Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Memories of Elvis

My first R&R concert was Elvis Presley at the Municiple Auditorium in Kansas City, MO on June 29, 1974(late show). I was 4 years old. It was the first time I ever recall being in a multi leveled parking garage. The other thing I recall was the tremendous uproar as Elvis made his entrance. He came out to a barrage of flashbulbs in his famous American Eagle jumpsuit, turned his back to the audience and spread his bedazzled wings. It was a profoundly exciting experience. For years I thought my memory had come from the "Elvis, Aloha From Hawaii" television special. But thanks to the internet, my search discovered that he had indeed worn the famous jumpsuit on that evening. Regardless of what you think about Big E, you gotta admit that's kinda cool. Here's a pic and setlist.

June 29 - 8:30pm - Kansas City, MI. / Municipal Auditorium.
Also Sprach Zarathustra - See See Rider - When My Blue Moon Turns Gold Again/Blue Christmas - I Got A Woman/Amen - Love Me - Trying To Get To You - All Shook Up - Love Me Tender - Hound Dog - Fever - Polk Salad Annie - Why Me, Lord - Suspicious Minds - Introductions - I Can't Stop Loving You - Help Me - Bridge Over Troubled Water - Let Me Be There - Johnny B. Goode - Can't Help Falling In Love - Closing Vamp
10,400 cap. American Eagle


Another Elvis memory comes from shortly after that show. I had a portable record player that opened up like a jewelery box which I took everywhere with me. Not long after the concert my mother purchased me the "It's Midnight/Promised Land" 45 single. What I remember is that I was sitting alone in my room listeneing to "It's Midnight" over and over agian when my mom came in and found me sobbing. She asked my why I was crying and I said I missed Elvis(he wouldn't die for several more years). I asked her if we were ever gonna see him again. She assured me we would, dried my tears, and told me not to worry. We never did get the chance to see him live again. I guess that makes my mom a liar. ;^)


In 1995 it was announced that the Grateful Dead would be playing two nights(4/1 & 4/2) at the Pyramid Arena in Memphis. Since this was going to be my birthday weekend, I decided I needed to be there. So I flew out and met all my touring buddies for two days of psychadelic mayhem. The morning of sunday 4/2/95, the whole lysergic crew piled in the car and headed off for Graceland. When we arrived our pupils got even larger as we encountered a line that was probably 100 people deep. Amazingly, someone in the group(Chey or Mindy) actually had the forethought to make reservations for the whole group. (Word to the wise: if you are thinking of going to Graceland, take my word for it, MAKE RESERVATIONS). So they ushered us in to the next group and off we went to that big white mansion on the hill. First thing you learn is, NO one goes upstairs. DAMMIT! Second thing you learn is, Elvis was one tacky muthafucker! To get to the pool room you gotta walk through hanging strands of beads. The "Jungle" room had green shag carpet from floor to ceiling(literally on the ceiling) and velour covered lamp shades. And if you've ever see the Simpsons episode where Bart & Lisa write a script for the Itchy & Scratchy show, you've seen exactly what Elvis' television room looks like. Complete with 3 tv sets and his famous TCB lightning bolt logo painted on the yellow walls. Here are pix of each room.


P.S. In Bob Zmuda's biography about Andy Kaufman, he retells a story about the two of them making the pilgrimage to Graceland. When one of the tour guides recognizes Andy, he secretly sneeks the two of them up to Big E's bedroom( a big no-no!). As Zmuda distracted the guide, Andy quickly slipped in to the Kings bathroom and took a duke in his throne. Wish we had been that bold.

Here's a hysterical recording of "Three Cool Cats" from the Beatles failed Decca audition.


iPod song of the day: Sunday Morning Coming Down from "The Essential Johnny Cash"


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