The Dempseys entertained President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi, and dozens of VIPs at a luncheon in downtown Memphis in 2006. When Koizumi joined the band, he made international headlines!
It was a show that made international headlines. During an extraordinary visit to Memphis by President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, The Dempseys performed at a luncheon for the world leaders and dozens of VIPs in famed downtown restaurant The Rendezvous.
As the band entertained the guests with their trademark rockabilly tunes, the President and the Prime Minister walked to the stage to compliment the guys. Koizumi, a renowned Elvis fan, decided to sing a song with the band, and they launched into "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" to the delight of the President and the crowd.
Koizumi's performance made international news, and The Dempseys became world-famous as the backing band for the Japanese Prime Minister.
Many notables were at the lunch cheering for both Koizumi and The Dempseys, including First Lady Laura Bush, Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley, Sen. Bill Frist, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., and FedEx CEO Fred Smith.
Prior to the luncheon, the President, First Lady, and Prime Minister toured Graceland and the National Civil Rights Museum.
"Once again, Memphis music transcends language, culture, and politics," REG partner Rollin Riggs said. "The Dempseys were, as always, brilliant, and everyone in the room loved them."
(All photos copyright © Rollin Riggs/REGmemphis.com)
Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi hits a high note during "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You."
The dignitaries loved the Prime Minister's performance almost as much as they loved The Dempseys.
The Dempseys pose with Senator and Mrs. Bill Frist, who invited the band to perform for them in Nantucket later in the summer.
The Dempseys and Nick Vergos, owner of The Rendezvous, who made everything possible.
The Dempseys and Damian Taylor, the Secret Service agent who kept the stage safe for rockabilly.
The place card and menu for the President. Note the Rendezvous' traditional paper plates and plastic cutlery.
President Bush and REG partner Rollin Riggs, who produced the entertainment for the luncheon. Said Riggs, "I never thought I'd have my picture taken standing next to the President of the United States, and I never thought I'd be the one who'd be better dressed."