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View Full Version : How come modern (and "Golden Oldies") acts draw a bigger audience than Elvis?



Albert
09-09-2006, 10:10 PM
I was watching a piece of a Robbie Williams concert on tv. I was amazed what an amazing crowd there was. I guess it was over 60.000

And it made me wonder.... acts from Iron Maiden to Michael Jackson, from Bon Jovi to Pink Floyd.... and so on... Even in the Netherlands we have a Dutch singer who draws a few arena's (50.000 people) a year with his shows.

How come Elvis was limited to performing in medium sized buildings? I've looked it up and the number of shows Elvis did for an audience of 15.000+ people are very rare. I also read that Colonel Parker wasn't certain that Elvis would fill a larger building and compete with the modern acts those days.

Did Elvis ever wonder why he had to do it with mostly smaller venues and smaller cities?

Tony Trout
09-09-2006, 11:29 PM
But.....Elvis played to nearly 60,000 people at the Pontiac Silverdome...that right there should have been an indication to Colonel Parker that Elvis could, in fact, sell out larger venues....

Albert
09-09-2006, 11:47 PM
But.....Elvis played to nearly 60,000 people at the Pontiac Silverdome...that right there should have been an indication to Colonel Parker that Elvis could, in fact, sell out larger venues....

And that building had been partially closed so that he was sure that it was a 'full capacity' show, completely sold out. He really was a sneaky b***rd.

I can understand the point of view of Parker (although I completely don't share his lack of confidence in Elvis), but didn't Elvis ever talk about it?

bogarcon
09-10-2006, 12:03 AM
You have to think that in the 70`s most of the arena were for the National Hockey League Teams and region hockey team and some of them were very new and were not build for concerts. Most of them had a 12,500-20,000 seats. Elvis and the band didn`t like to play in the big place because the sound was awful and the fans could`nt see him properly on stage. In fact, he did play on some 18,000 seats and also in Houston Astrodome (75,000 capacity seats).
Have a nice day, bogarcon
;)

EP6873
09-10-2006, 12:10 AM
Don't forget about the sold out shows at the Houston Astrodome in February 1970.

franny
09-10-2006, 12:48 AM
I have no doubts that Elvis would have sold out in larger buildings, but I wonder if some of the buildings he played in were smaller made then they are now...that was a different time...

The Houston Astrodome was a large building that he played in...and sold out..

franny

diamond
09-10-2006, 12:52 AM
I too watched Robbie:king: tonight and was wondering does anyone think he is our generations Elvis?

JDD
09-10-2006, 05:29 PM
I think Leroy makes a good point. I have no doubt he could have given the promotion sold out any venue they chose especially if the Colonel gave in and sent someone to handle the direct end of an over seas tour. That said the kind of Music Elvis liked singing in the 1970s, seems to me to lend itself better acousticly to smaller venues. Thats why I think the Vegas shows were so successful sound wise, play to a smaller room and the sounds clearer.

Joe Car
09-10-2006, 06:46 PM
In 1970, he played to over 207,000 people in 6 shows at the Astrodome, which at the time held 44,000 people. In 1974, he sold out the Astrodome twice in the same day, playing an afternoon and evening show. We all know about his selling 66,000 seats at the Silverdome. Like it's been mentioned earlier, he did not like the sound he was getting from the bigger venues, thus 10-20,000 seat arenas were perfect, he liked the closeness to the audience, he mentioned that before. Just to add a bit to this, in 1972, he sold out Madison Square Garden 4 times, selling 80,000 seats, concert west promoter Jerry Weintraub said "the demand was so high, he easily could have sold 200,000 tickets." There were many days when EP would play Los Angeles forum, sell 37-40,000 tickets for the two shows as well as Chicago Stadium where he sold out like clockwork, 20,000 seats, two a days, or every day for 3 or 4 days, it was automatic.

emsteph
01-09-2007, 06:46 AM
A lot of the old arenas are being torn down for new ones.

They have improved site lines, superior lighting, and fantastic sound. It would have been amazing to see Elvis perform in these palaces of today. The sound and video quality would have been exciting to see.

I can't figure though, why the Colonel would have Elvis playing in 6000-10000 seat arenas in some small towns. Perhaps to enable people to see Elvis that were unable to make it to the larger cities...?? It doesn't make sense...he could have played larger venues and fewer concerts as there would have been more money made by the paying crowds. It must have cost quite a bit to move all the equipment, set up/take down, security, hotels, etc. for all the crews, band, and Elvis.

Imagine today's fortunes. Most new buildings average 22000 in North America. At $150US for a big ticket performer, one would take in $3.3million per show. After expenses, I think Elvis would be rolling in it!! Much different from the $15 the Colonel was charging.

0349054
01-09-2007, 05:10 PM
You have to take into account inflation, and costs then compared with costs now.

Elvis was the first actor to be paid a million dollars for a movie. That's back int he 50's - that's rolling in it!

A lot of the large acts these day's, in comparison are not gaining a higher standard of living due to the wealth their talent has accumulated than Elvis had. The money may be more, but you can get for it in today's terms is not much more than what Elvis could get for money he was earning at the prices during his lifetime.

Sonny
01-09-2007, 07:09 PM
Well, also for artists performing live times have changed I guess, larger stadiums, larger crowds right?

