Home > You saw the Old Concerts? > Page 6



You saw the Old Concerts?




Indianapolis, June 26, 1977.

I had seen Elvis four times previously to include Baltimore, Maryland 1971 and Hampton Roads, Virginia 1972. I was assigned by the US Army to Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, Indiana in September 1973 which allowed me the opportunity to see Elvis in Bloomington, Indiana on the campus of Indiana University in 1974 and 1976.

He had appeared in Indianapolis in 1975 at the Convention Center but I was visiting California at the time. A friend told me he attended because his girlfriend was an avid Elvis fan. He mentioned that Elvis gave a mediocre performance at best and even chastised the band at one point. In 1977, it appeared that Elvis, for whatever reasons, was not in the best of health and his apparently had an adverse impact on the quality of his performances during that period. The CBS Elvis In Concert television special, which included film from two 1977 performances of the final tour (Omaha, Nebraska and Rapid City, South Dakota) confirmed that. For me personally, it was painful to watch the rendition of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

However, in contrast, there were some excellent moments to include "How Great Thou Art" and a song that I have grown to really like after initially detesting it, "Unchained Melody." The infamous "bodyguard" book had been published and I must say that I believed much of it to be factual. The part regarding the "assassination" of Mike Stone was chilling. Elvis was clearly a tormented human being but it would not preclude me from seeing him. My wife and I arrived 30 minutes or so before the concert.

There were a few aisles of seats directly along the sides of the stage and speakers that had long rolls of white paper covering them. I am not sure if it was by design in an effort perhaps to conceal the fact that the show was not a total sellout which I do not know to be the case, or simply standard practice. I saw Neil Diamond at Market Square and do not recall the same thing. All in all, there were perhaps 30-40 seats covered and they were directly adjacent to the huge speakers. I could clearly see that every other seat was occupied and I believe the attendance was 18,000 plus. As the show began, J.D. Sumner came out and stated that the Stamps would be appearing in July at a local church for a gospel music event, but that "the kid would not be with us." He went on to say that Elvis "looks and sounds great."

The anticipation started immediately after it was clear that the intermission was coming to a close. The Hilton Horns, Joe Guercio's orchestra began the theme from 2001 and Elvis emerged to a sea of flashbulbs. I had binoculars and it was clear that Elvis had a slight bulge around the stomach area, but he looked pretty good in a white jumpsuit. Elvis came out and appeared to be observing the crowd, although I have often heard him say that he can't see but the first two or three rows of people. Charlie Hodge assisted him with his guitar and he broke into See See Rider followed by I Got a Woman. Love Me appeared to rekindle many memories for the audience. This song is one of my all-time favorites and was the biggest selling extended play 45RPM in history (5 or 6 songs on a 45 RPM size disk). RCA issued approximately 18 of these to include several from movies when an album was not released, i.e. Viva Las Vegas, Kid Gallahad, Tickle Me, Easy Come Easy Go and I believe 2 from King Creole. Fairytale, originally done by the Pointer Sisters, was well received while Lord, This Time You Gave Me a Mountain revealed that Elvis' voice was not "shot" as various critics were prone to say of the '74-'77 period. Jailhouse Rock resulted in a reaction similar to that of Love Me and was, from my viewpoint, the only negative aspect of the entire evening.

Apparently the drummer Larry Londin started before his cue which resulted in Elvis turning around and admonishing him somewhat to the effect, "Hey, I can't get off that fast" or something to that effect. The audience was somewhat startled but it quickly passed. I believe the surprise was because I have read that in recording sessions, regardless of who made a mistake, Elvis would always say it was his fault. He was never prone to throw tantrums, at least while recording with the exception of one movie soundtrack when he reportedly said, "What can you do with a piece of crap like this? Elvis was said to have greatly admired Sherrill Nielsen's voice which seems to account for his part in Ole Sole Mio/It's Now or Never. I believe I heard Elvis once say that It's Now or Never was his personal favorite and I believe his biggest selling single even today. Released not too long after his military service, this song and others like Surrender, indicated that Elvis was a genuine singing talent and quite frankly surprised many who thought Hound Dog was the extent of his ability - or lack thereof. Teddy Bear and Don't Be Cruel took many in the audience back to their teens while Release Me, originally done by Englebert Humperdink, was a pleasant surprise to those in the audience who had never heard Elvis' version. I Can't Stop Loving You is not one of my personal favorites but it is abundantly clear that Elvis truly enjoyed doing this song. Bridge Over Troubled Water was stunning. Paul Simon once said that Elvis' version was the finest he had ever heard of the song that he composed. In Rolling Stone Magazine, Simon said that after seeing

Elvis on one of his Ed Sullivan appearances, he ran all around New York City in an effort to find a shirt similar to the one Elvis wore on TV. In the same Rolling Stone article, Simon speaks fondly of taking his son to visit Graceland.

