If you compare that with Joe Average, who works 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 46 weeks a year. That is the same as 1610 workingdays (of 8 hours, breaks and traveling time not included).
The Vegas seasons of 2-3 shows a day (eventhough that's 3x 1 hour working), 4 weeks in a set must have been terrible. But don't forget that after such a Vegas engagement, he was free for quite some weeks. Many Vegas performers (often the lesser stars) actually live in Vegas and see it as a jon (where you also work every day).
The tours also were very short: only 1-3 weeks per tour. Always in the same country (mostly even in the same part of the US). That's different from artists touring the world and being away from home for months.
So in short: the shows in 1969/1970 were very physical (and I guess also very demanding for Elvis' voice). But later on the average Elvis show wasn't a full-speed ahead, high energy, 'give it all' concert. Just watch the Aloha: I love this show, but Elvis is very, VERY static with little movement. If you watch fan footage of Elvis shows, Elvis does very little else than walking around during singing. The amount of karate chops are limited to just a few mostly at the end of a song. Even songs like Polk Salad Annie and Suspicious Minds were shortened to save on the karate routine.
Don't forget, Elvis was ONLY in his late 30s when the energy level of the show dramatically started to decrease. I don't like to compare Elvis with other artists (since he's a league of his own), but for the sake of discussion I will do so: Brian Johnson is the leadsinger from AC/DC. This guy is 63 recently came back from a two year long world tour. These shows were about two hour long where the whole band gave 100% to the (huge) crowds. Same goes for the members of Iron Maiden: all in their 50s and still giving amazing shows around the world. Or Mike Love (from the Beach Boys): his performance (movement and stance on the podium) can be compared with Elvis (unlike singers from hard rock bands of course). He'll become 70 this year and he (along with fellow Beach Boy Bruce Johnston) has about 100+ shows a year. Shows from about 80-100 minutes.
I don't want to put Elvis or his shows down. I only want to make a point that it wasn't the amount of shows or the energy Elvis put into them, that brought Elvis down. Elvis lost passion in things quickly: making movies, recording, performing, women, food, etc. He was clearly out of balance. Just notice that Elvis did very little in all these weeks (sometimes months!) off that he had (after movies, tours or Vegas engagements). He didn't take acting classes, his weight often increased, he didn't try to write music himself, had no interest in the business behind show business and didn't growas an artist.
Just like with making movies, Elvis started strong in 1969-1970, but then it all became a drag and a way to make money and an attempt to fill that void in his life. But it wasn't pure passion anymore that made Elvis tour, extend his Vegas contract (or visit the studio) during the later part of the 70s.
Albert my friend you make some great points-one of the biggest questions in my thoughts on Elvis is why his passion for things was so quickly lost ....performing, movies, recording etc..........
I always come back to the same idea-once he conquered something-the challenge was not there.... his "id" needed to think his back was up against the wall in order to produce the passion he needed to give his all.
WHY I have no idea, but once he mastered something he coasted. As I have often said, we all have our inner conflicts and history which shaped who and what we become as adults and he was no different.
As far as acting classes or writing music "he was never encouraged to do so" on the contrary if he got an idea from someone which may have led to his growth as an actor, or in music, or philosphy of life-what happened... Parker would work to nip those thoughts and ideas in the bud. Parker did not want a hungry, interested, thinking client-he wanted one who stayed in the dark and came out on cue....and he knew how to keep him that way.
Elvis was happiest when he was performing, and when his juices were encouraged by people outside his influence such as Chips Moman, Binder, Pasetta etc....did Parker make sure Elvis ended up meeting these type people-No he did the opposite..."to protect his control over Elvis Presley the product" and Elvis fearful of what might happen if Parker was out of the picture-listened.
By the way, imagine how hard everything must have been for the TCB band, JD Sumner & The Stamps, The Sweet Inspiration and Joe Guercio?
All of them did the same shows as Elvis, many of them also did the pre-shows. And they also had recording careers besides touring with Elvis. JD Sumner & The Stamps often had their own shows in towns nearby where they would perform in the evening with Elvis. The also travelled not in the same way as Elvis did (as can been seen in Elvis On Tour). While Elvis left the building during the Closing Theme, the musicians and vocalists were longer in the arenas.
Joe Guercio worked with local musicians. So he traveled to the next town earlier, so that he could rehearse with these unknown musicians, trying to make them ready to be part of the Elvis show.
So all of these men and women were at the same shows as Elvis (obviously), putting in more time than Elvis, also having family and friends waiting at home with a whole lot less luxury. Then again, they didn't have to cope with the stress and they could walk freely through the towns in their spare time.
A Lot of concerts thats for sure and just to put it into context,
just heard 'Tony bennett' talking and he has been in show business 60 years
with his forthcoming album being his 100th album he says he has done 200 concerts
in his lifetime, it just reminds me how hard elvis worked especially '69 to '77
no wonder he was so tired at times.
He did far too many shows, it's no wonder monotony set in.........ridiculous