For the past eight years, Elvis Presley fans throughout the Maritimes have come to expect a concert tour from Metro Moncton resident Thane Dunn. Dunn is regarded as one of the world’s best Elvis tributes and has his annual winter tour of the Maritimes coincide with The King’s birthday of January 8.
Over the past eight years, Thane has entertained tens of thousands of Elvis fans throughout the Maritimes. Those fans have walked away happy for a good reason: Thane not only has the looks of the late great Presley but also has the voice and the stage moves to match.
Thane’s passion for all things Elvis began when he was a child. With a father who was in sales while he was growing up, Dunn says that his fascination with The King stemmed from watching Elvis movies on television with his mother.
“Watching him on television, there was a charisma about Elvis that just came through the TV set,” Thane says. “There was nobody else like him at the time and hasn’t been anybody like him since.”
While Elvis’s career spanned a remarkable two-plus decades, Thane’s show primarily focuses upon Presley’s career between 1970 and 1973. Believing this specific era of Presley’s material is best suited to his shows, Thane says narrowing down the scope of Presley’s work is done out of necessity.
“When you’ve got so many songs to choose to perform, I think that covering the time from 1970 through 1973 is what suits me best. I think that I give people the best replica of Elvis material and shows from that time. I try to stay authentic to songs that Elvis would have been performing in the early part of the ’70s,” he says.
Rather than keeping the same set list to perform year after year, Thane has made minor song tweaks to his show over the course of the past eight years. While his show will always feature Presley staples such as Love Me Tender and Suspicious Minds, Thane estimates that the current show features an abundance of material he has not performed in concert prior to this year.
“Eighty per cent of the material used in this year’s tour is brand new and I am very excited to perform tracks like Kentucky Rain and A Little Less Conversation alongside other tracks that people would expect to hear from Elvis,” he says.
In speaking with Thane, it is obvious that he takes his tribute to Presley very seriously and wants to give fans only the best and most authentic experience that he can. Given the tremendously positive reception to his show, Thane’s portrayal of the King has earned the unwavering praise of fans who have had the good fortune to see Elvis live in concert. Dunn says that those fans have been kind enough to tell him that seeing his show was just like seeing Presley himself all over again.
“I feel as though the small details of the live show are extremely important. While a lot of people might not care less about the show’s fine details, there is definitely a small majority of people that will pick up on anything that is wrong. The closer I can be to Elvis on stage, the better for the audience. I am an Elvis fan first and foremost and am fortunate enough to be a performer of his material as well. I am very lucky to be on that stage every night,” Thane says.
In addition to having a raft of new costumes made for this year’s birthday tour, Thane excitedly notes that a little piece of Elvis will be gracing the stage as well.
“In the past year, I got a stud that fell from Elvis’s coat while he was filming Elvis On Tour on April 6, 1972. The stud came from one of the most reputable Elvis dealers in the world and had fallen from one of Elvis’s suits called the Pinwheel. Prior to this year, I never had that suit and had always wanted it. Everything on that suit has been recreated to be exactly as the original was, right down to having the same belt.”
While Thane has rightfully earned a rabid following here in the Maritimes, he has also had the fortune of performing for audiences in Quebec and the United States. He’s also looking to expand the reach of his show in 2012.
“There is no question that there is a love of Elvis that is international and from what I understand about our show, it could stand on its own anywhere in the world,” Thane says. “Over the next year, I am looking to go perform in Italy, Spain and Germany among other places. Good word seems to travel well and though I am not 100 per cent sure of how an international tour would play out, wherever I happen to be going to play would be fine with me.”
Article published in January 19, 2012 edition of The Times & Transcript