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 Post subject: Easter 1975 - Las Vegas Hilton Report
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:58 am 
Jewel in the Lotus
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Printed in June 1975 edition of British "Elvis Monthly" magazine by the late Caroline Zetland.

Elvis' presence in Las Vegas hit me upon arrival in Los Angeles. There were posters on large hoardings, displaying three years old photographs of Elvis in jumpsuits singing next to a great big "H" logo for the Hilton chain. The Hilton reservations office in L.A. displayed ads informing Californans that Elvis would definitely be in Vegas from March 18th, through until close on April 1st. Trusting to luck, I continued on my intended journey to Las Vegas.

As your airport taxi heads into Vegas it' Elvis all the way and those posters are everywhere. In fact comedian Jackie Kahane commented, "You'll see hoardings advertising acts and they use just one name, proclaiming 'Dean', 'Frank', 'Barbra', 'Debbie', 'Sammy'. Drive down the Hilton's avenue and yoiu see a photograph 'Now' and you'd better know who it is!"

Just outside of the Hilton there is an enormous display sign which claims to have "Elvis" spelt out in letters 85 feet high (although they didn't look that high to me). The supporting acts enjoy five-foot lettering! It's quite something to see - good for making the heart skip at least ten beats.
The outside and inside foyers of the hotel are just incredible! Al ceilings, walls, floors, in fact everything which has a flat surface is just plastered with pictures of you-know-who. In front of the doors was the customary souvenir stand selling records, pictures, badges, scarves and posters. - all Elvis, of course. Proceeds of the sales of which were donated to a children's charity and the people manning the stand are voluntary workers. It's open all day and most of the night, and although I rarely retired before 3.30, there was never a period during my wakening hours that the stand wasn't in operation.

On Easter Friday, every single member of the Hilton staff from the executives to the cleaners received a bouquet of flowers from Elvis. Apparently whenever Elvis appears there, everyone receives a gift from him. None of the other artists do this and the gesture goes down very well, so much so, that every member of the staff I spoke to about Elvis had nothing but praise for ourman.He's very popular and well thought of, and the Hilton is inconstant turmoil during an Elvis engagement. Twenty extra security men are hired just to cover the showroom.

Everyone employed by the Hilton clocks in and out. This rule even applies to Elvis. He clocks in when he arrives and should he go out, he clocks out, and upon his return, has to clock in again! Elvis occupied the entire 30th floor which was closed to the general public, and to maintain that security, armed guards were placed on each exit. One of the corner lifts has a secret door that goes straight into his room, but there's no way of finding out just how it operates! Though personally, I wouldn't even consider trying. The whole hotel was swarming with members of his "Memphis Mafia", most of whom are not very appetising specimens to look at. Nevertheless, they are continually paged very hopeful girls hanging around the lobby hoping to get to Elvis "via" one of them. It's quite an education to watch, although in my opinion, the whole business is thoroughly distasteful, even utterly degrading. It seemed to me that almost every other male in the hotel was sporting the chain bearing the "TCB" charm, although the ones with the diamond flashes,worn by the "real in-crowd", were not nearly so plentiful! What did see to be in plentiful supply as an over-abundance of trashy sensation, seeking movie magazines of the type that Elvis was knocking last year!

"Elvis and Linda's quiet wdding turns out to be the sort of wedding she would like", "Help Elvis find the child he lost", "Linda and Priscilla showdown in his hospital bedroom," "Elvis soon coming under the knife!" All strange tales of doom, especially when Elvis was up there on-stage singing better than ever and being no nearer to his death-bed than a new born child.

Elvis may have looked a little on the pale side, and at one show ooked tired and weary. He is a little bi overweight but not to the extent that the press would have us believe. It's mainly his tummy, there is no excess weight on his legs, arms or face. With all this taken to account he's still a pretty healthy-looking gentleman. For those like me who have never seen Elvis before, all I can say is just take the best photograph you have of him, and magnify that one hundred fold! It's not quite the best thing to say about a man but he really is beautiful - no one really has the 'right' to look that good!
If you (as I) had only ever heard Elvis on record, you could never ever be prepared for just how good his voice really is - it's absolutely superb. Powerful and true - there didn't appear to be anything he couldn't handle, and to hell with the critics who knock his voice. Even my husband had to admit that Elvis has a fantastic voice, and (for one who wasn't going to any), he sat through three shows with me and that must prove something!

As predicted by the Fan Club, jumpsuits were out, finished. During the first shows he wore white leather two-piece suits, and afterwards Western style tuxedos with the normal stand-up collars, and a bit of glitter to make thesuits really impressive. Gold or white open-necked shirts too under the jackets. His hair is still quite long and he looked very fit, although none of the usual sun tan.

Elvis' stage presence is sheer magic, his personality, his sense of humor are just too much and his voice - well, amazing! On the stage Elvis' backing groups are backing groups if you know what I mean. The balance isperfect, much better than any of those live recordings. You know how irritating it is when listening to Elvis live on disc and you feel you would like to turn down the backing voices but of course, with a live show, you can't.

It is so obvious that Elvis' real fans are not the desired audience. The Hilton stage Elvis to attract the gamblers and prime seating is reserved for those who play with the most money. The hotel is there to make money and, in general, Elvis' real fans don't play the tables. Consequently, there is a total lack of communication between Elvis' fans and the Hilton Showroom management. I would say that 85% in the showroom are there causually just to see a show. They couldn't really care less just who is on the stage, and show seating (if you happen to get up front) is a prestige item. The genuine fans who travel thousands of miles, save money and make sacrifice after sacrifice just to get there, are left on their own. Yet without the ans in the audience, and their continual rapport with Elvis on stage, there would be little, if any, atmosphere on-stage. I'm surprised that the Hilton don't realise the value of their 15% of audience, which to some extent, is part of the act. Performers, if you like, who are paying to work for the good of the hotel.Work that out if you can! It's strange that they don't realise too, that we are the ones who help to keep Elvis going, and, without us, they wouldn't be able to stage Elvis - the biggest star of all time.

