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Report from someone attending July 31st 1969 NOW WITH PART 2

Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:47 am

Heres an article i found with a story of two friends attending the july 31st 1969 invitation only show and the press conference. It's interesting reading, and especially the very detailed setlist and description of what elvis wore.

"July 31st 1969"

Written by Maria Columbus and Jeannie Tessum, submitted to Elvis Mail, the magazine of the official elvis presley fan club of great britain, issue october/november 1983.


It was hot on the morning of July 31st,1969 when we arrive in Las Vegas, Nevada. We didn't have show reservations until the next day, August 1st, when the general public could get to see Elvis. The opening show was by "invitation onl" and Las Vegas was packed with celebrities, press, photographers, high rollers and fans. The eyes of the entire world and every fan were on the International Hotel. Las Vegas is a flat city, and the International was visible for miles around. We kept our eyes glued to the hotel during the breif taxi ride from Mccarran Airport.

We had written to the publicity director, Nicholas Naff, several weeks earlier asking about a possible press conference. He actually answered with a brief letter advising us that credentials would be arranged IF we were in town. His letter arrived a day before we were to leave for Las Vegas. We had all but memorized that letter by the time our plane touched down.
After we reached the hoteland settle in our room on the 26th floor (by throwing our suitcases on the beds), we gave the publicity office a call. Six tries later, we figured out that we were being given the runaround. During our last and seventh call, the exasperated secretary told us we would find Mr. Naff by the Showroom Internationale. We asked how we would know him and were told he had dark hair and was wearing a grey suit. We rushed downstairs then screeched to a halt. What kind of a description was that? A security guard at the entrance to the showroom said he would give us the high sign when Mr. Naff walked by. Time passes and no sign of him.
Just as we were about to give up hope, Colonel Parker walked by us. Now HIM we recognize! we would talk to Colonel right? A small army descended on Colonel in seconds. We kept our distance waiting quietly for our chance. Soon the crowds dispersed and Colonel turnd to disappear through the doors. Jeannie gave me a shove saying, "Now's your chance." I panicked as I found myself propelled in Colonel's direction - alone.
"Oh great" I thought. Colonel looked down at me and I gulped. I explained writing to Mr. Naff and the reply we had received (luckily I was still clutching it). Colonel told me to read the letter to him, as he didn't have his reading glasses with him. I was halfway through the letter when he stopped me. He patted me on my head and leaned down to whisper, "I'll handle it. Show up after midnight and you can attend the conference. Just don't tell anyone." He took the letter , and wrote on it "OK Col Parker 12.30 AM Convention Hall." Colonel started to turn away when i panicked again.
"Colonel, my friend and her daughter are with me. Can they come too?" I held onto Colonel's arm in a brave moment.
"Sure, no problem." Colonel said. "Just remember, don't tell anyone else. I don't want a huge crowd at the doors."
I thanked Colonel, after reassuring him and FLEW over to Jeannie. We did IT!
Back to our room and we collapsed. I fell onto a chair by the large picture window. Leaning on the table I kept repeating, "We did it, we did it, we're going to Elvis' press conference. I can't believe it." Jeannie wasn't in any better shape. After a few wasted minutes trying to unpack her suitcase, she joined me at the table.
"It's sure hard to think around here." Jeannie mumbled. Someone in the room above us was pounding on their table. Boom, boom, boom" This went for what seemed like ages.
"Either that guy is very nervous or he is practising drums to try out for Elvis' band," I said.
"Should we pound on the ceiling? I'm beginning to get a headache, Jeannie said, looking up at the shaking chandelier. WAIT a minute. Isn't Elvis on the 27th floor??!"
"How could he be right above us?" I argued.
"Well, why not? His room has to be over someones room, doesent it?" About this time the pounding stopped. A Minute later it started up again.
"He must be really nervous. I sure wouldn't be in his place. There must be a million people in this hotel. But how are we going to find out if it really is Elvis?" asked Jeannie.
"Maybe we could ask him at the conference." I said.
"Are you CRAZY???". All this was whispered, just in case Elvis could hear us.
"Let's go eat. Elvis needs some privacy."
"Okay."
Minutes later, we were seated in the Cafe Continental glancing at a menu. Looking around us we spotted Priscilla and her girlfriends at a table nearby. Karen, Jeannie's 9 year-old daughter, wanted to see Priscilla close-up so she sauntered over to their table for an autograph. Jeannie gave Karen a color snapshot taken when Lisa Marie was just 10 days old to give to Priscilla for Elvis. Karen came rushing back, "Priscilla liked the picture and promised to give it to Elvis today. But she wouldnæt give me an autograph."
With hours yet to kill before midnight, we decided to walk over to the Showroom Internationale and watch all the lucky people. This time the whole area was cordoned off for the invited guests. We found a place at the ropes by the Host, Jerry Baum, and three heads swung back and forth as we watched celebrity after celebrity walk past us. A little later Kerry came over to us and whispered, "Hi, are you girls going to the show tonight?"
"Hi, no tomorrow night." we replied.
"Well, would you like to get in tonight? A booth is open, someone cancelled."
"WHAT?! Yes-s-s!" We nearly screamed. Minutes later we found ourselves inside the showroom seated in our own booth!
The dinner menues were long and black with gold lettering and an embossed robbin on the front. A cut-out circle on the cover showed a color photo of Elvis on the inside. Dinner started at $15 per person and sounded delicious. And what a deal - a great meal and Elvis. What more could anyone want?
We were in the second tier of booths and could see the celebrities seated down by the stage area. They even looked like normal people" Karen saw several people walking around asking for autographs and suddenly I found myself walking around with my menu, too. Jeannie sat guard at our booth. The first table we stoped at was the Presley booth. Vernon, Dee and the boys were there but no sign of Priscilla.. We moved to the stage area and talked with Wayne Newton and Carol Channing who were at the same table. Angie Dickinson asked us if we didnt want her husbands autograph, too (but who was Burt Bacharach?). Paul Anka, Ed Ames and Dick Clark were in a group talking and all were gracious except Clark who scowled at everyone. On our way back to our table we ran into George Hamilton. We sat down as our meal was being served.
And then the show began. The Sweet Inspirations came on first, then Sammy Shore , a comedian. The gold curtains closed and the stage was bare. There he was! Elvis wore a dark blue variation on a karate suit, tapered and belled. He went right into "Blue Suede Shoes" without a word. You could tell that he was a little scared. Then he did "I Got A Woman" , followed by "Thats All Right Mama", "Love Me Tender", "Jailhouse Rock", "Don't Be Cruel", "heartbreak Hotel", "All Shook Up" and "Hound Dog".
Elvis said, "It's the first time I've worked in front of people in nine years, and it may be my last... I don't know." Elvis also did "Memories", "My Babe", "I Can't Stop Loving You", "In The Ghetto", and his new one called "Suspicious minds". He did "Yesterday", and went into sixteen bars of "Hey Jude". After that followed "Johnny B Goode", "Mystery Train" and "Tiger Man". The final song was "What'd I Say". Almost before the song had completely finished Elvis walked off the stage to a standing ovation. He returned in a few seconds and asked for the house lights to be turned up so that he could see the audience. His encore number was "Can't Help Falling In Love".
Elvis had been on for over an hour!


