Elvis Presley: the memory thrives with tribute acts like Ben Portsmouth

Remarkable: Ben Portsmouth performing his Elvis Presley tribute show. He has 14 shows in Australia in October.
Remarkable: Ben Portsmouth performing his Elvis Presley tribute show. He has 14 shows in Australia in October.

The voice is real.

The hair is real.

The hipshaking is real.

And while Ben Portsmouth doesn't hesitate to call himself a "fake rock star", the money in the bank indicates his world-class depiction of Elvis Presley in performance is the real thing.

His 2019 world tour, Taking Care of Elvis - The King Is Back, hits Australia in October with 14 dates across five states, starting October 4 at The Star on the Gold Coast in Queensland and finishing at the Events Centre in Caloundra on October 27.

He toured Australia in 2018 as well.

Portsmouth, now 40 years old, has been taking his Elvis show on the road to rave reviews for more than a decade. Considering the success of so many tribute acts to classic rock, from Abba to The Beatles to Queen and David Bowie, it's not a big surprise, as long as you're good.

"It's a pretty crazy thing," he said in a chat this week from his home in Berkshire, England, while walking his dog. "I still can't get my head around it."

The King: Elvis Presley in 1968 in his Comeback Special. Picture: Getty Images

The King: Elvis Presley in 1968 in his Comeback Special. Picture: Getty Images

As for how long this dream will last, it's anybody's guess.

"I'm 40 now. Elvis died at 42," Portsmouth said. "Realistically, I'll look in the mirror. I think you've got to be realistic. I am in the golden years of doing it. There is a point where you've got to stop."

As sacrilegious as it may be to say it, the peak of Elvis fandom may be gone. If not, it will be gone soon, Portsmouth said.

"That generation of women who were young girls when Elvis began - they were 15. That generation is dying out," he said. "They will vanish in next 10 years ... They are grandmas now.

I think it will live on, like a cup of good tea. Good things never die. But it might become more niche, like jazz.

Ben Portsmouth on Elvis Presley fan worship

"I think it will live on, like a cup of good tea. Good things never die. But it might become more niche, like jazz."

Portsmouth's breakthrough came in 2012, when he won the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest in Memphis. Now, he tours all over the world.

Most recently, he returned from South America. While everyone loves Elvis, he said - when questioned - that Brazilians may love him the most, because they are so passionate about live music.

For the Australian tour, Portsmouth will have an Australian band backing him. But you could say, he brings everything else. The working repertoire is 35 to 40 songs, but Portsmouth will occasionally take requests from the floor and roll with it.

The crowd favourite: "Suspicious Minds".

"It is so well-known and upbeat," he said.

Portsmouth was the first person from outside the US to win the Elvis tributre competition run by Elvis Presley Enterprises. He also calls Mishawaka, Indiana, home these days.

And he ends every show with a public "thank you" to Elvis Presley.