Saturday August 12th, my second day of Elvis Week 2017, brought me to the Elvis Fan Club Presidents’ Event, Elvis Con and the Elvis Gospel concert. It was a very full, very good day!
I started Day 2 with the Breakfast Buffet in the Ballroom of the Guest House at 8:45am using my Meal Plan I purchased (6 buffets for $100). It was ok. I expected more of a southern breakfast – no biscuits and no cheese for my scrambled eggs. But the scone was yummy! The buffet consisted of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, fruit, muffins, scones, juice, waffles, yogurt, coffee and tea. I took the shuttle and was across the street at Elvis Presley’s Memphis by 9:30am. Here comes the rain again.
The Fan Club Presidents’ Event began at 10am. I sat in the front row all the way to the left (because the center front was for those who bought the elite package) with Delia, Caroline and Kristy. Jack Soden gave a little intro then EPE surprised him with a Music Note on Beale Street. My first thought was Priscilla better have a Music Note on Beale Street because she hired Jack and without her, there would be no him – just sayin. Argo hosted the event, and his first guest was DJ and author Norm Nite, who just did an eight hour radio special on Elvis. Argo’s next guest was Angie Marchese. She answered fan questions about the Elvis archives and showed a few items such as a charm bracelet from 1956, which was the first Elvis memorabilia, and a script from Paradise Hawaiian Style. Then Argo interviewed Larry Geller. I love Larry, but have seen him many times before and he always tells the same stories very slowly. So when I got up to use the restroom, I just stood in the doorway after but then decided to leave. It was 12:15 as they was no end in sight of his talk, plus I was starving and wanted to get to Elvis Con before all the good books were gone! I quickly ate a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich (it was good, but thin, but only $5) at Gladys’ and called for the shuttle to Elvis Con down the street.
I arrived at the GrandStar Event Center, just down EP Blvd from Graceland, for Elvis Con just before 1pm (there was a little confusion with the shuttle). As soon as I walked in the door, I saw Tish Henley (one of Elvis’ nurses). She autographed her book I brought from home and then proceeded to sell me a Lowell Hays replica ring that Elvis wore during his last concert. It was half price at $80. It’s gold, but some many ‘diamonds’ that it looks silvery (and has 4 black ‘onyx’). But Tish only took cash, and I had exactly $90 cash on me. Luckily most of the other folks accepted credit cards. So in five minutes, I spent $80 cash. But I love my new Elvis ring! My next stop was at Donna’s (from Marlowe’s) table who was selling a lot of Sandi Pichons stuff. I bought a few books and original photographs. I saw my friend Rhonda. Then I finally met Beth Butts, who makes all these great Memphis and Elvis and Grizzlies shirts (we’ve been talking online for a while). I bought a Memphis flash shirt from her, which is so soft and comfy. I met and spoke with Trey Miller who made Dean Nichopolous’ film. I bought some rare, out of print and autographed books like JD Sumner’s book and the Donna Lewis Diaries volume 3 from Norm. Then I met Ronnie Milsap’s drummer Steve ‘Hawk’ Holt. He also played at Elvis’ New Year’s Eve parties. He was the greatest, sweetest man! I told him how much I love the drums and drummers – about my motto borrowed from Larry Mullen (of U2) “it’s all about drums.” He loved it and thought it would make a great tee shirt. I told him I already made a tee shirt. He wanted my phone number, so he could see this shirt, so I gave him my card. I bought Ronnie Milsap’s autobiography and Hawk signed it for me. I bought some buttons books including Dick Grob’s new book from Jon Daly, the Elvis Con organizer. Elvis’ cook Nancy Rooks was to be my last stop (I wanted her to autograph her book I brought from home), but she was busy eating, so I talked to Caroline for a bit. Then I met Tracy (who I had just met online) and her friend Katy – they are both NKOTB fans as well as Elvis fans. We sat and talked for hours. By the time we were finished at 4pm, Nancy Rooks had left. Oh well. I called for the shuttle and went back to the Guest House. I dropped off all my stuff (12 books, 4 buttons, 1 shirt and 1 ring), relaxed a bit then headed downstairs to Delta’s to use my meal plan for the dinner buffet. Coincidentally, Caroline and Kristy were there eating, so I joined them. Then I went out on the back porch, sat on one of the comfy couches and read one of my new books.
I grabbed the shuttle back over to Elvis Presley’s Memphis for the Gospel Concert at 8pm. When I got off the shuttle I noticed this long line going all the way up to the complex – it was the line for the Gospel Concert. I couldn’t believe it! Luckily it was a beautiful night, dare I say chilly, which is unheard of for August in Memphis. The line moved fairly quickly, but there were not a lot of available seats and nothing up close. But luckily they had just added a single row of seats along the wall, so I sat in one of those and was fairly close and had a great view. Saturday Night Church, as Argo referred to it, began at 8:05pm with a clip of Elvis singing “Peace in the Valley” from The Ed Sullivan Show. Terry Mike Jeffrey took the stage at 8:12 and played until 8:48. I was surprised how much I truly enjoyed his set. He played all of my favorites. Duke Mason joined him on stage for one song and was great with his beautiful deep voice. Terry Blackwood and The Imperials took the stage at 8:52 and played until 9:28. They brought the sold out, standing room only audience to their feet when they came into the audience singing “Put Your Hand in the Hand.” But my favorite of the concert was of course The Stamps with Donnier Sumner, Bill Baize, Larry Strickland and Donnie’s son Jeff Sumner. I adore Donnie – he is so funny! The Stamps played from 9:36 to 10:15 including “Sweet Sweet Spirit.” which they would sing alone at Elvis’ shows. The concert concluded with my favorite Gospel song “How Great Thou Art.” Terry Mike Jeffrey and The Imperials joined The Stamps on stage and again the sold out, standing room only audience was brought to their feet! Not a dry eye in the house! Because of Elvis, I learned about and now love Gospel music (and old country music).
I was back in my room at the Guest House by 10:30 and ordered BBQ nachos from room service. They were SO yummy. The pulled pork was VERY tender and lots of cheese and bbq sauce. These first two days have gone by way too fast, but everything has been so great and and transportation everywhere has been so easy. By 12:30am I’m ready for bed after uploading all my pics and vids – and my bbq nachos have settled.
To see all of my photos from my Day 2 of Elvis Week 2017, please click here.