Asheville, North Carolina

July 1975 

By Sandi Hitchcock

 

The Asheville concerts were among the best I have ever seen! However, the audiences were the least responsive and Elvis noticed it. At each show he made a point of saying "I don't know what they've told you about staying in your seat. It's not me. I want you to have a good time"' He never did receive a standing ovation which he deserved on several songs. Elvis was on stage two hours for the first two shows, and 1~2 hours for the third show. 

First, I'd like to say what a welcome addition " The Stamps " are to the first part of the show. They sang 3 songs and were very well-received.Elvis wore the Indian jumpsuit at the Tuesday show. For Wednesday and Thursday, he had a new look--a gypsy-type suit, and to me the best choice ever. It accented his tremendous weight loss and with his tan, he looked like real gypsy! The shirts are satin, full sleeves, with band around the arms. One was white, the other light blue. They were topped with a vest in black with a gold design. The pants have an insert on the front corresponding with the shirt, and decorated with gold sequins in a flashy design.

 

Harold J. Newton Asheville, NC. July 22nd 1975

The show was opened on Tuesday & Wednesday by " C.C. Rider " and on Thursday by " That's All Right, Mama ". On Tuesday night Elvis and various members of his group were presented with boxer shorts decorated in varied styles, with the names of each on the leg. This was a real show stopper, and Elvis commented it took a lot of time and a lot of guts! Also on Tuesday, Elvis presented J.D. Sumner with a 10 carat diamond ring, valued at $40,000, in appreciation of J.D. singing with him.

 

On with the shows, " C.C Rider " was followed by " I Got A Woman ", the fantastic "Amen Chorus ", and " Big Boss Man ". Next was the kissing song, " LoveMe ", then " If You Love Me Let Me Know ". Before singing " It's Midnight ", Elvis remarked that it had been written by Billy Ed Wheeler, who was from Asheville. Next was "All Shook Up ", " Teddy Bear ", " Don't Be Cruel ". " Hound Dog ", and " The Wonder of You ". Next was the very beautiful " Turn Around ", with a fast moving " Polk Salad Annie ". Introductions were next, with James Burton playing " Johnny B. Goode " with the guitar behind his head! " T-R-0-U-B-L-E " was next, with a fantastic display of karate at the end, then " Why Me Lord " and the dynamic, moving " How Great Thou Art ". Elvis is playing with his voice range more on this, and holding the notes longer, and if you can believe it, it is even more beautiful than ever. When I say it's moving, I mean spiritually, not physically. This was followed by the bluesy " Shake A Hand ". (Thursday night, someone gave Elvis a surgical glove as he sang this). Elvis really likes this song, and does a dynamite job on it. " Fairytale " was next, then " Little Darlin ". " Mystery Train " was super with the trombones making a train-like sound. This was followed by " Tiger Man ". Then Elvis had the house lights turned on.

 

 Harold J. Newton Asheville, NC. July 23rd 1975

At this point at the Wednesday show, Beverly Mickle presented Elvis with a large memory box containing various articles, including all his gold records, miniature football helmet, Pepsi bottle, guitar, a picture of Elvis as a child, and a picture of his mother. Elvis was very impressed with this and thanked her profusely. Then he introduced his father, saying how sick Vernon had been the last 6 months, and how glad he was to have him there. Vernon received a standing ovation, which unfortunately is more than Elvis received.

 

Next on the show was " Funny How Time Slips Away " and " Now Or Never ". Then Elvis asked Vernon what he'd like to hear. I couldn't hear what Vernon said, but Elvis replied "I don't know that one, Daddy, how 'bout " Promised Land "? On Thursday, Elvis sang "Pieces of My Life" for Vernon. " Promised Land " was followed by Elvis saying that there were four planes that carried his equipment to be sure the fans got the best sound possible, and that " we get our reward by pleasing you, that's what we're here for. " Then the all-too-familiar strains of " Can't Help Falling In Love. " 

Harold J. Newton Asheville, NC. July 24th 1975

Thursday night, Elvis surprised everyone by throwing his guitar to a man on the front row. I later learned that the man who caught Elvis' guitar returned it to him later. This was surpassed by Elvis giving away two rings to fans in the audience. The rings were copies of his own $16,000 diamond ring. What a fantastic souvenir from an Elvis concert! On Thursday night there was a request box in the lobby of the Civic Center and Elvis had Charlie hold it on stage, and he picked songs from it. Among these were " Return to Sender ", " Trilogy ", " Bridge Over Troubled Water ", and " Jailhouse Rock ". " Hawaiian Wedding Song " received only a smattering of applause and Elvis was visibly disappointed. He said something like " We didn't get much applause--let's try it again. " I gave Elvis a plaque of his daughter Lisa at the Wednesday show, and he really liked it. I would like to say in closing--to all Elvis fans--if you see Elvis on tour, or in Vegas, please make him feel welcome. Don't hesitate to stand up if he has done a job you think is super good. The only way he has of knowing you appreciate him is by your applause. Don't let him down!

Originally published in The Strictly Elvis Generation No. 3 .