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Home > You saw the Old Concerts?
You saw the Old Concerts?
This section is for those of you who have seen Elvis Presley in concert to share your thoughts and feelings about this incredible experience with all the other fans in the world, and especially with those who never had the opportunity to hear or see Elvis in person.
Thank you so much to those fans who took the time to share their special memories with us.
June 24, 1977 Madison, WI
When Elvis landed prior to the show, My dad and all the other people that my mom got tickets for were at the airport and got fabulous pictures of Elvis and the whole crew coming down the stairs of the LISA MARIE plane and a really good picture of my brother, mom and the others standing in front of the plane after Elvis had left in the limo to go to his hotel room. My sister and her boyfried and I couldn't be there for that part, we were at our jobs.
I will remember that show all my LIFE.....my mom sat in line for 7 days & nights in her lawn chair (my dad and I brought her her meals everyday) and she was the first in line and we still only got 2nd row, but how GREAT was that!! My mom got a scarf & cut it in half with her best friend that was there also.
When Elvis came on stage for the first time, it is just like everybody describes it.....you get goosebumps and you cry and you just can't believe you are actually there in person seeing ELVIS IN PERSON.
Elvis was extremely bloated and couldn't remember alot of the words to the song, I'm sure nobody cared.
When the show was ending the bodyguards let everyone come up to the stage, My dad and I got seperated, but I got to shake Elvis' hand and then when I met my dad outside of the auditorium, he came up to me and said he got to shake his hand also and I told him the same....We were just star struck!!
Also, when the show was over, we rushed out and got in our car and took a short cut to the airport, hoping to get there before Elvis. Then we find out later he stopped at a local gas station to stop a fight!!! So, of course, we wished we hadn't taken the short cut. But we did see him arrive at the airport and get out of the limo and get on the plane. But we couldn't get close enough to get pictures there. We were right at the limo windows but they were tinted, so couldn't see Elvis until they swiftly got closer to the plane and then it happen so fast from limo to plane, no time to take pictures.
What a night!!!
My Memories of Elvis (Seattle 1970)
I grew up in a small town in Montana and there wasn't too much going on there. Elvis brought the first glimmer of excitement to an otherwise dull existence. I loved him from the first moment I heard his voice. My dad didn't share my adulation. In fact, he pretty much hated him! Of course, his disapproval just made me love Elvis that much more! I'm afraid the town's merchants pretty much agreed with my dad. The local theatre was owned by the mayor and he refused to show Elvis' movies. We didn't own a TV, so there was very little access to Elvis for an eight year old girl. Nonetheless, I did listen to the radio every chance I got and waited patiently to hear an Elvis song.
In 1960, after Elvis' army stint was over, the mayor decided Elvis was okay after all! He began showing his movies and my best girlfriend and I went to every one and sat there screaming every time Elvis curled his lip and smiled that smile or batted those blue eyes or moved those hips and especially when he sang. I'm sure the other theatre patrons probably didn't appreciate our display of adoration, but we didn't care.
In 1969, when I was 20, I married and moved to Seattle, WA. One day in 1970, I was listening to the radio and heard an Elvis song. When the song ended, the announcer said that Elvis would be appearing in the Seattle Center Coliseum in November!! I couldn't believe it! I was beside myself with excitement!! I ran around the house screaming like the school girl I used to be! Not having a clue how to get a ticket, I called the radio station and asked them. I found out where to buy tickets and was able to get a ticket for $7.50! (I still have the stub in my Elvis scrapbook!).
The last time I'd seen Elvis perform was on the '68 special on TV. I really expected to see him in black leather. I was surprised to see him in the white jumpsuit! He was slim and trim and full of energy! The tickets were in the nosebleed section, and at that time, there were no big video screens so I had to use binoculars to get a good look at him. I do wish I could have been closer to the stage-but I did get the next best thing from a friend recently. Unbeknownst to me, she was at that same concert in 1970. She was seated much closer to the stage than I was. She actually got a scarf he threw into the audience! I couldn't believe she's had it stored in a drawer for the last 40 years! She's gave it to me as a Christmas gift! I was totally stunned and amazed! It will always be one of my most treasured possessions.
