“Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. You never walked in that man’s shoes.”
– Elvis Presley
Elvis was still feeling quite down when 1974 began, but his birthday was celebrated all over the south. He even was seen waving to all the fans from his front porch. After celebrating his 39th birthday, Elvis traveled to Los Angeles to prepare for his usual engagement in Las Vegas.The opening was supposed to be January 25th, but because Sinatra’s show was closing that day the Hilton pushed back Elvis’s shows to begin the 26th. Though his health is better, Elvis is beginning to look noticeably different. He spends the next two weeks being happy on the stage, the only place he is happy anymore.
Closing his two-week engagement in Las Vegas, Elvis spends a few weeks in the city before he travels back to Memphis to prepare for his spring tour. The constant touring begins in March and the exhaustion soon follows.
- 1st and 2nd: Oral Roberts University, Tulsa – 11,000 (two nights)
- 3rd: Elvis Presley Week at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas – 88,149 (two shows)
- 4th: Civic Center, Monroe, Louisiana – 8,000
- 5th: Auburn University Memorial Coliseum – 13,239
- 6th: Garrett Coliseum, Montgomery, Alabama – 11,328
- 7th: Civic Center, Monroe – 8,000
- 9th: Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina – 22,900 (two shows)
- 10th: Roanoke Civic Center, Roanoke – 10,640
- 11th: Hampton Roads Coliseum, Hampton Roads – 10,957
- 12th: Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia – 11,791
- 13th: The Coliseum, Greensboro – 16,200
- 14th: Murphy Athletic Center, Murfreesboro – 12,500
- 15th: Stokely Athletic Center, Knoxville – 26,610 (two shows)
- 16th: Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis – 49,200 (four shows in two days)
- 18th: Coliseum, Richmond – 11,791
- 19th: Murphy Athletic Center, Murfreesboro – 12,500
- 20th: Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis – 12,300 (This was the last show of the tour.)
RCA records the show and released an album Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis. Elvis enjoys just over a month of a break and begins another tour in May.
- 10th: Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino – 7,200
- 11th: The Forum, Los Angeles –37,000 (two shows with Led Zeppelin sitting in the front row.)
- 12th: Selland Arena, Fresno – 7,500
- 13th: Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino – 7,200
- 14th: Elvis makes his way to Tahoe for a ten-day engagement at the Sahara Tahoe which began the 16th.
Elvis and Zeppelin
On May 20th, a fight erupts out in the hallway of Elvis’s hotel room. A man was claiming to have been invited to a party inside the room. It was said that Elvis, Sonny, and two other men within the Memphis Mafia had initiated the attack and a lawsuit was filed. The time at the Sahara ends May 26th, but because demand to see Elvis was so high, the Sahara added another show on the 27th for those who had been turned away.
Elvis Live 1974
Elvis had another very short break and began touring the south once again beginning in June.
- 15th: Tarrant County, Fort Worth – 56,000 (four shows in two days)
- 17th: Assembly Center, Louisiana State University – 30,000 (two shows in two days)
- 19th: Civic Center. Amarillo, Texas – 14,000
- 20th: Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, Des Moines – 11,000
- 21st: Public Hall, Cleveland – 10,000
- 22nd: Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island – 26,226 (two shows)
- 23rd: Spectrum, Philadelphia – 40,000 (two shows)
- 24th: International Convention Center, Niagara Falls – 18,000
- 25th: St. John’s Arena, Columbus – 14,000
- 26th: Freedom Hall, Louisville – 20,000
- 27th: Assembly Hall, Indiana University – 16,000
- 28th: Milwaukee Arena, Milwaukee – 11,800
- 29th: Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, Missouri – 20,800 (two shows)
- 30th: Civic Auditorium Arena, Omaha – 20,557 (two shows)
- July 1st: Civic Auditorium Arena, Omaha – 10,440
- 2nd: Salt Palace, Salt Lake City – 13,000. (The final show of the tour.)
Immediately following the show in Salt Lake City, Elvis returns to Memphis. Since being on stage makes Elvis the happiest, he attempts to fill space between tours where he can perform somehow. Elvis puts on a demonstration of Karate with Ed Parker and Red West at West’s Tennessee Karate Institute. The demonstration was said to be quite lengthy, but it made Elvis so very happy.
Live Audience Footage Elvis 1974
With football being Elvis’s favorite sport, he attended the Memphis Grizzlies game against Portland Storm. He receives a standing ovation when he makes his way into his seat. Elvis decides to take an extended vacation in Hawaii leaving July 15th and will not return to Memphis until August 10th.
With his next show in Vegas approaching, Elvis traveled to Los Angeles to begin rehearsing. This next engagement will have new material along with a new look which caused Elvis to be even more excited about it.
August 19th, Elvis opens at Vegas. He has lost weight and gotten into shape due to the excitement of the new show. The show has a new opening and new songs. Though Elvis is excited, the response is not good from the audience. They expected the show to be as it was and Elvis’s excitement then turns to disappointment.
The next night, the show is back to normal and the audience is happy again. With his depression taking a toll on him yet again, he finds himself ill and has to cancel shows August 26th. He returns to the stage the next day. Though he is not quite himself still, the audience loves him and notices nothing about his performance.
Elvis Medley – Live
August 29th, Elvis demonstrates his karate on stage and receives his eighth-degree black belt. September 2nd, his engagement with Vegas closes. This is said to be one of his greatest performances. He stayed on for almost two hours and was joking around with the audience.
Elvis is in high spirits and his outlook is beginning to look up. He remains in Vegas for the next day to meet up with Tom Jones and caught his show. During Tom Jones’s show, Elvis got on stage and performed karate while Jones was singing. Elvis makes his way back to Los Angeles September 5th.
After a two-week relaxation period in Los Angeles, Elvis finally returned home to Memphis. With his spirits down again, he goes on a buying spree in order to bring joy to others. The fourth tour of 1974 begins at the end of September.
- 27th: College Park Field House, Baltimore – 15,000
- 29th: Olympia Stadium, Detroit – 17,105 (He sings for thirty minutes, then nearly collapsed on stage)
- 30th: Notre Dame, Convention Center, South Bend – 12,301
- October 1st: Notre Dame Convention Center, South Bend – 12,301
- 2nd: Civic Center, St. Paul – 17,163
- 3rd: Civic Center, St. Paul – 17,163
- 4th: Olympia Stadium, Detroit – 17,105
- 5th: Expo Convention Center, Indianapolis – 28,000 (two shows)
- 6th: University of Dayton Arena – 27,000 (two shows)
- 7th: Levitt Arena, Kansas City – 10,000
- 8th: Convention Center, San Antonio – 10,500
- 9th: Expo Center, Abilene – 8,604
- 11th-14th: Sahara Tahoe for eight performances that were make-ups for those that were canceled the following spring.
From October 15th – November 10th, Elvis goes on a road trip with a few of his close friends.
He returns to Memphis for the holidays and spends a quiet Christmas and New Years at Graceland. At the years’ end, it was said that Elvis had earned over $7,250,000. Not a bad year of earning for the King. Though with all the money, he was still not happy.
Until we meet again,
TCB and TCE,