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Between show/down time question

Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:59 am

This spring my son’s soccer team was in a tournament. They played a game in the afternoon, was done around 3PM and had another game at 8PM. We basically stayed around the field but strategically got the boys a meal in a timely manner as to not be full or sluggish for the later game time. But there was NOTHING we could do (watch the other game), we had almost 5 hours of down time but couldn't go to the movies or the mall.

So this got me thinking…What did Elvis and crew do between shows? (Specifically on tour). The afternoon shows started around 3, Elvis was off stage and most likely back at the hotel by 6PM, not needed again until 9ish. We have details of almost every day of his life documented, but I've never heard any stories about his between show down time (albeit boring fodder, but maybe not, it’s a time frame we (I) haven’t heard much about and could shed additional light on his personality and mind set). In the 50’s it seems like girls were ushered in and out of his dressing rooms. But in the 1970’s some members of the MM had to have duties.

I’m pretty sure his White Prehistoric Bird suit was taken to a local Dry Cleaners in Charleston WV on the morning of July 24, 1976. This had to be a regular chore in every city in the summer of 76 with the alternating of just those 2 jumpsuits.

What about food?…did they order Pizza Hut? There are only a hand full of times Elvis was ever in a restaurant (kind of a shame now that I think about it). In the smaller markets he played in, I bet that some of the hotels didn't even have a snack bar much less room service. And who’s job was it to take the orders (for 15?), call it in and fetch the food if it wasn't delivered (or room service).

We can assume he showered and changed jumpsuits and had a meal. There would have been local sports teams on TV that he would have enjoyed. Did they play cards? Board games? I guess like the rest of us he read and watched TV. But in the 70’s he was limited to Wide World of Sports, the news or an afternoon Creature Feature Theater.

In Vegas it was more “home” like…at least he was back at the same familiar suite EVERY day for the month, so a routine was probably developed (as we would, simply going home for lunch) and being comfortable...resting.

Charlie is never in any of the between show photos of ferrying to and from the hotel/auditorium, so there was probably no set list discussions. And worse still, did the band just hang at the Civic Center, there was no catering there (as you see in Rolling Stones or McCartney documentaries). Just locker rooms. (Isn’t the Colonel quoted as saying, “no snacks backstage, they’ll want it every show.”)

But I’ve not heard one story where the Stanley boys said, “they got tired of Long John Silvers” or “Man, Esposito was really good at Rummy or Chinese Checkers.” Or…bought post cards at the Gift Shop…went swimming…draw (as Charlie Watts does)…there were no Gospel jam sessions. Did they make prank phone calls?...Work puzzles?...there’s not even any talk of them being bored and hold up in a hotel room.

Just Wonderin’.

Re: Between show/down time question

Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:08 am

Great topic. Dont have a lot of insight but i do have some photos of some of the tcb band members and stamps hanging out with fans before the saturday afternoon show at Uniondale in 73. To a 16 year old kid, i just assumed they were being nice to the fans. In retrospect, looking at them i realize they were merely trolling for groupies. My guess is drugs and sex- lots of them.

Re: Between show/down time question

Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:31 am

Between the matinee show and the evening show Elvis would return to his hotel, shower, then eat, then go to bed for a short nap. He would then wake up and get dressed and leave all within a short time frame.

Re: Between show/down time question

Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:37 am

Bruce Jackson told me how one time he and the West boys went down to the hotel lobby to pick out the prettiest girls with Red basically by saying "You, you, not you, certainly not you, but you, and you, can meet Elvis". He told me how JD would say to women that they could meet Elvis, but not let their husbands come along. And occasionally, JD got lucky and the women never met Elvis! BJ also told me that at times fans would be allowed up and hang out in the hotel room. Re Vegas, I have read that Elvis and the guys would go out to the desert just to shoot at targets to kill time (which reminds me of the conclusion of Todd Slaughter's "Second Blue Rainbow Suit" story from December 1976 that was never published despite promises in Elvis Monthly circa # 350.

Re: Between show/down time question

Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:00 am

"Hamburger James" - for as long he lasted, was the guy who went out to get the hamburgers. I heard the Hilton restaurants were kind of miffed that from the beginning, Elvis sent the guys out to get Mickey D's, instead of ordering the fancy fare. But he probably did some of that, too, at times. It's not something they talk much about.

I don't recall talk of card games. We all know what happened at night (you can see him getting those little folded notes, and either sticking them somewhere in his suit, or giving it to Charlie for safekeeping). And in one show released from '69, officially, he got this key from a girl who was spoken for in some manner. He dropped the key, and scrambled for it, and seemed like he was gonna use it. And then a male voice (her husband, or maybe if she was real young, her dad) pipes up, and says he wants his key back. Elvis sounds like a guy who just dodged a bullet: a real one. So, we know about that. And he did get wasted, but that was at night, too, and more as time went on. But in the afternoons, my guess is he slept. If it was a big show, there was rehearsal. I read an account (that I may have in those manila envelopes somewhere) by a reporter, who saw the "red shirt" rehearsals we see in TTWII. The guy talked a bit to Vernon in the Casino, and asked about Elvis's marriage, because there had been "rumors." But Vernon said it was all worked out now. So, some people played the casino in the afternoons. But Elvis couldn't do that when he was having an engagement there. (Although he'd go to Vegas when he wasn't performing, and was seen playing the slots. At least early on.)

