From Down Under

 

Elvis In Concert July 1975

    Part One

 by Geoffrey Mc Donnell (Australia)

 

Following a four week break Elvis, together with his most colourful ' NEW ' jumpsuits, started on the big summer tour. Repertoire was increasing with each tour now, around 30 different songs performed in the 1st April/May tour, 40 in May/June and 50 in his July 1975 tour. Elvis and Linda Thompson's relationship had changed in 1975 to close friends more than anything else and whilst with her in July '75,  he saw other 'girlfriends' as in July/August 1975, Elvis seemed to be going through his most bizarre-gregarious period.  

J.R. Caillé © Niagara Falls,NY July 13th, 1975 evening show

The tour, mainly in the East, kicked off in Oklahoma, on 8th July, Terre Haute on 9th, Cleveland, first visit, on 10th, Charleston on 11th - one show and on 12th - two shows, Niagara Falls A/S and E/S on 13th,Springfield one show on 14th and one show on 15th, New Haven one show on 16th and one show on 17th July, Cleveland a second show on 18th,Uniondale two shows on 19th, Norfolk two shows on 20th, Greensboro one show on 21st. 

Finally, three very dynamic shows in Ashville over three days, 22nd - 24th July. Suit wise - the wearing of the white Indian feather suit continues along with the white suits with either red or black eagle, also the dark blue suit with silver eagle. Very ' new ' were the DARK BLUE GYPSY suit and the DARK BLUE AZTEC suit. Some fans I know find these too ' gaudy ' complete with ' throat choker ' and tassels around the knees, Elvis does seem a bit under the influence of the Liberace type sartorial emblazonment, as during this tour, in his AZTEC suit, Elvis acts a bit Indian at times - which isn't altogether surprising considering one of Elvis' ancestors was ( Morning Dove 1800-1835, a full blood Cherokee Indian on his mother's side ).

Repertoire-wise, this tour to start with is fairly placid, continuing as with all the 1975 tours, " The Wonder of You ", revived in Las Vegas and sung very strongly throughout the summer. " Little Darling, " as in June, is performed a lot more. In Cleveland, on the 10th, during the " Why Me Lord? " Elvis says "J.D. my life's in your hands. " Songs really start to be varied a lot in the last week of the tour. To start with the shows are very straightforward but good - as in the Terre Haute 9.7.75 show in which, until a better copy becomes available, you can truly hear Elvis singing under a blanket! However, in the show, during his performances of "How Great Thou Art," Elvis threatens to cast aside his blanket, so strong is his voice - typical of the well performed Gospel numbers throughout this tour. " Steamroller Blues " is performed on 10th and " Heartbreak Hotel " at the E/S in Charleston on 12th , but in the two Niagara Falls shows on 13th, Elvis is very lackluster to watch or listen to. A CD of the Niagara Falls shows is available, but my advice is, don't waste your hard earned cash on it - get one of the Uniondale shows instead. 

Virginia Arnesen © Uniondale,NY July 19th, 1975 matinee show

The back-up singers, such as VOICE or J.D. Sumner and the Stamps are often asked to sing a Gospel number, at shows on this tour, such as " I Should Have Been Crucified, " performed in the Cleveland,18th July show. Also in the same show, repertoire starts to vary as Elvis includes " You've Lost That Loving Feeling, " ' My Boy ' is not sung on this tour since the early May performances, but most other songs heard before are. Elvis' love here, of Gospel songs, is found in the rare medley performed in the 19.7.75 A/S in Uniondale, where a Gospel medley of " Bosom Of Abraham/You'd Better Run " is sung. Indeed, much later, J.D. Sumner said that it was a record by himself and the Stamps that was the last record found on Elvis' record player after his death.

Well, by Uniondale, Elvis' shows had become long, around 80 minutes long, and full of energy. In the Uniondale, 19.7.75 A/S, he really rocks to " T.R.0.U.B.L.E " and even tries to vocally do all the parts in " Big Boss Man. " To top this he jokes around a lot with a girl - Joanne, from the audience. At the E/S on the same day Elvis performs spirited versions of " You'll Never Walk Alone " and " I'm Leaving. " A delightful version of " Promised Land, " lyrics matching the location in Norfolk on 20th(A/S), along with ultra rare " Suzie Q " - a song James Burton was already especially familiar with. Elvis' three shows in Ashville are incredible, what a ' special ' 3-CD box set these would make if ever fully available. Ashville gives us the most rarities: " Wooden Heart ; Memphis Tennessee ; Return To Sender ; Shake A Hand ; Turn Around ; Something " and, in the final part of the 24th July show, " Pieces Of My Life, " sung for Vernon Presley who is in the audience.