Riverfront Coliseum Cincinnati, Ohio, June 25, 1977
In 1977, when I was 14, my best friend's older sister and 2 sisters in law were going to see Elvis, they were very excited! I begged and pleaded and, I'm sure, made a bloody nuisance of myself, and they told me if I could come up with the money, they'd get me a ticket and take me with them. I'm sure they never expected me to get the money, my mom was divorced with 6 children, one in college at the time. She didn't receive support from my dad, and worked two jobs to make ends meet, at the factory 7am-3pm, then waiting tables from 4:30pm-1 am. Looking back, I have no idea how she managed to get the money, but she did, and even gave me enough money to purchase 2 posters and a program!
Anyway, I got the money and was able to tag a long! It was a Saturday night, June 25, 1977, and Cincinnati was about 3 hours from my house, so we all got there and found our seats, then bought my souvenirs, and sat down. The show was scheduled to begin at 8:30, but Elvis was late, due to having to go to the dentist and sound problems, as he later explained. From the moment he stepped on stage, it was pure magic. I know some say he was sick, weak, a shadow of his former self; while he wasn't at his peak mentally or physically, he was still ELVIS! I'm telling ya, right before he came onstage, you could literally feel a crackling in the air, it was alive with energy, I kid you not! He was absolutely beautiful! He did See See Rider, and then spoke a bit about being late, joking around, apologizing, as if he needed to! He then did I Got A Woman/Amen and did the hip swiveling thing, and let J.D. take it way down the scale! Then did the Saturday Night, just got paid, thang. Made a few girls very happy in the front (Lots of squealing), quite a bit of joking around and they gave him something.
Then did Love Me, If You Love Me Let Me Know, You Gave Me A Mountain, Jailhouse Rock. Then He and Sherrill Neilson did O Sole Mio/It's Now Or Never. Then Little Sister, short but sweet! He then did Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel medley, with just a little bit of hip shakin 'and the line "please forget the past, before I kick your ___. "
Then, he slowed things down with And I Love You So. Very beautiful. His voice was very rich and strong! After that, it was My Way and then some introductions of the band, John Wilkinson doing a bit of early morning Rain, and Elvis singing it as well. Then, James Burton, and a bit of What'd I Say. Followed by Johnny B. Goode. After that, He did I Really Don't Want To Know, which I love. Followed by introduction of Vernon, they got him up on stage, he looked very well, though Elvis had said he'd been sick, also he introduced his girlfriend Ginger, then the rest of the Alden Klan. and the Espositos. He also mentioned the young people from England who had come to see him. He then did Unchained Melody and it was phenomenal. He did miss a chord, as he warned us he might, but it was so full of emotion, his voice so beautiful, I can't begin to describe it, even better than the live 1977 version that plays a lot, from where, Rapid City?
He next did Hound Dog and Can't Help Falling In Love. Then, he walked to all sides of the stage, and put his arms in the air. Then suddenly, he was gone! The exit music played for just a very short time, and the announcement, "Elvis Has Left The Building, Thank You and Good Night" followed by the plug for souvenirs, the exit instructions and all that.
I'm telling you what, it felt like it does after a big storm, when everything is still and quiet, like all the energy had been sucked out of the air. It honestly felt like he had only been onstage a couple of minutes, but also like he'd always been there. I really was mesmerized the whole time, I don't recall if anyone said anything to me, except someone did offer me their binoculars, but I don't remember using them. If I'd been just a little bit older or wiser, I would have attempted to get down front, where I may have gotten a scarf or a kiss, but the people making the announcements assured us that if you were down there without a ticket for the front row, you would be ejected, and I had no intention of jeopardizing my chance to finally see Elvis! I finally left when my friend's sister shoved me out of my seat. It was an incredible experience. I've been to a few concerts since, but nothing has ever or will ever compare to that night! I'll never, ever forget it!
