Although Elvis’s career started in 1954 and he had some records on the country chart, he didn’t have a record on the main Billboard charts until March 3, 1956 with “Heartbreak Hotel.” Many people who were around at that time attribute this to be their first exposure to rock ‘n’ roll, and is on Dawson and Propes’ list of candidates for the first rock ‘n’ roll record. Their other candidate for 1956 was “Blue Suede Shoes” by Carl Perkins.
In April 1956, Elvis was booked into the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas, where he bombed – and was the butt of jokes thereafter. He eventually got even.
Local Booking agent Thorstein Bjorn (T.B.) Skarning decided to bring Elvis to the Twin Cities, and mortgaged everything he owned to do it, including a drug store, an apartment building, and personal property. On May 13, 1956, Elvis performed two shows in the Cities: the first at 3 pm at the St. Paul Auditorium, and the second at 8 pm at the Minneapolis Auditorium. The ad also promised singers, dancers, and comedians. On May 10, 1956, Minneapolis Tribune Entertainment columnist Will Jones reported that a Minneapolis mother called Skarning and asked him to have Elvis behave like a gentleman. “I’ve seen him on TV, and I don’t like him.” She had two teenage daughters that she couldn’t stop from going to the show and she was worried.
The day before the two concerts, the Minneapolis Tribune published Russell Bull’s “Just Ask” feature, with the question, “Why is Elvis Presley the teen-agers’ idol?” The five answers, with photos of the respondents, were:
Dianne Nichols of Willmar: “He is the best looking singer I know. His singing should get anyone shook up, that is, anyone who loves good music.
Sandra Vatne of Minneapolis: I think it’s because he’s got real down to earth humilty and that’s something most high school boys don’t have.
Kay Carriveau, Minneapolis: Great grandma had Rudolph Valentino, grandma had Rudy Vallee, mother has Clark Gable and I’ve got Elvis Presley.
Beverly Holmquist, Willmar: When I her him sing, I get shivers up and down my spine. His looks remind me of my dream boy.
Bruce Vatne, Minneapolis: The kids went crazy for rock and roll music before Elvis came along. His style of presenting it took hold like wildfire.
Bill Diehl reported that the 2:00 show at the St. Paul Auditorium drew only 800 fans; another report was over 3,000. The small crowd was attributed to severe storms and tornadoes that were popping up all over the ‘Cities that day. It was also Mother’s Day. Colonel Parker physically yanked opening act Augie Garcia off the stage after only two songs, afraid he was stealing the show.
The show started on an ominous note when Elvis broke a guitar string and it hit him in the cheek. Dede Smith (see below) also reported that he threw his guitar in the air and it gashed his head, starting him bleeding. Skarning’s secretary patched him up and the wound was hidden by his hair, Dede reported, but it started bleeding again at the end of the Minneapolis show “and everybody was mopping up his awful cut.”
Although Bill Diehl would become a much beloved rock ‘n’ roll disc jockey in the fall of 1956, (never say rock ‘n’ roll on WDGY!), that May he worked for staid old WTCN and was also a columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He was also 30 years old. On May 20, in his Sunday Pioneer Press column, he wrote a scathing open letter to The King:
Last Sunday we met you for the first time. Remember Sunday? It was a day of disappointments. The weather was disappointing. Your crowds both at the St. Paul and Minneapolis auditoriums were disappointing (a Twin Cities total of something like 25,000 was expected and the combined total was only about 6,000). And Elvis, we’re sorry to say it, but your act was disappointing.
This column has been quite a booster of yours. And we’re not giving up on you. Yet. We liked you because you dared to be different. and we liked you because we heard you didn’t drink or smoke. Knowing you were idolized by millions of kids, we thought you were setting a fine example.
Oh, we heard grown-ups make cracks about your sideburns but so what? And we heard that you looked like “one of those hoodlums.” Again, so what? Maybe the kids would let their sideburns grow, but also in setting an example — didn’t smoke and drink, maybe eventually the kids would ape you that way, too. And you’d accomplish something.
So we said, okay, come on, Elvis! We saw you, talked to you and were impressed by your courtesy and consideration and poise in the dressing room. You were generous with autographs and interviews. Your fingers showed no yellow stains, so we assume the stories about your not smoking are true. Your hair was long, sure, but neatly groomed. Even your fingernails were reasonably clean. Yes, you had pimples as some people cracked, but many at your age do. (I might be getting one on the end of my nose right now!)
But then, Elvis, we saw your act. And we were, in a word, disappointed. Somebody, probably an adult, has told you to wriggle around when you sing. Your actions, Elvis, were “low.” And you don’t have to be like that, boy. Your records are selling like crazy to kids who have never seen you but who like your singing style . . . free and uninhibited.
On stage, Elvis, you were nothing but a male burlesque dancer. Your gyrations were straight from strip-tease alley. Happily, you did leave your clothes on. Now, you flopped in Las Vegas because you were playing to adults who don’t dig you. some calculating adult booked you in there — and he was pushing you. You got the bounce.
Do you wonder why flops No. 2 in St. Paul and No. 3 in Minneapolis happened? Oh, they’ll blame the weather and Mother’s Day and anything else. We’ve been asking around, though, and I’ll tell you one big reason: Moms and Dads had seen you on TV and didn’t like your unnecessary bump-and-grind routine.
If more Moms and Dads had seen you, I bet not even the scattered 6,000 would have turned up. You disillusioned many of your fans needlessly. You set a fine example with your courtesy and by not smoking and not drinking. Why, Elvis, do you resort to your “Pelvis Presley” routine? You’d better drop it before more and more people drop you.
Of course, there’ll always be a few crackpots to screech: “Oohhh, Elvis” when you do your hip-wriggle bit. But by now you should know that in show-biz nothing grows in dirt. Clean it up and you’ll really clean up.
Hopefully, Bill Diehl
Will Jones reviewed the St. Paul show and provided some minute details:
Elvis Presley, young bump-and-grind artist, turned a rainy Sunday afternoon into an orgy of squealing in St. Paul Auditorium. He vibrated his hips so much, and the 3,000 customers squealed so insistently at the vibrations, it was impossible to hear him sing. None of the smitten seemed to care. The crowd was much smaller than expected. Presley faced a sea of empty seats. When the noise started, however, even the empty seats seemed to be screaming.