As to what happened in the time in between, that's kind of mysterious. I guess he showered off, and rested. Maybe read or did some Karate.

Before he did go upstairs, though, he usually spent time talking with the Sweets in their dressing room. They did not like it upstairs, although Myrna went early on. I don't think she cared for it, either. The male gospel singers kind of HAD to go upstairs, and besides, they did some things that weren't very noble at times. So, it was no sacrifice. Maybe a few didn't like it. I don't know. He sang a lot! That's one thing. And the male singers were always on call for that. You can see the difference in one scene in EOT, where he had to kind of coax the Sweets into it, but the fellas just automatically sang when he gave the cue.

So, the only good guess for the afternoons is that he was sleeping, and then had breakfast when he woke up. Or hamburgers, after the show, and at rehearsals. Well, we know he read a lot. He practiced Karate a lot, for kicks. (Excuse the pun, or not.) He said that in the Houston interview, when they asked what he did to relax. And that's about it, it seems.

Intriguing topic, but the answers - what we know of them, seem to be kind of dreary. He had everything anyone could ask for, he said. But, I'm not sure about that.

Didn't someone write a song about the concept of "downtime"? And how it was not a very safe time? In the music business, I guess.

This is the closest I know of in the rock canon.

phpBB [video]



rjm

Re: Between show/down time question

Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:04 pm

Thanks for all the great replies. Love that Jackson Browne clip (he was just in town last month....solo, no David Lindley).

If anyone hears of more between show stories we can add them here.

There was that one time that he stopped a fight at a gas station...that might have been BEFORE an afternoon show.

Thanks again.

Re: Between show/down time question

Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:52 am

Between shows in Norfolk, VA on 7/20/75, he came out of his room in a robe and made small talk with the Norfolk City police guards. They had a buffet table with various food and drinks brought in and Elvis showed some karate moves then went back into his room to rest I assume.

Re: Between show/down time question

Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:04 pm

I sometimes play two gigs in one day.
Last Saturday, I played 4-6, and then 10-12. Between the time I actually get home (I don't live far from the first venue, and about an hour's drive to the second) and then have to leave for the next one, there's not that much time to do anything.
Now I know, it's different for me, I have to pack up my own gear, and drive myself to gigs etc.. but it's still surprising how fast the time goes between the gigs. I usually have enough time to shower, eat, watch a bit of tv, check the internet, and then go.
If I want to do anything productive in this time, it'll be rushed, so I usually don't bother.

Ha.. I certainly don't have groupies to pick from :mrgreen:

Re: Between show/down time question

Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:21 pm

I met the OAKS last October.

OAKS and us.jpg


And I read Richard Sterban's book (FROM ELVIS TO ELVIRA) over Christmas. 300 page book (easy read) a good 80 pages are about his time with Elvis. A couple of new interesting behind-the-scenes tid-bits, definitely a nice new perspective from 1971-2 on tour. Elvis asked him to come back when Richard took the Boys (still gospel/PRE Country) to see him in Vegas in 1975.

It's a good addition to your book collection for sure!
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Re: Between show/down time question

Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:26 pm

SuspiciousMind wrote:Between the matinee show and the evening show Elvis would return to his hotel, shower, then eat, then go to bed for a short nap. He would then wake up and get dressed and leave all within a short time frame.


Sometimes Elvis would meet with fans delivered to him by management.

And one time he was unfortunately assigned a press announcement for "Aloha" (9-04-1972).

Re: Between show/down time question

Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:27 pm

brad wrote:I met the OAKS last October.

OAKS and us.jpg


And I read Richard Sterban's book (FROM ELVIS TO ELVIRA) over Christmas. 300 page book (easy read) a good 80 pages are about his time with Elvis. A couple of new interesting behind-the-scenes tid-bits, definitely a nice new perspective from 1971-2 on tour. Elvis asked him to come back when Richard took the Boys (still gospel/PRE Country) to see him in Vegas in 1975.

It's a good addition to your book collection for sure!


Man, Sterban needs a haircut! ;-)
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Re: Between show/down time question

Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:00 pm

We know from his own admission in the EOT outtakes that Elvis did occasionally closely inspect beaver pelts while on the road.

Re: Between show/down time question

Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:06 pm

brad wrote:I met the OAKS last October.

On a side note, I passed the Oaks tour bus on I-65 between Louisville and Nashville a couple of months ago.