LAS VEGAS August 1969
My name is Mathieu (Matthew) Minacapelli and I have been a fan of the King since the end of 1963 (Funny How Time Slips Away). At that time, Elvis' Hollywood period was in full swing, but what was most important to me as a rock fan was discovering his first records and after that, his marvelous albums of the early 60's. Elvis continued to do films, but in 1968 his TV show on NBC gave me hope! Was he coming back to the stage? Then in early 1969, that was the big news! We learned that Elvis was returning to the Las Vegas stage. I had been waiting for that for some time. Two friends and I didn't think twice about it, we had to go, no matter what.
We got ready for the trip, and we asked ourselves: What will he be like on stage? We spent so many hours discussing our points of view! To put us in the right mood, we enjoyed Elvis' fabulous album, "From Elvis in Memphis!" So I left with my two friends on this great trip to the "States," and at the last minute a female fan decided to join us. We were to cross the United States by Greyhound Bus. From New York, we would make it a point to go by Memphis and Graceland, of course. But we stayed only one day, because what mattered most was Elvis and he was in Las Vegas! We arrived at the Promised Land on August 11th at 3 o'clock in the morning. Because we were impatient, we went straight to the International Hotel and we were even able to go into the showroom. We went up to the stage where a man was setting up and we asked him questions, especially if Elvis sung well on this stage. We were not able to get reservations for the 11th, but the morning of the 12th were the first in line to buy tickets for the evening show. We met the manager of the International Hotel, an Italian immigrant named "Emilio," and we got along very well with him. He took us to his office where he gave back our letters which were in a drawer with others! We had sent them before leaving France with money orders to hold our reservations, just in case.
We then phoned "Tom Diskin," the Colonel's right hand man, who made an appointment with us for that afternoon. We met at four o'clock in the afternoon at the cafeteria of the International Hotel. He thanked us immediately for having come from so far away because our arrival had been announced on television! They knew that some people were coming from France to see Elvis and some small excerpts of the show had been broadcast. We talked for an hour about Elvis' career, his films, his latest TV show, etc.... Finally he said "Believe me, you will not be disappointed this evening!" Before leaving, we naturally asked if it would be possible to meet Elvis! He answered that it would be difficult, because too many people want to see him. Essentially, he told us he would try but he could not promise anything.
That evening at 8:00 PM, we were at the "Dinner Show" and everyone had practically finished dinner when the show began with "The Sweet Inspirations" followed by "Sammy Shore." Just a little interlude was left until that great moment we had been waiting years for, and who did we see? Colonel Parker! We called out to him! He said to us, "Oh, you're the French fans! I'm going to try to arrange it so you can meet Elvis! A few minutes later he came back and told us: "At the end of the show make sure not to move from your seats, OK?" We were flabbergasted, but we hardly had time to react because the show was beginning! Oh, how lovely those first minutes were, and I must make it clear and let it be known: Elvis in '69 was about ROCK like we never dreamed he could do it. In all of his songs there was unmatched delight, and he moved in an unbelievable way!
These were not the pelvic movements of the fifties of course, but he was just as wild as in the 50's. And to tell the truth, he was even better! We had dreamed about this, about being awestruck with the show that he put on for his comeback. From the first song, which was "Blue Suede Shoes," we were speechless! He finished with "I Got a Woman," with his right knee on the ground, and his left leg stretched out, the microphone at his feet was completely turned upside down and almost touching the floor! In "All Shook Up" he made those silent yet powerful punches with his right hand. I felt like I was knocked out while still standing! "Jailhouse Rock" was fantastic, with his "crazy" left leg. The guitar was flying all over the place.
