Milford-based tribute artist Jessi Mallory performs as Elvis. On Tuesday, Mallory will recreate the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s” set from his May 1977 performance at the Augusta Civic Center. Courtesy of Jessi Mallory

AUGUSTA — Just as screaming audience members waited anxiously on the edge of their seats the night of May 24, 1977, for their beloved, but running-late Elvis Presley to take the stage at the Augusta Civic Center, officials are now bursting with anticipation to see if at least 896 Elvis impersonators will show up Tuesday night and help set a new world record.

While much has changed since the only Maine performance of “The King,” just months before he died, the songs played at the Augusta Civic Center will remain the same Tuesday in a special show put on as part of the city-owned facility’s 50th anniversary year.

Professional Elvis impersonator Jessi Mallory of Milford plans to perform the same set list that Elvis himself performed when he took the stage at 10:15 p.m. on that 1977 night,  kicking off with “See See Rider Blues” and ending with “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

And she’ll be doing it resplendent in a $1,100 hand-embroidered replica of Elvis’ infamous Sundial suit, complete with bright, shiny stones and mirrors. Elvis wore the Sundial suit on his final tour, which included his Augusta show, and in his 1977 CBS special “Elvis in Concert.”

Mallory had the outfit specially made for the Civic Center event, and said her fans raised the funds to buy it from an Australian company.

“It’s iconic for the Elvis fans,” Mallory said of the sparkling white suit. “It signifies, sadly, the end. It shines bright. It was special-ordered for this special occasion.”


To be counted toward the Guinness World Record attempt for the most Elvis impersonators at one site, participants are asked to come in one of three general Elvis themes: jailhouse rock, dressy or jumpsuit Elvis.

The current record of 895 Elvis impersonators was set at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in North Carolina in 2014.

Civic Center Director Margaret Noel said costumes don’t have to be exact, but do need to be head-to-toe — not just a wig — and instantly recognizable as Elvis.

“We’re looking for head-to-toe Elvises, amateur or professional Elvis impersonators, anyone who’d like to join us, please come,” Noel said. “We’re honoring his memory. Since we started this, at least once a week, somebody approaches me about Elvis and says ‘I was there, I still carry the ticket stub in my wallet.’ This was a big deal for Augusta, back in 1977, so we’ve got to honor it.”

Noel said not many people preregistered for the event but she said she and others have heard from a lot of people who said they plan to come and take part, including one group that said they were coming in a bus from Bangor, and some from Massachusetts.

“I’m still confident we’re going to break the record,” Noel said Thursday. “There’s a lot of buzz. We’re excited, we can’t wait, we’re just crossing our fingers and hoping everyone shows up. If we can break the record, fantastic. But if we don’t we’re still going to have a great time, with great music, and great food, and this is going to do some excellent fundraising for local charities and open our doors and welcome everyone in.”


The event, scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, features free appetizers and a cash bar.

Tribute artist Jessi Mallory raised over $1,000 to purchase a custom-made replica of the sundial suit Elvis wore during his 1977 concert at the Augusta Civic Center, his only performance in Maine. Mallory will don the suit for the first time Tuesday during the city’s attempt to break the world record for Elvis impersonators at one site. Courtesy of Jessi Mallory

The charitable aspect is that community groups, including Capitol Clubhouse, Greater Augusta Back to School Program and others, will be on hand accepting donations and conducting other fundraisers.

The record attempt is to feature all participants singing the Elvis classic “Hound Dog,” in unison.

Noel said they’re following Guinness’ very strict guidelines to ensure they qualify to establish a new record. Three independent witnesses will inspect costumes as participants come in, and each Elvis will get a ticket and be directed to gather, in the Civic Center’s spacious auditorium, in separate blocks of 50 Elvises each until the world record counting, and roughly three-minute song performance, are done.

Once the counting is done, spectators, even those not dressed as Elvis, are welcome to join in the free event and take in Mallory’s performance.

Mallory said she grew up singing along to Elvis’ songs and had been singing classic rock songs and her own original music for years. She’s been an Elvis tribute artist for 10 years but a fan of his since she was 4. While receiving chemotherapy after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, she said she thought about what she wanted to do if she beat cancer.


Milford-based tribute artist Jessi Mallory performs as Elvis. On Tuesday, Mallory will recreate the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s” set from his May 1977 performance at the Augusta Civic Center. Courtesy of Jessi Mallory

“I wanted to make people as happy and comforted as Elvis and his music made me,” she said. “He’s gotten me through some really tough times. He just makes me feel better. I wanted to do the same for others.”

Mallory said her mother had tickets to see Elvis’ scheduled show in Portland and was devastated when he died the day before the performance.

Mallory plans to sing a duet with Heather Kruse, cousin of JD Sumner and Donnie Sumner, members of The Stamps, Elvis’ backup singers.

Noel said she still has her mom’s ticket stub to Elvis’ Augusta concert, framed.

Some Elvis fans camped outside, in the rain, at the Augusta Civic Center for two nights, some waiting up to 54 hours to secure their place in lines that wrapped around the building, to buy tickets.

Mallory hopes enough Elvises will show up to break the record, noting, “It’ll be a great way to celebrate Elvis, his fans and his performance at the Civic Center.”

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