the article continues with the girls finding their way to the press conference and a rundown of what happened there and then the girls walking around the hotel looking for and seeing Elvis

I had to type this out since my scanner is broken and i stopped halfway through the article. If theres interest i will type out part 2 later.



-UPDATE- Part 2 can be found a little furhter down on page 1 of this subject. I just now realised i could cutnpaste it here to the to post but I'd hate for anyone to think they've already read it and miss out
Last edited by voldto on Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:05 pm

Thanks for this. Always great to read testimony from important milestones in Elvis' career.

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:28 pm

Thanks Voldto for your time and effort. I would love to read more about that magical night.
Interesting to see that "That´s allright Mama" was included.
What a great setlist, must have been one hell of a night.

Lennart

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:00 pm

voldto wrote:Heres an article i found with a story of two friends attending the july 31st 1969 invitation only show and the press conference. It's interesting reading, and especially the very detailed setlist and description of what elvis wore.

"July 31st 1969"

Written by Maria Columbus and Jeannie Tessum, submitted to Elvis Mail, the magazine of the official elvis presley fan club of great britain, issue october/november 1983.
Thank you for posting this ,really interesting reading.

It was hot on the morning of July 31st,1969 when we arrive in Las Vegas, Nevada. We didn't have show reservations until the next day, August 1st, when the general public could get to see Elvis. The opening show was by "invitation onl" and Las Vegas was packed with celebrities, press, photographers, high rollers and fans. The eyes of the entire world and every fan were on the International Hotel. Las Vegas is a flat city, and the International was visible for miles around. We kept our eyes glued to the hotel during the breif taxi ride from Mccarran Airport.

