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Forty years ago today (July 30), Elvis Presley performed live on stage to sold out crowds in Asheville, North Carolina. To honor his historic visit to Asheville, July 30 has been
officially proclaimed as Elvis in Asheville Day.
The proclamation was made during last Tuesday's Asheville's City Council meeting to honor the residents' "Burning Love" for the king.
Ashevegas blogger Jason 'Elvis' Sanford and Jon 'Elvis' Elliston -- writer for the Carolina Public Press -- dressed as Elvis to accept the proclamation (why they had to do this is
beyond us here at EER?)
Presley sold out three nights at the Asheville Civic Center in 1975, and you can read a review from the time below.
|ELVIS IN ASHEVILLE DAY
40 YEARS ON AND ELVIS STILL HAS ASHEVILLE TALKING
July 30, 2015 / Email / EER /
GENESIS - Asheville, July 23, 1975
Before I review the second night of three in Asheville, July 23, 1975, I'd like to mention that it was during Elvis' stay at the Roadway Inn that he shot the TV set, the bullet richeted at
hit Dr Nick in the chest, but did not injure him. On the Wednesday afternoon of the 23rd before the show, Elvis had an appointment with local dentist Jim Love of Black Mountain. At
this concert Elvis wore the Gypsy suit. A well known picture of him flicking through a Bible exists from this show, as well one of him sitting in front of the drum kit preceeding the band
Elvis' second concert in Asheville, July 23, 1975 opened with the 2001 theme. The opening riff is at times hard to hear due to the wild applause and screams from the audience. At
the point that the band go into rhythm which indicates the point that Elvis starts singing and the trumpets stop, Elvis fails to sing, but yet a huge roar from the crowd erupts
prompting you to wonder what it is Elvis was doing. After approximately fifteen seconds Elvis ripps into See See Rider similar to his Dallas, December 28, 1976 version with a loud
and confident "Yeah, oh see...". Again, the crowd erupts. What is evident immediately on the audience recording is the loudness and rapidness of the drums and bass.
The crowd let out yet another scream during the instrummental. Elvis' singing is very similar to the Hampton Roads, April 9, 1972 e/s version of I Got a Woman in that he stutters a
lot of the words to good effect. A manic drum beat ends See See Rider, and also signals Elvis' karate chops with his guitar. Surprisingly. the applause dies down very quickly, and
Elvis says, "Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Thankyou very much." Unfortunately like most audience recordings, Elvis' dialogue is at times inaudible, but there is at one point
before the "well wells" a woman's voice speaking directly into Elvis' microphone. At the end of his routine, Elvis says quickly, "That's it. Thankyou very much" and Elvis pretends to
leave the stage. The crowd yells their mock disapproval, so Elvis belts out I GOT A WOMAN/AMEN. As like most versions of this song from this tour, Elvis is energetic and
prounounces the lyrics with real interest. The part where he sings "She's there to love me, both day and night" the crowd raw simultaneously to the change in beat. Elvis sings
"..never runs on the streets, (never)leaves me alone" in a real cool, get down and dirty fashion - much better than the slow version from the February 5, 1973 dinner show! The next
lines " I got a woman - way cross town- she's good to me" are strung together and sung quite loudly.
Elvis merges into a version of Amen not unlike to the Rapid City, June 21, 1977 version. At one point Elvis ceases singing to hear the quartets, but resumes with some interesting
vocals towards the end. The strip tease c-- dive bomb section draws lots of screams. Obviously Elvis the Pelvis is working overtime. JD draws plenty of screams with his immitation of
a B-52, and Elvis feels satisfied with JD's efforts not to ask him to do it again. The ending of I Got a Woman is filled with more of Ronnie's rapid drim beats indicating Elvis is yet
again showing off with his guitar before throwing it over his shoulder for Charlie Hodge to catch - in time with the music, of course!