Whilst Elvis can be highly commended for being arguably at his most daring vocally for years and giving rare performances, of over a dozen seldom performed songs, in incredible voice during his really energetic shows. Dialogue from Elvis often consisted of throwing verbal barbs to his group on stage. Was Elvis very frustrated at this time?  

Harold J. Newton © Asheville,NC July 23th, 1975 evening show

In the month between tours Elvis purchased an 880 Convair aero plane which he christened the " Lisa Marie ". Although the plane would not be used until November, it's true  that he had facial cosmetic surgery on June 18th around his eyes. Although even after a couple of Days back At Graceland friends hardly noticed any improvement!

 Elvis' third tour of 1975 had reviews of Elvis being in excellent mood and that he had lost some weight.( strange as he looks fatter to me!? ) Dianna Goodman, 24-year-old current Miss Georgia in the MISS USA contest, accompanied Elvis after Elvis was with Linda Thompson for the first week only. Elvis had Joe Esposito contact Sheila Ryan to come along, but she faked having an ear infection to get out of it. Much of the later tour ‘ bad mouthing ’ during the introductions Elvis simply couldn’t have got away with HAD Linda been with him, after all when with Elvis Linda never missed a show and kept him pretty ‘ straight ’-telling him if he’d ‘goofed up’ or whatever-that soon disappeared once Linda left the tour and Elvis lost that ‘ critism ’ having someone ‘ new ’ with him who probably didn’t know what to make of it all back then and certainly a Girlfriend I have heard no comments ever from since July 75!’ ( nice picture of her & Elvis in back of “Steamrolling over Texas book! )

 

Oklahoma City, OK July 8th E/S Myriad Convention Center  r/t 65 minutes

C, C Rider; I Got A Woman/Amen; Love Me; If You Love Me let Me Know; Love Me Tender; All Shook Up; Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel; Hound Dog; The Wonder Of You; Polk Salad Annie; Intros + solos;T.R.O.U.B.L.E;I'll Remember You; Let Me Be There; Why Me Lord; How Great Thou Art; An American Trilogy;  Funny How Times Slip Away; Little Darling; Can't Help Falling In Love

Memphis Indian

15,291

Indeed like the last tour apart from Elvis looking heavier around the waist it seemed his shows were up to the previous ‘ high standard ’ of the previous good tour. Oklahoma received a fine show and at this stage ‘ special ’ highlight songs like I’ll remember You; Polk Salad Annie ( now punctuated by Karate Kicks and chops! ) were performed and An American Trilogy and How Great Thou Art-especially the latter seemed as strongly performed as ever! Reviewers noted that his playful sexuality still works wonders and he is a masterful showman. following the show Elvis flew straight out of Oklahoma City.

 

Sean Shaver © Terre Haute,IN July 9th, 1975 evening show

Terre Haute, IN July 9th E/S Track Listing Available  r/t 60 minutes

C, C Rider; I Got A Woman/Amen; Love Me; If You Love Me Let Me Know; Love Me Tender; All Shook Up; Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel; Hound Dog; The Wonder Of You; Burning Love; Introductions & Solos; T.R.O.U.B.L.E; Why Me Lord; How Great Thou Art; Let Me Be There; Funny How Times Slip Away; Little Darling; Dialogue;Can't Help Falling In Love

P/Q  sound

Hulman Civic University Center

Navy Blue phoenix

10,244

The show in Terre Haute whilst ‘ straightforward ’ was ‘ good ’ and Elvis has a strong opening introducing himself as ‘ Johnny Cash ’ and later on immense fun joking around during his funny version of Why me Lord? As he quipps ''show me J.D. '' How Great Thou Art on the other hand ( complete with Reprise ) is a STANDOUT very strongly performed and Elvis virtually screams out “ oh my God ”  which received the longest applause for the show so far. Following this show although scheduled to stay in Terre Haute he flew to Cleveland because Col Parker had told Elvis about the Keg and Quarter Restaurant that served a special menu of cornbread, boiled corn and collard and turnip greens! So Elvis moved on a day early to be at Richfield just 20 miles from Cleveland for his 8.30 pm concert in the Cleveland Coliseum.