Presley wore a Kelly green jacket, tight blue trousers, and, disappointingly, black leather shoes. He only sang “Blue Suede Shoes.” (I couldn’t actually hear him sing it, because of the squeals. A girl in tight pink slacks assured me that’s what it was.)
Tight pink slacks were almost a uniform among the fans. Tight white slacks and tight black slacks were popular. Presley was wearing tight black jeans and a black silk shirt when he arrived at the auditorium. A dozen policemen marched him into his dressing room. Then he stood around with his hands in his jeans posing for pictures and talking with reporters.
He smiled a faint, half-sneering kind of smile at times. He didn’t look nearly so tortured or pouty as he does in most published photographs. His brown hair doesn’t appear so dark, either. He has pimples all over the back of his neck, a few on his chin, and a number of nervous facial mannerisms. The most intriguing is the repeated, rapid puffing of a single cheek. His long eyelashes have a Valentino-like, mascaraed look.
… People kept handing him pictures and slips of paper to autograph. His right cheek twitched each time he signed an autograph.
… Presley came here from Memphis, his home. He’s been so busy he hasn’t had a chance to get home for a while. He got a few free days by surprise after he flopped at a Las Vegas night club. They replaced him with a girl singer. The older customers in Las Vegas just didn’t dig him.
I asked Presley about his movie plans. He’s been signed for one picture a year for seven years by producer Hal Wallis. … “Mr. Wallis asked me what kind of a part I’d like, and I told him one more like myself, so I wouldn’t have to do any excess actin’. So he’s havin’ somebody write one for me like that.”
… The policemen let a few lucky girls at a time into the dressing room for autographs. One who came in had a haircut just like Presley’s. Another one brought him a flattened greasy popcorn box to sign.
He had a way of whipping up the crowd at the start of a song by playing a few introductory notes, stepping to the microphone, and then singing nothing. Squeals! Another pause, another false start, more squeals, and finally the song.
When he wanted silence to announce a number he held up a hand in the traditional platform gesture – but a double-jointed thumb twitched as he held the hand aloft.
In moments of public passion, he clutched the microphone to his forehead. He ended up limp and sweating and loped off the stage half-staggering. The mob screamed and ran for him. The police marched him to a waiting car.
A young, beautiful, well-dressed, highly-made-up blonde tried to get in the car with him. The police barred her. “I’m a member of his company!” she cried. “I belong with him! Stupid police!” Presley got away. The blonde walked around in the rain complaining to bystanders while the rain made a soggy mess of her hair.
Skarning still held out hope that the Minneapolis show would make up for it, but the 8:00 show at the Minneapolis Auditorium drew a paltry 1,300, when he needed 20,000 to break even. Skarning lost his shirt. According to Dede (see below), the show was opened by a girl singer.
Below are a series of photos taken by the Minneapolis Tribune:
THOSE GIRLS FROM ST. LOUIS PARK!
But Dede Smith, Timi Anderson, and Suzie Olson, three young reporters for the St. Louis Park High School Echo, had nothing but good things to say about their hero Elvis, whom they got interview before the Minneapolis concert. Here is their official review, dateline June 7, 1956.
Elvis Presley, 21-year-old singing sensation from Memphis, stormed the Minneapolis Auditorium May 13 with his belting, dynamic style. He was greeted by a laughing, shouting, idolatrous mob as police escorted him from his car to the stage door. Smiling and waving, he set off boisterous yelling and moaning.
Backstage, the handsome dynamo practices his songs and talked to reporters while the crowd out front chanted, “We want Elvis!”
We asked Elvis his opinion of the screaming girls, and he said, “When they stop screaming, Ah’ll start worrying.” He talks with a soft southern drawl. He said he didn’t mind girls wearing jeans – “Ah just like girls.”
As time progressed, Elvis acquired a good case of stage fright. He paced the floor, twitching. His hands were cold, and he occasionally leaned on a wall or a person, whichever was handiest.
Once onstage, Elvis took a typically dramatic stance, whanged on that old gee-tar, stomped his toot and wailed, “Now since ma baby left me . . . ” At that, the girls pushed toward the stage, frantically screaming. Police sought to hold them back. Howls continued throughout the entire performance, and only and occasional word of songs such as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Money Honey,” and “I Got a Woman” was heard. Nobody seemed to care that he couldn’t be heard. Just to see him was enough. After a half-hour performance, he dashed off stage, exhausted. Later, as he got into the car to leave, hundreds of girls yelled after him, and Elvis Presley drove off, leaving a trail of happy memories.
On a blog that I have failed to properly document, a letter was published that Dede wrote to her older sister Julie about a week after the show. It contains many more details, some inconsequential, some interesting, at least one nearing scandalous, considering the fact that the girls were only 14 years old. They had wrangled their way into the press conference and had some private time with Elvis.
At the press conference, Elvis wore black. “He was so sweet and so really charming and so kind and so nice and so twichy and so real and so human and so cute and so honest and so playful and so wonderful and so interested in us and so soft and warm and he was – is – so terribly SEXY!!!!!!!” With him was a man Dede described as Elvis’s best friend Eddy, who was on leave from the Army. And as for that question about whether Elvis likes girls who wear jeans, the real answer was, “Honey doll, Ah just like girls, with any kind of clothes, or without.” This was followed by Dede writing eeeeeeeeeeeeooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!
Here’s Dede again:
You’d think he isn’t the nervous type, wouldn’t you? Well, I’ve never seen anyone as nervous as Elvis Presley before he went on that stage. He had changed into his costume of a bright yellow sports jacket and lite brown slax. He had on a beautiful watch with diamonds on it and a huge diamond ring on his right hand. He wasn’t wearing blue suede shoes … just dirty black loafers (Eddy said he didn’t have time to polish them.) And brown sox with fleur de lis or some such thing on them.
Eddy had to almost push Elvis on stage . . . and once he was on Elvis recovered himslef. Elvis’s legs went into a stuttering – squirming movement, those dark rimmed eyes fixed on infinity, his long hair flopping over his forehead, his body almost rigid with emotional intensity yet throbbing like a high powered car with the gas wide open and the brake set tight . . . Every once in a while he’d kick the microphone forward and pull it back again.
Other songs he sang were “Only You,” “I Was the One,” and two others that Dede couldn’t hear at all.
