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Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:14 pm

Elvis' up and down relationship with Ginger was a more likely underlying issue.

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:21 pm

Jim Dandy wrote:Come on, don't lead us on: what happened at the hotel?


Jim, here's a copy of an old thread.

Ironically, this story begins with Anne Williams, former Sweet Inspiration from 1969 and 1970. It turned out her mother lived across town and a friend’s mother knew Anne. I remember a light blue jumpsuit belt hanging on the wall, a real earlier one with very little studs. But she told some great stories like the time the Sweets gave Elvis a live turtle for his birthday, painted in multi colors. I told her me and two buddies were flying to Pittsburgh for NYE, could she get us in to meet Elvis. She wrote Elvis a letter and asked me to deliver to him personally. The letter was about her concern for his health.

After we arrived at the Hilton, we tried to get off on Elvis’ floor. Wasn’t going to happen. Ed Parker was in the elevator with us. I recognized him from my karate magazines and asked him if he was Elvis bodyguard. Yes, of course was his reply, but he wouldn't let us off the elevator when the door opened. So we called Anne long distance and she called the Sweets. Sadly, they told her that it was rare if they even saw Elvis off stage and couldn’t help. Anne called back to apologize and sent us to their room to deliver the letter. Myrna answer the door and politely told us the same thing. Damn!

We decided to check out the hotel. We took a freight elevator that emptied out to a dark kitchen that led out to an underground parking garage and there parked was a limo. We were certain this was were he would leave from. So we headed upstairs for lunch. Seated just in front of us was Colonel Parker and I think Jerry Schilling. Don’t ask me why we didn’t go over there. For some reason I remember being so intimidated. The lobby was filled with people, JD Sumner, Ed Parker and of course Jim Curtin. I remember JD letting me touch his TCB necklace, I had never seen diamonds running down the bolt before. I asked him if I could have it and he replied deeply,” I don’t think so”!

Later that night we returned to the garage. Someone in the lobby has said there was no way Elvis was going to still be on stage at midnight. So the later it got the more worried we’d miss the show. I think we waited till 9:00 p.m. and gave up and took a cab to the arena. At fan club meeting months later, I saw pictures of Elvis arriving in that very garage. Damn!

You guessed it, the show started unusually late. It was so cold in that building. The flooring evidently covered the ice needed for the hockey games, but at least they sold beer. Elvis came out the curtain backstage center. I was sitting in the section directly behind the piano. Sitting next to the piano player was little Lisa, wearing a brown fur coat and a beautiful woman who I yelled out “Priscilla”!! Turns out of course it was Ginger. As the CD goes, it was a great show! My best moment was being so close when he sat down to play Rags to Riches. I remember the show being so long at the time. But he looked great, compared to that past August 1st in Hampton Va. I thought it was going to be a great year.

After the show, the snow had fallen significantly. We tried to get a cab, it was taking forever. So we ran, on foot, back to the Hilton at about 2:00 am. I was frozen. Several members of the band was in the lobby but we called it a night. The next day, from the 17th floor, we could see where someone had stamped out in the snow…F*#k You Pat… I read in a book later, that it was one of the guys in the orchestra. We took the elevator to Elvis’ floor. There were empty champagne bottles and room service trays everywhere in the hall.
But everyone was gone. Sorry if I rambled on. Every time you guys bring up NYE the memories flood back. My wife hated that album. I’d play it every year on NYE and tell the same old stories.

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:15 pm

Ricky wrote:
Jim Dandy wrote:Come on, don't lead us on: what happened at the hotel?


Jim, here's a copy of an old thread.

Ironically, this story begins with Anne Williams, former Sweet Inspiration from 1969 and 1970. It turned out her mother lived across town and a friend’s mother knew Anne. I remember a light blue jumpsuit belt hanging on the wall, a real earlier one with very little studs. But she told some great stories like the time the Sweets gave Elvis a live turtle for his birthday, painted in multi colors. I told her me and two buddies were flying to Pittsburgh for NYE, could she get us in to meet Elvis. She wrote Elvis a letter and asked me to deliver to him personally. The letter was about her concern for his health.

After we arrived at the Hilton, we tried to get off on Elvis’ floor. Wasn’t going to happen. Ed Parker was in the elevator with us. I recognized him from my karate magazines and asked him if he was Elvis bodyguard. Yes, of course was his reply, but he wouldn't let us off the elevator when the door opened. So we called Anne long distance and she called the Sweets. Sadly, they told her that it was rare if they even saw Elvis off stage and couldn’t help. Anne called back to apologize and sent us to their room to deliver the letter. Myrna answer the door and politely told us the same thing. Damn!