 

R. Mishler © Cleveland,OH July 10th, 1975 evening show

Cleveland, OH July 10th E/S Track Listing Available  r/t 60 minutes

C, C Rider; I Got A Woman/Amen; Love Me; If You Love Me Let Me Know; Love Me Tender; All Shook Up; Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel; Steamroller Blues; The Wonder Of You; Burning Love; Introductions & Solos; T.R.O.U.B.L.E; Why Me Lord; How Great Thou Art; Let Me Be There; Funny How Times Slip Away; Little Darling; Mystery Train/Tiger Man; Can't Help Falling In Love.

58mins AV/Q

Richfield Coliseum

Black Phoenix

21,000

This was playing to Elvis’s largest audience the whole tour some 21,000 fans! Despite being late due to getting lost on the way to the Coliseum ( with Linda Thompson ) it was another fine show featuring a Strong version of Steamroller Blues, but the way he was shouting out the words “ oh my God!!! ” during How Great Thou Art terrified some fans. The press noted that Elvis was magnificent as he stalked,teased,cloned and jumped around and handed out 36 scarves and 20 kisses. The next day at 3pm Elvis arrived at the Executive Air Terminal in Charleston, West Virginia. Here a crowd of 200 fans were rewarded with a glimpse of Elvis as he slipped from his plane to a waiting silver limousine straight to the Daniel Boone Hotel in Charleston.

 

Sean Shaver © Charleston,WV July 11th, 1975 evening show

Charleston, WV July 11th E/S Civic Center  r/t 60 minutes

2001 Theme / See See Rider / I Got A Woman - Amen / Love Me / If You Love Me ( Let Me Know ) / Love Me Tender / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel / The Wonder Of You /  Burning Love / Intros: Johnny B. Goode by James Burton - Ronnie Tutt drums solo - Jerry Scheff bass solo - Glen D. Hardin piano solo - Joe Guercio and orchestra - Hail ! Hail ! Rock' n' roll /T.R.O.U.B.L.E. / Why Me Lord / An American Trilogy / Let Me Be There / Little Darling'/ Funny How Time Slips Away / Mystery Train - Tiger Man / Can't Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp

Red Phoenix

8,400

Highlights apparently were Burning Love and a wild strobe display during Mystery Train/Tiger Man. Clearly after the wait the fans were in awe and would have applauded a hanging!, never the less it was a fine but standard show for this tour.

 

Sean Shaver © Leaving the Daniel Boone Hotel on July 12th for the matinee show

Charleston, WV July 12th A/S Civic Center

C, C Rider; I Got A Woman/Amen; Big Boss Man; Love Me; If You Love Me Let Me Know; Love Me Tender; All Shook Up; Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel; The Wonder Of You; Polk Salad Annie; Introductions & Solos; T.R.O.U.B.L.E; Why Me Lord; You Gave Me a Mountain; Let Me Be There; Heartbreak Hotel; Funny How Times Slip Away; Little Darling; Mystery Train/Tiger Man; Can't Help Falling In Love

Navy Blue Phoenix

8,400

For the afternoon show Elvis changed his songs slightly but again presented much the same sort of show. Leaving the Daniel Boone Hotel in Charleston with Linda Thompson for the E/S it is quite noticeable that he’s carrying more weight wearing the same suit as worn during the June tour.

 

Charleston, WV July 12th E/S Track Listing Available

C, C Rider; I Got A Woman/Amen; Love Me; If You Love Me Let Me Know; Love Me Tender; All Shook Up; Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel; The Wonder Of You; Burning Love; Introductions & Solos; T.R.O.U.B.L.E; Why Me Lord; How Great Thou Art; Let Me Be There; Heartbreak Hotel; Funny How Times Slip Away; Little Darling; Mystery Train/Tiger Man; Can't Help Falling In Love

49mins AV/Q

Civic Center

Memphis Indian

8,400

From a fan who saw 5 shows that tour :-“ Yes, Elvis was indeed amazingly good in July 1975. I was following that tour starting in Oklahoma City on July 8 and ending in Ashville on the 24th. I managed to get into 5 of the shows and I was totally swept off my feet by his performances. But the one that really sticks in my mind is the evening show Saturday July 12 in the Civic Center of Charleston, West Virginia. Talk about fireworks and sheer drama. I have never - before or since- ever witnessed the likes of that particular concert. Elvis came on stage wearing his Indian Feather Suit and absolutely electrified the audience who stood up cheering and roaring in appreciation of his appearance.