Once he ran downstage to the footlights and girls howled like madwomen. He was on for about a half hour and then he ran off stage and kept right on running until he came to a piano at one corner of the stage and collapsed on it. You see, I found out that when he was in St. Paul he’d thrown his guitar up in the air and it had gashed his head, and he’d started bleeding. Skarning’s secretary had fixed it up, she told me. It started to bleed again when he got offstage here and everybody was mopping up his awful cut. I guess it was pretty bad – it was covered up by his hair (poor darling). [See St. Paul above.]
He is afraid he is going to be drafted as Eddy was and he made us promise that if he was we’d write to the President. We said we would. He was just glassy-eyed afterward and could hardly catch his breath. . . . He went to his dressing froom after a little while and later went out to the car. He motioned to us to come to him and said to me “C’mere baby” and we started to come and a cop got in our way and before I could get a word out he was gone. He wanted to kiss us goodbye too. He had been very disappointed that no one had been out at the airport to meet him. He also wished there had been more people there at the performance. There were 4,000. I still can’t believe it happened to me. . . . He likes to be around girls, and we were the only girls backstage.
Please save this letter and the other one so I’ll have a written record of it all.
The photo above of Elvis signing autographs was posted on a Star Tribune blog in 2011, and it turned out to be our girls! Suzanne Olson wrote:
I thought you might be interested to know that I’m one of the girls in the Elvis photo. In fact, I may be the only living person left in that photo. The girl standing closest to Elvis is Timi Anderson, then myself, next to me is Dede Smith, who is responsible for getting us all backstage for the concert, and the girl on the far right is Anna Skarning, the promoter’s daughter.
Last year Dede Smith and I found each other after a 45 year lapse and she wrote to me the whole story about how this miraculous event was accomplished. Unfortunately she died a few months later which was very sad for me having just found her. Timi Anderson died quiet a while ago and Anna Skarning was someone I saw backstage for the first time and never again …
Timi, Dede and I all knew each other and went to St. Louis Park Junior High School. Dede and I were 14 years old and were best friends, Dede and Timi were neighbors and I believe Timi was 13 at the time. I have no idea how much the ticket cost. I think Dede must have purchased them. I remember waiting out in the pouring rain for hours before we were allowed in. Then it was a mad stampede to get seats. Dede’s mother was a free lance writer and Dede was following in her footsteps and had a part time job writing for the local Sun Newspaper. She was the one who bugged the promoter to get us back stage which happened very shortly after the mad stampede.
Watching the concert from back stage was such a surreal experience. I remember thinking that he was unlike any 21 year olds I had ever come in contact with. He didn’t seem at all adult, and at the same time very adult. I’m sure it had something to do with how sexy he was. I didn’t really take it all in until the next day. Of course when we went back to school on Monday nobody would believe us that we had been back stage. That is, until the Parade Magazine came out 2 Sundays later. Then we were celebrities. And continue to be every time the picture is printed (about once every 10 years). The picture even turned up in another class yearbook that was remade for a 1968 reunion yearbook a few years ago.
I never imagined that Elvis would continue to become such an icon. And yes, I’m still a fan. At one time I even had an autograph on a program from the event and I threw it out because it was such a bad scrawl that it was illegible. I’ve been kicking myself ever since.
ANOTHER ST. LOUIS PARK REVIEW
Okay, yes, I am from St. Louis Park. This review is from the Just Us, the newspaper of Central Junior High. (June 8, 1956) It is much shorter.
As the anxious crowd pressed closer, at last a lean, tall, young man walked onto the stage. He paused, strummed a few notes on his guitar and began to sing. The girls screamed and squealed in delight and the boys quietly ignored them.
The reason for all this hurry and flurry in the hearts of female Park teenagers? The answer lies in the personal appearance tour of Elvis Presley. In the last few months, Presley’s records have climbed to tops in the pops. “Heartbreak Hotel” has been the Number 1 song in the Twin Cities.
That night, when the young lassies returned from Mr. Presley’s appearance, they brought home highly valued possessions. Among the prizes won were: candy he threw to the audience; change collected by an anxious fan; buttons off of his shirt and coat; and more common things such as autographs and pictures taken by his much sought for side. (?)
Elvis was not on tour, but he was not forgotten. Here’s a flier for the France Ave. Drive-In, featuring three of his films made in 1965 and 1966. Judging from the date, this must be from 1967. Who could resist WDGY Date Nite! You could meet the WDGY All Americans (what they called their DJs), win free records and transistor radios, and get yourself some autographed pictures and free theater tickets. One lucky boy and one lucky girl won a portable stereo, courtesy of Goodman Jewlers. All that was missing was a band, but it was March and maybe it was still a little nippy, thus the heaters for your car.
Elvis appeared at the Met Center on November 5, 1971.
The Minneapolis Tribune published a half-page of ’50s-themed cartoons by Dick Guindon to announce the concert. The paper said it was the first of 12 one-night stands that Elvis was doing in November. “The singer’s strict devotion to his work is evidenced by the fact that no women are allowed backstage during the show.”
The caption for the photo below reads:
Elvis sets off a Storm of Light
The spotlights stabbed down on a figure in a tight, spangled suit, a guitar twanged, and the capacity crowd in Metropolitan Sports Center burst into sound and light. Elvis Presley was on Stage. Flashbulbs (nearly 100 can be counted in this 3-second exposure) popped almost continuously as Presley performed the songs that made him famous in the 1950s and sang some new ones.
The Insider’s review was not impressed with “The King,” calling him “cold as a herring.”
The Tribune’s review by Mike Anthony was decidedly more positive:
Thousands Cheer As Elvis Takes Stage
When Elvis Presley sauntered onto the stage of Met Sports Center Friday night – his guitar slung over his shoulder – the flash bulbs lit up the room and 17,600 people gave out a bellow that might have been heard in Osseo.
At that moment, Joanned Azzoni, 21, St. Paul, put her hands above her ears and screamed, “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it.”
Miss Azzoni is an Elvis fan. She has posters all over her room at home, she said, and a menu on top of her TV set, from Presley’s last appearance in Las Vegas, Nev., as well as a bunch of rocks, supposedly from Presley’s home in Memphis, Tenn. The rocks were given her by her grandmother.
The day tickets went on sale for Elvis’s show, Miss Azzoni was at the Met Center along with several hundred others at 7 a.m. “And I have been crying since I got them,” she said.
Five minutes before the show started she and her friends, Julie Jaeger, 20, and Linda Jaeger, 28, were waiting, binoculars poised.
“I couldn’t concentrate at work all day,” said Julie “Who could concentrate? All the orders I sent out, they must have been all wrong, I have no fingernails left.
