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Back at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin for one night only, Kevin Doyle, Ireland’s leading Elvis performer, will perform live with a 15-piece backing band of musicians and singers. This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the day in July 1954 when a young truck driver from Tupelo, Mississippi, walked into Sun Records in Memphis and changed rock and roll history.
The show recreates the sound of Elvis at the peak of his powers, and Kevin will front a group modelled on the King’s own backing band of the late 1960s and early 1970s – purpose-built to handle everything in his repertoire from the raw rock and roll of his early hits, carefully wrought ballads and gospel renditions, through to inspired versions of other artists’ songs and triumphant, emotionally charged showstoppers. Fresh from appearing at this year’s Electric Picnic, Kevin and the band return to the Olympia Theatre, where they performed to a sold-out audience in August 2012.
Over the years, audiences have often remarked on the very visible bonds between the performers on stage and how much fun the band seems to be having as they play. It’s no coincidence: behind the music is another story worth telling, because this is a band like no other. The musicians are childhood friends, and many of them grew up together in the same estate in Lucan, County Dublin. For them, every rehearsal is a social occasion, a chance to catch up with friends and family, and every show is a celebration.
The band in its current incarnation was formed 15 years ago, but the friendship and sense of camaraderie were forged over many years before then. So it’s appropriate that November’s show adds an extra dimension to their story. All proceeds for the concert will go to the Shine On Éabha foundation – a cause that could not be closer to home. Niamh Shine has been an integral member of the band as a backing singer since 1999. Last year, she had a baby girl Éabha, who was diagnosed shortly afterwards with Aicardi Syndrome. This is an extremely rare incurable condition where two sides of the brain are unable to communicate, and it leaves Éabha in need of daily medication and constant care. Niamh and her partner Noel are working to build a wheelchair-accessible living space in their home for Éabha and to support her development with special-needs toys and learning tools. The concert in the Olympia Theatre will raise vital funds to allow Niamh and Noel to provide the best possible care for little Éabha.