"Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building!"

So ended a freaky two-hour concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall Thursday night, starring a 20-foot-tall video version of the King.

Elvis, of course, had never really been in the building in the first place, but the fans rushing the stage and waiting patiently in their seats for an encore needed the reminder.

"Elvis--the Concert" (top ticket price: $62) was in Gotham for the start of a three-night run, its biggest stop on rock's most unlikely tour of the year.

Although quite dead since keeling over in the plush carpet of his Graceland bathroom on August 16, 1977, at age 42, Elvis held court in the not-quite filled 6,000-seat venue, ripping through more than two dozen songs.

The mostly successful trick was pulled off thusly: High-tech wizardry (stripping the audio tracks on Elvis concert footage of the late 1960s and early 1970s of everything but the man's voice) married to old-fashioned live artistry (recruiting the King's old backing band and singers for one last gig), and blown up on a trio of those ubiquitous rock concert video screens.

The result looked like the split-screen-loving 1972 film, Elvis in Concert, and played like The Twilight Zone. Example: Video Elvis breaks into "Hound Dog." Live audience applauds. Video Elvis says, "Thank you." (Doo-doo-doo-doo!)

No less weird were moments when the video audience, including the long-deceased likes of Valley of the Dolls goddess Jacqueline Susann, hooted louder than the Radio City denizens. Or when video Elvis, in a succession of clips, morphed from Aloha Elvis, to Black Leather Comeback Elvis, to cape-wearing Super Elvis, back to Aloha Elvis.

Despite the overpowering sense of the surreal, Todd Morgan of Elvis Presley Enterprises promised that "one or two songs into the show, you forget Elvis really isn't there in person." And thanks to the modern concert-goer's reliance on video screens to see perfomers in vast arenas, the boast didn't ring hollow.

Elvis fan and Brooklyn resident Robert Kraft was duly impressed: "I'm so amazed...It's almost like you expect to look down [on the stage] and see him."

But the fact was, the King wasn't there--and the show was bound by the curious sets the rocker used to rock the Vegas and Honolulu crowds with 25 years ago. "Bridge Over Troubled Water"? "Make the World Go Away"? Some mumbled thing that sounded like an ode to pork chops?

But in the end, he worked his way into a "Suspicious Minds" frenzy. Radio City Music Hall was his. The show ended. The crowd waited for the encore.

Then the bracing lesson of the evening: Dead men don't do encores.

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