At the beginning of "Hound Dog," he leaned softly with his guitar as he spoke, and then brusquely started shouting like he had never done before! In "My Babe" his whole body shook while balancing his right leg in front and hopping forward. Finally in "Hey Jude" he moved to the front of the stage while doing strange, forceful karate moves, etc. etc.! It was truly the creator and the King of Rock before us. We really didn't think that Elvis would move like that. But he demonstrated that he's a great showman, joking with the public. At one point in the show he sat down, and with anecdotes and laughter, he told about his career from its beginnings right up to his comeback.
At the end of "Suspicious Minds," it was delirium punctuated by an incredible "standing ovation" lasting several minutes! The show ended and at the end of "Can't Help Falling in Love" we all went wild! Some Americans near us had a good time just watching how enthusiastic we were. While the audience slowly left the showroom, you can guess that no one could have made us move from our seats! Colonel Parker came to get us and we followed him... So we arrived near Elvis' dressing room where there were lots of people. We waited, both excited and emotionally moved. At last they let us enter and Elvis came towards us, shaking our hands with a big smile. Elvis' father was there also, seated in the corner of the room and naturally, the Colonel was there. Elvis immediately thanked us for coming from France to see him. What powerful presence! However, after a few moments we felt relaxed there with Elvis who spoke to us in a very down to earth manner. That's what put us at ease no doubt. What class! Physically also, in '69 he was in great shape!
Elvis asked us if we liked the show... can you imagine our response? Would we come see him again? We told him we would go see him again many times! He wanted to know how long we would stay in Las Vegas. Our answer: Until we're broke! Elvis burst out laughing! We asked him if he remembered Paris, which he had visited during his military service, and he answered: Of course, and stated that he had had a nice time there and that it was a very beautiful city. As far as his films go, he told us he had a contract to honor. It was crystal clear: I don't think he had any desire to "discuss" this subject. What mattered now was his return to the stage. Of course we wanted to know if he had any plans to come sing in Europe, and he assured us that he really wanted to do concerts there but that it was impossible for the near future. Elvis noticed that one of my friends did not have a French face, and the friend explained that he was from Corsica. Elvis asked: What's Corsica? When we told him it was the place where Napoleon was born, he begin laughing and said that it was the first time he had heard of it. We asked him a favor. In a future show, could he do a move like he did in 1956? When one of our friends demonstrated it for him, Elvis burst out laughing again! What an unforgettable moment! We then asked for autographs, and he wrote "To Matthew from Elvis Presley" on mine, a big publicity shot from the '69 shows. We were able to capture this magic moment with several photos, thanks to our friend who had brought her camera.
Fifteen minutes went by and we said our good-byes with a sincere handshake, and Elvis graciously invited us back to the second show. We left the dressing room after saying good-bye to Colonel Parker and Elvis' father as well. Ecstatic and overjoyed, we prayed the photos would come out well. Who would have believed it... Me, for one, I decided to never wash my right hand again! For the "Midnight Show" we were seated in the first row! He gave another super concert, and being so close to the stage we made uproar, and Elvis recognized us of course. At the end of "Jailhouse Rock" he did a strangely '56-like move, just as we had requested!
I stayed in Las Vegas until August 25th and saw Elvis on stage six times. We even approached him several times during autograph signings he did in the halls of the International Hotel. After one of them, he greeted us with "Hello!" We also ran into the Colonel, with his eternal cigar, quite often. You can imagine that this has become an unforgettable memory for me, unfortunately we did not have video cameras in 1969. What a shame! Because if footage is plentiful for the '70's, it is practically nonexistent for that year, 1969. And for me, that period was unique because there was spontaneity, humor and energy - all integrated with that extraordinary voice. Elvis was simply at his peak.
AND HE WILL ALWAYS BE THE KING OF ROCK.
Elvis at the Spectrum, November 8, 1971 - Philadelphia, Pa.
I was a freshman in high school when my mother took me to my first Elvis Presley concert. It was a Monday evening and it was very chilly and rainy in Philadelphia. I had been an Elvis my whole life. Even during the mid-sixties I was listening to Elvis soundtracks, my Dad's record collection from the fifties, and enjoying every minute of it. So when my Mom surprised me and said, "We are going to see Elvis," I began counting down the days.