I can't make light of the incredible hassle involved in the endless meaningless hours of queuing, bribing and grovelling which a mere fan has to endure to get any decent seating arrangements. All the best seating is reserved for casino guests - the ones who are losing all the money. After much tipping I ended up on about the fourth tier for my first show. The showroom staff are very rude and it's what you have in your hand in way of a tip, is the ultimate decider with regard to where you are seated. Five hours of queuing makes no difference whatsoever. Fourth tier or not, I was there for my first show. Just gazing out into space looking at that expanse of curtain. I waited. Jackie Kahane came on and I found it very difficult to suppress my impatience. On first hearing, he's quite funny, but after the fifth or sixth time, segments of the audience begin repeating the act with him.

Kahane leaves the stage. The whole room goes black. The "2001" theme begins. I went hot and cold. I can't explain just how I felt. There's no explanation for it. The curtains begin to move, the band in position, they start that opening vamp, and it's all eyes to the left. The vamp seemed to go on for ever, until he appeared. He walked onto the stage. He didn't run on, he walked on. I was quite taken aback, I just couldn't believe it. After twenty years and six thousand miles - through the whole show I was expecting to wake up, it was as if it had all been a dream. Elvis takes a black Spanish guitar with flowers paintedon it, directly from Charlie Hodge and goes straight into "CC Rider". Straight into "I Gotta Woman" doing his now-famous aeroplane bit, and the whole place started to shake. It was time for the scarves as he mooned through "Love Me". There was a whole lotta kissin' goin' on!

He wasn't messing about during this show. It was one song after another. He did "If You Love Me Let Me Know", and a most fantastic version of the Perry Como hit "And I Love Her So", "Big Boss Man" (I was surprised to hear that one), "It's Midnight", "Promised Land", "Burning Love" and then he did the introductions. "My Boy" followed and "I'll Remember You" which he introduced as a song from Hawaii - the Hawaii show. Then he introduced Kathy Westmoreland and she did a most beautiful singing of "My Heavenly Father", with Elvis appreciating her vocal talents and letting her get on with it.

Back into the act Elvis continued with another four songs including "Can't Help Falling in Love" which ended the show. On come the bodyguards, the curtain drops, only to be lifted again, and Elvis returns on-stage, shakes hands, kisses a few more girls, before he finally goes off.


Last edited by Crystal Rose on Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:42 am, edited 4 times in total.


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 Post subject: Re: Easter 1975 - Las Vegas Hilton Report
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:55 pm 
Jewel in the Lotus
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:hello: All I could think of while reading this, is how Elvis was Treated like a Puppet. To just Do what was Expected of him, and to Disappear until the Next Puppet Show. I don't Blame in the Least how this Woman Felt, and even though she seen how Our Man and HIS TRUE FANS WERE TREATED! I would have still went to see Elvis if for know no other reason then to Support Him. Thanks for Sharing this Very Eye Opening Piece! :love:



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WITH OUT A SONG THE ROAD WOULD NEVER END, WITH OUT A SONG A MAN AIN'T GOT A FRIEND.SO I KEEP ON SINGING A SONG! Elvis Aaron Presley!!
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 Post subject: Re: Easter 1975 - Las Vegas Hilton Report
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:04 pm 
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Us also! So far, I've only heard a few people say Elvis "came back out to kiss fans etc" after ending the show- usually they were at the end of his Vegas stints or he wanted to surprise the audience. Actually, there were quite a few fans around the front-and in the show room as so many went through the gauntlet to get seats-it depended on who one knew working on seating etc:...and of course tips etc:. Sure high rollers were there, celebrities etc: but many fans too. And often it was totally over crowded-once you sat down there wasn't any room to get up to leave! Not until he was off stage! Those last weeks he was there made it harder as he wasn't feeling well and only did two weeks. Elivs had enough of Vegas and the cold hearted greed going on in the hotel management area-it wasn't fun anymore, too many rules and regulations-and too, there was also mafia involved in Vegas that required extra guards etc: - But we went anyway, He was always worth the effort. wjh



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 Post subject: Re: Easter 1975 - Las Vegas Hilton Report
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:55 pm 
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I truly enjoyed this story.

Thank you.

Di



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 Post subject: Re: Easter 1975 - Las Vegas Hilton Report
PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:33 am 
Jewel in the Lotus
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Thanks to you, Rose-Lyn, Wanda and Di for your feedback! You're welcome for my sharing/posting and glad to read your thoughts and feelings!

I'm with you ladies, sure would have been there to see Elvis, to be there to love and support him! :hello: :love: :hug:



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 Post subject: Re: Easter 1975 - Las Vegas Hilton Report
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:16 pm 
Jewel in the Lotus
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:hello: :hug:



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WITH OUT A SONG THE ROAD WOULD NEVER END, WITH OUT A SONG A MAN AIN'T GOT A FRIEND.SO I KEEP ON SINGING A SONG! Elvis Aaron Presley!!
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 Post subject: Re: Easter 1975 - Las Vegas Hilton Report
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:25 am 
Jewel in the Lotus
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:D :hello: :hug: :love:



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