Today at work I sat down with a colleague to talk with him about when he saw Elvis live on stage in Las Vegas. I like to hear about it now and then, but this time I wanted to get all the facts right so I could share them with you. Here goes:
In 1974 my colleague was part of an acrobatic group performing at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. One day he, and all the other artists performing on "The strip" received an inquiry if they wanted to see an Elvis show. My colleague, who has always liked Elvis, accepted and one August night found himself sitting in the showroom of the Las Vegas Hilton.
The time was 2.30 a.m. and this was an extra concert, the third for the evening. (I have never found any information about this show. During the summer of 1973 Elvis did perform a special 3:00 a.m. show, but my colleague is sure this was 1974, and who wouldn't remember the year one saw Elvis!?)
His strongest memory is the feeling he had sitting in the audience right before the show. "I had seen famous artists before but never felt anything like this. The atmosphere was electrifying and it was like everyone knew something special was about to happen," he told me. "Then when they turned the houselights down and 2001 began to sound people started screaming."
As for the show, he can't remember any particular songs, but he does remember Elvis being in total command, working hard on stage, moving around and sweating profusely. "He wiped his sweat off his forehead with his scarves and threw them at the audience," my colleague recollected. "And he walked to the front of the stage when the girls came forward."
Even today, more than 30 years later, my colleague says he's never been to a concert like the one with Elvis. "I've seen Bruce Springsteen, Rolling Stones and so on and they were fine. But that night in Las Vegas I felt like I was experiencing history."