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You saw the Old Concerts?




Betty saw Elvis when he was just beginning his career.

Elvis came to our small town , Lexington March 21, 1956 and played a show at our national guard armory. I attended with my cousin Gail. I was only fifteen at the time so my father had to drive us there and pick us up after the show. He was the most exciting thing our little town had ever seen. And naturally I was absoutely bonkers over him. We sat very close to the stage and could see everything.

What a show! Hounddog, Heartbreak Hotel and all his songs from the early years. What a georgeous hunk he was back then. After the show, I went backstage with anyone and everyone who could squeeze down that narrow hallway. Just wanting to get as close to him as I could. We were told that he had already left, that he was staying at the hotel in Lexington. Well we only had two. So not even thinking about my dad who was waiting for me outside the armory, I took off uptown to the March Hotel and was told that he was not staying there. So I took off to the Lexington Hotel and sure enough he was there.

You have to remember that this was very early in his career so he did'nt necessarily stay in huge hotels with armed guards. There were about twenty or twenty-five girls with me. Boy, were we determined. The manager of the hotel must have been told that if anyone showed up, to let us come up to the room. Which we did. But we weren't screaming or misbehaving. We knocked on his door. And he opened it. Himself. He was wonderful. He came downstairs to the lobby. I got to hold his hand. He sat there and signed autographs for us. I got two. One for me and one for my cousin Gail. She wasn't as daring as I was. Or maybe foolhardy. I don't know which. I will never forget meeting Elvis Presley. He was very polite and he seemed to appreciate his fans.

I don't guess I need to tell you what my father had to say to me when I got back to the armory. He was still waiting for me. As worried as any father would be when he did'nt know where his fifteen year old daughter was. And to this day he won't let me forget it. It may have been very foolhardy and in these days and times you just can't do things like this. But I'm not sorry. I'll always remember. I still love him.

Betty Ross dsmlswmp@erols.com

Andrew has seen Elvis in one of the last shows in 1977 with his parents

When I was twelve, I saw Elvis perform at Assembly Hall, Indiana University. I went with my parents (Mom is an Elvis fan). We saw one of his last shows, 1977. He died after the show in Indianapolis.

I remember the awful wait, mom wanted to get there early. I remember the white jumpsuit and pastel scarfs. He would wipe his face, throw the scarf to the fans, and grab the next scarf. I remember mom's hysterics, and I remember the music and the volume. I remember "Kentucky Rain," "Burnin' Love." and "Lord, You Gave Me A Mountain."

Elvis still makes me cry.

Andrew M. Dewar amdewar@students.wisc.edu

Scott saw Elvis in 1975 and 1976 !

I was fortunate enough to see Elvis two times. Both at The Coliseum near Cleveland, Ohio. I was visiting up there at the time and got tickets even though I'm from Memphis. I never saw Elvis at the Mid-South Coliseum, but saw the family several times at Graceland. I went to college with one of Elvis's nurses whom he gave a 1976 Monte Carlo. She was about 27 at the time and had returned to Memphis State to finish up her master's degree. Anyway she was a real looker. She stated to me it was a platonic relationship and he just talked to her a lot. There is a picture of her standing in the background while Elvis and some buddies ride a three wheel motorcycle out the Graceland gates.. Who knows if it was platonic. I'd like to believe it was.

The first concert I saw him at was in July 1975 and the second was October 1976. I remember the best tickets sold for about $15 apiece and both shows sold out quickly. In fact, I believe they added a second show in 1975..

In the 1975 show, Elvis looked pretty good, but appeared to be in a foul mood as he told the sound engineer to "Screw Off" because the microphone was not at the proper height when he came out and began singing "See See Rider."

At that show, the audience was in a trance.. They clapped politely, but really appeared to be in some sort of a daze. It was bizarre.

In the 1976 show, Elvis was obviously overweight and had his hair in bangs ala Moe Howard. The audience was the typical screaming, hysterical crowd. A 180 from the other audience.

Personally, I enjoyed the 1975 show much more.. Even though he was a bit "curt" at times, it was a very good performance and the electricity was incredible. At the 1976 show, he appeared to be "silly" and apathetic.

Scott

Frankie Rider II saw Elvis in concert a total of 9 times !! 

Greetings from Arkansas................

I was fortunate enough to see Elvis in concert a total of 9 times between 1971 and 1976, and had tickets for his upcoming second 1977 Memphis show that was scheduled for after his death. There are so many fond memories that there is not just one particular concert that stands out in time, as they all were memorable in their own right. So I will just share some of the highlights of some of the concerts with you..............

