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You saw the Old Concerts?
June 23, 1977. Des Moines, IA
The show of course was phenomenal! I was a relativley new Elvis fan at the time. I had never seen him in concert before. Being 14 at the time I was more into KISS and Aerosmith then. I had helped my mother one day clean out the garage and she offered to buy me an album for helping. So of course I ran right for the KISS section to get the newest album. She stopped me and said, no I offered to buy it, but I get to pick it. She got me and Elvis album. I was so embarrassed! I said Mom I cant play this for any of my friends, they'll laugh at me. Well in the privacy of my room I decided to listen to it and couldnt believe how much I liked it. Still couldnt tell my friends though. Ha! About a year later the TV said Elvis was coming to Des Moines. I couldnt believe my eyes, I said Mom!! We have to go!! The next day she picked me up from school and we had the radio on with the announcer saying all the Elvis tickets were gone......SOLD OUT in 3 hours. I was so depressed then. Mom asked me to get her cough drops from her purse for her, so I did. Under the plastic wrapper sat two tickets to see Elvis! She had gone down that morning after dropping me off and stood in line and was one of the few to get them.
I was beside myself with excitement! I had started doing Elvis shows about 6 months before that on our back porch for kids around the nieghborhood. I was no longer ashamed of my liking Elvis Presley. In July of 77 I did my first paid Elvis show for a local event in Des Moines, but thats a whole other story. The days were fast approaching to see Elvis and I couldnt wait. My Grandmother had been living with us at the time due to her declining health, and the day before the concert she was admitted to the hospital. My mother had said to my grandma that she would stay with her at the hospital till she was feeling better. My grandma said oh no you wont! If Jeff misses that concert he'll never forgive me. I of course would have stayed with her as well, disappointed, but she was my grandma and I loved her dearly.
Well the night finally came! June 23rd, 1977, and here we were standing out in front of Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines ready to see the King! My add and my other brother went to see the new hit movie, Young Frankenstien. (Has it really been that long ago?) The whole front walkway area to the auditorium was crawling with people! Some wearing Elvis T-shirts and pins, of course the usual scalpers, and people of all ages! I even saw some my age and it made me feel better! Ha! As we walked in all you could hear were the sounds of people scrambling for thier seats, some were even crying they were so excited. The sound of people shouting, " Elvis Super Souvineers! Get your Elvis Super Souvineers!! Everybody loves Elvis, get em while you can!!" was everywhere. The entire building just seemed like it was wired with electricity, you could just feel it in the air! He was there, you could just feel it, he was in the building!
The lights went down, and you could hear the band getting ready to start, like the opening of an orchestra concert. Instruments tuning, people saying check one two, one two, on the microphones. Then it started, the lights came up and the band started playing. I was shaking, not sure why but I was shaking bad. I was so excited and I couldnt believe I was there to see this. We had been teasing my Mom about having a crush on Elvis when she was in High School and that she would probably attack him on stage when he came out. This being a ridiculous idea as my mother could not have been and more quiet and shy or she would have been asleep. A very devoted worker in the church and in our perocial school which we attended. She kept saying to us, you guys are crazy and acted embarrassed. For the first hour or so we were treated to the comedy of Jackie Kahane, who also informed us that Elvis looked great, he felt great and couldnt wait to get out here and start the show. He also told several Elvis related jokes that I do somewhat remember. Something about a guys wife always telling him to slow down when he is driving unless they were on theyre way to an Elvis show and then she would tell him, "STEP ON IT SUCKER". We heard the music of the Sweet Inspirations, as well as JD and the Stamps, Kathy Westmoreland and of course the TCB Band and the Joe Guercio Orchestra!
Since this was our first concert we kept wondering when does Elvis come out? Then we heard some screaming to the left of the stage. Elvis had stuck his head out to look at the crowd I guess I was spotted. The whole corner was screaming hysterically! Then we here the announcement that we were taking a 30 minute intermission. So I took the oppurtunity to get myself calmed down, mom seemed fine and calm as well, so we went to the concession stands and bought everything I could with the paper route money I had been saving. A poster of Elvis in a blue suit, a T-shirt, and a button.