Said Linda, “I’ve waited 15 years for this. When I first saw Elvis on the Sullivan Show I vowed I’d see him some day.”
Seemingly everybody brought binoculars and a camera. The flash bulbs popped all evening. Three middle aged women sat in the balcony before the show peering at the stage. “Is that him?” said one. “No it can’t be. He’s got a moustache,”
Diane Nelma, 28, flew in from Chicago, Ill., Friday night to see the show and planned to fly right back afterward. “Why?” Because I just love him,” she said.
The age range of the audience was wide but it was predominantly later 20s and early 30s, ran through 70 minutes of many of his old favorites (“Heartbreak Hotel,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Love Me Tender”) and some newer songs (“Proud Mary” and “Bridge over Troubled Waters”). He sounded better than ever.
Clad in all white, he finally threw the flowing red scarf from around his neck into the audience. It landed on a policeman seated below the stage and six girls leaped at the policeman. One lucky girl got the scarf and ran to her seat.
In 2019, Frank Heino says that he was the police officer in question! “ A highlight of my career! I didn’t know that he tossed the scarf, I thought the girls were rushing the stage. I was later told about scarf landing on my helmet and sliding down the side!!!”
Cheri Kuhlman remembers,
When he performed here, he stayed at the Marriott Inn on 494 and rented the whole top floor just for him and his family. My brother Steve and his wife were leaving the Marriott on the side parking lot when the limo came in the side door. My brother’s wife got so nervous, she said “Steve, that is Elvis!” He said “Go get his autograph,” and she said, “My knees are shaking too much.” Elvis waved at her before she got in the car. She was happy just for that wave.
Freelance reviewer Jim Gillespie reviewed the concert for the Star (November 6, 1971), with the headline “Elvis on stage: He’s unchanged and so is fans’ love, love, love. Gillespie noted that the place was packed, including the bowl area behind the stage, where people got a view of the King’s head. The show began with the Sweet Inspirations, followed by comic Jackie Kahane. After the intermission/souvenir hawking break, the 20 piece band broke into the theme to “2001,” and Elvis himself appeared.
Elvis, resplendent in his white jumpsuit and cape with red trim and his chunky, bejeweled belt, surveyed the crowd, strapped on his trusty Gibson, and blasted right into “That’s Alright Mama.” The five piece country rock band behind him was superb, featuring James Burton on lead guitar.
The audience was rather sedate except for the screaming. No one stood up on their seat or rushed the stage. They just wanted pictures. Presley really put it on them, too. The cat can still really move. A little stylized maybe, but it’s difficult to be spontaneous when you’ve been at it for 15 years. . . . He didn’t seem to take the whole thing too seriously and seemed very relaxed.
The up-tempo numbers were easily the most impressive and his low-down nasty blues feeling shone through the glitter often enough to make me shed a tear for what might have been if he had not been seduced into the Muzak field and the cinema some years back. “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” was so slick I kept expecting to trip over the slot machines.
Jim Klobuchar’s humorous column of November 6, 1971, focused on the expenses incurred at the Mariott Inn, where “batteries of accountants are computing the bill for Elvis Presley’s two days of the quiet, meditative life among the scenic cloverleafs of interstate Hwy. 494 in Bloomington.” One “convalescing” spokesman for the hotel estimated the tab at at least $4,000, more than any sultan, maharajah, movie star, or circus.
Klobuchar reported that the concert broke all Met Center gross receipts ($150,000), security guards (60), and “adoring witnesses (17,084). Two entire floors were reserved for the party, with 60 rooms and “one king-sized bed especially fashioned by the motel staff to meet Presley’s various specifications.” The hotel had to build two suites for Presley and colonel Tom Parker, and turn another into a formal dining room.
Presley arrived “unpretentiously aboard one of his three jet planes with his personal physician, security chief, 12 bodyguards, guitar tuner, and the balance of the city of Nashville.” Perhaps still feeling a little lonesome and insecure, Elvis also hired six off-duty Bloomington policemen for corridor patrol on the Marriott’s second and third floors. Security guards manned all entrances and exits, the elevators, laundry chutes and dumb waiter passageways to protect Presley from the ambushes of wily, desperate women.”
Presley’s bed had twin headboards and a hot pink bedspread. Underneath it was an orange rug. Elvis burned incense in the ashtrays. The plain white bedsheets were so big they had to be special ordered from GEM Department Store.
As for his palate, he had “two cheeseburgers and a glass of milk before the concert and ordered 21 slices of bacon, six eggs and an omelet Saturday morning. A half-eaten apple and banana peel were found in his bed Saturday morning. Which tells us the value of keeping ourselves nourished at all times.”
Elvis came to the St. Paul Civic Center on October 2 and 3, 1974. On the second he wore his Peacock suit, and on the third he wore his Chinese Dragon suit.
ST PAUL PIONEER PRESS
Here is the review from the St. Paul Pioneer Press by Mike Sweeney.
Elvis Still Makes ‘Em Scream
Elvis Presley, noticeably plump in a white jumpsuit with a peacock on the back, rode the nostalgia wave into the St. Paul Civic Center Auditorium Wednesday night.
“This is a huge building,” the 39-year-old acknowledged king of ’50’s rock and roll told some 17,000 fans. “What is this, the Astrodome?”
He began his 50-minute concert with “See See Rider,” an early tune that set the pace for the evening.
Elvis’ fans, including teeny-bop bubblegummers, middle-aged women with beehive hairdos and grandparents, seemed to love it.
As Elvis took his audience through the 1950s with songs like “I Got A Woman,” “Treat Me Like A Fool,” “Blue Suedes Shoes” and his trademark “Hound Dog,” he periodically bantered with the audience and called twice on backup vocalists.
As his backup groups sang and he wandered the stage talking with the audience. Elvis seemed tired. He looked tired – like a man on the brink of middle-age with an enormous reputation to uphold.
Elvis played his reputation as a hip-swinging, hair-tousled, pout-lipped rock star to the hilt.
The fans loved it, at least those close enough to see clearly, as he shot a hip hither and a shoulder yon to the beat of a drum.
Screams, which marked Elvis’ concerts in years gone by, were heard periodically throughout the evening and woman flocked near the stage to catch one of dozen or more silk scarves he intermittently tossed to the audience.
The scarf catchers were an unusual seated group of women grasping at a legend.