The first date was 11/14/71 in Tuscaloosa, AL. I remember as we rolled into town, we stopped for gas and the female clerk was just beside herself. She had 10 paper sacks that EP had signed for her personally and was so embarassed that she could not find something else for him to sign. He had stopped in to pick up some DiGel antacid and some toiletries and she told us the whole story about 5 times in about 5 minutes! Anyway, the concert itself was fantastic but, with this being our first Elvis experience, we really did not know what to expect. We had seen "Elvis -That's The Way It Is" but were not AT ALL prepared for the 2001 opening theme and when EP walked out in a BLACK jumpsuit, I thought my mom was about to just BAWL! We really could not see a thing............ We were seated on the risers at stage left and, to this day have some really good Polaroids of a red-lined cape but that's about it. I remember when he sang "Funny How Time Slips Away" and got to the line about "gotta go now...." there was a big commotion at the stage exit and the crowd had it BLOCKED! After the song, Elvis said that he would love to stay and sing all night but that he "had to be in Kansas City tomorrow night". After another 3 or 4 songs, he finally was able to bow off and leave everybody wanting a little bit more...........

Show # 2 was on 4/17/72 in Little Rock, AR and was only 100 miles from home. We were lucky enough to get seats on row 3, stage right. This time EP came out on stage in the now-famous "Burning Love" red suit and ripped right into "See See Rider" at a blistering pace which would last the entire show. My > mother kept saying "when is he going to wear a WHITE suit, for god's sake......" The MGM guys were on hand to do some filming for "Elvis On Tour" and my mom still swears that there is some film footage of me somewhere today taken by the center-stage camera, but who knows? I remember the Elvis fumbled with his black Gibson guitar at the end of "See See Rider" and it fell and broke off at the joint of the body/neck and he just kicked it off the stage saying "I really didn't mean to break my guitar........." To this day, I have one of the RCA ELVIS NOW '72 stage banners that were hanging on the stage and it is the center point of my collection of EP memorabilia.

Show # 3 was on 6/18/72 in Fort Worth, TX and, at last, a WHITE JUMPSUIT!!!!!! We were so far away, though, that I could not really tell which one it was. I still think it was the one with the gold square buckles and the red trim (the 6/10/72 evening MSG suit) since I remember it had a red cape. I have some tiny Polaroid shots of Elvis during this one, at least I'm pretty sure that it is him. This show was basically a re-hash of the afore-mentioned MSG album(s), but exciting nonetheless.

Show # 4 was on 4/22/73 in Phoenix, AZ on Easter Sunday, also my father's birthday. We were "up in the boondocks" for this one too, but the show featured a beautiful "How Great Thou Art" and also a surprise: "I'm Leavin". It was the only time we ever heard him do this song live and it was fantastic; I wish BMG would release a live version of it. A lot of folks in the audience did not even know the song. One funny aside: after the band intros, EP mentioned that he had recently done a TV special and he "hoped we might have seen it, called Aloha From Hawaii.....". Like there was a chance we had missed it, right?...............

Show # 5 was the hometown evening show in Memphis, TN on 3/17/74. We did good to hear this show at all. I never heard an Elvis audience respond like this one did and he responded in kind. All the EP favorites were there, old and new, and it was great. The song list was basically like the LP except for the inclusion of "That's All Right" in place of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy".

Show # 6 was the evening performance in Kansas City, MO on 6/29/74. We had seats on row 6 for this Elvis extravaganza and what a show it was. EP was in top form and was sporting the stunning "Inca Gold Leaf" jumpsuit which we argued about the entire show trying to figure out just what the design really was. We have some really great Polaroids of this show too, one with Elvis posing for my dad with one foot propped up on a stage monitor. The real highlight of this show was the third-row launching of a middle-aged lady in the general direction of the stage during one number. Elvis saw her coming, sidestepped the assault, and watched her slide right into the band area, laughing the whole time. However, she did get a scarf and a kiss for her efforts. Musically, this marked the last time we would hear "Polk Salad Annie" for some 2 years and the final time that we would hear Elvis sing "Suspicious Minds" in live performance.

Show # 7 was on 6/10/75 in Memphis, TN. Elvis was in good musical form for the hometown crowd but looked very puffy and overweight for this show. He sported the "Indian" suit but no choker as in some photos. The musical highlight was the medley "Mystery Train/Tiger Man"; it was the first time we had ever seen him do it live, and what a sight it was. I also seem to recall him doing an encore chorus of "How Great Thou Art" as well. This was the first show where there were more songs that you "didn't really expect Elvis to do" and not so much of the standard Elvis set.

