We started by trying to keep cool sitting in the plaza but the heat was still building as the crowds of loving fans arrived.
As always the Elvis Country Fanclub kicked off proceedings for the 32nd ceremony and the theme song this year was Don Robertson's classic 'Anything That's Part of You'.
- more emotional moments ... It is always an unforgettable experience that words cannot properly explain, but something that every true Elvis fan should share at least once.
- Elvis, thank you for enriching all our lives.
EIN EXCLUSIVE - Elvis Week DAY 5, Saturday August 14th, Midnight in Memphis.
It has been a crazy day once again and I have been rushing all over the joint. Nearly midnight now and more partying to do.. so this will have to be quick..
I spent time in town and over at Graceland, met up with Betty Harper (right) who was there with her lovely art and work and was signing stuff for the enthusiastic fans.
But it has been too much to see and no time to report - plus it is a terrible swelter of HOT HOT 103.F.
I should tell you all about 'Conversations on Elvis' - GREAT to see Our man getting yet more Gold and Platinum RIAA Awards more than 33 years after he last entered a recording Studio!!
However the salient points are all covered in this great YouTube clip - and tell you more than I can possibly recall right at this excited post On Tour moment! Please Click here to see all about 'Conversations on Elvis'
The event I have to report on for you is of course the VIP reception and special Elvis On Tour screening.
The pre-event VIP meet was at the Rendevous Restaurant and Bar with about 300 keen and excited fans with a fabulous 2 hours of bbq nibbles, drinks and Elvis on the jukebox!
To be honest a fair few in the crowd felt that it was a waste of precious money and there was no special excitement more than you can get at other events.
But as for the ELVIS ON TOUR Orpheum presentation - forget the other July 29th city cinemas events, this was the REAL DEAL!
The Orpheum was packed the the max and the electicity in the atmousphere amazing. I could have cried with the exceitment.
JD Sumner's daughter was close to us in the audience and The Stamps, The Imperials, Joe Guercio, Joe esposito.. they were all there.
Left;Watching Elvis on Screen at the Orpheum -- Right; The Stamps perform on stage .
There is something totally SURREAL about watching Elvis perform on the big screen in the theatre where he came to watch films all those years ago. 33 years after his death and the atmousphere is astounding.
After the film the intermission and then the promised Unreleased material, and this time it really was.
Fabulous footage of Elvis rehearsal wearing the light blue two-piece with the black criss crosses on the front, cuffs turned up and matching pants.
You see him in the elevator and then we saw 6 rehearsal songs in the studio with the full band in there with him. Absolutely Magnificent.
The Orpheum had security guards in the aisle of the theatre so there was no way in hell you could even take a photo let alone video. (see pictures right).
The following songs were played from the studio rehearsal, Cattle Call, For The Good Times, See See Rider, Bridge Over Troubled Water and A Big Hunk O' Love
It was the very raw material as in straight ex camera-tape footage and parts with heavily distorted vocals (we've seen some on bootlegs, the audio is not good). So it would need major editing to look good on a professional DVD. However seeing NEW Elvis footage on the BIG SCREEN - how exciting is that! - Just Fricking awesome!
No one asked and we were not informed but with all this great unreleased footage we all know about, is it going to be released in 2012 with more EOT stuff for the 35th anniversary!! - who knows?
The evening ended with a very special performance as Joe Guercio conducted The Stamps (see above) as they sang their inspiring version of Elvis' favourite 'Sweet Sweet Spirit'. It was the perfect emotional end to a wonderful evening.
But there is always the great Elvis action on Beale Street awaiting... Hope you like the special souvenirs, Gotta go, JAK calling and my second last night in town - gotta blow it out!!!
There's a sweet sweet spirit in this place
And I know that it's the spirit of the Lord
There are sweet expressions on each face
And I know they feel the presence of the Lord
Until tomorrow, your intrepid EIN Roving Reporter
EIN EXCLUSIVE - Elvis Week DAY 4, Friday August 13th, way after Midnight in Memphis.
Hi Elvis Friends, at last back to worldwide easy communication...
It's been a busy couple of ELVIS days. Met up with Barbara Hearne who was signing autographs at the Clarion, along with Marion Cocke. The Stanley boys are still here (for the long ride it seems). The are premiering their documentary I mentioned yesterday at midnight tonight - but with JAK ahead I sadly couldn't make it.