We had written to the publicity director, Nicholas Naff, several weeks earlier asking about a possible press conference. He actually answered with a brief letter advising us that credentials would be arranged IF we were in town. His letter arrived a day before we were to leave for Las Vegas. We had all but memorized that letter by the time our plane touched down.
After we reached the hoteland settle in our room on the 26th floor (by throwing our suitcases on the beds), we gave the publicity office a call. Six tries later, we figured out that we were being given the runaround. During our last and seventh call, the exasperated secretary told us we would find Mr. Naff by the Showroom Internationale. We asked how we would know him and were told he had dark hair and was wearing a grey suit. We rushed downstairs then screeched to a halt. What kind of a description was that? A security guard at the entrance to the showroom said he would give us the high sign when Mr. Naff walked by. Time passes and no sign of him.
Just as we were about to give up hope, Colonel Parker walked by us. Now HIM we recognize! we would talk to Colonel right? A small army descended on Colonel in seconds. We kept our distance waiting quietly for our chance. Soon the crowds dispersed and Colonel turnd to disappear through the doors. Jeannie gave me a shove saying, "Now's your chance." I panicked as I found myself propelled in Colonel's direction - alone.
"Oh great" I thought. Colonel looked down at me and I gulped. I explained writing to Mr. Naff and the reply we had received (luckily I was still clutching it). Colonel told me to read the letter to him, as he didn't have his reading glasses with him. I was halfway through the letter when he stopped me. He patted me on my head and leaned down to whisper, "I'll handle it. Show up after midnight and you can attend the conference. Just don't tell anyone." He took the letter , and wrote on it "OK Col Parker 12.30 AM Convention Hall." Colonel started to turn away when i panicked again.
"Colonel, my friend and her daughter are with me. Can they come too?" I held onto Colonel's arm in a brave moment.
"Sure, no problem." Colonel said. "Just remember, don't tell anyone else. I don't want a huge crowd at the doors."
I thanked Colonel, after reassuring him and FLEW over to Jeannie. We did IT!
Back to our room and we collapsed. I fell onto a chair by the large picture window. Leaning on the table I kept repeating, "We did it, we did it, we're going to Elvis' press conference. I can't believe it." Jeannie wasn't in any better shape. After a few wasted minutes trying to unpack her suitcase, she joined me at the table.
"It's sure hard to think around here." Jeannie mumbled. Someone in the room above us was pounding on their table. Boom, boom, boom" This went for what seemed like ages.
"Either that guy is very nervous or he is practising drums to try out for Elvis' band," I said.
"Should we pound on the ceiling? I'm beginning to get a headache, Jeannie said, looking up at the shaking chandelier. WAIT a minute. Isn't Elvis on the 27th floor??!"
"How could he be right above us?" I argued.
"Well, why not? His room has to be over someones room, doesent it?" About this time the pounding stopped. A Minute later it started up again.
"He must be really nervous. I sure wouldn't be in his place. There must be a million people in this hotel. But how are we going to find out if it really is Elvis?" asked Jeannie.
"Maybe we could ask him at the conference." I said.
"Are you CRAZY???". All this was whispered, just in case Elvis could hear us.
"Let's go eat. Elvis needs some privacy."
"Okay."
Minutes later, we were seated in the Cafe Continental glancing at a menu. Looking around us we spotted Priscilla and her girlfriends at a table nearby. Karen, Jeannie's 9 year-old daughter, wanted to see Priscilla close-up so she sauntered over to their table for an autograph. Jeannie gave Karen a color snapshot taken when Lisa Marie was just 10 days old to give to Priscilla for Elvis. Karen came rushing back, "Priscilla liked the picture and promised to give it to Elvis today. But she wouldnæt give me an autograph."
With hours yet to kill before midnight, we decided to walk over to the Showroom Internationale and watch all the lucky people. This time the whole area was cordoned off for the invited guests. We found a place at the ropes by the Host, Jerry Baum, and three heads swung back and forth as we watched celebrity after celebrity walk past us. A little later Kerry came over to us and whispered, "Hi, are you girls going to the show tonight?"
"Hi, no tomorrow night." we replied.
"Well, would you like to get in tonight? A booth is open, someone cancelled."
"WHAT?! Yes-s-s!" We nearly screamed. Minutes later we found ourselves inside the showroom seated in our own booth!
The dinner menues were long and black with gold lettering and an embossed robbin on the front. A cut-out circle on the cover showed a color photo of Elvis on the inside. Dinner started at $15 per person and sounded delicious. And what a deal - a great meal and Elvis. What more could anyone want?
We were in the second tier of booths and could see the celebrities seated down by the stage area. They even looked like normal people" Karen saw several people walking around asking for autographs and suddenly I found myself walking around with my menu, too. Jeannie sat guard at our booth. The first table we stoped at was the Presley booth. Vernon, Dee and the boys were there but no sign of Priscilla.. We moved to the stage area and talked with Wayne Newton and Carol Channing who were at the same table. Angie Dickinson asked us if we didnt want her husbands autograph, too (but who was Burt Bacharach?). Paul Anka, Ed Ames and Dick Clark were in a group talking and all were gracious except Clark who scowled at everyone. On our way back to our table we ran into George Hamilton. We sat down as our meal was being served.
And then the show began. The Sweet Inspirations came on first, then Sammy Shore , a comedian. The gold curtains closed and the stage was bare. There he was! Elvis wore a dark blue variation on a karate suit, tapered and belled. He went right into "Blue Suede Shoes" without a word. You could tell that he was a little scared. Then he did "I Got A Woman" , followed by "Thats All Right Mama", "Love Me Tender", "Jailhouse Rock", "Don't Be Cruel", "heartbreak Hotel", "All Shook Up" and "Hound Dog".
Elvis said, "It's the first time I've worked in front of people in nine years, and it may be my last... I don't know." Elvis also did "Memories", "My Babe", "I Can't Stop Loving You", "In The Ghetto", and his new one called "Suspicious minds". He did "Yesterday", and went into sixteen bars of "Hey Jude". After that followed "Johnny B Goode", "Mystery Train" and "Tiger Man". The final song was "What'd I Say". Almost before the song had completely finished Elvis walked off the stage to a standing ovation. He returned in a few seconds and asked for the house lights to be turned up so that he could see the audience. His encore number was "Can't Help Falling In Love".
Elvis had been on for over an hour!


the article continues with the girls finding their way to the press conference and a rundown of what happened there and then the girls walking around the hotel looking for and seeing Elvis

I had to type this out since my scanner is broken and i stopped halfway through the article. If theres interest i will type out part 2 later.

