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Road Trip To Texas Part 4 by Francesc Lopez

Midland, TX.

Elvis played in Midland three times in 1955 at the Midland High School Auditorium. We were fortunate enough to have a private tour by an administrator, and found the Auditorium to be beautiful, well maintained, and still in use. Sadly, the lighting inside of the Auditorium was too dim for our flash, and all the photos came out really dark, but it was a great experience. This is the place where Roy Orbison met Elvis Presley backstage- they were introduced by Johnny Cash.

On the left, the Midland High School Office entrance; on the right, The Auditorium.

Elvis' first appearance was on January 7, 1955 where the ad already mentioned Elvis as King ... King of the Western Bop nevertheless! Elvis came back to Midland on May 31, 1955 for a second concert, this time billed with Martha Carson and Bill Carlisle.

The last time Elvis played in Midland, on October 12, 1955, was when he met Roy Orbison. Johnny Cash and Wanda Jackson were among the other artists playing that night.

As Elvis did after his second concert in Midland, we traveled down US Highway 20 to Odessa, TX.

Odessa, TX.

Elvis performed several times in Odessa during 1955. Most of the dates were at the Odessa High School Field House, but once he played at the Ector County Auditorium, on April 1, 1955.

The Ector County Auditorium was built in 1954 and can accommodate more than 5,000 seated people. Nowadays the Ector County Coliseum is the home of an arena football team called the West Texas Roughnecks and an ice-hockey team called the Odessa Jackalopes. It also hosts the Sand Hills Rodeo and the biennial Permian Basin International Oil Show. The building resembles an indoor stadium, and the gracious manager not only took us on a tour of the building, but also told us about the many events that have been held there.

Interestingly, Elvis also performed here during his 70's tours, on May 30, 1976. He performed two shows that day to a packed Coliseum.

Odessa was the last Texan city that we were going to visit and at that point, the long, tedious trip back to California was looming in our minds. We entertained some other ideas, since we were fairly close to a few cities in New Mexico where Elvis played. After considering the possible routes, we realized that we could go through Andrews, TX to get to Hobbs, NM. Elvis apparently played in Andrews, but is the exact date and venue are unknown, so we simply drove through town.

An hour or so after leaving Andrews, TX, we crossed into New Mexico and arrived in Hobbs...