We decided to check out the hotel. We took a freight elevator that emptied out to a dark kitchen that led out to an underground parking garage and there parked was a limo. We were certain this was were he would leave from. So we headed upstairs for lunch. Seated just in front of us was Colonel Parker and I think Jerry Schilling. Don’t ask me why we didn’t go over there. For some reason I remember being so intimidated. The lobby was filled with people, JD Sumner, Ed Parker and of course Jim Curtin. I remember JD letting me touch his TCB necklace, I had never seen diamonds running down the bolt before. I asked him if I could have it and he replied deeply,” I don’t think so”!

Later that night we returned to the garage. Someone in the lobby has said there was no way Elvis was going to still be on stage at midnight. So the later it got the more worried we’d miss the show. I think we waited till 9:00 p.m. and gave up and took a cab to the arena. At fan club meeting months later, I saw pictures of Elvis arriving in that very garage. Damn!

You guessed it, the show started unusually late. It was so cold in that building. The flooring evidently covered the ice needed for the hockey games, but at least they sold beer. Elvis came out the curtain backstage center. I was sitting in the section directly behind the piano. Sitting next to the piano player was little Lisa, wearing a brown fur coat and a beautiful woman who I yelled out “Priscilla”!! Turns out of course it was Ginger. As the CD goes, it was a great show! My best moment was being so close when he sat down to play Rags to Riches. I remember the show being so long at the time. But he looked great, compared to that past August 1st in Hampton Va. I thought it was going to be a great year.

After the show, the snow had fallen significantly. We tried to get a cab, it was taking forever. So we ran, on foot, back to the Hilton at about 2:00 am. I was frozen. Several members of the band was in the lobby but we called it a night. The next day, from the 17th floor, we could see where someone had stamped out in the snow…F*#k You Pat… I read in a book later, that it was one of the guys in the orchestra. We took the elevator to Elvis’ floor. There were empty champagne bottles and room service trays everywhere in the hall.
But everyone was gone. Sorry if I rambled on. Every time you guys bring up NYE the memories flood back. My wife hated that album. I’d play it every year on NYE and tell the same old stories.



For a moment Ricky, I felt being there too!
Great story telling..

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:05 am

Thank you sir!

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:35 am

not so strange elvis couln't be saved......if he gave such great concert and few months later he is dead......who is going to tell this men he is was giving a bad performance if he was so fantastic on new years eve

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:58 am

Great story Ricky!

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:31 pm

When I watch this show on video now, it feels different. I feel the cold now, the anticipation and see it a little bit through the eyes that were there. Thanks!

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:51 am

How does this look Ricky?
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Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:59 am

I found these in my photo archive
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Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:53 am

I listen to this concert often and especially on New Year's Eve day before I go out at night. Puts me right in the mood. Elvis sure was as he said, "New Year's Eve, I could take it!"
He looked much slimmer and he was just overall, more on top of his singing. He had an inertia about him that night which hadn't been seen in a while! He got it back, and I feel that it really started in the mediocre but decent sounding Chicago concert of October, 1976. Despite many people saying he seemed not to sing well in Vegas, I feel he was becoming less of a mess on stage and gaining back some control. Not to mention, he lost a lot of weight by December. Must have something to do with it, I would think...
It built up and up until Dec. 27 in Kansas and finally through the rest of the tour. Too bad it didn't last through 1977. How could he slip so fast? Did he just sit around Graceland, and do nothing but become depressed? How sad...
But, I like that he looked much healthier at the end of 1976 and most of all, his eyes looked more awake. That, to me is the biggest indicator. Did he take more naps before singing or something? As if he didn't sleep during the day already...lol :smt003

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:27 pm

This is a great thread!! Here's my meager 2 cents; This show has always been a big topic (bone of contention) in my family because we DID NOT go. I tried every trick/beg/steal and borrow to get to this one, but my Dad, being from the heart of West Virginia hated to drive in Pittsburgh (still today) and "defiantly Not on NYE!"

John sent me a cassette of the show that I received on Feb. 2, 1977. I was blown away...what a show! My first impression of listening to the FTD version was; Wow...they used a 20 year old tape to make the FTD and I was lucky enough to hear a better sounding 2nd generation cassette in '77. Of course my cassette is also now 30 years old...and I played it to death till I got the Bootleg.