George R. Wilson © Oklahoma City,OK July 8th, 1975 evening show


He delivered a high-spirited and good-humoured performance with such a seemingly unendless power of energy that I kept saying to myself ( and I remember this so well even today, hardly ever having mentioned it before ) How is it possible to sing with such gusto and force and look so completely happy and at ease and at the same time absolutely mesmerizing all the people in the arena ? Pure heaven and happiness. Even those who had uttered foul things about his persona and the superiority of the other top stars of '75 were suddenly converted into fans, shouting at the top of their lungs and jumping up and down in their seats. And that down-to-earth person called me running down  towards the stage until I bumped into Felton Jarvis who I got acquainted with previously in Memphis. Fortunately, somebody snapped some photos and I sure treasure the one with Elvis on stage only 3 meters away. Talk about the good times. ” Certainly even to the ‘ casual listener ’ this wasn’t a bad show and typically when Elvis was having fun he changed lyrics such as in ‘ Love me Tender ’ to “ Scarf turn Blue and I hate you so ” Once again Elvis sends up ‘ Why Me Lord? ’ in jokey high voice  and introduces HGTA as a Gospel song that we did in 1967.

Straight after this show Elvis flew onto Niagara Falls arriving at 1am and onto the Parkway-Ramada Inn where the entire 3rd floor was reserved for Elvis. The remainder of the troupe were staying in rooms on the 1st and 5th floor-so even here their wasn’t much opportunity for Elvis and Kathy to just meet up unless either party specifically requested it.

 

Niagara Falls, NY July 13th A/S CD Little Darlin'

C, C Rider; I Got A Woman/Amen; Big Boss Man; Love Me; If You Love Me let Me Know; Love Me Tender; All Shook Up; Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel; Hound Dog; The Wonder Of You; Burning Love; T.R.O.U.B.L.E; Why Me Lord; How Great Thou Art; Let Me Be There; Funny How Times Slip Away; Little Darling; Can't Help Falling In Love

Sound +++

Convention Center

Navy Phoenix

11,500

Well known Elvis Fan Christopher Brown attended both these shows ( after first seeing Elvis here at the 24.6.74 A/S in 1974 ) Chris discusses the shows in detail in his 2nd concert book and despite the E/S being somewhat better and both shows ‘ good ’ many people feel these 2 shows were pretty much the ‘ minimum ’ performance from Elvis ( compared to many other shows this tour ) Just the slightest hint of problems are starting to appear with his introduction of Kathy as here he calls her “ Ed Westmoreland ” Love me Tender is again the ‘ Scarf turn Blue ’  and ‘ I love you and I don’t stand still ’ version and yet it isn’t until a powerhouse version of ‘ Burning Love ’ that he seems to be trying or putting out much effort. Pretty soon ( too soon ) the show is over!.

 

Niagara Falls, NY July 13th E/S CD Back At The Falls

2001 Theme; C, C Rider; I Got A Woman/Amen; Love Me; If You Love Me Let Me Know; Love Me Tender; All Shook Up; Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel; The Wonder Of You; Burning Love; Introductions/Hail Hail Rock'n'Roll; T.R.O.U.B.L.E; Why Me Lord; How Great Thou Art; Let Me Be There; Heartbreak Hotel; Funny How Times Slip Away; Little Darling; Mystery Train/Tiger Man; Can't Help Falling In Love

Sound ++++-

Convention Center

Black Phoenix

11,500

Certainly the E/S in Niagara Falls is better as straight away Elvis gets off to an ‘ up-beat ’ start before gyrating during ‘ Amen ’ he kids he shouldn’t have eaten that Hamburger! This time Love Me Tender gets line changes of “ You have made my sound turn blue, and I hate you so ” Burning Love again is another highlight, and ‘ Why me Lord? ’ another send up version but as in the A/S HGTA doesn’t get any reprise endings. After a decent version of ‘ Heartbreak Hotel ’ Elvis seems quite annoyed when the lights he asks to be turned up are not. Soon after this ( with the SAME songs as the A/S ) Elvis closes this show and is out of Niagara Falls on his way to Hartford, Connecticut.  

Part Two ( Coming Soon )