January 26th 1970 opening show
By Linda Holm
only one man in the world who can top Elvis. . and that's Elvis himself. Elvis
is one of a kind -- the true master of music. There have been many imitators,
but no one can dethrone " The King. "
He combines greatness with humbleness -- a grand sense of humor with sensitivity
-- and is a true gentleman in every sense of the word. I think I can best
express what I think of Elvis Presley by saying he's even greater as a man than
as a star.
J.A.T. Publishing © February 1970
his return to the International Hotel in Las Vegas, Elvis proved again that he
still has the charisma and magnetism to pull 2, 000 people out of their chairs
to give him several standing ovations. Elvis looked like a Greek God as he
stood under the bright spotlights. He wore a " mod " outfit.... a
white, long sleeved, French jump suit open at the chest. He wore a pearl beaded
tie belt that hung loosely over his hip bugger pants. He had on a collar of
beaded pearls and accentuated with gold ties. Many diamond rings sparkled on his
fingers. He wore white, leather boots. All in all, Elvis was "breathtakingly
Elvis admitted he was a bit nervous before show time, he didn't show it when he
walked on stage amidst great applause. He took the microphone to sing his
opening number, "All Shook Up," and the Presley voice was totally in
command.Elvis' back-up musicians, in addition to the Bobby Morris Orchestra,
were: the always great James Burton on guitar; Jerry Scheff on electric bass;
Charlie Hodge and John Wilkinson on guitars; Glen Hardin at the piano, and the
terrific Bob Lanning, younger son of singer Roberta Sherwood, on drums. He
accentuated every move Elvis made with a drum beat. El's interpretation of the
mod, groovy new dances excited everyone, and they responded with wild applause.
In the past, Elvis seemed to shy away from fast dancing, but now, it was clear
that he'd conquered still another new field for him.
selected a " potpourri " of songs which featured something for
everybody: All-time hits of his, like "That's All Right, Mama "...
" Teddy Bear " . . . " Don't Be Cruel ". . . and " Long
Tall Sally. " He sang love songs that drew great response from the
audience, like " I Can't Stop Loving You "... " Let It Be Me
"... " True Love Travels On A Gravel Road "
and " I Can't Help Falling In Love With You. " His recent million
sellers. . . " Don't Cry Daddy, " " In The Ghetto, " and
" Suspicious Minds " were also showcased.
the extra-special crowd pleasers were Elvis' own versions of hit songs that
other performers had recorded. He sang, " Sweet Caroline, " a recent
hit for his friend, Neil Diamond. . Elvis did a teriffic job on it. But, near
the end, he motioned for the orchestra to stop. Elvis smiled, and explained he'd
" forgotten " the rest of the song. However, a second or two later, he
motioned for the orchestra to pick up where they'd left off, and Elvis finished
the song to instant applause. Elvis felt completely natural in admitting what
happened. Since he's a perfectionist, he wanted to do it right... not
"hum" through the end of the song.
J.A.T. Publishing © February 1970
also sang a Louisiana blues tune, " Polk Salad Annie, " written by
Tony Joe White... and he did Joe South's hit of " Walk A Mile In My Shoes.
" But the number that really made Elvis go wild was Creedence Clearwater's
hit, " Proud Mary. " Elvis gyrated and twisted to the beat, and blue
and purple lights flickered on a screen behind him. It was simply magnificent!
in the show, Elvis got a bit hoarse. So when he finished a song, he said to the
crowd, " You all look at my suit, while I get a drink of water, "
Several people in the front row offered their water glasses to Elvis, and he
took a few sips. One lady offered her napkin so he could wipe his brow. Anyone
in that audience could look at the expression on Elvis' face and know instantly
that he was having the time of his life performing. The rapport he has with his
public is amazing! They love him. . and he loves them back. It's a mutual love
affair that's gone on for 15 years, and will continue another hundred.
were a lot of celebrities in the crowd who'd come to cheer Elvis on. Those
present included Zsa Zsa Gabor, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart (who have written
songs for Elvis), Stu Gilliam, Juliet Prowse, Lana Turner, Rouvan, Wayne Cochran,
Paul Anka, Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong of the Supremes, Peggy Lipton, The
Yellow Payges, Dean Martin and his new girl, Gail Renshaw, Paul Peterson, George
Chakiris, Kirk Kerkorian, head of the International, James Aubrey, president of
MGM, Harry Jenkins, president of the record division of RCA, and many friends,
J.A.T. Publishing © February 1970
acknowledged Dean Martin's presence. When he walked on stage, Elvis broke into a
few bars of " Everybody Loves Somebody, Sometime... " ( I wonder if
Elvis knows that Dean is a fan of his, too. Last summer a group of girl fans, on
their way to Elvis' house, saw Dino in his yard, and stopped to snap a photo.
Martin asked, " Where are you girls going? " They chorused, " To
Elvis' house. " Dean said, " Wait and I'll go with you. " No, he
didn't go, but he probably would have liked to).
enjoying the show, Peggy Lipton really surprised those near her table when she
couldn't control her excitement. Usually appearing to be so ultras sophisticated,
Peggy did a turn about and screamed wildly every time Elvis gyrated on stage.
Those who didn't scream were either clapping wildly, cheering, whistling, or
doing something to show how much they loved Elvis' performance.
one wanted the show to end. Every song that Elvis sang was absolutely
sensational. He worked hard to perform -- it was evident. The show, lasting over
70 minutes, also featured two acts that were with Elvis last summer at the
International. The Sweet Inspirations, dressed in mini-black velvet dresses, and
the gospel group, The Imperials, had returned to join The King. Sammy Shore, who
was also on the bill again, did a very funny bit about Col. Parker, Bill Miller
and Elvis negotiating money for Elvis' stand at the hotel. Sammy said he
couldn't understand Col. and Elvis when they talked because of their southern
"drawl, " but that he felt sure Elvis was getting more money than he
Jacques Laurent © Black 1970 jumpsuit displayed at Graceland
Elvis, like last year, is alternating between a white suit one night, and a black suit the next. My favorite song of all that Elvis sang was his newest RCA single, " Kentucky Rain. " I knew right away, after I'd heard only a few bars, that it would be an immediate hit. After Elvis sang his last encore number, the curtain slowly began to fall. But before it did, Elvis stood in the center of the stage, smiling warmly, his eyes sparkling with love, gratitude and appreciation to everyone there. The man humbly said, "Thank you for coming. Elvis Presley: a true gentleman a great man!
You can view color photographs of this jumpsuit on page 1970-3 in the jumpsuit junkies section.
Originally published in Strictly Elvis No.24