Twice, Elvis lay or knelt on the stage and briefly kissed two scarf catchers. The second one, a young girl, politely said. “Thank you.”
Elvis’ renditions of the upbeat tunes which made him famous like “Hound Dog” scored well with the audience as memory grabbers, but lacked the verve and vitality which is why most folks remember them.
His ballads such as “Hawaiian Wedding Song” scored less on the reaction scale, but were delivered better and reminded the audience Elvis can indeed sing a fine song when not image-living.
He ended with “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You,” which brought numerous women to the stage lip, screaming “Elvis!” and reaching to touch his hands.
Elvis gave the audience what it wanted and it appeared appreciative.
After all, as the king himself told his fans after a short explanation at his large rings containing 11 half carat stones: “The reason I’m telling you about these rings is that you help pay for them.”
Roy M. Close wrote the review for the Star:
Music is incidental in Presley “pageant”
Some things must be seen to be disbelieved, and the Elvis Presley Show is one of them.
Presley, the undisputed rock and roll king of the mid ’50s, is now 39 years old and more than slightly paunchy. But as his sellout concert last night demonstrated, he remains a glittering sex symbol whose physical presence alone is sufficient to send normally rational women into squealing paroxysms of delight.
If his singing hasn’t improved with the experience of two decades, at least it hasn’t gotten any worse. And Presley has clearly mastered the art of selling that image of himself that audiences are most eager to buy.
This two-hour show is a model of vulgarity, a slick package delighted to present the image without forcing its owner to work any harder than necessary. It is a fully costumed, dazzlingly lighted extravaganza with a supporting cast of more than two dozen. It is, in short, a pageant in which the performance of music is almost incidental.
Although Presley didn’t seem actually bored by them, his delivery conveyed the distinct impression that he has long ago forgotten what (if anything) the songs were about. He seemed happiest when he was distributing scarves – of which he had an apparently an inexhaustible supply – to ecstatic women in the first row.
In January 2019, FTD, and Australian Fan Club, released “Elvis: St. Paul to Wichita” as a 5″ digipack, taken from the original soundboard source, as a 2-CD set. In the photo below he is wearing his “Peacock Suit.”
Elvis came to the Met Sports Center on October 17, 1976. (He also appeared in Duluth on October 16.)
This may be the time that Robyn Cunningham Rasmussen remembers:
I’m not sure what concert it was in his later years, but he was staying at the (then) Hilton Hotel; it was winter and he was craving watermelon. The food service people were scrambling to find some. Long story short they ended up calling Bernie Kessel – he told them to call Edelsteins…..who got The King his watermelon!!!
This is his Inca Gold Leaf suit.
St. Louis Park grad Scott Coltrane was a huge Elvis fan, even in high school:
Right there in SLP I was running a worldwide fan club, called DISK. It stood for “Deal Initiators for Stuff on the King” — clever, huh? But it was! It was a precursor to eBay. People would send me a list of their wants and their for sales, and I would hook up buyers and sellers. Of course I’d take the best stuff for myself. It was mainly records and magazines. I also had dozens of Elvis pen pals around the world. After graduation  I began following Elvis around on tour, see one show, drive through the night to the next town, sleep in the car, see the next show, etc.
But one time when he came to Minneapolis and played the Met Sports Center something unusual happened, for both him and me. I heard he was a Muhammed Ali fan and so I got a book about Ali, wrapped it in cellophane, and when he walked in front of me on stage I jumped up from my first row seat and put it at his feat. He knelt down and looked first at it, and then me, and that’s when I reached up to shake his hand. Right at that moment everyone else jumped up to do the same. So, anyway, I told that story for two decades with no proof whatever. Then one day a tribute magazine came out and it had a photograph some anonymous person who was there that night had taken, and it showed my hand! And the book, too! Look at the lower left of the stage. You can plainly see the book. The lone hand reaching up is mine. You can only barely see the rolled up cuff of my blue flannel shirt and the very top of my head, but that is me. There simply cannot be two people who gave Elvis that book.
Here is the review of the show in the Minneapolis Tribune by Michael Anthony (October 19, 1976).
Elvis Shakes, Rafters Rattle, Money Rolls
Elvis Presley, “the Big One,” as he has come to be called, shook those famous hips, handed out a few dozen scarves and sang for 72 minutes to a capacity crowd of 15,800 screaming fans at Met Sports Center Sunday night. These days, a Presley concert is much ritual as anything else, and it begins as the crowd enters the auditorium. “Elvis Super Souvenirs” – posters, photo albums and buttons (big ones this year, the size of a pizza) – are aggressively hawked at various tables, and we’re reminded of those souvenirs by the announcer throughout the show. (Col. Tom Parker, the mastermind behind Elvis’s career all these years, knows about such things. Parker started out in the 1930s selling foot-long hot dogs at state fairs.)
The show itself also has become ritualized. We expect, that is, the lights to dim just before a drum roll and the band’s statement of Richard Strauss’s arching theme from “Thus Spake Zarathustra.” We expect the room to come ablaze from thousands of flash bulbs – to say nothing of the ear-piercing screams – as the Big One walks onstage. We expect – and it happens during the songs he’s not too interested in – the scarf schtick, only now it’s become rather machine-like. Trailed by a dutiful stagehand who loops scarves around the Presley neck, Elvis approaches the crowd and drops one of the scarves into a stretched-out hand near the stage. For one brief, shining moment that scarf was around the Big One’s neck. With one scarf Elvis cleaned out his right ear before throwing it to the crowd. And three girls, standing on tiptoes, actually got a kiss.
There’s also a “Let’s Pretend” element to the show. Let’s pretend that Elvis, dressed in a tight white jumpsuit extravagantly overlaid with rhinestones, won’t really be 42 next Jan. 8, that he doesn’t have a weight problem so serious he had to check into a hospital last year to drop about 30 pounds, and that his predominately female, mainly middle-aged audience is still teen-aged: chewing gum like mad, saying “Kid” in front of each sentence and hurrying home from school to catch “American Bandstand.” For his part, and perhaps to amuse himself more than anything else, Elvis plays the role, but he exaggerates it in the same way that Mae West used to satirize by exaggerating female sexuality. He winks at, he teases the audience, and his pelvis swivels are now elaborate, amusing affairs accompanies by rim shots from the drummer. What else for a 41-year-old millionaire, so establishment these days that Richard Nixon made him an honorary narcotics officer, but to parody the Elvis of old, once the epitome of teen-age rebellion and outrageous sexuality?
