exclusive final report from Elvis Week 2004
last we heard from our intrepid roving reporter, Sanja
Meegin, was as she headed for some ‘Smorgasbord’ with
James Burton & friends. Here is the final report of her
last few days, soaking up all that is glorious in Memphis
during Elvis Week.
only way to recover from all my ‘Rock-a-Hula’ fun of Friday
night was to check out Beale Street & to share a few Saturday
champagne cocktails with my friend Lucky Jackson. A lot of
fans were disappointed this year as, without the focus of
E.P's Memphis, it felt ‘Too Much’ like a ‘Lonely Street’!
Alfred’s seemed over-priced and even the Elvis Karaoke night
at Wet Willies was uninspiring. While the small Elvis store
is still operating at E.P's Memphis, the focal point this
year was definitely the main tent at the Graceland Crossing.
now I was coming over all “Ann-Margret” but with perfect
timing made my rendezvous with Sonny West. Sonny and
I talked about Elvis, life, as well as his desire to
visit Australia to see the fans down here.
said ‘Hi’ to all EIN members and hopes to see you soon.
talked of ‘Today, Tomorrow & Forever’ and Sonny agreed that
Saturday night seemed perfect to visit Memphis’ Overton Park
Shell as the weather was ideal for an open-air show.
there can only be one Elvis, Jamie Aaron Kelley is a sensational
ETA who was performing the Overton benefit concert. He is
a total professional and has Elvis’ moves down to a ‘T’, as
well as having the most amazing voice. He sounds so much like
Elvis it’s uncanny. Elvis played here on July 30th 1954 so
it was almost 50 years to the day! It felt nostalgic and kind
of spooky sitting in the very same bleachers that those fans
did all those years ago.
evening was extremely entertaining and all proceeds went towards
saving the Shell - which, if $500,000 isn’t found in a hurry,
may be history very soon. The last place Elvis ever played
has been torn down, lets hope the first place he ever played
doesn’t meet the same fate. What else could a good girl do
on Sunday but head for the ‘Memorial Mass for Elvis’ at St.
Paul’s Catholic Church?
my exotic week I was in need of some salvation and the choir
soothing me with some Elvis gospel songs was soul-saving.
Featured songs were, His Hand in Mine, Let Us Pray (the 200
strong congregation were reeling & a’ rockin’ in the pews
to that one) and we finished up nicely with How Great Thou
of course to The Vigil. ‘I Love You Because’ was the
theme song and this year all the music played matched
the video clips on the huge screen, which was very effective.
lot was featured from the 68 Comeback and Aloha to plug
the new DVDs.
night was buzzing with 8000 devoted Elvis fans in attendance
(according to the papers), although the number seemed far
greater. The Ceremony was short and sweet.
of the crowd were almost wiped-out when a fire engine decided
it had to go down E.P. Blvd and not another way! Heading right
through the crowd, it was a matter of pick up your chair &
candle or, see-you-later!
once again bumped into my friends Jack Soden and Alfred Wertheimer
walking up the driveway who told me that they had been at
the Peabody Dance Party. As usual there were loooooong lines
for the walk up to the grave & I finally arrived at the Meditation
Garden around 2am. On our way down the line was still showing
no sign of letting up. It was as moving and as emotional as
ever, and luckily a cool night which was very welcome.
August 16th - This year there was no special ‘finale’ which
was a shame, since ‘Leather & Leis’ last year was the perfect
Elvis positive after the emotion & importance of The Vigil.
Instead I went to Forest Lawn Cemetery to see where Elvis'
body used to lay in the mausoleum before it was moved. Disappointingly,
it seemed very dirty and unkempt this year.
an “Elvis boost” I visited a display of never before released
concert photos from the collection of George Hill. Derek Phillips
has bought George Hill's entire collection (well over 1000)
photographs of Elvis in concert from 1972-1977 and they have
never been released before in any shape or form. They were
AMAZING to see, just what I needed and I am sure most Elvis
fans are like me- there is nothing quite like seeing a new
photo of Elvis.
of the majority are for sale www.imagesinconcert.com - what
a treat. In the evening I joined the final walk up to the
Elvis’ grave since it was yet another beautiful night for
it. There were so many people that they had to extended the
hours. I was stoked to see my special Elvis bouquet had been
chosen, out of the hundreds from the previous night, to be
displayed right alongside the one from Lisa Marie and Priscilla
by the top of the grave. I was proud as punch - Australia
was well represented. This was my final night and there was
just enough time to say ‘C’mon everybody’ as we headed out
for one ‘last farewell’!
I departed Graceland Plaza I met, Branko Kavcic, the man who
recently acquired the very first Stutz ever made - the be-all
and end-all, we are talking the 1969 Prototype! The very car
that Elvis drove, Frank Sinatra drove etc. While EPE has been
trying to get hold of it, the original was there on tour this
year for all to see. Branko said, “let’s Do The Vega” and
try some ‘Nightlife’! Well, dear Elvis friends, what would
you do? The Ann-Margret in me jumped in the Stutz and said,
“You’re The Boss”!
off from Elvis week 2004. "What’d I Say’’? ? For
EIN & all Elvis fans, See you next year. - Sanja.
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