Elvis then went into introductions of the band members and at some point during the concert he introduced his father and "my new girlfriend" referring to Ginger Alden who was sitting about 12 rows back in the front. I recall that the audience gave her a rousing reception to include wolf whistles which prompted Elvis to say laughingly, "Ok, that's enough, you can sit down now."

After the general introductions, Elvis went to four individual musicians and performed a portion of the following songs accompanied only by them: Early Morning Rain, What I'd Say, Johnny B. Goode and I Really Don't Want to Know. After a short pause, he began Hurt which in my opinion demonstrated Elvis' phenominal vocal range. Originally done by Timi Yuro it remains the only song, in the five concerts that I saw, that Elvis did twice in the same concert. The reaction was so tremendous at Indiana University at Bloomington, Indiana in 1976 that Elvis simply said, "I guess you want to hear it again."

The version on June 26, 1977 was just as good. When peaking of "voices" in rock and roll, in my opinion there are only a handful with exceptional singing ability. I admire Roy Orbison's, Crying and Gene Pitney's, I'm Gonna Be Strong and Tony Williams' of the Platters, My Prayer. Other than perhaps a few others who I can't specifically recall at this time, there are only a few who even come close to his ability to sing. Phil Spector, of the famous "wall of sound" produced many acts to include the Righteous Brothers, said "Elvis could sing a nything." Personally I have never heard a singer who could do equal justice to gospel, R&B, country and R&R. Hurt, in my opinion, is one of the finest songs I ever heard him perform in concert. Hound Dog was done for sentimental reasons and then the signal for the end came in the form of the opening of I Can't Help Falling in Love With You." It is truly a shame that this beautiful song from Blue Hawaii was never nominated for an Academy Award. A fine concert. James Burton or John Wilkerson was quoted in Jerry Hopkins' "The Final Years," that Indianapolis was "Rock and Roll all the way." I agree.

-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

Nancy has seen Elvis very close on stage

I had older brothers who were Elvis fans, so I feel like I was raised around Elvis...then one day in 1972 my Oldest brother took me to an Elvis concert in San Antonio Texas, most electrifying event of my life... always wished I could have been closer, like the main floor, in 1974 we went again...a little closer to the stage and again...terrific show...then in 1977, my Senior year in high school, my two older brothers, a friend on mine (who was into "Kiss" & other hard rock) went with me to Abilene Texas to Elvis concert.

Not only ground floor, but about 7 rows from stage...he was like right there! Most fabulous night of my life...you could feel the electricity in the crowd,air and on stage. I am so glad we made it to that concert ... being one of his last, it was the greatest.

My friend actually said she has never witness such a great show by ANY performer. Like I once read...Elvis never had to use gimmicks such as fire,,smoke or flashy stuff...he was above all that! He was my HERO and always will be. I am also glad I kept all my original elvis stuff I had when I was young, and collecting a few more things now and then.

Well, Thanks alot for e-mailing me and telling me about this site...it is posted in my favorites as of now!

Good luck with this! Nancy Jones

New Years Eve with Elvis

Hello

I went to the 1975 new years concert in Pontiac, Michigan. We went on a bus tour from Toronto before Elvis came out on stage we heard there was a bomb scare but he came out anyways I don't think he wanted to disappoint his fans then on top of that he split his pants so he had to go off stage to change then he gave a great performance. I still have my ticket.

Pat Stacey

Aug 1971 - Cocktail Show - International Hilton - Las Vegas

I was a little girl when Elvis walked on the stage of the Ed Sullivan Show. When I saw him I was hooked. I went from finger paints to pink and gray RCA portable radio. In those days in Glen Burnie MD the grocery stores sold the top 10-20 45's. I would carefully tuck everyone of Elvis' in my mother's shopping cart. We did not have a lot of money. So I did not ask for the records. And Mom pretended to be shocked each week when we got home with the records. When Love Me Tender came out I saw it 12 times and the same with the next 3 pictures. I loved Elvis. Not having any money I never dreamed that some day I would see him, especially in Las Vegas! During the end of the 60's and early 70's I was busy birthing babies. However, not so busy that I missed the 68 Comeback Special.

