Two of the seminal singers in the world of rock and roll were Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison -- contemporaries who never appeared on stage together.
One was full of sex appeal while the other was mysterious, hidden behind dark glasses. One danced and was frenetic while the other stood stock still, letting his voice warm the room. One sang with a pure rock and roll drive while the other had a new operatic sound that wrapped an audience in a web of breathless admiration.
The two singers are coming to Milwaukee as impersonators Danny J and John Van Thiel stage "Elvis and Orbison: The Voices of Rock" at The Pabst Theater on Aug. 16.
"We start the show with the music people were listening to at that time," said Danny J, who plays Orbison. "It was Patti Page and Tennessee Ernie Ford and Mitch Miller. Then I come out and Orbison takes the stage. I start with ‘Come a Little Bit Closer,’ and we are off and running."
Eventually, Van Thiel’s first song is "King Creole," and the two take turns delivering hit after hit – not hard considering the early rockers' legendary catalogues.
Danny J and Van Thiel spent years with the late Mark Shurilla and his "Greatest Hits Tribute," which leaned heavily on Buddy Holly.
"Fans told us over and over that they wanted to hear more Elvis, more Danny J, so we crafted a show to give it to them," Van Thiel said.
Danny J spearheaded the effort to organize the group and assembled a 12-piece group – The Legendaires Show Band – that includes a full horn section and backup singers.
"We have a 12-piece band and backup singers who are some of the best musicians in the area," Danny J said. "These guys are real pros. They all read charts, and they sound great."
"The Legendaires features some of the finest musicians and vocalists from the Chicago and Wisconsin areas," Van Thiel said. "It’s an honor to have this kind of talent backing us. John and I are really looking forward to performing at The Pabst Theater."
Doing a tribute is a dangerous task with many singers failing to capture the music of the guy being impersonated. Orbison had at least a three octave range, and his ability to climb high without singing falsetto was one of his amazing strengths. However, Danny J said he doesn’t have any troubling matching Orbison, note for note.
"I’ve never taken a voice lesson," Danny J said. "This is all natural. I started doing a version of 'Cara Mia' by Jay and the Americans, and people just went crazy when they heard it."
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Dave Begel
Published July 3, 2015
Sports can bring joy and jubilation and it's about the best feeling in the world. But the flip side of that coin is the sadness that comes in the world of sports. Here's seven things that make me sad and I just hope someday I can recover.
Published July 2, 2015
Wisconsin's basketball scene is undergoing change. The Milwaukee Bucks are going to go after a big name free agent, and it's apparent the Bucks are real players this year. That addition, however, is tempered by the loss, after next year, of Bo Ryan. He's going to be missed.
Published July 2, 2015
It was almost by accident that I discovered a perfectly legal ripoff from a car rental company. But that one seems to be almost small potatoes compared to the scandal of fake reviews that plague the internet.
Published July 1, 2015
The Women's World Cup is turning out to be yet another example of why soccer is called "the beautiful game." Here are six reasons to love watching the tournament.
Published June 30, 2015
The No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the world, Germany and the United States, will meet tonight for a berth in the final of the Women's World Cup. Both teams were favored to win the tournament before it started and the game feels like it should be the final.
Published June 29, 2015
Just one day after the nation was rocked to its foundation by the Supreme Court decision to honor love in all its forms the story of another love that blossomed as the world was changing came to our attention. It's the APT production of "Pride and Prejudice."
Published June 29, 2015
Pity is a coomplex thing but it's relatively easy int he world of sports. There are good guys and bad guys and we like some of them and dislike others. It's all a big pity party.
Published June 28, 2015
"The Island" is a play about the brutality and pain of apartheid in South Africa. But it is also more than that - a tale about the obligation to protest against unworthy conditions. It is a difficult and meaningful play to watch.
Published June 26, 2015
The Milwaukee Bucks, who didn't have much shooting in their arsenal last season, went for exactly that in both the NBA draft and a draft-night trade. Rashad Vaughn, a shooter from UNLV, and Greivis Vasquez, a veteran shooter from the Toronto Raptors, will join the Milwaukee Bucks.
Published June 25, 2015
Summerfest was nothing more than grass and mud in the early days, the level of excitement soon took on a massive personality. The Beach Boys played after a driving rainstorm and Orbison was a wonderful gentleman.