SUMMER TOUR - 1974

June 15th - July 2nd 1974 

By Dave Bouska 

 

From June 16 to July 2, 1974, Elvis undertook a spectacular tour. . . . perhaps his biggest and best yet. It was filled with near riots and incredible crowd reaction. . . the kind that only happens on an Elvis tour. So, let's "take care of business" and let me inform you about this great tour. 

Len Leech Cleveland,OH. June 21st 1974

Elvis' first stop was on June 15 and 16 in Fort Worth, Texas, where Elvis did incredible business. He was scheduled for one show, but ticket demand was so great that he wound up doing not one, not two, not three, but FOUR sold-out shows to a total of over 56, 000 fans! The gross was over $500, 000 for the gig and the crowd loved every minute of it. Every twitch, blink, and sound drove them up the walls. 

Elvis did not arrive in Fort Worth until 3:30 a. m. but yet there were 400 people waiting for him at the hotel he was staying at. They had been waiting for hours just to get a glimpse of him. He was scheduled to arrive earlier but, due to jet difficulties, his arrival was later than planned. There were ads in the local newspapers from restaurants and department stores welcoming Elvis and inviting his fans to stop by for their record purchases. 

The crowds in Fort Worth were the largest ever encountered for any event in the history of the city. 

Next, it was on to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, "Where the alligators grow so mean. 11 Sorry, I just couldn't help myself. Elvis and friends were here for two concerts on June 17 and 18. Both the concerts were sold out so quickly they turned out to be the fastest selling concerts in Baton Rouge history! Some 30, 000 fans attended both shows for a record stunning gross of nearly $290, 000. People of all ages attended and were thrilled with the kind of show only Elvis can do. 

Mary Magee Columbus,OH. June 25th 1974

June 19 found Elvis in Amarillo, Texas entertaining a packed house of over 10, 000 fans for a $90, 000 gross. The show was sold out nearly two months ahead of time, as were all of the concerts on this tour. 

From here, Elvis found himself next in Des Moines, Iowa, before a packed audience of 11, 000 fans. There was a rush of about 100 women at the end of the show and Elvis showered them with souvenir scarves he was giving away during the shows. He shook hands with many of them and then left the stage to the beat of crashing drums and screaming fans! A wild ending to a great show. 

One lady was permitted to leave,her hospital bed for Elvis' show in Des Moines. She was being fed intravenously and was due for possible gall bladder surgery... but she said her doctor was an Elvis fan, so he understood and let her go. Another girl attended the concert because she was doing a theme paper for school on the 1950s and wanted to research the main man of that period. 

Next for Elvis was a stop in Cleveland, Ohio for a show to over 10, 000 fans and another great dollar gross of $90, 000. Fans tried to get closer to Elvis, but were stopped by the guards. One lady was sneaking up the aisle in a crouched position with a policeman sneaking right behind her. Surprise! 

George O. Hill Louisville,KY. June 26th 1974

Providence, Rhode Island was next on the tour. The two shows were sell-outs. The scene at the end of the evening concert was a wild one with a sixty year old man catching the last scarf thrown by Elvis from the stage. There was also a ticket mix-up with about 150 tickets being stolen in the mail and some people showing up with somebody else having a ticket for their seat. 

Next, the greatest performer of all time touched the eyes, ears, and minds of 40, 000 faithful fans in two shows at the Spectrum in Philadelphia on June 23. The shows were, as usual, sold out two months prior to the day Elvis took the stage. One writer was moved to call it rock and roll of the good old days with Elvis singin' up a storm and lighting fires in every person's soul. Flashbulbs popped all through the performance, giving a strobe light effect. The carefully planned lighting for the show combined with screeching fans that turned the whole affair into a ritual of sorts. The shows grossed nearly $360, 000 for the day. 

