Wednesday August 16th, the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, was my 6th day of Elvis Week 2017 and my 4th day in a row of seeing my JERRY SCHILLING – and my third day in a row seeing Priscilla Presley.
After just four hours of sleep, I woke up at 10:40am with my head pounding as if I was hung over and my feet swollen. I guess that is what I get for staying up for 24 hours and being at Graceland and the new complex for 21 of those hours. Sadly, I skipped the Memorial Service because I just couldn’t get it together to go – and I’m sure this one was a great one. I did make it to the Lunch Buffet at Delta’s at 1:15pm before they closed at 2pm – now my meal plan was complete. Either I was sleep deprived and starving or that was the best buffet I had the entire week! Everything was just delicious! I had mac n cheese (delicious), fried catfish (delicious), collard greens (delicious – so much better than Vernon’s), BBQ chicken (delicious) and sweet tea (delicious). After lunch I booked my shuttles for the concert that night and to the airport Friday. By 2:10pm, I was relaxing in the lobby reading. I saw Donnie Sumner leaving and Bill Baize returning from the Memorial Service. I also saw Ben (as in Lisa Marie’s son) come in from the Courtyard and head toward the South Tower. And 2:50pm, I realized I was too tired to read and didn’t want to fall asleep in the lobby so I went up to my room to take a nap. I had planned on seeing the Elvis movie playing in the Guest House Theater at 5pm, but when I found out it was Love Me Tender I decided not to go. Instead at 5:30pm, I got a fruit and cheese plate from the grab n go place and sat in the lobby and read. I saw Marlyn Mason arrive and head to the South Tower. At 7pm, I got the shuttle over to the 40th Anniversary Elvis concert. Well it was supposed to leave at 7, but didn’t actually leave until 7:25 – and the concert started at 8pm! Luckily, our shuttle driver knew what she was doing and went the least trafficy way and didn’t much care for the speed limit. We were at the FedEx Forum on Beale Street at 7:40pm and the lines to get in went all the way to the street. I was talking to some U2 fans in line behind me, which never happens in Memphis. On the way to my seat, I saw Tom Brown walking on the concourse eating popcorn. (I never understood eating at a concert.) On my way down to my seat, I noticed they were playing Lisa’s second album Now What. How cool! I thought for sure this was a sign Lisa would be performing just as she did at the 30th Anniversary concert – I was wrong.
I finally made it to my seat at 7:57pm. I was dead center 7 rows back from the stage, which was great to see the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and when Priscilla came out but not so great to see Elvis on the big screens above. But I was sure glad I had that close seat when at 8:02pm, Joel introduced JERRY SCHILLING! I let out a VERY loud squeal/scream. I was just so surprised. I had no idea Jerry was going to be on stage. He gave a little talk and then showed a longer clip from the upcoming HBO documentary. Priscilla came out next to introduce the show. The Memphis Symphony Orchestra was playing along to Elvis on the big screens with footage from Aloha From Hawaii and the 1969 concert. Priscilla came back on stage at 8:45pm to discuss her favorite Elvis songs: “Don’t,” “Now or Never,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” These songs were played by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra with no video – just Elvis audio. Then there were some songs with footage from Elvis on Tour. Lisa Marie’s Now What also played during Intermission. Act 2 began at 9:32pm with Priscilla in the audience shaking hands with the fans in the front row while Jerry watched (almost body guard like) from the side. Elvis’ nurse Marion Cocke was on the end in the front row, so Priscilla introduced her. Priscilla took a seat on the stage and narrated her home movies. I had seen the footage before, but never with first hand commentary. I thought for sure this was going to be a segue for Lisa to come on to either sing or just saying something, but I was wrong. There were songs with footage from the ’68 Comeback Special. I of course cried during “American Trilogy” during the lines “So hush little baby don’t you cry. You know you’re daddy’s bound to die but all my trials, Lord will soon be over.” Then I cried again right after when Priscilla gave her closing remarks as she also got a little choked up. Then I cried right after that during the closer “If I Can Dream.” The show ended at 10:30pm, and I ran up Beale Street to make sure I got on the first shuttle back to the Guest House as I was exhausted and didn’t really feel like hanging out waiting a half hour or so for the next shuttle. I was back in the lobby of the Guest House before 11pm and hung out in the lobby for a bit while waiting for my pizza (as I did not have a proper dinner), but I did not see Lisa or Jerry or Priscilla while I was waiting. I did enjoy the 40th Anniversary concert, but nothing will ever beat the 30th Anniversary concert. That was the best opening ever with the video of Jerry and Joe taking ‘Elvis’ from Graceland to the FedEx Forum and me watching Jerry and Joe watching it on the screen. Then having Lisa Marie surprise the crowd by performing “In the Ghetto” live on stage with a Gospel choir. Plus I enjoy the original TCB band playing live to Elvis singing on the big screen rather than a Symphony Orchestra.
To see all of my photos from Day 6 of Elvis Week 2017, please click here.