much more.
It’s incredible to see the battered trunk that Elvis’s family packed up their belongings in to move from Tupelo to Memphis. You’ll see him photographed wearing his two-tone black and white shoes – and the shoes themselves where if you look closely, you’ll see that he actually painted those shoes two-tone back in the day when money was tight.
There’s his bible and statue of Christ from his bedroom, his personal house keys to Graceland, documents, business and hand-written letters, even his postbox that was located outside Gracelands on Highway 51 where my fan letters and countless other fan letters were delivered to.
There’s the pool table that Elvis played on with the Beatles, and his personal wallet containing photos of a young Lisa-Marie, even the stunning cuff-links he wore on his wedding day.
There are guitars, gold and platinum records, his martial arts suits, his motor bikes, golf carts and riding saddles. There’s even the barber’s chair where he sat to have his hair cut short when joining the army. His famous “TCB” (Taking Care of Business) ring is there and stunningly a dozen or so of his spectacular bejewelled jump suits and capes that he is so well known for.
Graceland’s Director of Archives, Angie Marchese said: “This is not a collection amassed from auctions; they are personal items from Graceland, where Elvis lived most of his life. The exhibition will tell the story of a music revolution that began when Elvis first stepped into a recording studio in 1954 and the lasting impact of his incredible legacy. Elvis Presley is the greatest of all music icons and these artefacts are the symbols of the man and the music that changed popular culture forever. As John Lennon said, ‘Before Elvis, there was nothing.’”
Every visit culminates in a 26-minute video performance in the auditorium which has been created specially for the exhibition by the team at Graceland.
Plus there’s also the largest Elvis themed retail outlet ever assembled in Europe where you can browse and buy all kinds of Elvis merchandise.
Exhibition co-ordinator Nic Wastell said: “There has never been anything life this for Elvis before. No exhibition mounted previously has even been so revealing of the man and the star. For people who can’t get to Graceland, Graceland is coming to them.”
Elvis at the 02: The Exhibition of His Life runs until 31st August 2015 and is open 7 days a week. For full details and tickets go to: www.elvisatthe02.com or call 0844 856 0202.