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You saw the Old Concerts?
Old concerts, Hawaii 1957
I was a 19 year-old sailor stationed at NAS Barber's Pt. in Oahu Hawaii. There was a notice that Elvis would be doing a concert for military personnel at Schofield Barracks on Nov. 11th, 1957. I asked my girlfriend (now my wife) if she wanted to go with me to see him. She did not really care for Elvis so I went alone. The admission price was $1.00. That doesn't sound like a lot, but remember, I was only making about $93.00 a month. That would mean it cost about 1% of my monthly pay. Today I make about $10,000 a month. So 1% of that would be $100.00. I think I was over charged back in 1957, LOL!
The venue was Conroy Bowl. IIRC it was a rather small showroom so most everybody would have a good seat. I think I was about 10 rows from the stage. It's been a while so I can't remember much of the show but he did all his songs that are now classics.
In 1961, I was now working for an auto dealership called Hawaiian Dodge. I was provided with a blue convertible as my demo. One day the sales manager told me that they would be needing the car for a movie. I later found out that the studio had either rented or borrowed the blue Dodge convertible to be used in Elvis' Blue Hawaii.
In 1969 I was working my way through the U. of Hawaii as a service waiter at the Ilikai Hotel near Waikiki. On my way to a room someone said that Elvis was in the patio near the pool and restaurant/bar. I noticed him and another man sitting outdoors having a conversation. Surprisingly there was no one asking for autographs around him, so I approached both and said hello to Elvis. He was smoking a cigar, but I don't remember what type of drink he was drinking. I asked for his autograph and as he started to write on a paper napkin, I told him that I had seem him 12 years earlier at Conroy Bowl. He conversed with me for a few minutes, just general stuff, like about Hawaii, the weather, me going to school, you know, mundane things. He was a real gentleman, not rushing or seeming to be annoyed by my questions or by just being there. I don't know who the other person was.
In 1973 I was then a police officer for HPD. The department was looking for volunteers to work the Elvis satellite show (it was a benefit concert). I was one of many who worked without pay that night. I did not see him as I was assigned to work traffic outside the concert hall. I forgot the name of the place, but it is now called NBC (Neil Blaisdell Center).
Four years later, while driving home from work at UC Santa Cruz Police Department I heard the news of his passing, on highway 101 about 1/2 mile from the Tully Rd. exit. SB.
ELVIS in Concert by Jennie Carpenter
To those of you who never had an opportunity to see Elvis in concert, my heart goes out to you for missing an absolute experience of a lifetime--one that is simply impossible to explain. Trying to portray the feelings you had at an Elvis concert is similar to trying to describe being an Elvis fan to someone who isn't. The energy level of the audience and the excitement of just being in the same arena with him is captivating and almost overwhelming - simply writing words do not do justice to the explanation. Elvis always performed in a manner that made you not want to blink an eye for fear of missing one little thing that he might do. Regardless of where you were seated, even if you were in the "peanut gallery," you were still a part of this spectacular historical event --- something that you could never forget. Elvis Presley projected a form of magnetism, and regardless of how ill he might have been the last few years of his life and the many times he should have not been on stage, he was still the ultimate entertainer and our hero.
One of my lifetime dreams did come true, and that was to see Elvis in concert. Not only did that dream come true, but also I was one of the fortunate ones who had the privilege of seeing him perform more than once. I saw him eight times, the first in Montgomery, AL, in 1974 and the others were in Huntsville, AL, in 1975 and 1976. This particular time in 1976 - the last time ever I saw his face - is deeply etched between the pages of my mind.
"THE LAST TIME EVER I SAW HIS FACE"
After months of waiting for this moment, it was finally show time on September 6, 1976, Labor Day. Amidst a capacity sell-out crowd at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, Alabama, as the lights were turned down, the audience went crazy! You could feel the electricity throughout the arena - the crowd was so loud that you could hardly hear the orchestra as they began playing "2001." I just thought my heart would beat right out of my chest! Then a few seconds later Elvis came rushing up the steps from back stage - and there he was, "looking like glory and walking like a dream."
From the moment the band started playing until after the announcer said, "Elvis has left the building," it felt like the entire time was somewhat a dream. As we watched him go through the motions, we knew that he was doing his very best at entertaining his audience. Though he was overweight and his actions proved he did not feel up to performing, he made it through the hour with a wonderful performance. (However, I am not totally rational when it comes to Elvis and I may lose perspective sometimes when it concerns him; so regardless of how he performed, I always thought he was terrific. He was just more terrific when he felt good.) Yet this time I was really taken back by his actions, so much that I was unable to concentrate on the songs he sang - it was frightening to see what a change there was in him from only a year ago. My mind was centered on him instead of the concert. The moment I saw him I had this very eerie premonition that after this day I would never see him alive again. The way he looked and acted was so similar to how he looked in "The Last Concert." (A little over a year later when I saw the concert on TV, it was instant dejevu-Labor Day 1976.) Then all too soon came "Can't Help Fallin' In Love" and he left as quickly as he came.