Show # 8 was on 7/5/76, again in Memphis. This time Elvis made a much better appearance than the previous show, both musically and physically. More of > the "old Elvis songs" were back, i.e. "Polk Salad Annie" and also some we had never seen him perform before as well such as "Jailhouse Rock", "Love Letters", and "It's Now Or Never". He was sporting the white "Prehistoric Bird" outfit with the blue bell sleeves. He just seemed to be more in control of the show this time around in Memphis.

Show # 9 was on 9/8/76 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, just a short 3 hour drive from home. This time Elvis was wearing the reverse outfit from Memphis, the blue suit with the white sleeves. He really had the folks going during the 2001 theme by shaking the backstage curtain around to where you could see his blue legs behind it. This show was one of the few where the 2001 theme was not played in total darkness, but with a point spot on where Elvis would come out from behind the curtain. This show was much like the July show in Memphis. Elvis really put on a great show; he was the first big-name act to appear in the town's new convention center and HE KNEW IT! All the Elvis favorites were present and accounted for and, little did we know it, it was a great send-off for us as we would not see Elvis perform live again after that night.

Boy, it seems like just yesterday, talking about all these good times> again......... I hope that this is not too much information for you to digest and if it is, I apologize. It was an honor to be able to share the auditorium with this great man during his lifetime and the joy that his music has brought us is something that will be able to be shared for a long time to come.....................

Regards, Frankie Rider, II

Steve has seen Elvis 12 times. He tells us his last concert. Dec 28, 1976. Dallas, TX

He date was December 28,1976 and the place was Dallas, Texas at the convention center.

Luckily, I had real good seats, about three rows from the stage.Little did I know that this the 12 time I had seen Elvis in Concert would also be my last.

Elvis made his entrance and the sold-out crowd responded just like always.Blinding flash bulbs exploding everywhere and screams and cheers that tried to raise the roof.

Elvis was a little heavier and at first seemed tired, but it didn't take long for the King to get rolling.The stage movements were not as wild as a couple of years earlier.But that didn't seem to matter.I don't think I had ever heard him sing better.His range was just awesome and very powerful.It was like he was saying,"I am just going to sing my heart out."

So when the anouncement "Elvis has left the building" came I didn't realize that would be the last time I would see the greatest entertainer in the world in the flesh. I cherish all those twelve evenings I witnessed Elvis. There will never be another one like him.

Steve-19

Hampton Roads, Virginia (April 9, 1972, evening show)  

I became an Elvis fan at a time when it was probably not the "in" thing to be.  It was 1964 and the Beatles had just made their first American appearance.  I was a senior in high school in a suburb of New York City when I heard a radio advertisement for 'Roustabout' which featured "Hard Knocks" and the title song.  That was the day I pinpoint as my having become an Elvis fan. 

Although the majority of soundtrack songs may be considered mediocre, I truly believe that there were some exceptional tracks to include "Tender Feeling" from 'Kissin Cousins,' "Please Don't Stop Loving Me" from 'Frankie and Johnnie' and "City By Night" from 'Double Trouble.' I longed for the time that Elvis would return to the stage.  My hopes were answered in the form of the '68 Comebck.  I was in Germany at the time and experienced Elvis' "rebirth" so to speak.  As I was returning to the US in January 1970, I was in the train station in Frankfurt when the "From Vegas to Memphis" album was being put out on display in a shop and I was determined to see a live performance at the earliest opportunity. 

In 1971 I was assigned to Fort Eustis in Hampton Roads, Virginia when Elvis was scheduled to appear in Baltimore, Maryland.  My wife and I drove up and stayed in the Holiday Inn close to the Convention Center.  I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed due to the fact that we were in the next to last row in the back of the auditorium and half way through the show some workers began to blast a radio located at one of the concession stands.

When I learned that Elvis was to appear in Hampton Roads, I made a determined effort to get the best available seats which resulted in my the best vantage point for any of the 5 concerts I have seen.  There was such a demand that an afternoon show was added. The concert: On Saturday evening as we approached the Hampton Roads Coliseum there was as has been described by some critics, a feeling of "electricity" in the air.  Once inside there was a feeling of excitement among the crowd which I did not feel in Baltimore.  Before the show started some of the group came out and signed photo books as depicted in the 'Elvis on Tour" video.  I believe Glen Hardy, the piano player, is seen talking with the fans at the end of the stage.  As the opening approached, Al Dvorin  the MC came out and told the crowd that the concert would be filmed and also something that I though rather contradictory.  He said that the crowd response/reaction inspired Elvis to perform but that if people began to approach the stage, the show would be stopped (there was a heavy police presence at the front of the stage).