My girlfriend Claire and I made a committed decision to save money and go to Vegas. We did not get there in 69 but in 1971 we were ready. We still had not saved the money but we did have all the necessary credit cards. I booked our rooms and show tickets at the International Hilton a year in advance. At the time I was living and working in Waltham, Mass. Everyone we knew probably hated hearing how we were going to see Elvis in Vegas! It is a wonder we were not on the news. In 1969 my parents and siblings moved to Buena Park Ca so Claire and I were spending 2 weeks in Ca, Mexico and Vegas! We could not be more excited. I had just had a baby in July and went to the doctor to lose some weight I was a large 125 lbs! (I wish that was my problem today!) The doctor gave Claire and I diet pills to lose the weight. Back then we did not know anything about diet pills. So we were taking them for about 1 month prior to the trip.

I am a very active person and diet pills and me do not mix. I started 400 projects at one time and did not finish any of them. The more hours I was up the less I got done. But hey I was looking great. The day came and we left for California, Claire,my 2 children, and myself. We already had not been to bed in two days. We arrived in California and met my family at the airport. They were so excited to see us. They had our next 24 hours planned. Knotts Berry Farm, the mall, the deer park, met their friends, etc, etc, needlessly to say we still had no sleep. The next day we rented a car and drove to Vegas. (Still had not been to bed) but hey ...... we were alert and felt great! Not only that we were a size 5! Boy would Elvis notice us. Well 6 hours later we arrive in Vegas at the International Hotel at around 10:00 AM. We are informed that our room will not be ready until 2:00 PM. We have tickets for the 6:00 Dinner Show. So we went to the Bar and decided to have a drink. We looked in the mirror and knew we needed sleep and a construction crew to apply the makeup! Oh well, so what ... we are here! I am going to see ELVIS! Who cares? So while I was sitting at the bar I decided to send some postcards home to brag on Vegas. That is when I discovered that maybe the brain was still awake but I could not write a single legible letter on to the postcard. In the meantime, Claire had struck up a conversation with this guy from Cincinnati he owned 7 restaurants and was loaded$$. He wanted us to be his guess at the Elvis Show tonight. He had a front row table and would make sure Elvis gave us a scarf. Well we thanked the gentleman but we were two prudes from Boston and we did not get picked up. Besides we had tickets to the dinner show and did not need any hassles. So at 2:00 PM we went to our room to get a nap. We asked for a wake up call for 4:00 so we could get ready and go downstairs. At midnight I sprung out of bed. I could not believe it! It could not be happening! We sleep thru the Elvis Show. It was even too late for the cocktail show. I woke up Claire. She mumbled that the wake up service had called and she went back to sleep. I had an uncontrollable urge to strangle her. Then I thought about jumping from the twelfth floor but I could not get the window open. How could we go back to Mass. and tell everyone we slept through the show! We were finished. All the planning.

We only had the room for one night. With Elvis in town there were no more rooms anywhere for any price! I was desperate. We got up, got dressed and went to see some stupid strip show. We had no more money but we had credit cards. I told Claire I did not care what we were going to have to do but I was not leaving Vegas without seeing Elvis if I had to break into his room myself. So first thing in the morning we went down stairs and stood in line with 400 other people for tickets. The people in front of us said even if you get tickets that does not mean you will get in. You would have to slip the guy at the door at least $100 to get a seat. I did not want to hear that. We had very little cash. So we got tickets and did what any respecting woman would do in this situation. We went shopping!

The prudes went out and bought outfits that would shock a pimp! We even bought long wigs. Now the problem is where were we going to dress. We had no room. We talked the man at the shoe store into letting us change in his 2 X 2 bathroom. He was so nervous that his wife would come because it was close to closing time. We got into our new outfits .... all but the wigs. We needed a mirror for that. We thanked the man and we ran over to the Desert Inn to use their bathroom for make up and hair(wig). We did not want to make an unfinished appearance at the Hilton. When we were finished we drove to the Hilton as nervous as we could be. I was dressed in a "HOT" Orange silk jump suit that had a plunging neckline down to my navel. Claire had a black hot pant outfit.

