After 10 years of consistently sold-out shows that have seen him perform for more than 100,000 satisfied spectators, Moncton resident and Elvis tribute artist Thane Dunn is moving on.
But don’t think that the award-winning performer is hanging up his microphone.
Every year for the past decade, Thane has undertaken a tour of the region that coincides with the Jan. 8 birthday of the legendary Elvis Presley.
His show at Casino New Brunswick this Saturday is one of four remaining 2014 Birthday Tour shows. The tour began in early January in Fredericton and has also played Saint John and Charlottetown and will touch down in Yarmouth, Truro and Liverpool by the time the tour wraps up on Feb. 2.
Thane says that while he and his band The Cadillac Kings could never fully express their gratitude for the success that Maritime audiences have shown the annual Birthday Tour, they are looking forward to opening more doors throughout the region as well as across the country.
“I have been so appreciative of the support that audiences have shown to me each year of the Birthday Tour,” Thane says. “The crowd’s enthusiasm and energy is what keeps me moving forward but it is never anything that I want to take for granted.
“Rather than watch attendance at the shows dwindle, it is merely time to evolve the show and look at a variation on the show that we could bring to audiences at other times of the year.”
An innate desire to consistently bring audiences a show that tops the previous years, Thane has some special guests accompanying his eight-piece band at Casino New Brunswick:
The Tony Dalgado Orchestra, led by the Venezuelan-born Dalgado will add an orchestral lilt to the timeless Elvis songs performed by Thane. The singer says that the idea to add the orchestra was suggested to him by longtime Cadillac King member Terry Hume.
“Terry had the opportunity to meet Tony and, in the midst of talking with one another, realized that he and members of his orchestra were big Elvis fans. Tony wrote the charts for the orchestra and did an absolutely wonderful job transcribing the music. There have been moments where we have been performing with the orchestra that have even surprised me at how closely the band has come to replicating the original sound heard on some of Elvis’s records.
“The only difference is that it is 40 years later and I am not Elvis,” Thane laughs. “My band has melded so well with orchestra so far. It is as though everyone has known one another and played together for years. I couldn’t be happier with this year’s show.”
Thane’s passion for Elvis Presley dates back to his time as a child. Growing up, his fascination with the King largely stemmed and was fuelled by watching Elvis movies on television with his mother. Even as a child, Thane identified the charisma that Presley exuded.
Just as Elvis refused to limit himself to just being a musician or just being an actor,
Not surprisingly, Thane’s outgoing personality brings much of that same charm and charisma to the stage. The relentless dedication that he takes to ensure even the most minute details are covered off is ultimately what has helped make the show the success that it is today. He has heard from fans fortunate enough to see Presley in concert prior to his untimely passing that his portrayal of Presley is just like seeing the King all over again.
“There were so many different dimensions to Elvis. The great thing about him is that he didn’t exclusively stick with any one specific outlet over the course of his career. There was movie Elvis. There was gospel Elvis. There was Elvis the pop star. It seemed like there were truly no limits to what he could do.
“Bringing those different musical sides of Elvis to audiences is something that I am very interested in pursuing in the future. We want to bring people an authentic Elvis experience.”
Contrary to the belief that Elvis’s music attracts only baby boomers or an “oldies” crowd, Thane says that one trait that has emerged over the past decade is the variance in ages of those in attendance. Nowhere has Elvis’s impact been more visible than via 16-year-old Quebec musician David Thibault’s version of “Blue Christmas” which became a viral video sensation leading up to the holidays.
“It just shows how massively popular Elvis is and how his music crosses generational lines,” Thane says in reference to Thibault. “There is an unbelievable amount of kids that come out to my shows. It is a definitive statement to how timeless the music is and how the quality has remained virtually unmatched for more than 50 years.”
A portion of the proceeds raised from Thane’s show this Saturday night will be donated to the Greater Moncton Chapter of the Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope and will be matched by Casino New Brunswick. The cause is one that hit close to home for Thane as his wife Melanie is an ovarian cancer survivor.
What: Thane Dunn’s 10th Anniversary Elvis Birthday Tour
When: Saturday, Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton
Tickets: Start at $38 plus service charges. Advance tickets are available at the Casino Gift Shop, by phone at 1-866-943-8849 and online at www.casinonb.ca
Article published in the January 23, 2014 edition of the Times & Transcript