We're back in our seats now. The lights once again drop and the band starts playing 2001 space oddessy. I was really shaking now! I heard this song on a live album of Elvis' and I knew this was his entrance. I couldnt stand it, mom was still very calm. I am sure I drove her nuts with my constant, "I think this is it mom, I think he is coming out now." I had never noticed until them just how long 2001 space oddessy can be! Ha! Then I hear the drum start for CC Rider and I knew this was it! Spotlights were swinging all over the room, huge flashes of light were exploding from all sides, the stage lighting was at full bright and in one fell swoop, all the spots came together at stage left and there he was walking out across the stage. He was wearing a white jumpsuit with an Aztec Sundial on it and the entire room exploded into a frenzy. Then the strangest thing of the evening happened, my mother started screaming! I thought she had been stabbed from someone behind us! I looked over and she was standing up and screaming! My mom! I had never seen her act that way and never saw it again. She had gone mad I was sure. None the less it was a sound I would get used to during the course of the show. Ha!
Elvis was fantastic and very funny which surprised me. I didnt think he would tell jokes and laugh and so forth. Now in retrospect I think he may have been a little more at ease since they had stopped the filming for the In Concert special. Although they did have cameras set up. He talked with people in the crowd, shook hands, and of course threw scarves. I remember one instance in particular where he was leaning down and talking to someone at the edge of the stage but you couldnt really hear what he was saying. A bunch of people started yelling "We cant hear you", he looked up and said, "I aint said nothing yet". The whole place started laughing. I watched one lady get strangled.....true! She had taken her blouse off, (by the way had nothing on under it! That was fun for a 14 year old boy...HA!) She threw it to Elvis, he picked it up and looked at her and said "is this yours?" She just kept screaming Elvis, Elvis!! He wiped his face off with it and threw it back to her. She put it back on and was immediatley jumped by 4 or 5 other ladies that ripped it back off her and the one piece that wouldnt rip off became like a noose that was strangling her as they pulled it. I wondered how she would explain being topless when she got home! Elvis introduced his father and his girlfriend Ginger Alden and several from her family in the show, featured almost everyone on stage, did the guitar toss, and the usual bantering with Charlie Hodge which was funny.
The show was awesome. Elvis sang everything I wanted to hear and then some. I am sure my mouth was hanging open the entire show. One other point of interest I might mention. Elvis introduced us to his new song Moody Blue that night. On all the websites I have looked at where they show Elvis song lists for concerts not one says he sang Moody Blue. I know he sang the song, because my mom and I went to our record store the next day to look for the album because we liked the song he sang from it so much. We wouldnt have looked for the song if he hadnt sang it.I cant say enough about what a wonderful experience this was and how fortunate I feel to have been able to see him in concert. Elvis was a very big influence in my life and truly helped me in a long distance sort of way, achieve the goals that have brought me to where I am today. I am a singer and impressionist now and currently working for a dear friend of Elvis' Wayne Newton here in Las Vegas. I sing bass for Wayne's show and do about 20 minutes of impressions in it. One of which is of course......ELVIS.
Go Susan Go Susan. Mobile, AL. August 29, 1976
This was my first concert of any kind. We were supposed to be sitting way up top. My cousin from Texas was with us and he said one minute before show time we were going to go sit on the fourth row from the stage. The whole row was empty! We walked past the ushers and sat in the empty seats. There were four of us. My mom, sister, etc. was still way up top on the other side of the coliseum. People starting coming in late, everyone except me had to leave. God answers those kind of prayers? He must have. He knew it was my dream come true.
The whole concert I kept trying to get to the stage. Every time I stood up, a security guard made me sit back down. I did that the whole concert! I knew the concert had to be about over, so I knew I had to make my move. They had only let one other girl up to the stage. I got to the end of the first row, the security guard grabbed my around the waist. I guess all the other women thought the same thing....It was about to be over. They all started trying to get to the stage. I was standing real still. When the security guard let go of me to stop them, I took off for the stage. As soon as I got up there, Elvis turned to walk away. I thought...OH NO!!! Thank God, he must have seen that someone finally made it to the stage out of the corner of his eye. He walked over to Charlie, got a scarf, came back to me. I gave him the red rose. He knelt down, kissed me on the lips and handed me the scarf. I don't remember walking away from the stage. The next thing I knew, I was at the other end of the stage just standing there staring....in a daze.
