‘Kaua‘i Loves Elvis!’ At The Marriott

It was 40 years ago this month, Jan. 14, 1973, when Elvis Presley staged his most famous concert performance, Aloha from Hawaii. The concert was broadcast live via satellite to 40 countries across Asia and Europe and seen by more than 1 billion viewers.

Wearing his trademark white jumpsuit, the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” put on a dazzling performance that fans remember today.

Elvis Presley loved Hawaii and came to the Islands many times during a 20-year period.

In 1957, he performed three concerts, including one for soldiers and their families. In March 1961 he performed a special benefit concert in Honolulu that raised $54,000 for the construction of the USS Arizona Memorial.

Elvis filmed three movies in Hawaii during the 1960s: Blue Hawaii (1961), Girls, Girls, Girls (1962) and Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1965). Blue Hawaii was considered his biggest commercial success and cemented a special relationship between the “King” and Kaua’i that continues today. The final scenes in the movie were filmed on Kaua’i at or near Coco Palms Resort, culminating in the famous lagoon wedding in which Elvis and his fiancée are carried to the chapel in a double-hulled canoe festooned with tropical flowers.

On Friday, Jan.18, the Garden Island will honor the King with “Kaua’i Loves Elvis!,” a fundraiser benefiting Kaua’i United Way.

“We’re helping to support one of our great charitable organizations,” says Sue Kanoho, executive director of Kaua’i Visitors Bureau (KVB), “while honoring the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s famous Aloha from Hawaii concert.”

Kaua’i Loves Elvis! will begin with a gourmet dinner that includes a prime rib carving station, a silent auction featuring Elvis Presley memorabilia and a 90-minute show spanning Elvis Presley’s career performed by Tim Welch.

Welch is a popular Elvis tribute artist based in Las Vegas, and he has performed around the world.

He wowed a Kaua’i audience last September when he performed several songs from Blue Hawaii at a special celebration of the movie’s 50th anniversary.

“Anyone who saw Tim perform in September knows how good he is at honoring the memory of Elvis Presley with his singing, style, sense of humor and stage presence,” says Kanoho.

“It will be a fun, very enjoyable evening that’s not to be missed by Elvis fans.”

Kanoho adds that tickets are limited, and she advises making your reservations early. The deadline to purchase tickets is Jan. 15. No tickets will be sold at the door.

KVB is organizing the event with support from the County of Kaua’i and Kaua’i Chamber of Commerce.

Kaua’i Loves Elvis! is on stage Friday, Jan. 18, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Kaua’i Marriott Resort on Kalapaki Beach. Tickets cost $65 per person. For those wanting seats closer to the stage, there are a select number of VIP seats ($85) available.

For more information, or to make reservations, call Kaua’i Visitors Bureau at 245-3971 or email kauai@hvcb.org.

Marta Lane is a Kaua’i-based food writer. For more information, visit TastingKauai.com.