The Sweet Inspirations opened the show and I enjoyed them a great deal! They were followed by Jackie Kahan who was a comedian who toured with the Elvis shows. I must admit, I thought he was pretty funny! But, everyone was there to see Elvis. A few chants of "We want Elvis" kept coming and going. After Jackie's part it was time for the intermission. Finally, after an announcement to return to your seats because the second half of the show, the lights went down and the Spectrum was dark.
Slowly the sounds of 2001 A Space Odyssey sounded throughout the Spectrum. I know that this is maybe at the most one minute in length, but sitting there knowing that Elvis was about to appear made the time seem like 30 minutes! With each blast of the trumpet, with each sound of the drum, with each "AAHH" from the backup singers, the anticipation grew. I remember sitting in seat, knees bouncing up and down, breathing heavier and heavier. Many alongside of me were saying that they too were getting "goose-bumps." Other people around me were filling with tears and literally shaking! Then at long last we heard from the backup singer, "AAHH, AAHH, AAAHHHH!" Then suddenly the band kicked in, spot lights circled the Spectrum and then Elvis seemed to just appear out of the darkness. When he appeared there was a roar from the sold out audience that was as loud as I have ever heard an audience, even to this day. Elvis walked on to the stage walking very quickly moving from side to side greeting the audience with a big smile. Flashbulbs were "popping" everywhere it seemed creating an almost strobe light effect. Elvis had on what has become known as the "Spectrum" jumpsuit. Each time a spotlight hit a sequin the light bounced off the suit. The suit was magnificent to look at and he appeared to be in excellent physical shape. As the ovation continued he walked back and got his guitar from Charlie Hodge and as he did I saw him smile and seemed to shake his head and go "Whew." I always thought Elvis was doing that because of the reception he received. Then it was right into "That's All Right, Mama." While my seat was along side of the stage it was difficult at times to hear the song because of the roar of the crowd. But I remember that as Elvis sang this great song, his leg was shaking wildly! Elvis then went into "I Got a Woman" and ended it by jerking the microphone back and forth, sliding his hand down the stand, and then slamming the guitar into the air (much like you see in the movie "On Tour").
Elvis thanked and welcomed us and introduced himself as Johnny Cash! We all laughed and Elvis went into his first movie song, "Love Me Tender," which received yet another roar of approval from the crowd. He interacted with some members of the audience on the other side of the stage as he sang this one. Elvis throughout this entire show moved very quickly from song to song. The next song was (and still is) one of my personal favorites, "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me." I can remember as soon as I heard him say, "When I said..." I was just jumping up and down because I was so excited. >From there he did a marvelous "You've Lost That Loving Feeling, and quickly moved into "Polk Salad Annie." This version he really seemed to have fun with. At this point, Elvis was still doing the talking part at the beginning of the song...., "Some of you have never been down south too much..." etc. He became very animated during some of the speaking parts shouting out words and even making up some! Everyone was enjoying it, but nothing compared to what Elvis gave us at the close of the song. With trumpets blasting, the Sweet Inspirations shouting, "Go..., Go!" Elvis just thrusting and shaking his arms, legs, was working the crowd into a frenzy. Again, flashbulbs were popping everywhere which added to the drama on the stage. I've never seen anything like it before. Elvis walked around for a bit following "Polk."