Again, the applause dies quickly, but before the last sounds, Elvis says shyly, almost somewhat sounding bored, "Thank you very much. Big Boss". Glen D. Hardin's keystrokes
introduce BIG BOSS MAN, and to the listener's benefit, the audience recording stablizes it's sound level. Ronnie Tutt really drives the rhythm not heard on Elvis' records, until, in my
opinion the Today album came out. Just as a side note, to my ears, fans were not exposed to heavy drum and bass mixed albums again until the CD release of Today in 1992, and
then the Platinum boxset - refer the alternates of Burning Love, Promised Land and even It's Midnight). The introduction of Big Boss Man is extended as Elvis takes his time, and
when he comes in he is just a little off beat, but quickly remedies the problem. Similar to the following night, Elvis uses some bluesy pronounciation. He tells James to "play it" whilst
"nah nah nahing" to the sound of the trumpets. Interestingly, James Burton plays some great, but different guitar licks that are similar to that heard from the closing show,
September 2, 1974. Unfortunately this version seems a little shorter than usual, but has a great ending by James Burton.
"Thankyou very much ladies and gentleman, and welcome to the show. We hope you have a good time this evening. We're going to do our best to entertain you." Elvis' welcome is
plagued by the fans sitting behind the orchestra telling him to turn around. Elvis gives in to their demands and continues, "We're gonna turn around. And we're gonna do a lot of
songs. Old ones, new ones. I hope we do something that you like. I'll walk around and sweat a lot, give away scarves and kiss people (huge screams), throw the Stamps out in the
audience". At this point, amongst the screams Elvis says, "I don't know what you've heard. The people (ie, the announcers at the start of the show)come in here and brainwash ya,
they say, you know, 'don't move, stay in your seat' - just have a good time folks". Apparently Elvis was having a hard time coping with the lack of fans at the stage edge, but it sure
sounded like they were enthusiastic! From these comments the crowd erupts, but strangley, it dies very quickly. It's almost as if they are so conservative, that each time their
emotions are exposed, they quickly regain their composure. Elvis says as the screams die, "That is what we want to HEAR, hehehe". LOVE ME is next, and is greeted
Throughout this song, there are six loud bursts of screams from the audience. At the end of the song Elvis says, "Thank you very much, You sound like you are a good audience
ladies and gentlemen. Thankyou. Uh, I gotta tell you that I kissed somebody last night and I caught the Creepin' Crud, so if I got it..." the tape becomes inaudible, but it sounds like
Elvis mentions Felton when he says, "..so I shall ask (Felton?) to remove it. Take it on". IF YOU LOVE ME follows Elvis' instruction, and is quite a vocally committed version with
good pronounciation. It is evident Elvis is still in love with this song, whilst Jerry plays some great flowing bass notes. Elvis cuts the applause by saying, "Ladies and gentleman,
there's a fella that lives here in Asheville who wrote a song, uh, it's one of my favourite songs that I've recorded" at this point Elvis is cut off by a woman who yells, "Hey, we can't
see" "Yeah, sit down" yells a man. Elvis responds to her, "What? His name is Billy Edd Wheeler. Put the light...that's cool. He wrote us a song called It's, I mean he wrote a song
called It's Midnight, I'd like to try that for you right now". To screams and whistles Elvis performs a great version of IT'S MIDNIGHT. It is obvious Elvis is putting in a special effort for
the songwriter, and it seems the band is too.
This song ends on a very powerful "yeah" by Elvis which takes him from the second last "I miss you" by the Stamps to the end. ALL SHOOK UP brings plenty of screams from the
women, and Elvis sings it word for word. The girls love the volcano lyrics. TEDDY BEAR is standard until Elvis emphasises the lyrics, "Yeeeaaahhhhhhh, put -a-chain
a-round-my-neck". DON'T BE CRUEL has the "before I kick your..." lines, and Elvis sounds to be having a heap of fun with his fans judging by his laughter and their screams.
