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Elvis Is In The Building
Regardless of whether you are a die-hard obsessive fan of Elvis or like me, just really like him and admire his music, then this exhibition will impress you.
The next best thing to visiting Graceland - although it remains on my bucket list - this amazing exhibition has the largest display of Elvis artefacts to have ever left the USA. A huge 300 pieces in total including cars, personal items, historical documents, iconic stage costumes, guitars, gold and platinum records, photography and audio and video presentations. You can even see the famous pool table Elvis played on with The Beatles.
As well as seeing the things that the King of Rock 'n' Roll was famous for, such as the cars and the white jumpsuits, you also get a glimpse into the more personal side of Elvis, with personal items such as an old wallet complete with Lisa-Marie baby photos and old family letters and photos.
Originally supposed to be running for nine months, due to popular demand it has been extended from September 2015 to January 2016. It is a rare treat for Elvis fans as these artefacts are direct from the Presley Graceland archives - many of which have never been exhibited outside of Graceland in Memphis.
You book a date and time slot and pay for your tickets online, then take the print out with you to enter at your chosen time. You need to be there 10 minutes before your slot. General admission tickets are £20 per adult, with under 5's going free, plus there is a small booking fee. You can book tickets here.
It is set out really well, with the centre room being the showcase pieces, then there are smaller themed rooms which document certain areas or eras in his career. They include rooms such as a Graceland room, Hollywood room and movies room. It is incredible to hear and see so much Elvis in one large space, it reminds you of just how incredible and charismatic he was - something which I don't believe anyone has come close to since.
When we went it was really busy, we actually had to queue to look at the display cases in the first few rooms. However, there is loads to look at so it wasn't a problem - in fact it was just lovely to hear his songs. When you get into the main room and breakout rooms, there is more space to explore and spread out.
It follows a linear format starting with his humble beginnings and early family life through to his meteoric ride to stardom, military service, record breaking tours and in becoming a rock 'n' roll icon. His music, style and movies are certainly unique as was the man himself, and it was really interesting learning about his life. My favourite room, which is my favourite era and look of his, was the Hollywood room - I could have watched those video montages of him laughing, singing and flirting for days. It put a great big smile on my face.
The exhibition ends with a 25 minute film of various live performances - from early to late Elvis. The film runs about every 45 minutes, the times are on the cinema wall and it is worth checking when the next one is so you can plan your visit.
As usual, you exit through the gift shop which has so many incredible Elvis things - I am glad I don't have too much money right now as you could spend a fortune in there.
The O2 has loads of restaurants and bars so there is plenty to do before or after - so you can make a morning or afternoon of it. Located on the Jubilee Line, you get off at North Greenwich and then it's a short walk to the arena. There are bus routes too, but the jubilee line is probably the easiest way to get there. As you walk in the main entrance, you head right and follow the walkway for about 5 minutes, then you will see the exhibition space above the bowling alley.
I took my 20-month year old daughter who wiggled and danced along to his music, yet another generation which will be influenced and touched by the King of Rock 'n' Roll.
A must see exhibition for fans and a treat for anyone who has sung and danced to one of his hits - I would be surprised if you came out of the exhibition without a smile on your face and a swing in your step.