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm

:oops: sorry ,what i was trying to say was thank you for that very interesting reading.

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:12 pm

Thanks. Amazing read, they were lucky lucky people!

Multiple reports list "That's All Right" as being performed at the show so it is nailed-on certain now. Interesting that "Can't Help Falling In Love" started out as last-second encore number.

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:30 pm

Blue Suede Shoes Standard opening song
I Got A Woman Standard 2nd song
Thats All Right Mama Only time during this season?
Love Me Tender Standard 4h song
Jailhouse Rock Standard 5th song
Don't Be Cruel Standard 6th song
Heartbreak Hotel Standard 7th song
All Shook Up Normally performed as the 3rd song
Hound Dog Usually 8th not 9th song.
Elvis Monologue Usually done right after after Tiger Man
Memories Usually 9th not 11th song
My Babe Only done in the later part of the season and then right before Mystery Train
I Can't Stop Loving You Only done in the later part of the season and then right after Hound Dog
In The Ghetto Usually done as the 4th last song
Suspicious minds Usually done as the 3rd last song
Yesterday Usually done before In the Ghetto and after Monologue
Hey Jude Part of Yesterday Medley usually done before In The Ghetto and after Monologue
Johnny B Goode Only done in the later part of the season and then before Monologue
Mystery Train Usually done right before Monologue
Tiger Man Usually done right before Monologue
What'd I Say Usually done 2nd to last
Can't Help Falling In Love Always done last

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:34 pm

Woo thanks for that again voldto :smt006

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:23 pm

so maybe this is the suit he wore on the opening night?
navy blue cossack top two piece

ive always found the idea he wore the same suit he wears on the press conference after the show (black two-piece) as highly unlikely as would have been drenched in sweat after the show


Image

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:40 pm

voldto wrote:Image

Man he looked good. Amazing how this ultra-cool stage attire transformed into the gaudy jumpsuits with two-ton Santa belts.

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:30 pm

Do you have to include "Santa Belts" in every thread you respond to?

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:10 pm

I remember reading a book i think it was one of thee jerry Hopkins books and the setlist he had for the opening night was pretty similar to that one although i don't think he mentioned That's Alright mama but he did say that Suspicious Minds was done right before the intros and after the intros it was Yesterday, Johnny B Goode, Mystery train/Tigerman, What did i say and Can't help Falling in Love which is like the setlist above.

And it would follow a pattern (or in this case start one) because Elvis' opening night setlists were usually different than the rest of the engagement.
Last edited by DEH on Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:17 pm

Maria Columbus is one of the known super-fans, so her words bear weight. Thanks for posting this.

The big question is: who in God's name cancelled their booth reservations for Elvis Presley's first paid live performance in over seven years?

Crazy, man, crazy.

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:24 pm

Xaykev wrote:Do you have to include "Santa Belts" in every thread you respond to?


Probably will for as long as you're dim enough to respond. :smt003

Geoff

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:30 am

Xaykev wrote:Do you have to include "Santa Belts" in every thread you respond to?

Perhaps you should do a search to determine how many times I have included a "Santa Belt" remark in my posts over the years. I would say it is probably under 20. And even if my estimation is a bit off, clearly I do not include "Santa Belt" in every thread I respond to, do I?

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:34 am

midnightx wrote:
Xaykev wrote:Do you have to include "Santa Belts" in every thread you respond to?

Perhaps you should do a search to determine how many times I have included a "Santa Belt" remark in my posts over the years. I would say it is probably under 20. And even if my estimation is a bit off, clearly I do not include "Santa Belt" in every thread I respond to, do I?

It's six (6) in two years.

midnightx says "Santa belt" --> Search results


::rocks

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Sat Mar 12, 2011 5:48 am

Looking forward to part 2...voldto Excellent read....

Any pictures of Maria Columbus with Elvis taken at the press conference in the article?

Another thread that goes well with this.
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=41202&hilit=interview+you+have+to+read
PEP 8)

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:05 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Maria Columbus is one of the known super-fans, so her words bear weight. Thanks for posting this.

The big question is: who in God's name cancelled their booth reservations for Elvis Presley's first paid live performance in over seven years?

Crazy, man, crazy.


Yes, you are right about Maria. I have known her since 1976 but have not talked to her for about 10 years. Would you believe that she and Jeannie saw Elvis live also in 1968. Yep, they sure did.

