Elvis In Providence

Providence, RI. June 22nd 1974 evening show 

By Steve & Nancy Toli

 

News of an Elvis concert in Providence, R. I. first broke in late April when there was a small mention of it in one Boston paper. It was such a small article that many people nearly missed it and we had to be told about it by a friend who reads the paper more thoroughly than we do. We immediately rushed out that same night to put our ticket order in the mail hoping an early Postmark would get us better seats... but things don't always work out that way., do they? The Civic Center was so swamped with mail orders they not only were forced to dis-regard postmarks, but they didn't mail out tickets as soon as they'd promised. When our tickets finally came, they were upper balcony, quite a ways back from the stage. But we were able to borrow binoculars, so all was not lost. 

It had been two years since we saw Elvis at Madison Square Garden,. and we were really looking forward to seeing him again. We wanted to try meeting his plane, so we went to the airport early the morning of June 22. While waiting around, we were approached by a man who offered to take us up for a ride in his plane. Feeling adventurous, we went up for an aerial tour of Rhode Island. Our guide, Ted Hopkins, was kind enough to radio in and ask if Elvis had landed yet. Held come in a 2:00 a. m., so we went on to the Civic Center. 

We saw both the 2:30 matinee and the 8:30 evening show. This review is of the 8:30 show, although both shows were basically the same. 

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

Elvis came running out on stage in a white jumpsuit with a blue "rainbow" swirled around his body and down his leg. He didn't wear a cape for either show. He went into " C. C. Rider, " obviously in a great mood, doing a spirited " one.. two.. three.. four " followed by a corresponding number of thrusts of a leg. Then he did " I Got A Woman " combined with ''Amen, " giving special recognition to J. D. Sumner Is deep voice. This was followed by " Love Me " and " Trying To Get To You " ( in which he says, " I've been travelling night and day, I've been streaking all the way... " which the crowd just loved ). Next came "All Shook Up, " " Love Me Tender, " " Hound Dog, " and " Fever. " He did a great version of " Polk Salad Annie, " which was really loved by the crowd. When he finished " Why Me Lord, " the reaction was so good, he repeated the chorus once again. 

Linda Thompson was at both shows, coming out just before Elvis and sitting up front, to the side of the stage. When Elvis did "Suspicious Minds, " instead of doing the line "I never lied to you. . . no, not much, " he left out the "not much" and looked in Linda's direction. 

Next, he paused long enough to introduce the band. At the matinee he introduced John Wilkinson as being from Providence and at the evening show he introduced Charlie Hodge as being from Pawtucket... both times he had a mischievous grin on his face and you could tell he was putting everyone on, but the crowd really loved it. 

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

" Know what I can't do? "... " I Can't Stop Loving You, " and with those words, he launched into a beautiful version of the song. Then he mentioned having a record out entitled " Help Me " and " If You Talk In Your Sleep " and said they'd like to do " Help. Me. " This song has so much more impact when you hear it live than it does on record- -fantastic. 

During "American Trilogy, " he clowns slightly when he sings ". . look away Disney... dixieland. 

Something fairly new for Elvis is " Let Me Be There. " As he's done before, he can take someone's hit song and make it his own, putting such vitality and life into it. This song was a great new treat and we hope he'll continue to do it. 

After having the house lights turned up so he could look at the audience, he sings " Funny How Time Slips Away " (Steve thanks you, Elvis). At the matinee he sang... " Never know when I'll be back in town... 8:30 tonight. " 

Something different for a live concert was " Big Boss Man, " which he did marvelously. One older man down in front of us kept calling out " Teddy Bear " all during the show, and we were so happy for him when Elvis did a " Teddy Bear " / " Don't Be Cruel " medley. 

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

Naturally, the saddest part of any concert is the beginning of " Can't Help Falling In Love, " and this was no exception. Elvis had put on such a fantastic show, had been in such a great mood, and looked so darned handsome, we all hated to see this song come. But he gave the crowd a beautiful surprise by not rushing off the stage at the close of the song, but spending some time shaking hands around the edge of the stage. 

Time had stood still for an hour, but suddenly it was all over and the clock started up again. We met many fans outside afterwards and everyone agreed that it had been a magnificent concert; one we will long remember. Thank you, Elvis, for such a beautiful gift.

Note : No photographs from this performance were available. Therefore we have used photographs taken five days later with Elvis wearing the same jumpsuit as the June 22nd 1974 evening show.

Originally published in Strictly Elvis No.76