Elvis next performed in Niagara Falls, New York on June 24. Two shows to over 21, 000 fans made a splendid gross of $200, 000. At the afternoon show, a crush of fans moved towards the stage, causing injuries to two guards who were hospitalized and treated for bruises, then released. A police lieutenant collapsed while trying to control throngs of fans that were charging the stage. There was also an usherette who was pinned against the front of the stage and finally began yelling for help because she was being crushed by a human wave. She was surprised when none other than Elvis himself, and an unidentified band member, pulled her onto the stage... or she would have possibly gone to the hospital too. She was given a scarf by Elvis, and then the stage hands helped her off the stage safely. A man stole her scarf from around her neck, but she received another one from Elvis to replace it. Another usherette was injured when she asked a lady to sit down. Instead of sitting, the woman struck her in the chest with her fist. It was equally as wild at the evening performance with one gal getting knocked unconscious while scrambling for a scarf. 

George O. Hill Bloomington,IN. June 27th 1974

Many Canadian fans came to the Niagara Falls show. They could make a day of seeing the world famous falls and the world famous Elvis. All in all, you can see the day was quite eventful. Care to be a guard for Elvis? 

Well, after that it was on to Columbus, Ohio before 14, 000 admiring fans for a gross of $125, 000. Ticket scalpers were in evidence and some got as much as $100 for a single ticket. 

Next to see the Elvis Presley magic was Louisville, Kentucky. 20, 000 fans turned out for a sold out arena and a gross of $180, 000 for one show. Great you say? Agreed! This was a record crowd and the biggest since Elvis last appeared in Louisville. At one point in the show, Elvis tried three times to get a sentence out, but was drowned out by shrieks... so he finally yelled, "If this is all I gotta do, I got it made. 

During the Louisville show, Elvis asked that the house lights be turned up so he could see the wall to wall people. He remarked, "Good grief, I thought I'd already played the Astrodome. If I had known this place and this crowd would have been this big, I'd of dressed up Daddy in this suit and let him come out here. "   

Sean Shaver Kansas City,MO. June 29th 1974 matinee show

There was such a huge traffic jam in Bloomington, Indiana, that it was doubtful the show would start on time.... but it did. 16, 000 of Elvis' fans drove in from all over the state. There was a $150, 000 gross for the one performance. A fellow in the Indiana University Safety Division said that Elvis' security was so tight he didn't even know when Elvis would arrive or where he would stay. Also, he said he was told there would be no drinking at the show because, "If the crowd wanted to drink, it could be done on their own time... not on Elvis'. Elvis' appearance at the University Hall was a smashing success. 

11, 800 Elvis devotees came to see Elvis do his thing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 28. There was a great gross of $100, 000 and Elvis drove all ages wild from 5 to 90. For this performance, he wore a white suit with a sequined eagle. He alternated this suit with one that had a peacock on the chest and legs, as well as several other new ones. It was a fantastic show and nobody went away disappointed. 

Two shows at Kansas City, Missouri were next on the agenda for Elvis. He drove them wild at the matinee and evening shows with a total of 21, 000 fans getting to see Elvis for a gross of $200, 000. There was an "orderly" crush of fans during the show, but nothing got too far out of hand. 

Elvis next moved on to Omaha, Nebraska for three exciting shows on June 30 and July 1. There was a combined total of 30, 000 fans at the three shows for a total of $280, 000 gross. Elvis introduced himself as Wayne Newton, but no one believed that for a second.   

Sean Shaver Kansas City,MO. June 29th 1974 evening show

After the show ended, a female fan asked one of Elvis' entourage if she could have the water glass he drank from, but was told no. Good try anyway. 

The last city to receive a visit from Elvis on this tour was Salt Lake City, Utah. I don't know the exact figures on this, but it was a sold out concert. The newspapers didn't carry a review for the reason that they were charged admission to the concert, as well as a fee to interview Elvis. So they turned thumbs down to reviewing the show. This happens from time to time in Elvis' case. Oh well, such is life when you are a superstar. 

Included in Elvis' back-up people this time was a group called "Voice, " whom I'm sure you recognize from the "Raised On Rock" album. Other than this change, the same people were along a most of the material was not changed from the Spring tour. 

After seeing the results of this tour, is there any question as to who is the king of entertainment? I think not!

 Originally published in the magazine Strictly Elvis  No. 76