My family said he asked me my name and my favorite song, I don't remember any of that. They also said the next time we go see Elvis that I better get to the stage on the first song. They were watching me the whole time instead of watching Elvis!!! They were yelling, Go Susan, Go Susan!
I have seen Elvis in concert the first of the 2 shows he did in Saginaw Michigan in the 70's a year before he died. (I forgot the date) Actually, I spent most of the show back stage. I'll start from the beginning.
In 1968 I was in a top 40 rock group that had records out nation wide. I knew quite a few of people. In the 70's after our group broke up I was playing bass in a band and tending bar in the daytime and on some week-ends. I was working at the Airport. I had bought tickets to go and see Elvis that Friday night but the girl friend and I had a fight and she told me she was going to take her sister. I was mad! Well, that day I ran into a old friend. Mike Slusher from "The Hot Hilton Horns" He remembered me when I asked him what he was doing in town he told me about working for Elvis that night. He asked if I'd like to meet him. Naturally I said yes. So, he waited for me to get off work and then I took him to a music store and then to my place. He said I needed a cowboy shirt to get back stage so I dropped him at the back door to the civic center and went looking for a shirt. An hour or so later I knocked at the back door of the civic center. They were expecting me. I found Mike and he told me I missed Elvis by 5 minutes. I hung around the back stage for most of the night and never met Elvis. My girl friend yelled at me from the seats above and asked how I got back stage. I said it's not what you know sweetheart, it's who you know! I then watched the rest of the show from the 3rd row. (I went and got my girl friend and her sister) When the show ended I went back stage and Elvis had already gone. I then met his whole band and my friend Mike at the Holiday Inn (They had the whole 3rd floor) Elvis band sat in at the Holiday Inn bar and we had a blast.. That's my Elvis Story. If I hadn't been in a Top 40 band Mike would have never known me.
Memories of Elvis: Kansas City, Missouri June 1974
I have been an Elvis fan since the 50s. I grew up watching him on TV, movies, and buying his records. So when he was in Kansas City in June, 1974 I purchased 2 tickets....$10 a ticket! Even though we were nowhere close to the stage, in fact we were in the nose bleed section high atop the Municipal Auditorium, it was okay...we had our binoculars. It seemed like forever before Elvis would appear and the anticipation was really getting to me, which was surprising, because I have never been a movie star worshiper, and I never thought I would be one of those screaming, screeching women I had seen on TV....I had MUCH more control than that (yea, right!). We were just sitting there watching the acts that preceded Elvis, and my husband had the binoculars and was casually looking around the auditorium, when the lights went down and the band started playing the 2001 intro and then, THERE he was! Flashbulbs lit up the auditorium to the point that it was hard to see him. As soon as he stepped onto the stage, I was on my feet screaming with the rest! I remember thinking...this cant be me screaming, I don't do that. Then without knowing what I was doing, I reached over and grabbed the binoculars from my husband. Unfortunately the strap was still around his neck and I was about to pull his head off! He yelled at me to stop screaming and sit down and act my age (I was 30 at the time). Needless to say I didn't. Call it what you want, but Elvis had that affect on women...it was pure electricity in that auditorium from the time he stepped onto the stage until he left the building. While I was looking through the binoculars, I noticed a lot of policemen around the stage that we knew, as my husband was on the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department at the time. When I told him that some of his buddies were working the show, he told me that he could have worked the show, but thought I wanted him to sit in the audience with me, plus he wanted to watch the show! My chance to meet Elvis and he BLEW it! I was so mad at him....he was in the doghouse for weeks, and I have never let him forget it.