Also...a bit about 8mm camera focus...

I shot a bunch of 8mm through the 80's, and stop doing it because of the hassle of getting caught (got thrown out of a Charlie Daniels concert for filming). As Greybeard said, you are "working" the show...even though you have a one-a-kind souvenir after the fact...you miss the IN THE MOMENT of the concert. I don't know what everyone used on NYE at Elvis' concert, but of the 2 8mm cameras I had, what you saw through the view finder/eye piece was NOT what was being captured on film through the lens. You could not tell if you were in focus or NOT...it had settings, 2 ft, 4 ft, 8ft etc...and infinity. Anything closer than 2 ft was blurry...in a concert situation you most like had to shoot on infinity...anything else and your film would have been out of focus, and there was no way of knowing until it was develop a week later. It was also a poorly designed "rolling focus" so if you sat the camera on you lap or it was bumped, your focus was off.

Thanks to everyone who up loaded photos to this thread, I thought I had everything from this show...but there are some great "new to me" shots here!!!!!

SIDE BAR #1
I talked to John on August 6, 1977 and I remember him telling me that, "Elvis was well rested after being off since June and the tour will be great!" As we had tickets to Huntington in Sept. (I remember these dates because I kept a journal).

SIDE BAR #2
Sorry I'm starting to ramble now like an old man...but I'm turning 50 next week and just for fun I wondered how many shows I saw at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena before it was torn down...turns out (counting 2 Hockey games and 2 Ringling Brothers) Ironically, I saw 50 (out of 308 concerts to date) shows at the arena. Starting with Elvis in 1973 and ending with Springsteen in 2008. (I still have all the ticket stubs).

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:51 am

Here's a bit of an interesting (to me) aside - my story of how I first heard this particular show. Back in the summer of 1984, our local country radio station began playing one Elvis concert every Friday night for the month of June. I don't remember how I heard about it, but I remember being so excited. I had just gotten a portable tape player (a "boom box" to use the 80's vernacular) and I planned on recording each and every show that the station planned on airing. They didn't mention which shows they would be playing beforehand, either, so each week was a surprise to me.

Some background: I was 13 at the time and had been an Elvis fan since I was about 6, but never had actually bought myself any albums or cassettes. The only ones I had were my sister’s that she left at home when she went into the Army. She only left a few, and most were posthumous budget re-releases (my sister was 15 years older than I was and had many Elvis albums from during his lifetime – she even saw him in concert twice (1972 and 1974) but those albums were stored somewhere else). Thus, I had things like “Mahalo from Elvis” and “Double Dynamite” to listen to, as well as a few 8-tracks (the 1973 Brookville compilation “Elvis”, “Elvis’ Golden Records 4” are two that come to mind). I also had the “G.I. Blues” soundtrack for some reason. Not much of a selection, but beggars can’t be choosers! Thus, it was really exciting to me to be able to record Elvis concerts off the radio!

I actually think I only found out about the first show by accident. I must have had the station on and heard that an Elvis show was coming up. I'm pretty sure it took me by surprise as I had to record the show on a professional cassette that my sister had lying around (it was the soundtrack to “The Sting” if I recall correctly). I did the trick of taping over the cutouts on the top of the tape in order to record over it. The first show they played was the ’68 Special – they played the entire soundtrack. I was so excited as I didn’t have the soundtrack although I had seen the show on TV. Once it was over the station announced they’d be playing another Elvis show every Friday through June. I rushed out to K-Mart and bought some cheap cassettes (using my paper route money) and waited for the next show.

Once the last show in June was aired, the station played Elvis songs for another hour, then announced that they’d gotten a bunch of calls and letters about the Elvis shows and said if they got enough replies they’d do it again in July! Needless to say, I was thrilled! That summer I taped 8 Elvis shows and still have all of those tapes today – just thinking about them brings back a lot of memories of sitting in my room at 10Pm on a Friday night, windows open to let in the cool evening breeze, making sure my radio was tuned in properly and the tape was going. I remember once accidentally tuning too much and moving from the Elvis show to Elton John singing “Sad Songs” for a few seconds until I got the proper station back. Those tapes were a Godsend to a kid with no money to actually buy albums and who recorded Elvis records from the local library. I took then with me everywhere, and remember having to splice a couple of them when they snapped because they got caught in my tape player. I spent much time opening up the tape cases and carefully rewinding the tape back onto the spools.