Of course I went to see the Elvis auction items at the Peabody - and will try and check out the action tomorrow when it starts at 5pm Saturday.
Some of the better things I saw on show, and these are all starting bidding prices..
Silver punch bowl set US$1250, a cool 1956 belt $9750, Opal Ring $43,750.
EP glasses $16,500, plenty of 1950's memorabilia in absolute mint condition.
A nice 1950s' simple style Elvis belt (right) - he is wearing it in both pictures. Estimate of US$20,000 upwards!
There were bracelets, rings, dog-tags, earrings, belts etc. $390-$490, various rare ep's and records, even Elvis' personal address book for $2600.
A green mercedes Elvis gave Ginger Alden is out front on display and is up for auction. And the most ridiculously priced item of all - the 4-page hand written letter to Anita Wood - are you ready for this?? Starting price of $72,500. (see below)
Of course there is the recently added "Elvis Hair" but sorry fans, I didn't bother taking a picture of the "hair in a jar", because it's just stupid!!!
Some shirts of Elvis's priced $10,000 upwards also.
Plenty of vendors set up there and quite a buzz in the air about the auction.
I got together with my special Elvis-chat group at Marlowes and what a nice surprise when Bud Glass arrived. (right)
I chatted with him about his 'King's Ransom Museum' that had a great run at the Imperial Palace in Vegas.
But as reported on EIN this week (see EIN front page news) their contract is up, so they are about open for another run in a different hotel. And hopefully better located for Elvis fans. Depsite what other websites stated - it has not closed down forever!
While never a great ETA lover - there really is only ONE Elvis - last night's 2010 Ultimate ETA finals deserve a mention - if only for the huge appreciative audience it draws.
Of course there is that strange wondering I feel inside that you cannot be sure as to why they all want to impress as a version of Elvis - however some of them actually do show the right level of respect and sincerity that we all look for.
As reported Justin Shandor was the 2010 Ultimate ETA winner while Kevin Mills was second and Jay Dupuis third. There was a feeling in our section of the auditorium that Kevin Mills was the possible top performer but then again every artist had their own supporters there of course.
A nice touch was the unusual focus by Dwight Icenhower on some early 1960s' songs like 'Bossa Nova Baby' and an all-time EIN favourite 'Such A Night'. After all, it sure gets tiring hearing those same old white-jumpsuit 70's numbers again and again.
The crowd appreciated last year's winner Bill Cherry saying "There is only one Elvis and he never can be replaced". - Amen.
Having said that however, Highlight of the Week so far ... the Jamie Aaron Kelly performance tonight. DO NOT miss it.
Jamie Aaron Kelley blew us away at his 11pm show at Dad's Place at the Memphis Plaza Hotel (formerly the Clarion).
His shows have been so impressive that there were many repeat attendees in the audience as he has been doing shows there all this week. Some fans I chatted to were there for their 2nd and 4th time. About 100 in attendance tonight and with a second show at 1am.
INCREDIBLE voice - truly amazing. Dressed in a Sun T-Shirt and yellow blazer, JAK did a lot of early Sun stuff - even some with just acoustic guitar - and it was inspirational. The real-deal Elvis Sun Studio style, one stand-up bass player and one electric guitar.
He took every request yelled from the audience and knew the song, all its lyrics and all its chords by heart and performed each one magnificently. 'Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello' - completely acapella - no music at all - What a CLASSIC.
There was 'Steadfast Loyal & True', 'Judy', 'Blue Moon', 'Suspicion', 'Fever' and the most amazing rendition of 'How The Web Was Woven' - just him and his guitar playing which totally brought the house down. I have seen him before but I can't speak highly enough of his performance this year. The first time I saw him was about 7 years ago at the tent - he has sure come a long way.
Tonight's show was apparently different to last nights and he will probably make tomorrow's different again - I plan to attend if the Orpheum special 'On Tour' VIP spectacular finishes early enough.
Afterwards I chatted to Jamie Aaron Kelly and he was very humble, bordering on shy - another nice Elvisy touch. Sorry girls not sure what he has planned or coming up but he is newly married!!!
I will be doing an in-depth interview with him for EIN real soon.
It's almost like we're "Comin' Home" already, 'Conversations On Elvis' coming up then the 'On Tour' VIP cinema special tomorrow and then the Vigil on Sunday.