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969 NOW COMPLET

Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:55 am

voldto wrote:Heres an article i found with a story of two friends attending the july 31st 1969 invitation only show and the press conference. It's interesting reading, and especially the very detailed setlist and description of what elvis wore.

"July 31st 1969"

Written by Maria Columbus and Jeannie Tessum, submitted to Elvis Mail, the magazine of the official elvis presley fan club of great britain, issue october/november 1983.


It was hot on the morning of July 31st,1969 when we arrive in Las Vegas, Nevada. We didn't have show reservations until the next day, August 1st, when the general public could get to see Elvis. The opening show was by "invitation onl" and Las Vegas was packed with celebrities, press, photographers, high rollers and fans. The eyes of the entire world and every fan were on the International Hotel. Las Vegas is a flat city, and the International was visible for miles around. We kept our eyes glued to the hotel during the breif taxi ride from Mccarran Airport.

We had written to the publicity director, Nicholas Naff, several weeks earlier asking about a possible press conference. He actually answered with a brief letter advising us that credentials would be arranged IF we were in town. His letter arrived a day before we were to leave for Las Vegas. We had all but memorized that letter by the time our plane touched down.
After we reached the hoteland settle in our room on the 26th floor (by throwing our suitcases on the beds), we gave the publicity office a call. Six tries later, we figured out that we were being given the runaround. During our last and seventh call, the exasperated secretary told us we would find Mr. Naff by the Showroom Internationale. We asked how we would know him and were told he had dark hair and was wearing a grey suit. We rushed downstairs then screeched to a halt. What kind of a description was that? A security guard at the entrance to the showroom said he would give us the high sign when Mr. Naff walked by. Time passes and no sign of him.
Just as we were about to give up hope, Colonel Parker walked by us. Now HIM we recognize! we would talk to Colonel right? A small army descended on Colonel in seconds. We kept our distance waiting quietly for our chance. Soon the crowds dispersed and Colonel turnd to disappear through the doors. Jeannie gave me a shove saying, "Now's your chance." I panicked as I found myself propelled in Colonel's direction - alone.
"Oh great" I thought. Colonel looked down at me and I gulped. I explained writing to Mr. Naff and the reply we had received (luckily I was still clutching it). Colonel told me to read the letter to him, as he didn't have his reading glasses with him. I was halfway through the letter when he stopped me. He patted me on my head and leaned down to whisper, "I'll handle it. Show up after midnight and you can attend the conference. Just don't tell anyone." He took the letter , and wrote on it "OK Col Parker 12.30 AM Convention Hall." Colonel started to turn away when i panicked again.
"Colonel, my friend and her daughter are with me. Can they come too?" I held onto Colonel's arm in a brave moment.
"Sure, no problem." Colonel said. "Just remember, don't tell anyone else. I don't want a huge crowd at the doors."
I thanked Colonel, after reassuring him and FLEW over to Jeannie. We did IT!
Back to our room and we collapsed. I fell onto a chair by the large picture window. Leaning on the table I kept repeating, "We did it, we did it, we're going to Elvis' press conference. I can't believe it." Jeannie wasn't in any better shape. After a few wasted minutes trying to unpack her suitcase, she joined me at the table.
"It's sure hard to think around here." Jeannie mumbled. Someone in the room above us was pounding on their table. Boom, boom, boom" This went for what seemed like ages.
"Either that guy is very nervous or he is practising drums to try out for Elvis' band," I said.
"Should we pound on the ceiling? I'm beginning to get a headache, Jeannie said, looking up at the shaking chandelier. WAIT a minute. Isn't Elvis on the 27th floor??!"
"How could he be right above us?" I argued.
"Well, why not? His room has to be over someones room, doesent it?" About this time the pounding stopped. A Minute later it started up again.
"He must be really nervous. I sure wouldn't be in his place. There must be a million people in this hotel. But how are we going to find out if it really is Elvis?" asked Jeannie.
"Maybe we could ask him at the conference." I said.
"Are you CRAZY???". All this was whispered, just in case Elvis could hear us.
"Let's go eat. Elvis needs some privacy."
"Okay."
Minutes later, we were seated in the Cafe Continental glancing at a menu. Looking around us we spotted Priscilla and her girlfriends at a table nearby. Karen, Jeannie's 9 year-old daughter, wanted to see Priscilla close-up so she sauntered over to their table for an autograph. Jeannie gave Karen a color snapshot taken when Lisa Marie was just 10 days old to give to Priscilla for Elvis. Karen came rushing back, "Priscilla liked the picture and promised to give it to Elvis today. But she wouldnæt give me an autograph."
With hours yet to kill before midnight, we decided to walk over to the Showroom Internationale and watch all the lucky people. This time the whole area was cordoned off for the invited guests. We found a place at the ropes by the Host, Jerry Baum, and three heads swung back and forth as we watched celebrity after celebrity walk past us. A little later Kerry came over to us and whispered, "Hi, are you girls going to the show tonight?"
"Hi, no tomorrow night." we replied.
"Well, would you like to get in tonight? A booth is open, someone cancelled."
"WHAT?! Yes-s-s!" We nearly screamed. Minutes later we found ourselves inside the showroom seated in our own booth!
The dinner menues were long and black with gold lettering and an embossed robbin on the front. A cut-out circle on the cover showed a color photo of Elvis on the inside. Dinner started at $15 per person and sounded delicious. And what a deal - a great meal and Elvis. What more could anyone want?
We were in the second tier of booths and could see the celebrities seated down by the stage area. They even looked like normal people" Karen saw several people walking around asking for autographs and suddenly I found myself walking around with my menu, too. Jeannie sat guard at our booth. The first table we stoped at was the Presley booth. Vernon, Dee and the boys were there but no sign of Priscilla.. We moved to the stage area and talked with Wayne Newton and Carol Channing who were at the same table. Angie Dickinson asked us if we didnt want her husbands autograph, too (but who was Burt Bacharach?). Paul Anka, Ed Ames and Dick Clark were in a group talking and all were gracious except Clark who scowled at everyone. On our way back to our table we ran into George Hamilton. We sat down as our meal was being served.
And then the show began. The Sweet Inspirations came on first, then Sammy Shore , a comedian. The gold curtains closed and the stage was bare. There he was! Elvis wore a dark blue variation on a karate suit, tapered and belled. He went right into "Blue Suede Shoes" without a word. You could tell that he was a little scared. Then he did "I Got A Woman" , followed by "Thats All Right Mama", "Love Me Tender", "Jailhouse Rock", "Don't Be Cruel", "heartbreak Hotel", "All Shook Up" and "Hound Dog".
Elvis said, "It's the first time I've worked in front of people in nine years, and it may be my last... I don't know." Elvis also did "Memories", "My Babe", "I Can't Stop Loving You", "In The Ghetto", and his new one called "Suspicious minds". He did "Yesterday", and went into sixteen bars of "Hey Jude". After that followed "Johnny B Goode", "Mystery Train" and "Tiger Man". The final song was "What'd I Say". Almost before the song had completely finished Elvis walked off the stage to a standing ovation. He returned in a few seconds and asked for the house lights to be turned up so that he could see the audience. His encore number was "Can't Help Falling In Love".
Elvis had been on for over an hour!