For some reason, I can only remember 7 of the 8 shows they played. The shows covered were (not in any particular order):
’68 Special
Live on Stage in Memphis
In Person at the International
On Stage
1961 Pearl Harbor Show
Aloha (sides 1 and 4 of the LP set, I think)
Pittsburgh ’76 (sides 1 and 4 of the double LP)

I cannot recall the last show, but I do know it was NOT Elvis in Concert and I don’t think it was Madison Square Garden, but it might have been. It might also have been the 1975 show off of Elvis Aron Presley, but that doesn’t seem right, either. I’ll have to dig out my old tapes and figure it out!

As for Pittsburgh ’76, this was the first time I’d ever heard this show, and I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I remember not playing the tape much after that. I don’t know why, but I also didn’t play the ’68 Special much, either (for some reason, I seem to remember I didn’t like the switching between the in the round portion and the musical segments – I still rarely listen to the ’68 Special album today). As a kid, I remember thinking that the 2001 intro sounded funny with the extra instrumentation, and I laughed at the “C’mon Elvis!” and “Isn’t he beautiful?” comments from the audience.

Having never heard the show before, I had no idea it was from a double LP, so consequently I didn’t know that half of the show was missing until a few years later when I got my first job. I was working at a pizza place and one of my bosses was a big bootleg trader. He dealt mostly with heavy metal, but he did have a few other types of artists, including one show by Elvis, which turned out to be Pittsburgh ’76. I asked him for a copy and he gave me one, and it was then I heard the rest of the show. My memories are hazy as to what I thought of the show itself, but I do remember thinking just how cool it was to have an Elvis recording I couldn’t get in the stores!

Looking back now, to me, being a young Elvis fan in the 80’s was a tough time. I recall being very afraid to even mention that I liked Elvis for fear of ridicule. It seemed all people ever talked about then was “Fat Elvis in a jumpsuit” – not knowing any better, comments like that made me somewhat afraid to even listen to Elvis post-1973. However, I eventually overcame that and make my own judgments about Elvis’ post-1973 period. It’s one life lesson I have always taken to heart: do research, learn from primary sources when possible, listen to the evidence (or view it) and make up your own mind. Don’t just go by what people might say. That’s a lesson I took from being a young Elvis fan that I have applied in all areas of my life.

But enough rambling – that’s my story of how I first came to hear Elvis’ Pittsburgh ’76 show.
Last edited by elvis63 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:11 am

Wonderful story....thank you for sharing with us...... ::rocks

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:11 pm

Gee such wonderful, WONDERFUL storys thanks guys for posting them!~ :D

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:42 pm

Was ANYONE present at both the concert and at this here thread able to actually see when Elvis went down to the floor on "Hurt"? The question is asked because as it is the case with many people going to concerts, the slighest distraction can make you unaware of what, in this case, can only be described as the most incredible example of showmanship ( vocal, visual and otherwise), by any singer of any kind, ever. It is so difficult to even IMAGINE anyone else being able to pull that off, SO DIFFICULT, I REPEAT, TO EVEN IMAGINE IT, that out the 75,000 or so PROFESSIONAL Elvis tribute artists who do make "Hurt", a part of their repertoire, I have yet to see one who gives it a go. Tell me your thoughts, when he was doing it if, in fact, someone in this here thread was able to see the entire 18 second episode, starting with the song's reprise, that is, from start to finish.

I have the episode filmed from two angles, one frontal and shot from about ten feet, the person holding the camera a couple of yards below stage level, which is AWESOME, the other from behind the stage, about 10 rows up, which for some reason makes his turning around with the mike and in full flight (as far as the seven second note he was singing), somewhat easier for the viewer to analyze. In fact, the move, from this angle, APPEARS to be easier to execute than it ACTUALLY was.

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:03 pm

That is a great shot of Elvis... it almost looks as though it's from June 1975 and not the Pittsburgh '76 show...
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Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:26 pm

out of all the large number of 1976 shows i have for YEARS considered this my favourate show`~! when i consider maybe up to 50% of the shows Elvis performed in the 1976 year were 'below par peformances' , below a standard that should have been 'acceptable' :cry:
this one was magnificent compared to the low 'average' performed in 1976!~ :P

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:23 pm

elvis-fan wrote:That is a great shot of Elvis... it almost looks as though it's from June 1975 and not the Pittsburgh '76 show...

Exactly right, elvis-fan! After seeing the photo I was thinking that the last time Elvis looked this good was June & July of '75!