The first of four celebrity tribute series comes to the Indian Wells Theater at Cal State San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, with “A Tribute to Elvis” starring long-time Elvis tribute artist Greg Miller.
Proceeds from the concert will benefit the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, which will admit its first-time freshman class in fall 2013.
Miller’s tribute performance captures the voice, energy, youthful good looks and physique, and the warmth of the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” at his peak.
A unique ability to capture the essence of Elvis in concert comes easily and naturally to Miller, an Elvis fan since the age of 5. He learned all of Elvis’ songs through the course of childhood and, like Elvis himself, learned to sing naturally without formal training.
As a teen, Miller experienced Elvis’ stage magic first-hand from the front row at several of his concerts. In 1976, Miller met and became friends with his idol, who died in August 1977.
Miller was singing semi-professionally in 1985 (although not as a tribute to Elvis) and named “Male Vocalist of The Year” in the Show-stoppers National Competition that year. He also won on “The Gong Show” when he sang Roy Orbison’s “Cryin,” earning a perfect score from the celebrity judges’ panel that included the rap group Salt ‘N’ Pepa, and beating a young rapper named Ru Paul.
After moving to Las Vegas to further his music career, Miller was chosen over hundreds of hopefuls (many of whom had performed elsewhere as Elvis for years) to star in what was then the pinnacle of tribute shows, “Legends In Concert,” with his Elvis show as the closing act.
Miller started “cold” in the Vegas showroom and starred in the show for 10 years, performing across the United States and in Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and the Caribbean. While he continues to perform special tour dates for “Legends,” Miller found his 12- to 15-minute sets to be too limiting. He now tours with his own show band, performing 20-30 songs per show as Elvis did.
Miller has been featured in three movies – “Honeymoon in Vegas,” “Leaving Las Vegas” and “3000 Miles To Graceland.” His television credits include “48 Hours,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “Last Call with Carson Daly,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Prime Time Country,” CNN News, “Dennis Miller Live” and “Las Vegas Tonight.” He has performed concerts in every major hotel in Las Vegas and continues to tour throughout the world, including Japan, where he has toured nine times to date.
The show also includes Rex Meredith’s stand-up comedy, which features the musical impressions of Joe Cocker, Aretha Franklin and Aaron Neville, as well as original characters, topical material and a variety of stories about his dad.
Meredith has appeared on more than 100 television shows, including “The Tonight Show.” He was featured on CNN’s Entertainment Report, “Entertainment Tonight,” “Evening at The Improv” and many others. He has opened for Rodney Dangerfield, Michael McDonald, Gladys Knight, Chicago, Ray Charles, Robin Williams, Johnny Mathis, Jim Carrey, Howie Mandel and many others.
The soon-to-be-released book, “Pearls of Wisdom,” which is about comedy and The Comedy Store in L.A., has a chapter dedicated to and about Meredith.
Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by calling the Indian Wells Theater box office at (760) 341-6909.
Upcoming tribute concerts include Neil Diamond, Cher, Paul Anka and Dionne Warwick on Friday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m., Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra on Friday, March 1, at 7 p.m. and country greats Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson on Sunday, April 7, at 2 p.m.
The Indian Wells Theater is located on the Palm Desert Campus of Cal State San Bernardino, 37-500 Cook St.