Live at the Historic Brook Theater

Anthony Liguori at The Historic Brook Theater... story and Photos by Phil Gelormine Elvis World Magazine

ELVIS WORLD welcomed  Anthony Liguori, Jr. and his "Remembering Elvis" tribute show to my old hometown of Bound  Brook, NJ last night where our magazine was conceived and first published  I am kind of fond of Italian/American ETAs and so I brought the staff down to see him for the first time  in our historic and beautifully  renovated theatre. Built in 1927 it is one of the last of the old traditional movie theatres. And we saw many here Including those of Elvis. Everyone from Jackie Gleason to Tony Bennett to Bo Diddley whom we met here have played here.    Ravaged by floods in the low-lying  downtown district  it has been rebuilt time and time again.   At one point  I was on a committee that helped repair this beautiful palace. So last night  when I saw the glowing marquee, I was as proud as punch to be back home again and  anticipating the concert.

Photo: Phil Gelormine/Elvis World (c) 2016

 

Rock Around the Clock: The show opened with a short but steaming set from the legendary Bill Turner & Blue Smoke. He was the former lead guitarist for the late, great Bill Haley & the Comets. I haven't seen Bill play since he backed another Italian Elvis, the very wonderful Jim Barone, maybe 15 years ago at an outdoor concert in Westfield.  So I knew what to expect - precision rock 'n' roll playing! 

Photo: Phil Gelormine/Elvis World (c) 2016

Elvis is in the building! To the sound of Turner's band which included a horn section (points) and to the left of stage three pretty ladies (The Lazzaro Sisters) singing back-up along with Bill's boys.  This was some full blown production. Suddenly as the lights dimmed and the packed house of all ages rose to their feet while the strains of 2001 faded into a drum vamp, Anthony Liguori Jr representing Elvis strolled out in a bright, red jumpsuit, strapped on a guitar and got down to business opening with the PRESLEY favorite, "That's All Right".
Photos: Phil Gelormine/Elvis World(C) 2016

As the three of us watched Anthony work the room. I poked Dave reminding him of the tickets he ordered for the Hampton Roads, VA '72 concert (which became "Elvis on Tour") while I was still in college. It was our second Elvis show and The King wore the now so-called "Burning Love" jumpsuit named after the picture on the single sleeve of the record. And here we are watching a Tony portray Presley some 44 years later in a facsimile of the same outfit. Anthony as Elvis and Bill Turner made quite a team. Turner never took his eyes off of him never missing a lick, much like James Burton playing for Elvis.
Photos: Phil Gelormine/Elvis World (C) 2016

Anthony was a total ball of energy from start to finish. I thought I was watching an aerobic workout!  This man was in constant motion staying true to the moves of Elvis and also incorporating a few of his his own.  Squats, deep knee bends, karate kicks all set to the music were incorporated into his act. You have to be in shape to play Elvis, especially the period of 1969-1970 in which he drew most of his songs from.
Photos: Phil Gelormine/ Elvis World (C)2016

Tony performed non-stop for nearly 90 minutes singing in a rich, deep baritone Elvis favorites, classics and deep cuts like "Stranger in the Crowd" and "The Next Step Is Love" complete with that funky little trumpet riff. But the highlight for me was right in the middle of the show when he stopped to explain how much he enjoyed watching Elvis' movies as a kid growing up. Didn't we all, but right then and there the band went into a spot on rendition of the title song from the 1964 musical quickie "Kisstn' Cousins" of all things. I nearly fell out of my seat! It just made me wish that Elvis had taken his movie material more seriously. Fans would've loved something like this coming from The King back then. But I guess except for signature songs like "Can't Help" he left that world far behind.
Photos: Phil Gelormine/Elvis World (C) 2016

It's always a pleasure when an ETA springs for backup singers (The Lazzaro Sisters) and these girls knew their parts and added immensely to the enjoyment of each song. Anthony as Elvis (who at one point explained that there is only ONE Elvis) performed throughout the  performance. Family affair: Yes, much like our friend Terry Mike, Anthony's son Christian joined the band playing a mean guitar for Pop last night.
Photos: Phil Gelormine/Elvis World (C) 2016

The Scarves: The only lull in the show came when Anthony Elvis had to stop the performance dead to accommodate the ladies who lurnged for scarves only they couldn't lunge  because there was a 6 foot drop  into the orchestra pit directly in front of the stage! So the ladies, God bless 'em, had to climb the stairs stage right and wait in turn for Tony to anoint them with a scarf an a kiss while we patiently waited for the next number.  It took away the whole spontaneity of the act which wais part of the Elvis show but what's an ETA to do when working an old vaudeville theater but... TCB!
Photos: Phil Gelormine/Elvis World (C) 2016

Anthony received a standing ovations for a no holds barred "Suspicious Minds" and a stirring "American Trilogy" (complete with flute solo).  All veterans were discounted at the door.
Photos: Phil Gelormine/Elvis World (C) 2016

 

Anthony Has Left The Building.   And to the final song of the evening, the inevitable "Can't Help Falling in Love" Anthony Liguori Jr left the stage to thunderous applause and leaving a lot of fans happy, many of whom never had the opportunity to see Elvis and then again there were a few who did.  Isn't that the job of an ETA?
 

The show was titled "Remembering Elvis" and for me, Debbie and Dave, Anthony Liguori Jr, Bill Turner, the band, singers, musicians and the Brook Theatre did just that for us last night. Together with our friends Donna, Larry and Bob we would leave for dinner and remember some more. Thank you Tony for a great night of fun!  His truth is marching on.

 Photos: Phil Gelormine/Elvis World (C) 2016

LET US PRAY:  We had the opportunity to meet the star of "Remembering Elvis" at the Brook Theatre shortly before the show and found him to be quite an interesting guy. Did you know besides being a singer-songster in his own right (and a dyed-in-the-wool Elvis fan) he is a fully ordained minister of the Catholic Church? Well, after seeing his show, he certainly has our blessing.  Continued success your  Eminence and thank you for the shout out during your performance.

Story and Photos; Courtesy of Phil Gelormine/Elvis World (C) 2016
 

Photos: Phil Gelormine... Debbie Gelormine... David Wolven/Elvis World (C) 2016