We were ready for anything. We made our entrance to the Hilton. Well as you know in Vegas gamblers will not look up from what they are doing if you walked by in the nude! Well when we walked in everyone looked! And who do you think the two prudes from Boston met as we came thru the door. yep! The guy from Cincinnati. Was he shocked! At this point I started to feel real silly. It no longer was funny. But I was driven ... I was seeing Elvis!!!! He wanted us to go to dinner with him. He said that he wanted us just to be his guest he wanted to be seen with two beautiful women and not to worry about Elvis. In fact we are lucky to run into him because he would guarantee that we would see Elvis. Well I looked around the casino. The dinner show was already in progress 15 mins and the line went all the way around the hotel 3 deep already for the cocktail show. How would we get in. I remembered what the couple told us earlier and decided he was our best bet. We would just have to run after the show! So off we went looking like two professional call girls to dinner with this man from Cincinnati. The dinner was fabulous and probably cost more than we spent for the entire trip. The fruit was so gorgeous I thought it was fake. Violins playing at the table. Claire thinks she died and went to heaven. I'm watching my watch, every ten minutes. Finally the man irritated with me asked for a phone. He called the Showroom and booked us. Then he walked us out into the main lobby of the Hilton. The line to get in by this time was unbelievable. I am thinking no way now! Then he walked us by the entire line up to the showroom door. He knocked a man met us at the door and let us in. I was sure someone was going to kill us. All those people outside had been standing in line for 3 hours and we were the first two people allowed in the showroom. We were seated at a table right above the front booths. Claire and I were the only ones in the room for about 15 minutes. I was scared to death that the people outside were going to stone us. What seemed an eternity was. The room filled up. They sat two old grandmother types across the table from us. All of a sudden I felt terrible in my low cut outfit. I looked around for a flower to put down the front. There was nothing. I felt flushed. But the two old grandmothers turned out to be swingers. They told us stories that made me blush. So I relaxed. Then the music started. I could not believe it. This was a moment I had waited 15 years for. It could not be happening. Then Elvis walked out on to the stage. He was so drop dead gorgeous I think I went into shock. I could almost touch him. The music was exciting, more than the records. The music went thru your body and touched evey nerve. I could not believe I was really hearing that voice ... in the same room. Then Elvis looked over towards me I was hoping he noticed but no ... he introduced Tom Jones. I was in such shock I had not noticed him sitting behind me. They carried about 3 women out on strecthers. I am thinking Oh God don't let that happen to me. I do not want to leave. And then the concert was over! I was so shocked and numb I can not to this day remember another minute.

I have not seen my friend since 1978. I tried calling Claire last night to see if she could add anything. But I could not reach her. After the show we went out into the casino and we never saw the guy from Cincinnati again. He was telling the truth after all. I don't even have a picture. In those days they were very strict about cameras in casinos in Las Vegas. If they caught you they took the camera and escorted you out. I did not want to risk it.

Yummy

Margaret attended 4 times. One of them was in Houston, Texas !!

The first time I saw Elvis in person was on Feb. 28, 1970 at the Houston Astrodome, an immense place and as always Elvis drew crowds of major proportions. In driving to the Astrodome, the traffic was bumper to bumper for a few miles trying to get to the exit ramp.

Slowly as the traffic just seemed to crawl, I was becoming more and more anxious by the second. I was going to see E L V I S ! Finally, we made it inside and I think there were about 37,000 people and we all knew who we were there to see......not the rodeo and livestock show, but E L V I S ! The anticipation was almost too much to handle. The crowd noise in each concert was awesome! Elvis performed in the center of the arena, and in consideration of his fans, he did ride standing up in a jeep full circle around the place so that we fans could get a better view. We had great box seats and I have a favorite color picture that I took. He looked terrific, no doubt about it! What a gorgeous sight to behold!

The second time was at the Internatonal hotel (now the Hilton) in Las Vegas, in Feb. 1971. Imagine a dinner show with Elvis as the entertainment... I barely remember eating the meal for the Elvis excitement was in full swing and for me always preceded each Elvis concert. Beginning several days before and on the actual day, it was like a dream, believing it and not believing it. Tremendous show!

The third time was in San Antonio, Texas in April 1972. Again, Elvis was in true form giving us fans a heck of a show. He looked splendid and sounded simply the best.

The last time I saw Elvis in concert was August 1976 in San Antonio, Texas. The constant touring was beginning to take its toll. However, nothing could take away from the magic of Elvis. It was still there, and we fans responded approvingly as usual. The highlight for me was "America The Beautiful".