It seems to be going too fast,
It was a night
oooo what a night it was
It really was such a night
The moon was bright,
oh how so bright it was
It really was such a night
The night was alight with stars above
Oooo when he kissed me
I had to fall in love...
Until tomorrow, your intrepid EIN Roving Reporter
EIN EXCLUSIVE - Elvis Week DAY 2 & Day 3 - Thursday August 12th, Midnight in Memphis.
Night rider, night rider
You may think that it's the breeze
Whispering through the lonely trees
But it's only him a'flying round the bend
As the day comes to that end
(as sent by phone!) Elvis Week Day 2 & 3 and I've hit a problem already! Wednesday I headed over to Tunica, Mississippi today after taking in the major Elvis collector's
fair at the Memphis Clarion Hotel where I caught up with the Stanley brothers, Billy and Ricky.
The convention was excellent and I had a great chance to talk with Billy Stanley about his new DVD documentary. He says it is finished, "the best documentary about Elvis you could ever see" but is shopping around for a publisher.
Rick Stanley talked to me about his "Touch Of Two Kings" (Growing Up In Graceland) book and was signing copies for fans.
Ronnie McDowell and The Jordanaires & Imperials are in town for a show at the Fitz Casino Tunica Saturday Night. I saw a couple of them in the Hotel but they were too busy to interupt. (See EIN article on Gordon Stoker here).
Also went into the fabulous Lansky Brothers shop before leaving Memphis (there is always so much to do and so little time). Talked to Bernard's son Hal Lansky who said that his dad was taking it easier nowadays and was only working in the shop 2 days a week at max. There are rumours that Bernard Lansky is still recuperating in hospital but Hal did not mention it. Maybe he was being polite about his Dad.
Checked out their great new book 'Clothier to the King' and was shown this great photo of Bernard with Linda Thompson.. - no wonder he's still so fiesty. Bernard is now 83 years old.
Check out our fabulous interview with "Mr B" Lansky from a few years ago, it sure shows his sensational character. (Go here to Lansky Interview)
... BUT then the great Harley Davidson called for some Night Rider action...
and then my wireless failed - and the 4 star hotel had no business Centre and had no internet connectivity!!! ... so all my plans to send long stories of my wild adventures today have gone awry.
So apologies for now, please stay tuned for a full update, lots of photos and stories coming soon.
Cautioned my baby to stay at home
Not to leave mama's side
She laughed when I told her take care, take care
Or you'll share in his midnight ride
Night rider, night rider.......
Your intrepid EIN Roving Reporter
EIN EXCLUSIVE - Elvis Week DAY 1 - Tuesday August 10th, Midnight in Memphis.
Some people like to Rock,
Some people like to Roll,
But movin' and a-groovin'
Gonna satisfy my soul!
Well, yet another day where the mercury was tipping 100F, but there was no stopping me as today was the day to visit Graceland (Mecca). I arrived around 11am and the crowds were quite small - at some points throughout the tour, I felt as though I had the mansion to myself.
Of course, there is that old familiar feeling of walking through the front door and the sense that Elvis is going to walk down those stairs any second. Nothing much has changed since I did the tour last year, however there was a new jumpsuit on display - black with red unicorns - which was very neat to see. As today is officially day "1" of Elvis week, there weren't too many floral tributes laid in the Meditation Garden, but I will put that down to people touring the house maybe tomorrow and for the rest of Elvis Week.
After finishing the emotional Mansion visit, I wandered over to check out the new Fashion Elvis display at Graceland Crossing.
A lot of the items from Elvis' wardrobe have been on display previously (inside Graceland & Sincerely Elvis) but there were some cool shirts, hats and shoes that I hadn't seen before.
Also, a nice jewellery display of quite a few rings and other items such as guns and Elvis's honorary police badges.
The car museum had the new addition of the restored tractor that Elvis used on the Graceland grounds. Other than that, nothing new, but always nice to see that chrome shining on his many cars - my favourite being the Stutz Blackhawk.
After milling around the Crossing for a while, I headed over the Memphis Plaza hotel where I bumped into Billy Stanley and Rick Stanley - who are there signing autographs daily. They were so busy and had little time to talk, but I promised to stop and chat properly before the week is out.
From here we drove about 6 miles to check out "Coletta's Pizza Restaurant" where Elvis used to go to eat during the late 60's/early 70's. There is an Elvis Room sanctioned off - housing lots of Elvis memorabilia and photos on the walls - along with the exact spot that he used to sit.