The Labor Day evening concert was "the last time ever I saw his face." As much as I loved seeing him perform, it absolutely broke my heart to see him trying so hard to please and to just barely make it through the show. Just prior to the concert, I had overheard Colonel Parker say to one of the guys, "I don't care what you have to do, you just get his ass on this stage!" At this point, I realized that someone had done just that! I shall never forget the look in his eyes--- they portrayed the agony and pain he was obviously experiencing at this particular time in his life. And though his words were sometimes slurred and occasionally when parts of the songs were forgotten, and when his actions and Karate moves were a bit slower than they used to be, Elvis Presley was still the absolute ultimate entertainer and the most dynamic Rock and Roll singer ever. At this point, "he still could rock, but he just couldn't roll," yet he did his very best to please us regardless of his health. He had to have been embarrassed about his weight, and he made jokes when the words came out wrong. But all in all he was just doing what he thought he owed his fans - he was giving us a performance. I just wish he could have somehow known what we wanted most of all was for him to take care of himself.
As the concert came to an end, with tears streaming down my face, I was sad beyond words because I truly knew within my soul that this would be "the last time ever I saw his face."
I haven't been right since
I was 11 years old when my mother asked me if I would like to see Elvis in concert at the Phila. Spectrum. It was early spring and at that time of my life I was into Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy. I knew who Elvis was but never had a thought about him. But I had never been to a real concert so I said "Yes". My Aunt and cousin met us there so there was to be 5 of us...my Aunt Pat was the real fan and my Mother just went along to be a good friend (she was more into "FRANK" and opera ).
Before we went to our behind the stage, 13 $ seats my Aunt bought me a big Elvis pin which I was trilled with. We got to our seats and I was mad at my mom cause she wouldn't let me bring in a instamatic camera cause on the tickets it said no flash allowed but everybody was flashing away. Anyway the lights go black a mad rush of energy runs though the building and a sudden spot light appears on stage and all at once one hears the entrance music "2001 Space Oddassy" and then HE appears...in a huge bright light....with a million flash bulbs going off...creating a strobe effect that was mind bending to this 11 yr old...and a rush of electricity ran through the crowd and zapped me and ran through me and charged me and changed me forever. And I have not been right since. I don't remember the songs he sang or much more of the concert because I just cried and cried like a complete idiot.I have since been searching for a video or sound-board recording of "MY" concert but have not gotten lucky yet---30 years later I still have hope and still feel very blessed to have been lucky enough to have seen "HIM" in concert on June 23 1974 3pm at the Spectrum. Thanks for letting me express my story to you.
'Carry Me Back to Old Virginia. (April 10, 1972)
I had the pleasure of seeing Elvis in concert six times (from 1972 through 1977). Although all of the shows were special, none was as electrifying as the first show in Richmond, Virginia on April 10, 1972. I wish everyone could have experienced the anticipation and excitement of that magical evening. It is impossible to convey the heart-pounding, adrenaline rush that I received that night when Elvis materialized out of the darkness in his red 'Burning Love' jumpsuit. The roar of the crowd was deafening as he slowly and majestically climbed the stairs amidst a brilliant storm of flashbulbs going off. MGM's cameras were filming the show for a segment in the movie 'Elvis on Tour,' and you could tell Elvis was playing to them as well as the audience in attendance. Our seats were just to the right of the stage and I can distinctly remember several highlights from the performance:
As I have already mentioned, Elvis' entrance on stage was worth the price of admission by itself. When he reached the top of the stairs, he put his hands on his huge gold belt and slowly walked from one end of the stage to the other, gazing out into the crowd. I remember thinking how confident and businesslike he looked. From there he launched into a full hour's worth of songs, most of which can still be heard on the CD 'Carry Me Back to Old Virginia.' That CD brings back a lot of memories for me. I can still picture Elvis rolling around on the floor and clowning before he starts singing 'Love Me.' I'll never forget the karate exhibition he put on during 'Poke Salad Annie.' I kept thinking, "How can he keep this pace up and still sing?" One of the most long-lasting images of the evening came when Elvis performed 'American Trilogy.' As he began the 'Dixie' portion of the medley, many in the Richmond crowd stood up and cheered loudly; and then sat down when he did 'Battle Hymn of the Republic.'
Several minutes later, when he asked that the house lights be turned up, I remember staring at his sequined cape and thinking - "This is the same person that I saw in all of those movies when I was a child!" It was as if Hollywood had come to our own backyard. When Elvis finally made his way off the stage and disappeared into the darkness, my girlfriend looked at me and said, "I can't believe one person could have that kind of effect on an entire building full of people." But he did. During the next five years, I would see Elvis in concert five more times before his untimely death, but none would ever match the emotion of April 10, 1972. It is something that happens once in a lifetime, if you're lucky.
July 29, 1976 Springfield, Mass.
I was only 12 years old. I thought it was a thrill getting on tv waiting in line for tickets, but the best was yet to come.
My family had to reschedule a summer cruise because I refused to miss the show. Mom was ticked, but I didn't care.