Taken as is, however, this was a much more satisfying concert than Elvis’s last performance here, in St. Paul two years ago. The format was the same: brief opening acts (J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, comedian Jackie Kahane and the Sweet Inspirations) with the singers backing Elvis for his set in the second half. But the boredom that clearly afflicted him throughout much of the earlier show surfaced only occasionally this time around, and often Sunday we got a chance to hear him really sing, especially on newer tunes, such as his current heart-on-sleeve single “Hurt.” When he wants to use it, Elvis’s baritone, with its resonant bottom and somewhat nasal top, is in as good shape as ever and, of course, as a performer on stage, singing or just fooling around, he has more charisma than a dozen other top performers combined. Will Elvis endure? Judging by the screams of the audience he’s in no trouble. Nonetheless, his records are no longer guaranteed the top spot on the charts and, contrary to the old pattern, this particular concert took weeks to sell out. (However, in Duluth, where he performed the night before, the tickets went in three hours.) Here, it may have been the $12.50 price that kept some away.
Jon Bream reviewed this concert for the Star (October 18, 1976), and he wasn’t pleased.
Elvis: Lethargic king takes middle of road route
After commenting on Elvis’s physical decline, Bream laid into the show itself, calling it a “vulgar display of commercialism that was devoid of artistry, showmanship and integrity.” He said it was more like going to a museum than a concert, in that it wasn’t important what he was now, but what he had done to become the King of rock ‘n’ roll: “launched the careers of hundreds of rock stars, inspired thousands of rebellious youths, and caused millions of hearts to throb.”
Onstage, Presley was neither a parody nor a shadow of his former self. The singer’s once powerful, earthy voice is faltering and rather undistinguished. He didn’t hit all his notes and his style was characterized largely by an emotional ambivalence. There was more drama than emotion in his voice. His feelings were certainly hard to believe.
But Presley has an overwhelming charisma that makes the show more than a photo-snapping session of an over-the-hill hero. Presley smugly strolled about the stage tossing scarves to ecstatic female fans. (He even bent over to kiss three women.) The sex symbol struck the obligatory Elvis hip-shaking poses three or four times to satisfy his fans, but otherwise he was subdued, usually keeping his left hand on his hip and holding the microphone in his right hand. He seemed casual and lethargic, showing no enthusiasm or energy…
This review by Seth Schwartz (October 22, 1976) is a long one, but because it is very direct and also not very accessible, it is quoted here extensively
The King Takes a Dive
There’s only one thing more depressing than the sight of Elvis Presley on stage in 1976. That’s the blind adulation of his fans as they rush the stage, grabbing for one of the sweat-stained scarves methodically tossed to the crowd by their bored and overweight King. And I say that as one who has long considered Elvis to be the greatest singer in the history of rock and roll, and a performer (on stage, on television, even in his movies) of uncommon magnetism.
More than half of the Elvis Presley show at the Met Center last Sunday night can be dispensed with within a paragraph. Joe Guercio and his Hot Hilton Horns, “straight from the Las Vegas Hilton,” cranked out “a Fifth of Beethoven.” Introduced as “one of the top gospel quartets in the country,” J.D. Sumner and the Stamps offered a stage presence and a song selection (including Paul Simon’s “Gone at Last”) with all the pious dignity of a McDonald’s commercial. Twenty minutes of shtick by a comedian whose name I’d rather forget followed by the Sweet Inspirations, Elvis’s female backup trio. The Inspirations zipped through a Stevie Wonder medley of no impact whatsoever, introducing themselves by their first names and Zodiac signs. The house lights came up, and in the 25-minute intermission that followed we were bombarded by exhortations of the P.A. system to purchase Elvis buttons, Elvis portraits, and Elvis pennants (all on sale at the arena) as well as plugs for Elvis’s crummy new album on RCA records and tapes.
As the lights went down and the band took the stage, and blinding flash of Instamatics signaled the Presley entrance. I think I looked forward to this moment as much as anyone, and I felt nothing: Not a presence, not an aura, and certainly not the sense of an American legend come to life. What I saw was a puffy-looking Presley in an ugly haircut and an uglier jewel-studded white jumpsuit, already sweating under the spotlights and looking uncomfortably close to the National Lampoon‘s cover caricature of a few month’s back.
He picked up his prop guitar and went into “C.C. Rider.” It was the first in an endless succession of throwaways that (said a friend) sound like the humming and mumbling you might hear from Elvis while puttering around the kitchen. In the shower, he probably sings with twice this much force. “Love Me,” “All Shook Up,” “Teddy Bear,” “I Got a Woman” – these songs went by like a breeze, without a hint of passion or power.
Yet there were one or two moments during which Presley tapped into what seemed to be a great reservoir of unused vocal power. These moments came without logic or warning. Why the man chose to sink his teeth into “You Gave Me a Mountain” rather than “Jailhouse Rock” is beyond me. But in the former selection and also in the otherwise unexceptional ballad “Hurt,” I detected a conviction missing from 90 percent of the performance.
… As for the Presley stage presence, it was hardly there at all. I didn’t expect to see the man whose hip-swinging gyrations were once blocked off the Ed Sullivan Show, but even the more recent karate-based routines were conspicuous by their absence. Tim Holmes noted that All Elvis’s moves seemed like variations on standing still. Indeed, if the merest shake of a leg can bring forth screams of ecstasy, why bother with anything more?
The rest is speculation about Elvis’s future, of which he had but little left.
ELVIS: THE CONCERT YEARS 1969 – 1977
In 1997, a Norwegian Elvis fan named Stein Erik Skar published a book that chronicled all of Elvis’s concerts from 1969 until his death in 1977. This book is out of print and, although clumsily translated, is a valuable resource, providing concert dates, narratives, newspaper reviews, names of musicians, and more.
This is what the book had to say about Elvis’s 1974 concert in Minneapolis:
In Minneapolis hundreds of members of the audience completely lost their heads when Elvis was on the point of leaving the stage. A fan tells: “As though he wanted to prepare us he sang “Funny How Time Slips Away and lastly “Cant Help Falling in Love.” Then all hell broke loose. During the show the audience shouted as soon as Elvis turned his face twoards them. How this wasn’t enough. They jumped over railings, dived over chairs. I myself managed to get on to the stage but never stood a chance – my camera was damaged, my head also fared badly. 24 security guards couldn’t manage to keep them back. A grown man fought a little girl over a scarf. Fans and ticket collectors fought – a man punched out one of the ticket collectors. It was insane.
