I have to admit I missed the Elvis era by a few years. While I can appreciate his music, I never connected much with his persona. For my generation he was mostly represented by images of cheesy imitators. But with a bunch of Elvis lovers in the family, what better way to celebrate mother and son back-to-back birthdays than a show featuring “The King of Rock and Roll?” Yes, it was my idea to see Maui’s “Burn’n Love” show starring Darren Lee, Elvis impersonator extraordinaire.
While Elvis impersonators run the gamut of styles, time periods, and talent, this show is unique in that Lee has designed it to feature Elvis’s time in Hawaii. This includes pieces from his first concert in Hawaii in 1957, the films he made here, and his monumental “Aloha from Hawaii” concert, which was the first ever to be shown around the world via satellite. As a nominal Elvis fan, I learned a few things during the show. Did you know that Elvis donated the entire proceeds from his 1961 Pearl Harbor Concert to help build the USS Arizona Memorial?
I won’t give away the whole program here, but I will share that Lee’s performance is spectacular. He’s got the moves, the voice and the demeanor of Elvis perfectly honed to create a very believable act. I could see why he earned the title of longest running Elvis show in Las Vegas. His role is supported by fun, upbeat, and energetic dancers. The live band adds to the energy, and the musicians are a very talented and professional group. On a personal note, I was excited to see my classmate, Halemanu, on lead guitar.
Lee clearly shows his appreciation for his Maui audience and community by sharing a portion of his proceeds from each show with the Maui Food Bank, one of the charities Mamala O Maui supports as well.
Legend has it that Elvis only came to Maui once during his many Hawaii trips. While here he performed at the Baldwin High School auditorium. That’s my alma mater, and I’ve been on that stage! Maybe we have a connection after all.