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Slugged down an iced mocha, a couple of asprin and some vitamins and hurried over to the Star Bar Saturday about 945. There are already people seated and standing, listening to the opening band's sound check - a bad sign as usually the place is deserted about that time. I hide downstairs except for coming up for draught beer every half hour, watching the crowd grow thicker and thicker until the opening act cranks up and you can't breath without knocking over somebody's drink. The Lustre Kings from New York crank out some super genuine rockabilly but it's not worth the hot-can-of-sardines conditions so I skip their set, hiding downstairs and chatting with random degenerates. Just before midnight, the Lustre Kings wander out and somebody passes out candles for the midnight seance - the place is well lit with dozens of flickering flames and soon the smooth voice of Elvis is singing "Dixie" to us from the PA, seemingly from the skies. A girl next to me has tears running down her cheeks - she doesn't look old enough to miss Elvis personally but she was definitely moved. Near the end of the song, Elvis breaks from singing to send a message to the Star Bar from the heavens, "Hello, thanks for thinking of me, you guys are doing great work down there - oh yeah, some guy named 'Deacon Lunchbox' says hello." Cheers from the ever-increasingly teary-eyed mob. He finishes Dixie as Kingsized takes the stage, with some minor lineup changes for the special show, including a couple of local female celebrity backup singers.
The horn section starts right into Peter Gunn, then into the Elvis fanfare as Mike takes the stage. Over the course of the evening they cover all the great comeback-era Elvis hits with Mike's incredible voice and showmanship leading the way. The flock sways, the women swoon (it was damn hot...), the horn section is perfect, the backup singers add that special spice and the whole thing flows like a well-oiled Vegas stage show - all after two rehearsals, and all crammed into the Star Bar. The line stretches down the street for those who got there too late, the floor is littered in crushed PBR cans, and even I am moved nearly to tears when Mike does his best Dixie for the grand finale.
Elvis left the building 20 years ago, but he comes back to the Star Bar all the time.
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