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Brookhaven foursome sees Elvis ‘live’

Four friends from Brookhaven celebrated the life of Elvis Presley as the King’s death reached the 40th anniversary mark.

Colby Calcote, Brett Smith, Dr. Asa Reynolds and Lance Newman traveled to Memphis this week to take part in “Elvis Week” as many other fans from across the world traveled to celebrate the life of Presley.

“All of us are huge Elvis fans. We all love his music. We met people from Japan, Chile, Australia and the United Kingdom,” Calcote said.

With Presley being from Mississippi, Calcote said it sparked conversations when meeting other people.

“When we’d meet people and tell them we’re from Mississippi, it definitely perked their interests because it’s so interesting for them being from another country and traveling here. Any Elvis fan knows about his Mississippi history. We’d talk about Tupelo and things such as that,” said Calcote.

“Elvis Week” is a weeklong event that takes place every year during the anniversary week of Presley’s death.

Graceland puts on several different events such as the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, where fans dress up and act like Presley.

The Candlelight Vigil is the main event of the week.

Fans gather at the gates of Graceland at 8 p.m. on the night before the anniversary of his death and make their way to Meditation Garden to pay tribute to the King.

Fans generally stay until 8 a.m. the next morning.

“They announced a record number of people at the candlelight vigil. There were over 55,000 people there,” Calcote said. “Since Aug. 16 was the actual anniversary of his death, a lot of people showed up.”

Later that evening, the crew from Brookhaven made their way to the FedEx Forum on Beale Street to see Elvis “live” in concert.

The concert experience involves a full symphony orchestra that performs on stage with Elvis Presley himself on three large screens.

“They take out all of the original background music, where it’s just him singing and the orchestra is playing live with him singing. It feels like a real concert. It’s very impressive,” Calcote said.

He said you get wrapped up in the moment. “For those of us who never got to watch him live, this is the best we can get.”

Priscilla Presley, Elvis’ ex-wife, made several appearances during the show. She told several Elvis stories and also showed several home videos, while she described to fans what was going on.

Calcote said they try to make it every year to “Elvis Week”.

“The fact that he’s from Mississippi. The rags to riches, of starting from nothing and ending up being someone who 40 years after his death is still able to sell concerts out. The impact that he has on our culture is just an amazing story and I don’t think any other artist will ever be able to match it,” he said.