The opening acts concluded and during the intermission the tension became extremely thick.  (I don't honestly recall if the theme from 2001 was played then). Then - the entrance - an actual constellation of flashbulbs.  I looked around and saw the pure excitement on peoples' faces.  I once read where one critic said that these were not so much concerts as they were large gatherings of friends with Elvis as the focal point.  The reactions to "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "American Trilogy" brought looks to the faces of some people as if to say, "I didn't think he could sing like that."  "Suspicious Minds" was far superior, in my opinion, to the original record, while "Polk Salad Annie" was done without the speaking introduction and the drum emphasis on polk and salad .  These two songs were accompanied by the fluid karate and other motions which lent so much to their presentations. In the 1977 Elvis In Concert album a fan speaks of how impressed he is by how Elvis sings his spiritual songs with his favorite being "How Great Thou Art."  I feel that the 1967 How Great Thou Art album was one of the finest Elvis ever did particularly "If the Lord Wasn't Walking By My Side," "Run On," "Somebody Bigger Than You and I" and "Where No One Stands Alone."  

I detested Albert Goldman for referring to it as "Easy listening Nashville gospel" or something to that effect which indicated to me that Goldman was totally lacking in objectivity overall.  All three Grammy awards Elvis received were for his gospel work to include this album.  At Hampton Roads, Virginia, within the "Bible Belt" to a degree, this song was very well received by the audience.  Although future versions may have been better (i.e. 1977 Elvis In Concert), the one I heard on April 9, 1972 was stunning nonetheless.  In a recent television presentation J.D. Sumner said Elvis was the finest gospel singer he ever listened to.  Quite a compliment from a man who is held in high esteem in the gospel field. The house lights were turned up through "Funny How Time Slips Away" and did in fact elicit the sighs heard in response to "Got to go now - - - -." Elvis looked great in what I refer to as the "powder blue" jump suit and certainly pleased the crowd.  The signs of disappointment became apparent when he began "Can't Help Falling in Love With You."  At its conclusion, Elvis walked from one side of the stage shaking hands and accepting a few gifts.  He then went into what I call his Batman pose (on one knee with cape spread).

Al Dvorin  came out with his now famous "Elvis Has Left the Building" which I believe served as the official end of the concert although I believe many actually hoped for an encore. On the way out of the building it was obvious that Elvis had pleased the crowd, he certainly pleased me.  I am in North Carolina now but have accepted a position back at Fort Eustis and my wife and I visited the area this past weekend.  I drove up Interstate 64 which goes right by the Hampton Roads Coliseum and although it has been 25 years I got a "tingly" feeling as I vividly recalled that very special evening.  I saw him again in 1974 and 1976 at Indiana University in Bloomington and the "final" in Indianapolis but for me personally, Hampton Roads will always be special. Hope this suffices - Andrew

Note: This comment is from the Great WebPage : The Music Of Elvis Presley On CD or send e-mail to my colleague Aleksi Aaltonen

50's Concerts !!!

Hello,

I saw Elvis in concert 6 times. 4 in 1955, 1 in 1974, and 1 in 1977.

After seeing him the first time at age 16, I was "in love". Pictures of Elvis were hard to come by at first. The ones I could get went on my bedroom wall, just as most teenagers do with pictures of their idols.

The image in my mind of Elvis coming out on that stage in New Orleans, La., is one that will remain throughout my life. Good-looking, long sideburns, golden-blonde hair combed into ducktails. I can't remember exactly what he was wearing, but I'm sure it was a sport coat, slacks & shirt. He usually wore bright colors, and pinks and blacks, which were really "in" back then (if you were a cool cat). I hadn't appreciated his records, "That's All Right, Mama", and "Blue Moon of Kentucky", until I saw him sing them in person. How can I tell you how I felt? There was electricity in the air, certain of it. Every girl in the theater was screaming and jumping up and down.

I thought to myself, this guy is going to the top - he's the greatest - he's wonderful, and I love him, and he'll always be my favorite. Well, guess what? It happened, but in much, much, greater proportions than I ever could have imagined.

And although I saw him several times more, that first time at Jesuits' High School in New Orleans was the most exciting and unforgettable.

Shirley Fleniken.