"Yoooooouuuuuu AAAAAIIIIIIINNNNNNTTTTTTTTT heard nothing yet, hahaha" brings screams of excitement, then Elvis continues, "..Nuthin' but hound dog", and the crowd screams
even louder. HOUND DOG starts really well but falls victim to boredom, and the too high note which seems to strain Elvis' voice. In the finale, Elvis says something about "a rabbit, I
can't see". When the song ends there is NO applause! Elvis says, "You can applaude ladies and gentlemen if you want to, let us know that you heard the song" The crowd clapps in
reply, and Elvis continues, "Otherwise we wont know up here. This next song we did about three years ago called.." THE WONDER OF YOU. As usual for this period, the song has
had it's introduction dropped. Elvis emphasises the word "consolation" and the line, "your kiss for me is worth a fortune". A very encouraging version by Elvis. The crowd is receptive
to this.. Elvis asks, "Whatcha got? It's a picture of my little daughter, right? Haha, that's beautiful". The same woman who called out before about not being able to see screams she
wants a scarf. Elvis ignores her and continues, "Ok, in this next part, we're gonna do a couple of songs. And we're gonna ask you what you want to hear". A familiar woman's voice
screams out very demandingly, "Turn around!". It kinda reminds me of Elvis' comments from Memphis, March 20, 1974 when he immitated a fan screaming, "Hey come back, turn
around. She's louder than I am and I've got the microphone". Elvis says, "Turn Around", half stating it, half questioning it. He then launches in to TURN AROUND LOOK AT ME. The
only version I know to exist is heartfelt and well sung, albeit only approximately 30 seconds in length.
"We have two songs in this spot. One of them is Polk Salad Annie, and one of them is Burning Love". The latter gets the most applause, but Elvis says, "ok, we'll do Burn, Polk
POLK SALAD ANNIE has a slightly longer introduction as the band wait for the orchestra to blow their trumpets. Elvis is really into this version with plenty of "cha chas" and "yeahs",
he even does his "chickabomps" like he did in 1977 during the instrumentl. Again, the band has to wait for the orchestra to blow their trumpets. Elvis throws in a "suck a lot" during
the extended ending which contains some different drumming and up front guitar work from James. This is obviously a crowd pleaser, and Elvis sounds puffed out. "Whooo, it gets
your blood going anyway. I, uh, liked to introduce the members of my group to ya before we go any further. First of all I want to sit down for a few minutes (Elvis is really panting by
this stage). That song makes you work hard. It's ridiculous" Elvis pronounces "ridiculous" in that same thick tongued southern way he prounounced the word "music", ie, "muze ik"!
Elvis continues, "I'm forty years old, I can't do any more of that jazz" causing the crowd to scream their encouragement. "I'm not getting better, I'm getting older". "Noooooo" screams
Elvis continues the band introductions which are interesting but standard. Elvis tells James to play JOHNNY B.GOODE with the guitar behind his head, and then tells the crowd,
"Watch this". Elvis tells James to play a break, but just when the instrumental ends, Elvis ends the song by singing, "whoa, Johnny B. Gooooooode, hoe!".
The core section of Ronnie's drum solo is very similar to the solo performed in Omaha, June 19, 1977 and draws screams in the same places as Omaha. Elvis tells Ronnie to get
back in his cage, "that haircut did something to ya!". From up in Baton Rouge, Canada is Jerry Scheff. Play the blues, Jerry". SCHOOL SCHOOL DAYS has Elvis sing just the "hail
hail rock and roll" lyrics.
Elvis says "Go down to T-r-o-u" which starts T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Surpisingly Elvis does not introduce it as his latest single, but sings it word for word with no mistakes. If anything, it is
very fast paced, and subsequently a little shorter than usual, until Elvis throws in "Ride it, walk it, talk to me, yeah, get on it, ride it, ride it, ride it" during the extended "hey hey"
ending. "Uh, I'd like to ask the Stamps, this features their bass singer on Why Me, Lord?". WHY ME LORD cops Elvis' comments like "Not enough, JD in response to "Tell me Lord,
what did I ever do".