The show was magnificent. His performance was electrifying, but what really impressed me the most was his personal charm and charisma. He was so nice to his fans...spent a lot of time talking to them from the stage. He had a way of making you feel like family and you knew he really cared about his fans. I don't know what I was expecting, but I thought he would come out, sing his songs and be gone, like other entertainers I have seen, but not Elvis...no not Elvis. There was more to him than that. At one point in the show, he had them turn up the house lights so he could see us. He said we all looked like frogs out there with those binoculars pasted to our eyes. He had a great sense of humor and you could tell he really enjoyed what he was doing. This wasn't just a job to him. When he sang How Great Though Art, I had goosebumps and tears streaming down my face and the whole auditorium was singing it with him at the end. It was unbelievable. What other performer has ever mixed gospel songs in with their other songs? He wasn't afraid to let people know he believed in God. What you saw was what you got. There were mistakes made on stage...he didn't get upset...just laughed and joked about it and went on. He was human and I think that's what endeared him to us.
When the show ended (much too soon) and he left the stage, I felt emotionally drained and sad....I could have stayed there and watched and listened to him forever. He could have sang the yellow pages and it would have sounded great! What a guy!
I don't know about the rest of his fans, but the 25 year anniversary of his death has been very hard. The fact that he is still drawing crowds and filling auditoriums 25 years after he died, says so much about the man himself. I miss so much about him...his smile, his laugh, his sense of humor, the songs he never got to sing. We will never see his kind again.
Reading all these messages just proves that he has the greatest fans in the world and he is truly missed by all. Its wonderful to be able to share our memories of him on this website, and, even though I was never fortunate enough to meet him personally as many of the fans on this website did, I feel so lucky to have seen him in concert.
On a personal note, we will never forget you Elvis...your memory is pressed between the pages of our minds forever. Rest in peace...you've earned it.
Kansas City, Missouri
The Flight attendant got lucky!
In 1973 I was a Flight Attendant for Hughes Airwest based in Phoenix,AZ. I had just completed flight attendant training and was called out for my first trip. This was a charter leaving at 12:00 midnight flying an empty plane to Portland, Oregon on April 27 and we would be flying to Spokane,WA (my hometown) for an overnight. I couldn't believe my first flight was back to Spokane; I hadn't seen my parents for 6 months and I would get to soon.
As we were approaching Portland the captain advised us we may want to brush our hair and put on some lipstick, because we were picking up Elvis Presley !! We couldn't believe it. It seemed Elvis had chartered 3 of our DC9 planes one for his backup bands, one for the sound techs and one for Elvis, his bodyguards and Linda Thompson his girlfriend at the time. The captain had flown quite a few Elvis charters and told us to be calm and not act any differently than we would with any other passenger. Well, I was standing in the aisle greeting Elvis's people and when Elvis came up to me he said, "And how long have you been flying sugar?" I said, "This is it!! My first flight !" ..well Elvis leaned over and kissed me on the cheek !! The captain was standing behind Elvis and I just shrugged my shoulders and smiled. The flight to Portland was not a very long one. The plane was catered with lots of liquor, however Elvis only drank lemonade and sat with Linda and read the Bible. None of his group drank any of it, they were all very polite, I was really impressed.
I had told my parents I had a Spokane overnight ...my first trip and it was a charter. My mom had called the airport to find out when I would get in. The agent told her he couldn't say, however since I was one of the flight attendants that my mom and dad might want to go to the end of the runway to a side terminal. Mom put two and two together having read in the paper that Elvis was having a concert in Spokane and she figured I was on Elvis's flight. She knew it before I did! So, when we arrived in Spokane there was about 50 screaming ladies and mom and dad ...waving at me as I opened the door. Mom said some lady commented, "Who is that flight attendant waving at, let's see Elvis!".
Well, the other two flight attendants and I went home to mom and dad's..Elvis had invited us to the concert that night and he said he would have a limo pick us up. In 1973 you didn't see very many limos in Spokane, Wa. let me tell you!! Well, we went to the concert, it was great, then we were invited to the party afterwards. The party was very low key everyone sitting around laughing and joking, Elvis singing some. Linda asked me if there was any way I could get some time off and meet them in Tahoe in about a week. I said "sure!" ( now remember this was my first flight and I was already figuring out how I could get a week off!). When I returned to Phoenix the next day I caught a ride to my apartment with one of the senior flight attendants, she said, "Where have you been?" When I told her she couldn't believe it; she had been trying to get one of the Elvis charters for a yr. The reason my roomate, the other flight attendant, and I got it was we were the three bottom girls in Phoenix and everyone else had flown their maximum hours for the month, so Scheduling had to take the bottom girls. Boy was she upset!!
