Today was the best day yet of Elvis Week. I spent the day at the Orpheum Theatre on Beale and Main for Conversations on Elvis parts 1 & 2 and the screening of Elvis on Tour.
Conversations on Elvis part 1 was about Elvis on Tour and ran from 10am to 11:30am. Tom Brown from TCM hosted both sessions. Ernst Jorgensen introduced awards for Elvis’ records.
Joe Guercio, Elvis’ musical director, spoke next and gave some great stories about his time with Elvis on Tour. In this picture where Elvis is choking Joe, Joe had just told him that Jerry Vale said he could sleep at night knowing Elvis covered his song.
We were told that a cd of the Cirque de Soleil show Viva Elvis was coming out in November, and we got to listen to a sneak peak of Suspicious Minds. Then Donnie Sumner and Bill Baize of the Stamps Quartet, who toured with Elvis in the 70s, came on and spoke so highly of Elvis and his fans and how fortunate they were and are to be a part of it all.
An hour and a half break for lunch took me to the Majestic Grille on Main Street that I have been wanting to try. I asked if I could sit out on the patio, and they looked at me like I was crazy. It was 11:30, breezy and in the shade. Yes, it was going to be another 100+ heat index, but at that moment it didn’t feel so bad. But I succumbed to peer pressure and ate inside. And it was quite comfortable and yummy, and the staff was great too. I highly recommend the artichoke and spinach flatbread!
Conversations on Elvis part 2 ran from 1pm to 2:30pm and was about Elvis Presley and Memphis. Michael Lollar, the author of the new book Elvis Presley’s Memphis, which is collaboration between the Commercial Appeal and Elvis Presley Enterprises spoke about his times reporting on Elvis. EPE photographer Robert also spoke about the photos in the book.
One of Elvis’ best friends and tour manager, Joe Esposito, told some great stories about Elvis and his impact to the world, even today. He mentioned how people tell him when they are sad, they put on Elvis’ songs to feel better. Amen!
Keeping in the Elvis’ Memphis theme, next was a Memphis police officer, Earle, who met Elvis in the 1950s. Elvis borrowed a quarter from him and never paid him back. Through weird circumstances, or divine intervention, Earle became friends with Elvis years later and spent many a night at Graceland.
Ernst Jorgensen made another appearance to discuss the release of Elvis the Complete Masters, which is for sale for about $750 and only available online. It has every Elvis Presley master recording (711 songs) plus over 100 bonus songs, as well as a 200 page book.
I had just under 4 hours between Conversations and Elvis on Tour, so I went home to let the dogs out and eat dinner. I arrived at the Orpheum about an hour and a half before the screening of Elvis on Tour because I wanted to park for free again, and I lucked out and got a space on the street across from the Theatre.
Elvis on Tour is a documentary from 1972. I have been waiting SO long for Elvis on Tour to come out on DVD. Now my Elvis movie collection in complete, and I no longer have to watch Elvis on Tour on dvr or vhs. I was SO excited to see Elvis on Tour on the big screen, especially since Memphis didn’t show it along with the rest of the world on July 29th.
Tom Brown from TCM was again our host and all the guests from Conversations on Elvis this afternoon were in the audience.
After a ‘making of’ segment entitled Standing Room Only and an introduction by Priscilla Presley, Elvis on Tour began. And the sold out audience was really into it, clapping and screaming and singing along.
After the movie, there was a brief intermission then the Stamps came out and sang. And Joe Guercio even came out to lead them on one song. They got a standing ovation!
Then we got an extra surprise. We got to see footage that is not included on the dvd or shown anywhere else, but unfortunately we could not take any photographs or video. The screening of Elvis on Tour was by far my favorite event of Elvis Week thus far. It was crowded and everyone was having a great time. It reminded me of Elvis Weeks past where every event was sold out and you could feel the energy!
Reading the tour dates on the back of my shirt, I realized that Elvis played Hampton Rhodes Colliseum on April 9, 1972. My first U2 show was at Hampton Rhodes Colliseum on March 7, 1992 – just 20 years later. Wow!
Please watch my video on Conversations on Elvis part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-8khMTbwng
Please watch my video on Conversations on Elvis part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4ab1-A08Ew
Please wath my video on the screening of Elvis on Tour http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igQk5RuLRCo