Vegas 1975

By Sandi Hitchcock

 

This trip had been anticipated so much, what with the postponement and so many articles,pro and con written on Elvis, that I could hardly wait to see for myself. I arrived in Vegas on March 26 and saw 8 shows, departing on Easter Sunday. Elvis’voice range has broadened, which I did not think possible. He sounded magnificent. Now for the weight business, Elvis has lost some of the extra pounds, but his tummy was obviously swollen.This is due to illness, not just overindulging. The beautiful thing is that during the entire stay I never heard one person remark adversely about his weight. I believe all true fans feel the same way I do, we care about his weight for health reasons only. We wouldn't care if he had to be rolled on stage, we love him. Now for the shows. 

Voice opens with two songs, "In My Father's House" and “Going Back To Memphis", which were great. The Sweet Inspirations did a fantastic job on "Philadelphia, Freedom” "Lady Marmalade", and a Stevie Wonder medley. In my opinion by far the best act they've ever done. Then there was your friend and mine, dear old Jackie Kahane! He has added a few new jokes, but basically the same routine.

Photographer unknown © Las Vegas, NV. March 1975

Elvis is wearing a totally new look, sort of a flashy, modified business suit! The coat has sparkle across the shoulders, front and back, and the same sparkle is in a wide stripe down the side of each leg of his trousers. One suit was navy blue with orange, navy blue with light blue and white with light blue. I preferred the white one. The shows followed basically the same format with a few changes each night. The standard "C.C. Rider" opening followed by "I Got A Woman" which was preceded by the now familiar ' Well, well,well " intro after which Elvis said "Thank you very much, I hope you enjoyed the show." Then laughingly into the song followed by the semi-modified stalled engine. I say semi-modified because J.D. had a ruptured blood vessel and his nose was packed. He wasn't supposed to be on stage, but he insisted. He wore his bedroom shoes and from tine to time had to step off stage due to excessive bleeding, but he never missed a show while we were there. Somewhere between "Amen" and the end of “I Got A Woman” Elvis did some sexy leg movements to Ronnie Tutt's fantastic drums, then pretended to forget where he was and asked the band. They answered by singing slightly off-key "I Got A Woman....". 

Elvis threw his guitar, not backward as usual one night, but off to the front where it fell with a loud thud. He turned to Charlie and said “You should have caught the son-of-a-gun.First time you've missed in 5 years." He received quite an assortment of stuffed animalsI and gifts due to the Easter season. I gave him a plaque I had made of a picture of Graceland. He seemed to like it very much. I also gave him a 5 x 7 picture of him doing a karate kick. He laughed and said “I use to do that”.We had a sign that said Atlanta,Georgia Love You" and he said that be was going to be in Atlanta in about a month at the Omni “ Omni-hominy- grits”.   Then be said, "I'm not getting better, I'm getting older. Me and the Sweet Inspirations. Elvis and old women on stage, and old Charlie Hodge.”

 

Judy Palmer © Las Vegas, NV. March 30th  1975 midnight show

On with the music, next was “Love Me" with kisses and scarf distribution followed by "If You low Me let Me Know" and then the very beautiful "And I Love You So". "Big Boss Man" followed, "It’s Midnight", then "Promised Land”. Elvis than said he liked to put off the next song because it was so hard to sing. It may have been difficult, but did he ever turn it on, the song was "Fairytale" and I loved it. However, he didn’t sing it at every show. "Burning Love" was substituted instead at a few shows. The introductions followed, and each member now plays something as he’s introduced. Elvis seems to really enjoy this. James Burton played “What'd I Say" and Elvis sang along with it, as he did when the orchestra played the chorus from an Old Chuck Berry song,  "School Days". Every night Elvis teased Duke Bardwell about how could he follow an act like Ronnie Tutt's, and that when Elvis bad been 3 he could play a broom better than Duke could play the bass. Finally one night after Duke finished playing, he did a quick, humorous soft shoe and Elvis cracked up. 

Then Elvis put on David Briggs denim hat and said "Lay some jive on me". Two shows Elvis introduced Lee Majors as "A good friend of mine who has been working as my bodyguard because he's out of work in Hollywood. He wants a TCB but he won't bring his wife around me, he married the girl who does the shampoo commercials, I hate him!" When Lee walked out from the wings he took a scarf from around his neck and threw to the girls. "See how fickle those girls are" laughed Elvis. Phyllis Tate and I were fortunate enough to get to meet Lee Majors one evening and get his autograph. He is really a nice person and is he ever handsome! And by the way, he DOES HAVE A TCB. Other celebrities who attended while we were there were Barbra Streisand, Jon Peters, Tanya Tucker, and Billy Swan (whom Elvis told be had just recorded "I Can Help" and was going to blow Billy off the charts! " 

Following the introductions and clowning was "My Boy".Elvis really plays with his voice during the chorus of this and is it ever beautiful. "I’ll Remember You" was next on some shows, but one night he said he didn't want to finish it and switched to "Help Me”.

Joyce B. © Las Vegas, NV. March 1975

He sang "HeartBURN Hotel" a couple of times. He also featured Kathy Westmoreland singing “My Heavenly Father”, and this was beautiful. Bill Baze sang one night, and Sherill Nielsen played piano and sang "Hawaiian Wedding Song". Then "Let Me Be There" which always receives a tremendous response. "Teddy Bear" followed by "Don't Be Cruel" and then the beautiful "Until It's Time For You To Go". Wednesday midnight He did "Steamroller" and Thursday midnight he received a standing ovation for "Bridge Over Troubled Water". Trilogy was done at a few shows also, and Saturday midnight he added "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and I cried. It was just beautiful. 

Next he did "Tiger Man", what can I say except UMMMM! Then as always too soon the familiar strains of "Can't Help Falling in Love". After the Saturday midnight show a young man jumped on stage and grabbed Elvis around the waist. Elvis instinctively drew back to hit him, Red and Jerry grabbed the man and a hotel security guard jumped across a table to the stage! The little man (whom I believed to be possibly retarded) said he only wanted a scarf, Elvis grabbed him and hugged him and said, "Buddy, I'm sorry!" then Jerry took him back and gave him a scarf. When Elvis put his arms around this man my heart went out and I thought “This is why I love Elvis. He is a humanitarian and loves his people”. 

Now I an anxiously awaiting the tour where I will see Elvis in Macon, Jacksonville, Atlanta, and then Tuscaloosa.

Originally published in “ The Strictly Elvis Generation No. 1 “.