the article continues with the girls finding their way to the press conference and a rundown of what happened there and then the girls walking around the hotel looking for and seeing Elvis

I had to type this out since my scanner is broken and i stopped halfway through the article. If theres interest i will type out part 2 later.




PART II

Elvis had been on for an hour! Karen sat on her knees completely mesmerized the whole time without moving or uttering a word. We clapped our hands until they ached. It was the best show Las Vegas had ever seen.
Other showrooms were preparing for their midnight shows. And Elvis was holding a press conference at precisely the same time the other shows were on. Few had critics in their audiences for who wanted to miss out on chance of a lifetime? We had no idea where the convention hall was located. After being directed to the wrong area, we arrived at the convention hall out of breath and just minutes before 12:30 am. There were several security guards at the entrance. They folded their burly arms, scowled at us and said, "WHERE do YOU think youre going?!" We were in the midst of explaining that Colonel had invited us when he came over to us. Colonel took us by the arms, said "These ladies are my guests" and escorted us into the conference room! Left behind were several very flustered and bewildered security guards.
Once inside Colonel told us to make ourselves comfortable then he left us. We sank into the nearest chairs. And decided that the best seats to collapse onto were not in the last row. We managed to find three empty seats in the 7th row by the right wall. The fron rows were crammed with press and photographers. The array of cameras was unbelievable - every type imaginable. I had a Minolta 35mm, but jeannie had only an instamatic. It was the first time I had handled a telephoto lens though, and was it ever topheavy. Was I nervous? Nope, except one of my photos shows a perfectly shot view of Elvis' hand several faces! Was Jeannie nervous? Nope, except out of whole rolls of film only one photo came out. Just one flash went off but that didn't stop her as she clicked happily away!
We stared at the front tables and wondered who were going to sit in the seven seats. There was a pitcher of water and glasses and several stacks of manila evelopes on the tables.. On each end of the tables stood two stand-up posters announcing Elvis at the International Hotel. The tables spanned the width of the room while the audience, which was divided into two sections, faced them.
Colonel Parker, resplendent in a white coat stamped with "Elvis - International - In Person", announced that the conference was about to begin. Everyones attention was riveted to the door behind Colonel. Te door swung open and Elvis walked in, followed by Vernon, Joe Esposito, Charlie Hodge, Lamar Fike And Sonny West followed. The entire audience, hard-nosed reporters and photographers, jumped to their collective feet and gave Elvis a standing ovation. After fiv minutes we all sat down and Elvis took a deep breath ad said a soft "Thank you". Elvis next words were "I'm really beat. That was the fourth time I did that show today" He had done three full dress rehearsals before opening.
Colonel told everyone they could ask their questions now and afterwards anyone with a camera could come to the front and have their picture taken with Elvis . free! We got so excited during the conference that we used all our film while Elvis answered questions. Its just as well too, can you imagine us standing inches away from Elvis with a telephoto lens?
Elvis stood during the questions occasionally rested his foot or his knee on the table. Here are a few of the questions and Elvis' answers.