Hmmm…. methinks either this didn’t happen or maybe a different city. None of the other reviewers mentioned anything like this.
A BOOK AND A CD
A company in Australia also published a book specifically about this concert, called Elvis In a Minnesota Minute, by Ted Healy. According to the website Elvis Australia, only 1,500 copies were published, and are now out of print.
A Minnesota Moment CD features Elvis’ live performance on October 17, 1976 at Metropolitan Sports Center. Bonus songs are from Dayton and Sioux Falls on the same tour. The information on the Follow That Dream Website gives the names of the musicians and interviews with them:
Lead guitar: James Burton
Rhythm guitar: John Wilkinson
Acoustic guitar and harmony vocals: Charlie Hodge
Bass: Jerry Scheff
Drums: Ronnie Tutt
Piano: Tony Brown
Electric piano: David Briggs
Vocals: Kathy Westmoreland, Sherrill Nielsen, The Sweet Inspirations and J. D. Sumner & The Stamps
The Joe Guercio Orchestra conducted by Marty Harrell
Elvis appeared at the St. Paul Civic Center on April 30, 1977.
Here is the review in the St. Paul Pioneer Press by Charley Hallman.
Nasal Drip Cut Short the Hips
Elvis Presley cut short his appearance before 17,000 spectators at the St. Paul Civic Center Saturday night because of a bad cold. Ray Crump, equipment manager of the Minnesota Twins and a friend of Presley’s said the entertainer “apparently picked up a cold” after jogging around Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis Saturday afternoon.
Crump, who spent most of Saturday with Presley, said Elvis has dropped “a lot of weight, probably about 40 pounds” in the last two months. He has lost most of the weight through jogging and a heavy exercise program, Crump said.
Elvis dedicated his Saturday night concert to Crump’s boss Calvin Griffith and the Minnesota Twins baseball team. “It was a nice thing for him to do,” said Griffith after Sunday’s 6-5 Twins victory over the Detroit Tigers. “Maybe it had something to do with our winning today,” Griffith said. The Twins president and many members of his organization attended Saturday night’s concert.
“That was probably the worst concert Elvis has done in a year,” said Crump. “Not that many of us noticed, but he has been averaging an hour and a half in most of his shows on this tour.” Several times during Presley’s appearance, the singer had to stop for a drink of water and an assistant, Charlie Hodge, stood by with a box of Kleenex for Presley to use, which he did on at least two occasions.
Presley even joked about it during the concert. “It’s difficult to sing a love ballad with your nose running,” Presley told the audience. Presley’s early cutoff of the music stunned many of the concertgoers. There was no applause nor was there an encore at the end of the show.
The swivel-hipped rock singer, now 42, has weighed as much as 250 pounds recently, but he is now apparently down near 200. Several times during his concert appearance Saturday he had to rehitch his belt after his loose hanging trousers appeared to slip down over his hips.
Scott Coltrane, a huge Elvis fan, takes exception to the review:
That last review by Charley Hallman irks me. He said Elvis was sick with a cold and cut the show short and so the audience was “stunned” and gave no applause. That’s pure bull. I was there in the third row center main floor, and there was plenty of applause. This is one of the things that bugs me how towards the end of his career critics seemed to want to misreport or shape their review so that somehow Elvis was losing his stuff. It made for a better story, I guess — the great man falling down.
But I will tell you as an eyewitness to many, many concerts, I never saw Elvis fail to put on an excellent show. I once saw him get hit in the head with a frisbee that some moron threw, and he went right on with the show. And I never saw an audience fail to do anything by wildly applaud him. His voice was strong right up until his very last concert, which I was at. I saw every show on his last tour but one, and I only missed that because I totaled my car on the way. And, just for the record, he was never as fat and blubbery as you see some of these impersonators are today. That is a complete myth.
This was called his Mexican Sundial Suit.
Michael Anthony reviewed the show for the Tribune. (May 5, 1977) He put the attendance at 15,600, and made much of the fact that Elvis had returned just six months after his last concert here.
After some speculations as to whether the King still has it or not, and whether his relationship with Tom Parker was on the skids, he turned to the concert itself:
More often than not, the singer has seemed bored onstage, his attention focused – when it is focused – more on the ritual of throwing scarves to females in the audience, on joking around with the band and parodying his “Elvis the Pelvis” swivels, than on singing songs he has apparently lost interest in.
Saturday night, things were a bit different, however. Dressed in his customary all-white outfit – bellbottom pants and a puffy doublet-sleeve shirt extravagantly overlaid with jewels (rhinestones?) in exaggerated American Indian designs – he really did do some singing for a change. It was either just the mood of the moment or the fact that he backed off from the scarf shtick for most of the set so as apparently not to cause a riot among the hundreds of women crowding the front.
And oddly enough, it was the oldies that brought out Elvis’s unique vocal power, such tunes as “Jailhouse Rock,” “It’s Now or Never,” and “Hawaiian Wedding Song.” The show iself was largely the same as that performed last October at Met Center: a first half performed by Elvis’s excellent band (featuring the ever-popular Hot Hilton Horns), the Sweet Inspirations, J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, and comic Jack Kaahane (and his ever-popular “these kids today … ” monologue).
Elvis sang basically the same material as he did in October, though he was onstage this time for just 60 minutes (75 minutes at Met Center). He’s apparently adding Paul Anka’s “My Way” to his repertoire because he sang it – and quite well – while reading a lead sheet. “I don’t know the words,” he said to his pianist and grabbed the music.
Elvis’s only child wanted her own singing career, and on April 8, 2003, at age 35, she released her first album, “To Whom it may Concern.” Her first concert was held in Orlando in March 2003, in front of 1,000 people at the National Association of Record Merchandising Convention. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 22, 2003) The CD entered the local chart at No. 3 (No. 5 nationally), but fell to No. 17 the next week.
Lisa Marie’s debut in Minnesota was at the Orpheum Theater, opening for Chris Isaak on August 9, 2003. She also did an autograph signing at 2pm that day at Sam Goody Record Store at the Mall of America.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune covered this appearance quite extensively. He wrote a long article about Chris Isaak, and then asked Isaak how he thought Presley was coming along. Isaak responded:
I see her getting hotter and having more fun every night. She’s new at this as an entertainer. At first, she was kind of frightened, and then she realized she could do it. Literally on the the third day, I noticed her going, “Hey, the audience came to see me, too.”