He greeted some fans and drew loud roars again. Then it was a neat version of Johnny B. Goode which featured some great guitar work by James Burton. Then Elvis stopped center stage and said, "Treat..., Me.... Like a fool" and began a great version of "Love Me." It wasn't as fast as the later seventies shows would feature. This version was much slower and sung so well! Quickly following were "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Blue Suede Shoes." Then Elvis did one of my favorite 1950's songs, "One Night." I remember when he sang, "Just call my name," that the Sweet Inspirations all shouted his name, which brought screams for the audience. We really enjoyed that one. Elvis' interactions with the band and back up singers was marvelous that night. After a playful opening, Elvis then did a really good version of "Hound Dog. The crowd was really into it! Then Elvis announced that he was going to do a gospel song and performed a beautiful "How Great Thou Art." It sounded close to the 1966 original and Elvis' voice was simply amazing! He received a loud ovation after this one! Next came the band introductions and then went right into a great rocking version of another favorite, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy!" I have always loved that song and to see him perform it live was a treat. Things slowed down with a beautiful "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" This was done serious and without the joking that would be featured during this song in later years. I remember specifically during this song that Elvis came to the side of the stage where we were sitting and held on to a pole which ran from the stage to the ceiling and swung one leg in the air over the audience seated there. Screams were ringing out as he did this and I remember being bumped into by several women at that point. But it was a very beautiful version of the song.
Elvis then performed "Bridge Over Troubled Water." All I can say is, "Wow!" This was an amazing performance and like "How Great Thou Art," was a real show stopper. The ovation was really loud and even before it could slow down Elvis began the song again at the "Sail on silver girl.." part. He then dropped to one knee as he finished the encore performance of Bridge. A surprise for me was the next song which was "The Impossible Dream." In recalling the concert I must say, it was an unbelievable treat to have Bridge and Dream back-to-back! I think Elvis shook the rafters of the Spectrum when finishing the song with, "The unreachable star!" Elvis was singing high, and JD Sumner bottomed-out, add in the back-up singers the band and the orchestra, and its clear to see why nearly everyone was on their feet after this song! I like it better than any of the recorded live versions I've heard. As the ovation was still at a high level, he jumped into "Suspicious Minds." I've got to say, like "Polk Salad Annie," I was beginning to perspire watching Elvis work on this song! It featured plenty of movements by Elvis, the band had the tempo going from fast to slow and back to fast again. It was an amazing performance of this song. As the music began to fade, Elvis tossed his microphone aside, took a karate stance, and began an awesome karate display. The drummer hitting a loud beat with every movement Elvis made. Again, all I can say is awesome!
After this song Elvis actually sat down for a second as he talked to the audience. He then asked to have the house lights turned on and of course, we are screamed loudly. Elvis thanked everyone for coming to see the show and he told us it was good to be back in Philly. He reminded us that it was the first time he performed in the city since the 1950's. Everyone cheered. He then announced, "There's a song from Blue Hawaii I'd like to dedicate to you." And with that he began "Can't Help Falling in Love" which was well received. I didn't know that this was Elvis' closing number. He sang walking back and forth on the stage with his cape on and handed out one scarf during that song. I remember as Elvis hit a beautiful high note ending that the Spectrum just roared as he dropped to one knee with his cape fully opened. WOW! You had to see it to believe it! Again, like many times throughout the show, it was difficult at times to clearly hear the band because of the audience ovation. Elvis walked to all sides of the stage acknowledging everyone and as he reached the steps he stopped, turned around and smiled at the loud standing ovation he was receiving. He smiled, waved, and then two men whisked Elvis off the stage. Then the sound that no Elvis fan wants to hear at an Elvis concert, "Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night."
It was 10:20 in the evening and the concert was over, Elvis was now in a limousine headed back to the hotel. The lights were turned on and people were still cheering, a few women around me were crying, and I felt exhausted. I remember turning to Mom and saying, "Wow, can you believe that?" Her response was simply, "Oh, he is so great!" We sat for a while realizing that we had just witnessed something extraordinary. Elvis had a real neat way of mixing the song line up so that you would be rocking one minute on the edge of your seat, and sitting back with a tear in your eye on the next. One of my greatest memories of that night was his voice. If you have ever been to an early 70's Elvis concert, you know what I mean about how magnificent his voice truly was. Although I did have the chance to see a few other Elvis concerts through the 70's, November 8, 1971 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, remains the greatest concert I have ever attended!