(note, the press conference can be read elsewhere so im skipping the transcript of the questions/answers)

Colonel Parker ended the conference by announcing that we all could be photographed with Elvis now, but if it took a long time he'd charge us over overtime! Everyone surged forward.
The press photographers were getting frustrated. We had planted ourselves a fraction to the right of Elvis and were slowly inching ourselves toward Elvis. We stopped once we were directly in fron of him. And we refused to budge. They had to shoot their photos over our heads and through our shoulders. By this time we were smashed against the table and couldn't move.
I told Elvis that his opening show was absolutely fantastic. Elvis smiled at me and whispered "Thank you, honey." Jeannie asked Elvis if he had received the photo we had sent up to him. Elvis looked puzzled and asked "What picture?"
"We gave the photo to Priscilla while she was in the cafe.. a photo of you with Lisa and Priscilla, to give to you. She promised she'd give it to you today, Elvis" Jeannie answered.
"Honey I havent' seen Priscilla at all today," Elvis answered wistfully. We were shocked. We thought that Priscilla had been backstage with Elvis on this important night, especially since she hadn't come into the showroom until after the house lights had gone down.
One blod gal with voluptuous assets and a carnation in her hair went up to Elvis then. He took a long look at her picked the flower from her hair and promptly put it down her l-o-w cleavage. Everyone laughed while their photo was taken.
Elvis was asked what he thought of Fats Domino. Elvis beamed and said, "I love him, he's the greatest!" He heard this chuckle, turned around and was face to face with Fats himself! Elvis' mouth dropped but he recovered quickly and they posed for pictures.
We spotted a smiling May Mann rushing towards Elvis. I nudged Jeannie to catch her performance. May had refused to be civil to the fans before the show. Rodney Dangerfield came up to elvis, too. Elvis was polite to every person who talked to him and treated each with respect regardless of how they looked, talked or acted. Everyone got Elvis' full attention. This was not easy considering how he was surrounded by people on all sides. Elvis even managed to sneak little peaks at us the whole time we stood there, his eyes sliding over to us while facing the well wishers.
While we stood there near Elvis I recalled a previous conversation regarding the hair on Elvis' chest. In some publicity photos Elvis had little hair while in others he had a normal amount. The question was, did he or didn't he? After staring at Elvis Elvis' chest for a few minutes, I turned to Jeannie and whispered, "You know, he DOES have hair on his chest!"
"Yeah baby, I sure do." Elvis, who was in deep conversation with some reporters, smiled at me as he said this.
I was mortified. He had heard me! I thought of hiding under the table or passing out. I did neither as I didn't want to miss anything. Instead, I pulled out my menu and asked Elvis to autograph it. After he signed it, Jeannie handed Elvis a publicity photo from 1961 and asked Elvis to sign that. He looked at it, frowned and said, "Where the hell did you get this?" And he proceeded to tear it! Jeannie screamed "No!" Elvis stopped tearing it a quarter way down and with a smirk said "If you insist. But who do i sing this to?" "To Jeannie" "Deannie?" "No - Jeannie" By this time Jeannie yelled it out and Elvis blinked and laughed. With a twinkle in his eye he turned the photo over and wrote on the back. It was now Jeannie's turn to be mortified. She had yelled at Elvis. Elvis got us back though, he toyed with our pen (a blue and white striped one) through many photos until we got it back later.
Colonel stopped the photo session saying, "That's it folks. Thanks for coming." And everyone left. After the room was empty we snuck back in. Many of the reporters had left behind wallet calendars and record catalogues on the seats. While we picked each one up Jeannie poked me. The June Kelly portraits were GONE. We walked to the tables and found elvis' water glass (with lip and finger prints on it). To be thorough, we peeked under the long tables and found one portrait hidden right where Elvis had been standing. After contemplating wether anyone would notice our walking nonchalantly out with Elvis' chair (we didn't), we left laden down with calendars, catalogues, the portrait and that special glass.
We went back to our room to deposit all our stuff. Too much had happened to us that day and none of us were sleepy. Karen was given permission to go down to the third floor to explore the pool area. We would join her in a few minutes, after finally unpacking. Barely fifteen minutes later Karen comes screaming to the room. "Elvis! I saw ELVIS at the pool!"
We got down to the pool area ten seconds later. On the way down Karen explained what happened. She was walking around the deserted pool, when she noticed several security guards walking toward her. In the middle walked Elvis! Elvis walked right up to her, smiled and said, "Hello little girl." Karen was rooted to the ground, speechless. She barely whispered hi when she went screeching to the elevators screaming "Mommmmmmmm!"
When we arrived there was no one around. We looked at each other. "Guess he's gone." "Wait there's a light on by the snack bar! Why is there a light on there?" "I dunno, I whispered. Are you going to open the door and find out who's there?"
"Not me! I bet Elvis is in there though. How could he get outa here so fast?" We were right at the door deep in discussion and creaking could be heard inside.
"He IS in there. I just KNOW it, I said. What are we gonna do?" "I'm leaving" "What?" "We better leave Elvis alone, he's probably tired and he deserves some privacy. 'sides I'm chicken." Jeannie answered.
"Yeah, guess you're right. I'm chicken too!"
So we left. A few days later we found out that Elvis was behind the door ready to pounce if it was opened. We had missed our chance to be scared to death by Elvis. Or had we?
Another day we noticed a door at the end of our corridor with no room number on it. We decided to investigate and opened the door to peek in. It was a staircase! We could walk right up to Elvis' floor.
"I thought these doors were kept locked. Wonder whats going on", I said. We were whispering quietly as we let go of the heavy door. The resounding BOOM a it slammed shut nearly scared us into going back. Nearly.
We tiptoed up the stairs to the 27th floor and each step that we took echoed. "I don't believe this. We coldn't make more noise if we tried," Jeannie whispered.
"Shhh, we're almost there!" I said. We had reached the door, and tried the doorknob.
"It's going to be locked." But it wasn't.
"It's open!" I said.
"It can't be!" Jeannie answered. We pushed the door, opening it slowly. Voices could be heard down the hallway. We looked at eachother. Jeannie's eyes narowed and she said, "Ithink it's a trap."
"What do you mean?"
"It's a trap I tell you. Elvis is on the other side. I just know it. This door would never be left unlocked!" That convinced us. We slowly closed the door, sneaked down the stairs to our floor and ran to our room. A few days later we found out that Elvis was behind that door also! We had missed our second chance to be scared to death by Elvis. Or had we?
In February 1970 we were staying on the fourth floor. We liked to keep an eye on things since we were on Colonel's floor, so we often left the door to our room open. A friend from houston was staying with us for a few days. She had taken off her wig and was lounging in bed and we were sitting on the other bed talking. A man came jogging down the hallway. He ran into our room, said "Hi y'all" and ran out. It was Elvis!
But that's a whole new story....


