Friday, July 11, 2008

Las Vegas the day Elvis died

As I'm about to move to Gothenburg and leave my present place of work in a couple of weeks, I'm taking every opportunity to talk to a collegue who was part of an acrobatic group performing in Las Vegas in the 70's and who saw Elvis on stage there in 1974. (You can read about that here).

Today he told me an interesting story of what happened in Vegas the day Elvis died. But he also painted a vivid picture of how it was when Elvis worked there. “Then nothing was the same. Chartered planes from Japan arrived and people came from all over, many of them without tickets, hoping to get lucky.”

All in all, it was good for business when Elvis played town. Taxies, restaurants and hotels had their hands full. And the maƮtre d', the person in charge of assigning customers to the tables in the showroom, never earned so much money as when Elvis was to sing. Because the more you tipped him, the better seats he gave you.

But what about the day that Elvis died? Well, when the message arrived that Elvis had passed away, every flag in town was lowered to half-mast. But that wasn't all.

Because later that day, in the evening, there was a one minute-silence while all the gambling was stopped. According to my collegue, that had only happened once before in Las Vegas, the day president Kennedy was shot. That obviously speaks a lot of how much Vegas held Elvis in high esteem.

Also, Elvis Presley is the only artist to stand statue in the entertainment capital of the world. The exact location? The Las Vegas Hilton. Where else?

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