But don't forget that Elvis played several venues several nights. So the amount of people visiting several sold out concerts will add up to a large crowd as well.

And don't forget Las Vegas was the place to perform in the Seventies, and Vegas benifited from Elvis' show in a big way.
And selling out a complete season (even a relatively small showroom) made sure lots of people could visit the Elvis show, but also could use the casino afterwards.
In a town like Vegas these things go hand in hand.


Sonny

Joe Car
01-09-2007, 07:14 PM
And that building had been partially closed so that he was sure that it was a 'full capacity' show, completely sold out. He really was a sneaky b***rd.

I can understand the point of view of Parker (although I completely don't share his lack of confidence in Elvis), but didn't Elvis ever talk about it?

I live and grew up in the Michigan area and the Detroit Lions of the NFL, averaged about 61,000 a game when at the Silverdome, and that was considered a sellout. Elvis selling 62,500 seats on New Years eve, that's incredible. There were parts of the Silverdome that just weren't very good to watch an event, thus most times they weren't even open. I also remember the EP concert being sold out way before the actual date, Elvis concerts were an automatic sellout. Like mentioned earlier, he didn't like the sound he would get from a stadium, which is understandable.

nashville cat
01-10-2007, 02:17 PM
Yes, it's true Elvis generally played the smaller venues, but I think it's more impressive when you realize he would play those venues over several nights to sold out audiences. He probably could have played larger venues, but he cared about giving the fans a good show, which is admirable. I remember reading that outdoor venues were completely out for this reason.

The Beatles played Shea Stadium in 1965 and it was the biggest rock n' roll show at that time. The audience couldn't really hear or see the Beatles though. When Elvis was touring in the 70's, live PA sound had improved quite a bit, but still a far cry from what we have today, with the speakers and big video screens and what not.

And ticket prices were reasonable, even allowing for inflation. Concerts today are just a rip-off.

jak
01-10-2007, 02:45 PM
I paid $7.50 to see Elvis in 1974.A real bargain.
Jak

nashville cat
01-10-2007, 03:15 PM
I paid $7.50 to see Elvis in 1974.A real bargain.
Jak

I should say so! My parents saw him in 1974 and 1975 in Murfreesboro, TN (Dixieland Rocks show), and I think that's about what they paid also.

Oh for the privilege today of being able to see him perform!

Brian Quinn
01-10-2007, 03:16 PM
Basically, Elvis did not like playing to very large crowds as his thing was to interact with his audience. Further, if you look at the music magazine bibles of the day 'Billboard' and 'Variety', it can clearly be seen that Elvis was the top concert draw throughout the 1970's.


Brian (y)

masterbret
01-10-2007, 05:04 PM
i think it was because elvis wanted quality over quantity becuse he wanted the fans to get to see him properly and not from a very far distance

orwell1976
01-10-2007, 08:54 PM
I guess today Elvis would play the big stadiums like Mr. Williams does. In the 1970's there where no sponsored shows in venues like that and there wasn't the opportunity to make some additional money by filming the tours and release a dvd. The world has changed drastically since the King's days. You cannot compare the sound Elvis archived at the Astrodome in 1974 with the sound you can create today. Everything improved so I guess Elvis would be playing such venues today.

emsteph
01-30-2007, 05:19 AM
I guess today Elvis would play the big stadiums like Mr. Williams does.

Who is Mr. Williams???

jadedragon61
01-30-2007, 08:55 AM
I think it all comes down to colonel-onomics. If he thought, for whatever set of reasons (his cut being firstmost),that the smaller joints turned a better profit, then he booked them . I think there's no question that EP could fill any joint, the colonel just didn't want to book those places.

The weak excuse given by the colonel for never doing a world, or at least European, tour was "security concerns" - the fact is that he couldn't get the same miser's cut as he did in the US where he knew every part of the field.

poormansgold
01-30-2007, 12:55 PM
Maybe Elvis like smaller places better, I know He had trouble with few smaller places with sound, liked King wings PLace in K'zoo mIchigan, i been in that place the sound is bad still.
The European tour nothing real do with security, Colonel was Ban from Holland, because from bad busineses deals, That's True Reason Elvis Didn't
Come To Europe.
Tom

srj1967
01-30-2007, 06:15 PM
The European tour nothing real do with security, Colonel was Ban from Holland, because from bad busineses deals, That's True Reason Elvis Didn'tCome To Europe.

I have to disagree here. The Colonel didn't have to go overseas; he could have just sent Elvis with the musicians and the Mafia. His status as an illegal alien had nothing to do with Elvis. The Colonel would have simply stayed home while Elvis toured the world.

I've always believed this theory, and it's one that Sonny West told me he also believes. He said, "There are two reasons why Elvis didn't travel the world in the '70s ... the drugs and the guns. Elvis and the Colonel didn't have the medical connections overseas and Elvis was paranoid about not having access to his medication. And not even Elvis could have got his guns into other countries, and he liked to carry them in the later years."

The Colonel didn't have any medical connections in other countries, so Elvis would've been presumabley climbing the walls without his pills, and understandably so.

I guess we'll never really know, but that's what I've always believed anyway. I think the drugs - and perhaps general laziness on his part - kept Elvis from visiting other countries for a tour.