Well, I went into see my base manager and asked if there was any way I could get a week off work. She looked at me rolled her eyes, and when she heard why...said," let me see what I can do". She was able to get me 5 days. So on the first week of May 1973 I flew to Reno, NV. Being I was flying standby, the first two flights were full and I didn't make it there till late in the day. When I got there there was a limo driver waiting with my name on a card. He drove me to Lake Tahoe where I was issued a name tag that would get me passed the guard and up the elevator to my room. I had a suite next to Linda's and Elvis's overlooking the lake. They were in-between concerts and having a get-together, as I walked in Elvis said "Everyone I want you to meet our flight attendant Colleen !" I couldn't believe he remembered my name. Well, as it went the days I spent there were fantastic, Linda and I would play the slot machines between sets, (Elvis would hand us a roll of money to play with ) and sit in the front row for each concert. I felt like I knew all the songs by heart by the time I left. One thing about the whole experience was how we ate all our meals in a large conference room. One night Elvis was hungry for Mexican food and had his favorite chef from San Diego flown in and another time we had Chinese and his favorite restaurant from San Fransciso served us. One thing I can say, I went to lots of parties during these 5 days, and I never saw any drugs being used or anything else. Everyone was just having a good time laughing and talking about the concerts.
When it was time for me to leave Vernon Presley drove back with me to Reno. He was picking up Lisa Marie at the airport, she was a young child then. I remember when we drove through Carson City, NV he saw a small train and wanted to find out who owned it to see if he could buy it and ride it around Graceland. We laughed a lot about this.
The week was one of a lifetime for me I was thinking boy this really is a glamorous job I had !! It definitly went down hill from there. I did have quite a few other movie stars on my flights especially from Las Vegas to Hollywood Burbank airports, but none were as exciting as that first week. And now here I live in Memphis, TN. which I never would have dreamt I would be living here back in '73. Colleen from Memphis
Memories of March 6, 1974
The night of March 6, 1974 is a night I will never ever forget. I was ten years old and had been an Elvis fan for most of those ten years. I had all the records, posters, and had wondered if I would ever get to see the "man" when the tickets arrived in the mail.
I counted down the days one at a time. I still, 28 years later, recall the events of that day, the afternoon, and the show. The most incredible image is still engraved in my mind of the blue jumpsuits pouring out of the rear stage entrance. One at a time I felt a thrill then realized it wasn't Elvis. Finally, after what seemed like two or three minutes, the man stepped out in the white-sequenced jumpsuit that set him apart from everyone and everything else within the city limits of Montgomery. I cannot begin to describe how much this show means to me even today. As a child who has grown into a man, I treasure this memory as one of the most cherished ones spent with my mom, watching Elvis rock Montgomery. Mom has been gone for almost a year now, and each year I have called her on March 6 and asked her if she knew what she was doing so many years before. Most years she recalled, although in later years I would have to remind her. Once on track though, ha ha, she could tell me all the specifics.
Elvis was just a man. A man with incredible persona, magnetism, and talent. Elvis is gone. But for the things he gave us while he was here, I will always and forever be grateful. I cherish the fact that I got to see him in Montgomery, and later in Huntsville on June 1, 1975. Thanks Elvis! AND, thanks MOM for making a kids dream come true, and for giving a man something to relive for a lifetime!
July 29, 1976 Springfield, MA.
Back in 1976, an old college friend (Brandeis Class of 1972) called to tell me he had Elvis tickets for a concert at the Springfield (MA) Civic Center. I asked him to get me 2,. no matter the cost or where the seats were for the show. He got me 2 tickets for the July 29, 1976 show just behind and to the left of the end stage in nearly the last row of the building. None of that mattered. Elvis was ELVIS. He was overweight and a bit sluggish when he spoke, but could he sing. It was Elvis at his best on every number. He turned back to us a few times because he knew there were "paying folk back there", as he put it. To this day, I tell everyone it was worth it, sitting there behind the stage at $100.00/ticket to be able to say I saw Elvis and HE WAS GREAT.