The night of the show Dad had to pull over the car twice on the way to the arena so I could "toss my cookies". The closer we got the more nervous I was that I was actually going to see the KING!
The show was a bit of blur at that age..it was like I was in a trance the whole time. At one point Elvis started to sing the opening of Hound Dog, "You ain't...you ain't...you ain't.........". Everyone started to scream and he stopped abruptly and with that big smile said,"You don't know what I'm going to sing yet" We all laughed and he jumped right into Hound Dog.
We had floor seats and halfway through Dad said it was okay to go to the stage. I got about 10 rows from the stage when my legs turned to rubber. I just stood there immobilized and my face was glossed over with a look of awe! You would of thought I was one of the children at Fatima that had seen Mary! I was awakened out of my trance by the voice of a shouting security guard to a group of women to return to their seats ...NOW!!!
I returned to my seat and watched the remainder of the show standing on my chair. My Dad repeatedly said, "Let's leave early and beat the traffic", but I refused to move until the end. As the opening rift to Can't Help Falling In Love started I began to cry because I knew it was the final song.
The following year my family again changed their vacation plans because I had tickets for Hartford on 8/21/77. Of course, four days prior my life, and the world changed forever.
Since I was so young and my memory weak, I have refused to see ANY impersonator since his passing, choosing to hold on to those precious few memories I have.
I did go see Elvis-The Concert twice. Each time during American Trilogy, as did the audience, I wept. To hear him sing those fateful lyric's,"... so hush little baby, don't you cry. You know your Daddy's, bound to die; but soon my trials will be over.." , simply tore my heart out. Yet as in 76', my best memories are not of the tears, but of the cheering, joy, and love I felt that night.
I love you Elvis.....you will never be forgotten!!
Michael Barile, Conneticut
1974: Like in Heaven in New Haven, CT by Dave Anderson
Well I guess it all started in 1972.. I always liked Elvis but was never a huge dedicated fan until I heard the concert he did at Madison Square Garden in 1972. I was dating this girl and she had the concert playing on an 8-track tape and after I listened to it I was a major dedicated fan. I was blown away by that show!!!!!!...and in 1974 I had the chance of a lifetime to see the King in person at a concert in New Haven CT.
I heard about the concert on the radio and that tickets were still on sale, so I got 2 of them and me and my girl friend went to the show. I guess, we were the last ones to get tickets because we were not only in the nose bleed section but we were in back of him as well but I had binoculars so it was all good. The lights dimmed and the band started playing 2001 space odessy and by then the roar was deafening from the crowd and when he walked out on stage it was unbelievable!!!! My ears were ringing from the screams from the crowd and that was before Elvis started his first song. About 20 min. Into the show he turned around so all of us in back of him could see him. Needless to say it was a fantastic show!!!!!..(of course)!!..
Elvis had just started to put on some weight but he looked and sounded great. To this day I think that if outsiders were to talk to Elvis and make him realize that the world loves him and that we all care about him I believe that he would still be here with us.. I know the Memphis Mafia as they were called cared about him loved him but I know that if fans actually talked with him there would of been a change.....but as for me I miss him very much and being an owner operator of a mobile DJ Service I play his music all the time and always will.. his gift of music and voice will forever remain.....to all the Elvis fans who read this please keep Elvis in your hearts and never let the memories leave....
Dave Anderson, Platinum Eentertainment DJ Service.
OLD TIMES NOT FORGOTTEN By Don Graham
ELVIS at Memorial Coliseum - Aug 30, 1976, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
This was the first concert I ever went to. My mother brought me and I was only 12 years old. The album, "FROM ELVIS PRESLEY BOULEVARD" was Elvis' newest studio album at the time.
The show was a complete sell-out. Even the seats behind the stage were sold. The only reason we had tickets was because a relative had "camped out" for them, spending the night outside the ticket office.
Elvis appeared onstage overweight and his voice somewhat flat. He also had some trouble with feedback and echo during the show. After the first song, "See See Rider," he even asked some of his sound crew to come onstage and examine his mike. Just the same, the crowd cheered fanaticly.
Some of the shows' better moments was Elvis version of "America The Beautiful," and "Hurt" ; Both of which he performed restarted / extended versions.
"And I Love You So" was also well done.
He cut "Early Mornin' Rain" short, only doing the first verse. This was not the only song that he compacted.
Also noteworthy, is the extreme lightshow from instamatic cameras that occured when Elvis came on stage, and everytime he turned around to face the crowd behind the stage.
Elvis was very generous with the spotlight, offering his band members lengthy solos. Ronnie Tutt did a memorable drum solo. James Burton played the guitar behind his head during his solo because Elvis asked him to.
Elvis tested JD Sumner at the end of "I've Got A Woman" by making him do his bass line again. Sumner did so well that his low drone caused the PA system to blink off.
Kathy Westmoreland sang a gospel song while Elvis looked on.
During band member solos, Elvis would stand by and drink water.
The show was over in a little over 70 minutes.