THE END


a tale of great love and respect and a lot of suspense sneaking around the hotel!


And what a CD box possibility this would have been, 3 full dress rehearsals, the true opening show and the entire press conference. Sigh



(and PEP. no pics. Elvis mail is more of a fanzine than a magazine really so its not image heavy)

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969 NOW WITH PA

Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:06 am

3 full dress rehearsals. I just realised I've never heard the exact amount , directly from Elvis mouth, that was rehearsed that day before the show. Oh boy Oh boy. What could have been recorded and released from this historical event.

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969 NOW WITH PA

Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:16 am

great story to read. If you have more of these, please post em.

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969

Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:26 am

voldto wrote:Blue Suede Shoes Standard opening song
I Got A Woman Standard 2nd song
Thats All Right Mama Only time during this season?
Love Me Tender Standard 4h song
Jailhouse Rock Standard 5th song
Don't Be Cruel Standard 6th song
Heartbreak Hotel Standard 7th song
All Shook Up Normally performed as the 3rd song
Hound Dog Usually 8th not 9th song.
Elvis Monologue Usually done right after after Tiger Man
Memories Usually 9th not 11th song
My Babe Only done in the later part of the season and then right before Mystery Train
I Can't Stop Loving You Only done in the later part of the season and then right after Hound Dog
In The Ghetto Usually done as the 4th last song
Suspicious minds Usually done as the 3rd last song
Yesterday Usually done before In the Ghetto and after Monologue
Hey Jude Part of Yesterday Medley usually done before In The Ghetto and after Monologue
Johnny B Goode Only done in the later part of the season and then before Monologue
Mystery Train Usually done right before Monologue
Tiger Man Usually done right before Monologue
What'd I Say Usually done 2nd to last
Can't Help Falling In Love Always done last



i think we can now 99 % confirm this WAS the setlist for the opening night as its exactly the same as the witness in the PEP post reported. And the monologue track I imagine was much shorter on this night only. Probably pretty much only consisted of telling everyone hello and stating it was 8 years since his last performance. The more thought out long life story monologue we all know from any 69 show also seems more appropriate to be told to a non-celebrity audience.

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969 NOW WITH PA

Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:56 pm

Thanks so much for posting this. Really a fascinating read. What a story those 2 girls had. Must've been one hell of an experience.

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969 NOW WITH PA

Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:32 am

Didn't Maria Columbus get really caught up in the "Elvis is still alive and faked his own death" rumours in the 1980's? That's my memory and she was convinced of it. Anyone else remember this?

Steve L.

Re: Report from someone attending July 31st 1969 NOW WITH PA

Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:18 am

Brilliant Read Voldto -
This has to be -one of my favorite eras of Elvis Career
-Ty so much buddy - ::rocks
:smt006
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