As soon as Elvis set foot on the stage, it was sheer pandemonium as he held the audience spellbound throughout the entire show. It's similar to being lifted up so high into a whole different world where the atmosphere is pure joy and even though you are having the time of your life, suddenly, ever so gently, you are set back down and you are left to reflect on the wonder of it all, along with not believing that the concert was really over just like that.....!

Elvis The Concert 1997, Mid-South Coliseum was a memorable experience as well. Watching Elvis on the huge screen with his former band members performing live on the stage certainly brought back so many wonderful memories, and I am so thankful to have been there along with so many other terrific Elvis fans.

Margaret Freisinger

Date: 06/26/76. Time: 8:30 p.m. Place: Providence Civic Center

Subject: My 1st Elvis Concert

It was springtime 1976. Elvis' latest record was out HURT/FOR THE HEART.. I was a junior at Framingham South High when I heard on the radio that Elvis was coming to Providence , Rhode Island--tickets would go on sale the next day...

I had been an Elvis fan since 1968, and I had never had seen him in person...

My friend and I skipped school and I drove his brother's car some 60 miles to the Providence Civic Center where we waited in line for hours. While we were in line we heard that the 2:30 show was sold out, but they then added an 8:30p.m. show. We were in luck and bought four $12.50 seats.

June 26th finally came as my fiend and I brought our dates to the Civic Center.

We treated them to McDonalds for dinner....We got our seats in the arena and the show began.. I remember Jackie Kahane doing a joke about Stuckeys(a then popular southern highway stop) "You are the Stuckee at Stuckey's"

I remember the Sweet Inspirations doing "Silly Love Songs" I remember The Stamps doing a song "Oh Operator Give Me Jesus on The Line" I remember the orchestra doing the theme song of some TV show that was a current hit...

Finally, at 10:10p.m. the 2001 theme sounded as Elvis appeared to me in person for the first time. He wore the bicentennial suit ,and I recall it was a blue suit with white sleeves. It was an awesome sight as the hall was filled the light of hundreds and hundreds of flashbulbs......

Elvis' voice to me that night was full of intensity, power and range that I had never heard on any record.....

The ending of America the Beautiful impressed me greatly.. When Elvis got to his latest record, he sang the entire song twice. He sang Hurt once with the regular ending and once with the higher ending . He sang it in the key of D...

Toward the end of the show, he sang one of his one of his favorites as he described it. He sang "It's Now Or Never" , but he sang the first part actually as O Solo Mio. This was a great version of this song!!

Vince

Murfreesboro & Graceland Memories on May 6th 1975.

I saw Elvis in concert a tolal of 13 times wish I could have seen him more each concert was so exciting and you could feel the anticapation and excitement in the air grow as 2001 Elvis theme song started to play and the lights would go down.

You could feel Elvis's there before you could actually see him then the lights would go up and there was Elvis and he helt his audiance captive the whole show. The fans loved him and he loved them and he always gave his best even when it took a toll on him, it was his way of communicating with his fans it was magic and I am so thankful to have been a small part of the magic that was Elvis.

My most memorable experience started about two weeks before his concert in Murfreesboro on may 6th 1975. I was visiting at the gates of Graceland just talking to the guard and the other fans there another fan and myself decided to go for a walk and left our things in the guardhouse.

We walked down the road beside the little church that sat beside Graceland the road led to a backgate going into Graceland a group of bikes came up behind us and it was Elvis and some of the guys they stopped and Elvis just asked us our names and where we were from we asked him about his upcoming tour then we asked if he would remove his helmet for us and he did his hair came falling down around his face and it was just a moment I will always remember He looked great and was very kind to us never once asked us why we were back there and in a few minutes he was gone.

Then on May 6th I went to the concert with my brother and a friend and the concert was in the round so from pictures it was hard to tell exactly where your seats were. Well we were behind the stage third row and close to the stage but we were afraid we would not be able to see but shortly after the show started Elvis walked around the stage and everyone was out of their seats so I just stepped over them to get closer to Elvis. He looked up took my hand and just said Hello Linda nice to see you again and let me tell you everyone was asking me how I knew Elvis and I was surprised he remembered I sure he met a lot of people. I didnt get a scarf or even close enough for a kiss but that memory will stay with me forever. The remainder of the show I was on a cloud.

His voice was always beautiful and his music never goes out of style. He was kind,considerate he made everyone around him feel special I think that is why even today those that were close to Elvis still disagree as to whom was closer to Elvis I think he made each of them feel special that was Elvis he always gave of himself that was his greatest gift. I will remember him always and he will always be number one in my heart.

Thanks for listening

Linda