(Both articles August 8, 2003)
Bream’s review, however, was headlined “Presley falls short of the stuff of legends.” (Star Tribune, August 11, 2003) The review of Presley’s part of the show is given in full below:
She has the snarling lip, the swiveling hips and the left leg that won’t stop shaking to the beat She has the bedroom eyes, too, and the and the jet-black hair.
But as a singer and entertainer, Lisa Marie Presley has little in common with her dad. In her Minneapolis debut Saturday at the sold-out Historic Orpheum Theatre, the pint-size Presley showed some potent material but not a powerful voice or a commanding stage presence.
Even though this was the last night of her first-ever tour, the most famous rookie in rock history still hasn’t found her comfort zone. She seemed guarded as both a singer and performer, afraid to assert her voice in song or in conversation. She even relied on a lyric sheet on a music stand, festooned with flowers. (Unlike her dad, she writes her own material; her debut disc, “To Whom it May Concern,” has sold more than 500,000 copies since it was released in April.)
Presley’s songs aren’t shy. They are painful purges about betrayal set to a smouldering modern-rock sound that’s more likely to evoke U2 than Elvis. But with her dusky Cher-like voice, she didn’t project loudly enough on Saturday, except on her final two numbers, the swampy, hands on the hips “Lights Out” (about visiting Memphis and seeing her burial plot) and the defiant “Sinking In” (a post-breakup confrontation about being beaten down in a relationship).
A tabloid princess since the day she was born, the 35-year-old singer/songwriter didn’t seem afraid to be in the spotlight. She just didn’t handle it with aplomb. With a voice that was barely above a hurried whisper, she talked to the worshipful audience, mentioning her autograph session that afternoon at the Mall of America, responding to shouts from fans and hoping headliner Chris Isaak wouldn’t pull any tour-ending pranks to embarrass her.
As if on cue, Isaak and his band waltzed onto Presley’s stage and presented her with flowers and a cake with one lit candle. She later reciprocated by crashing Isaak’s encore and planting a huge kiss on his cheek, leaving a tattoo-like lipstick impression. That playful moment may have said more about her personality than her own 40-minute performance.
In later articles it was revealed that:
- When she crashed his encore to plant the kiss on Isaak, she had put on “his precious suitcoat covered in tiny mirrors (making the diminutive singer look like a deflated disco ball). (Star Tribune, August 29, 2003)
- She had been in a lot of pain during the tour due to stomach problems and acid reflux. At one point on a day off on the tour she had to fly home and get an endoscopy. (Star Tribune, September 26, 2003)
- Apparently Minneapolis was not the last show on the tour, as the article above said that Presley was scheduled to perform in Milwaukee on September 28, 2003.
On June 19, 2012, Lisa Marie appeared at the Fine Line Music Cafe. Curiously, there were no hits on the Strib database for this show. However, when announcing a proposed 2014 show at the Dakota Jazz Club in 2014 (see below), entertainment reporter Jon Bream wrote:
Two years ago at the Fine Line, Lisa Marie Presley showed promise as a purveyor of slow, smoky-voiced, downbeat Americana, mostly taken from her 2012 album “Storm & Grace.” She seemed much more confident as headliner than she had as an opening act for Chris Isaak in her Twin Cities debut in 2003. However, her Fine Line set clocked in at less than an hour. Fans expect more from rock royalty, so we can say “That you, thank you very much.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 25, 2014)
Jon Clifford was at the 2012 show at the Fine Line. When he heard of Lisa Marie’s death in 2023, he wrote:
This was the second time I had seen her play, the first being in Memphis. She was in fantastic form for this show.
However, my take from the night was how she wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone at all. For good reason, as I concluded. The front was riddled with 70-year-old people wearing Elvis garb and looking like they just returned from a weekend bender at the casino. I felt a great deal of sympathy for her in that no matter what she did, or level of talent, she would only ever be appreciated by those people due to being his daughter.
I hope she found joy in her life, as I am quite sure she was a prisoner of hereditary fame her entire 54 years. Safe travels Lisa, you are free.
He added, “I wish people could have seen her and appreciated her for who she was.”
Steven Cohen took some great photos at the 2012 concert, which he has graciously given me permission to post. Here are four of them:
Lisa Marie was set to perform at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis on April 29 – 30, 2014. Tickets ranged from $50 to $200. The opening act was to be Grace Askew, who competed on Season 4 of NBC’s “The Voice. The promoters of the show announced that concertgoers would not be admitted if they were dressed like Elvis or one of Lisa Marie’s ex-husbands, Michael Jackson.
On April 28, 2014, Jon Bream announced that Lisa Marie’s U.S. tour, which was to begin at the Dakota, had been cancelled. She had just completed tours of Australia and Japan on April 10, 2014, and the cancellation was on doctor’s orders. The Dakota hoped to reschedule her for the next year, but there is no evidence that they ever did. Grace Askew honored her commitment and performed both days, with tickets at $7, but people who had tickets to Lisa Marie’s shows were admitted for free. (Minneapolis Star and Tribune, April 28, 2014)
Lisa Marie Presley passed away suddenly on January 12, 2023, from a heart attack she had at her home in Calabasas, California. She was 54.
Elvis was big, but there wasn’t enough of him to go around, so to fill the gap there were the Elvis impersonators. Early in his career there were scads of singers who tried to sound like the King, but that fad wore off eventually. Here in the ‘Cities, we had a flesh and blood Elvis replicant by the name of David Carroll.
David Carroll, nee Carroll Bernard Bateman, was born in East Grand Forks, Minnesota in 1938. A profile written by Dan Heilman in 1992 said that Bateman saw Elvis’s 1956 show, and started playing rock ‘n’ roll in 1962 with local bands such as the Wanderers and the Untouchables. He developed his Elvis Presley stage act in 1970 and had maintained the same band since 1971. The first ads found him playing the Golden Fox in March 1972.
On August 13, 1972, Carroll made his big debut at the Minneapolis Auditorium with a definite mixture of bands:
- The Whole Earth Rainbow Band
- Teen King and the Princes
- The Magic Touch
- The Silhouettes
He looks a little skinny to be Elvis here, but he probably filled out over his over three decade long career. The last ad found for him was on August 13, 2004, at the Medina. In 2005, Bateman received a Minnesota Rock & Country Hall of Fame Achievement Award.