The waitress there was nice enough to share her Elvis stories (the same owners still work there) - Elvis would sit (in what is now the Elvis Room) - with most of his entourage. His favourite meal to order was Ravioli or BBQ Pizza.
We were also told that Priscilla would come by quite a bit to get these meals "to go" and take them back to Elvis at Graceland. This little gem was unknown to me until tonight - the pizza was DELICIOUS - if you get the chance, stop by and check it out. Elvis sure had good taste!
Of course we were heading to Overton Park for the official Opening Party of "Shake Rattle & Roll at the Shell" when the rain started pouring down. Insiders called me to say that although Donnie Edwards was there and ready to Rock n Roll the event had to be cancelled. What a real shame - I was feeling up for some Elvis 1955 - and it was all in benefit of the Alzheimer's Association.
(EIN note: See full story front page)
Changing plans and after a quick Marguerita to calm the nerves, we thought we would take in a few sights around town - Sun Studios, Lauderdale Courts, Humes High School, Forest Lawn Cemetery, the very fire department that sent help on that fateful day of August 16th, the Memphian Theatre and a few other notable places.
No matter where you go in Memphis, there is always a little bit of Elvis history around every corner. We even pulled up at the lights next to Dr Nick - who was happy to have a quick chat and let me take his picture. He was glad his book had been well received and said "Hi" to all EIN readers.
See EIN's 2010 interview with Dr Nick here
So once again today finished up at the tent at Graceland Crossing - the crowds have doubled and it looks like Elvis Week is well on the way to being one huge party.
Honky Tonky Joe is knockin' at the door
Bring him in and fill him up and set him on the floor
Let's have a Party, ooh let's have a Party,
Your intrepid EIN Roving Reporter
EIN EXCLUSIVE - DAY 0 - Monday August 9th, Midnight in Memphis.
Hi everyone from a hot and humid Memphis night, Well, not even emergency surgery and a 4 day stay in hospital could keep me away from Memphis for yet another Elvis Week. So happy to be "home" again and in the town that I so love. As the newspaper says "Welcome to Elvis Week."
A nice surprise in the arrivals hall at Memphis airport, was the new Sun Studios Cafe. A very large bar/diner with lots of memorabilia.
However, after 23 hours travelling all the way from wintery Australia, I didn't have the energy to check it out - and was only keen to 'check in' to my hotel as soon as possible.
First hotel this trip is the very lovely Doubletree on Union Street, downtown Memphis. Only steps from Beale Street, and a couple of blocks from the River, this hotel is in a prime location. ... Sun Studios is also just up the road.
The victim of sever jet-lag, I found myself wide-eyed at 4am the next day. After a lovely breakfast (Southern style) at TGIF's, it was time to hit Beale St before the crowds and more importantly before the sun came out. It was pretty much just me and the street cleaners, but it was a good opportunity for photographs and a nice morning stroll.
Once the shops opened, it was time to go and grab my 2010 Elvis Week Collectors pins from the Hard Rock Cafe. This year there are 4 in the set - 50's Elvis, Army Elvis, 68 Elvis and Aloha Elvis. There were still plenty when I was there at 10am Monday morning, but be quick, as these are pretty much sold out by Tuesday. After some more window shopping, it was time for a cool down in the pool.
Next was a trip down to Graceland Crossing to check out all things Elvis and to see what the energy was like. Surprisingly, for this early in the week, there were several hundred fans already milling round the tent listening to varied Tribute Artists, and of course, the very talented and ever entertaining Danny McCorckle. We even spotted Kang Rhee strolling around.
And what would Memphis be like this time of year without the unbelievable heat? I knew it was going to be hot when it was 86F already by 8am. And sure enough it was a scorcher with very high humidity. But nothing that a couple of cool Margaritas wont fix.
The stores didn't have much new to offer, but the release of Elvis on Tour (on blue ray and dvd) was enough to entice me and I bought my copy asap. The Elvis Week 2010 design this year is also quite appealing - with many items to choose from, tshirts, pins, pens, postcards, and even Elvis chocolate bars!!
I wondered over to check out Graceland, alas the gates were closed, as evening was looming, and the late walk-ups had not yet begun. Still, nothing really compares with that feeling of standing at the entrance to the King's world. Tomorrow, its through the gates, and up to the house for a tour.....