Then in falsetto, Elvis says, "Sing it JD". This continues with Elvis responding to JD's lines, "Show me Lord", and Elvis says, "Show me, show me, you aint showed me nuthin' yet"
which cracks JD up. All the while younger sounding fans can be heard asking Elvis to come over to them. HOW GREAT THOU ART is introduced as being from 1966. After Elvis
sings, "Oh Lord, my God" he says "Thankyou". "..consider all the world thy hands have made" and "rolling thunder" are very well sung, a little differently to the usual. This is another
brilliant, roof lifter, even better than the version from the following night. The ending is very strong with little support from the Stamps. There is no reprise, and so Elvis starts LET
ME BE THERE. During the first chorus, there are lots of screams from the crowd. Elvis gets caught up in the spirit of the song, and committs himself to a reprise. "We have a new
album out ladies and gentleman.." then the tape cuts. SHAKE A HAND starts, and the sound quality becomes clearer and more dynamic. I have been continually wondering during
my review if this "audience recording" is not actually one from the audience, but an "audience recording" of a soundboard. In other words, it was recorded by a portable tape
recorder. The sound is very good, but has that "external" sound to it. Shake A Hand is very good, much more feeling is put into it than the studio version. "There's another song on
the album called Fairytale. Got the words to it?". Elvis reads the first few lyrics to a very much slower, quieter, country version of FAIRYTALE, his confidence building when he sings
"I've been lovvvvvving you sooooooo long". What a nice, laid back version. Very country. There is very little orchestral work in this version.
"Thankyou ladies and gentlemen.Uh, this has been an aweful long show this afternoon, and I've done it on purpose because my father has been very sick, just a second dear. My
father's been very sick, uh, for the last six months, and he came here tonight, to the show (huge applause). Daddy, stand where they can see ya. You gotta watch him. He'll take the
show off me in a minute". At this point a woman gives Elvis a Bible, and he gets a scarf for her, and asks, "Do you know the first chapter of Genesis? Do you know how Genesis is
spelt? It's spelt G. G-E-N-E-S-I-S. Right? You mispelled it. What's the human body made of? Genes. Just a little bit of information, that's all. Urr, what'll we do next"? Elvis quickly
changes the subject and sings LITTLE DARLIN'.
A typical version, Elvis mentions that his scarf is caught in his chain. Elvis quickly announcesthe MYSTERY TRAIN-TIGER MAN medley, and is very enthusiastic about it, with plenty
of stutters and over enthusiastic vocals. The crowd scream their approval during Elvis' strobe wiggles in Tiger Man. Elvis has the house lights tuned on, and asks Charlie for a scarf.
Elvis is given some kind of artwork which a girl has produced. He says, "It's beautiful, let's see, it's got a little guitar, it's got a Memphis Tennessee, it's got a little teddy bear, some
blue suede shoes, it's got a car, a little ol' hound dog, a motorcycle, a little biddy Elvis, a football, all my gold records" A man screams out for Elvis to turn around, and Elvis says, "I'll
turn around in a minute, give her a chance. That's really nice, really nice honey, you put a lot of work into it". There is some more conversation with the woman, but it sounds like
Elvis moves the microphone away. He asks if he can keep her work, and by the sound of the crowd going, "Whhhhooooooooooo" Elvis and his female fan suck face for a while, so
she must have said yes! FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPS AWAY is performed with a lot of enthusiasm, with lots of long, drawn out words. Elvis tells the crowd to listen to the bass singer
during the reprise, and tells JD not to get nervous.
"My best seller was...oh that's very nice honey, but I'm not the king, but that's very nice of you". IT'S NOW OR NEVER proves to be a pleasant surprise (despite Joe Guercio's dislike
of it). A song rarely performed on this tour and the previous, Elvis seems to sing with a feeling of freshness and interest. "Thankyou ladies and gentlemen. Anything you want to
hear before we leave the stage? I just asked if there was anything you wanna hear and he (a fan) asked for something I don't know, haha. How about Promised Land"?
PROMISED LAND is a good solid version, very similar to the August 1974 versions. Elvis mixes the lines up a bit but is hardly noticeable. The TCB band seem to have fun with this
song. The orchestra use some trumpets to good effect towards the end, and the crowd roar the approval.
Elvis closes the show by saying, "...we have four aeroplanes flying full of equipment and people to make sure you get the very best sound because that's why we're here to please
you. That's not to get a reward". The crowd screams, and Elvis continues, "Until the next time, we bid you an affectionate farewell". CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE closes the show
amidst screams and cries which continue throughout the closing riff. Al Dvorin's familiar voice announces, "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the..." then my damn tape runs out!
The attendance for this concert was 7437 people. It is available in an edited form on the GYRATING ASHEVILLE CD. The sound on both the CD and cassette is very good. The
show itself is very interesting and does not drag. You should get it if you can. The unedited show runs approximately 85 minutes.
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