ELVIS ON TOUR – on the way to the Golden Globe – (Part 9)

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Official shooting for the film (or in fact its concert part) took off only four days later. Meanwhile, after the successful opening of the April tour, Elvis took his show to other cities. After Buffalo, the next stops on the touring map were Detroit, Dayton, and Knoxville, respectively.

On April 9, Presley and his team of several dozen landed in Hampton Roads. Tickets for both contracted performances at the local Hampton Roads Coliseum (ticket prices ranged from five to ten dollars), as in other cities, sold out “on the trunk”.

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” His (Elvis’ author’s note) concerts today may not be reminiscent of his last Newport News performance in 1955 when he played for a crowd of shouting teens at the old James Theater early in his career, but there are bound to be many people in the audience who still vividly remember that day , ”wrote the Daily Press in the morning. ” No other performer, not Frank Sinatra, not Tom Jones, not Donny Osmond, not even David Cassidy has achieved over the years, from the war in Korea to the war in Vietnam, such enormous publicity as Elvis .”

Trying to live up to his own legend, Presley took the stage of the Coliseum twice. The first time around half past three in the afternoon and another at half past nine in the evening. This time, under the watchful eye of the cameras (although, according to Jerry Hopkins, Abel and Adidge, even then they were not sure whether Colonel Parker would agree to the film and the solutions proposed by the producers).

The MGM filmmakers were everywhere, accompanying Elvis both in the dressing room where he was preparing for the performance, during the march down the corridor leading to the stage and during the performances themselves.

The presence of cameramen discreetly following him around the stage, combined with the adoration of the 11,000-strong crowd (because so many people filled the arena each time) made Presley even more motivating. Both shows were absolutely phenomenal!

In just over an hour, Elvis presented his fans with over twenty songs! From the thrilling “See See Rider”, which he used to open his performances for several months, through the excellent “I Got A Woman”, “Never Been To Spain”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to the excellent “Suspicious Minds” and “A Big Hunk O ‘Love ”.

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During the evening performance, just before the final song, the ballad “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, Elvis surprised his audience by asking them to listen to one of his favorite gospel songs with him. After these words, he turned to the members of The Stamps and listened to their moving performance of “Sweet, Sweet Spirit” with bowed head. There was absolute silence in the hall …

” It was a magical evening ,” said Robert Abel years later. The authors of the reviews that appeared in the press the next day were of a similar opinion.

Information provided by Mariusz Ogieg?o of Elvis Promised Land (Poland)


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