hi folks, just to let you know that i returned from memphis early on friday morning, still jet lagged but very very happy at everything i did and saw, the first day it poured with rain and was a little cold but it never dampened my spirits one bit, what a way to start your holiday in memphis by visiting the 'mansion on the hilltop' 'graceland'. i visited there almost 2 years to the very day and there i was standing there again and it felt like i had never been away.
feeling extremely excited about what lay before me i walked through the front door of the mansion and was ready for anything. the thing that struck me immediately was that there was a few minor changes but nothing to get really excited about, graceland staff has placed new jackets and suits (not concert) through the house here and there, they were'nt anything of real quality but hey!!! they were owned by elvis right so they'll do.
my fiancee and i spent about an hour in total in the house and then we finally hit the 'hall of gold', this is where i held my breathe as i was told there were to be changes made here and also the raquetball court, imagine to my surprise when i entered the 'hall of gold' to find that absolutely nothing had been changed, moved or altered, it was still the exact same as when i last saw it 2 years ago.
feeling a little upset by this i could then predict almost every part of the house until we got to the raquetball court, a few serious changes were made but nothing to spoil the overall effect you get when you walk in there, the suits look fine in the glass cases and they temperature controlled as there are small indicators in each case to keep an eye on each suit, some of the suits have been changed, for instance the 'sundial suit' has gone and has been replaced but i wont tell you everything just now cause it will ruin the effect of the pictures i took while there, as soon as these are developed i'll post them up here for you to see and you can decide for yourself whether or not it works.
2 new awards were presented on elvis birthday, one was certify that 'good rockin' tonight' had officially been certified as a gold disc and to celebrate this the r.i.a.a. presented e.p.e. with a gold disc, which was identical to the one that was presented for 'that's all right', the r.i.a.a. also presented another framed award for elvis achieving the awesome sales of over 50 million singles in his lifetime, this once again was a beautiful framed award and will look good in the raquetball court beside all the other accolades. there was an amazing feeling standing on the front lawn and everyone was quite happy to be there and celebrate the man's birthday, one moment that will stay with me was when there was a live radio link with 'sirius 13' radio station, the dj was explaining that everyone who was anyone should come down to graceland and celebrate 'the kings birthday', he then stuck on a copy of 'such a night' and every single person on the lawn started dancing and singing along, sheer class to which elvis must have been smiling at.
everything else around graceland is still the same and nothing has really changed, one small sad detail is the fact that the 'lisa marie' is now starting to show her age a bit, while i was there i actually saw a guy patch a hole on the underside of the right hand wing as you look face on to the plane, there are also patches of green around the wing area of the plane, these are not mould but in fact it has been treated by a rust protector and they have'nt even bother to attempt to cover it up, sad really .
we attended a 'meet the brits' disco which was held at the radisson hotel in downtown memphis, let me say now that the brits really know how to party and the disco was brilliant, the dancefloor was jam packed with people really kicking up a storm, they had a elvis tribute artist by the name of heath ashton and if you are a close friend of his and you're reading this then i apologise for the following statement, but he was bad, real bad, i have seen a few elvis tribute acts in my time but this guy had people leaving by the score, i saw at least 20 to 30 people leaving by the time he was only half way through his first set, the suits he wore were good and well made, he started with a 1970's blue jumpsuit, then after the interval he came back on wearing the black leather suit from the sit down section of the '68 special he then left again and reappeared wearing the 'aloha suit' to finish his set, in total he was on stage for about an hour thirty, but even the suits did'nt save him, he changed lyrics, forgot lyrics and even sang songs in differently from the way elvis would have done them.
this guy won the gmtv competition to find the best elvis impersonator and if he is the best then the u.k. has serious problems finding a suitable act.
my fiancee and i also attended the live concert that was given by the original american sound sessions band that elvis had recorded with in 1969, this is where i also met linda thompson brother sam, he came across as very warm and friendly guy and took plenty of time with the people he met, he chatted and allowed photos to be taken and signed colour photos of himself with elvis and other family members. the concert itself turned out to be an awesome night, the band appeared on stage with not 1 but 3 vocalists, these guys were from holland, sweden and finland, they took turns in doing different songs and in fact they almost done the complete sessions, doing nearly every single track from those memorable sessions, in fact the only song they missed out was 'mama liked the roses', the highlight for me personally was when they returned just after a short break, one of the vocalist done a version of 'without love' which i swear brought the roof down, the vocalist was given a standing ovation and he deserved it too!!!, the band played for about 1 hour 20 but it was superb, if these guys ever get the chance to come over to britain then please go and see them, i promise you it will be a night to remember. sadly i cant remember these guys names, if anyone out there knows who they are please let me know and any pictures of them are deeply appreciated.
we also went to tupelo to the birthplace of elvis and that was also an awesome event, 9 coaches containing over 400 people attended, we were given a police escort once we arrived in tupelo and we saw all the sights, i'm glad to say that 'baptist memorial hospital' is still standing even though there are plans to demolish it, sun studios was excellent as always but sadly the 'overton park shell' was partly fenced off owing to the fact that the stage area is now too unsafe to walk around on, we went to hulmes high which is still looking great and photos again were taken of all these places that were visited, this also included the mid south coliseum and libertyland, the only slight downside to this day was the fact that the coach that we were on had no facilities to play or watch any elvis stuff so the trip there and back was quite boring.
a big thank you must go to 'arena travel' who organised a special disco to be held on the return from tupelo at our hotel that same night, all the people who booked with them and were staying at other hotels such as: the radisson/heartbreak hotel etc were all invited, for a last minute thing it turned out to be a fantastic night with the dancefloor once again being packed out again.
the last couple of days we spent were at our own leisure and myself and my fiancee decided to take a trip to graceland once more to see the house minus all it's christmas decorations, it was great to see it in a different light and it still looked truly stunning once again a lot of pictures were taken and i cant wait to see them.
the night before we left we both stood outside and looked over the wall at graceland, it looked beautiful to see the house all lit up and it almost made you feel like elvis was still there, and then sadly it was then time to return to the hotel and start packing. my 40th birthday was on the 12th of january one day before we left, and i had a great time but it was overshadowed by the fact of where i was.
leaving was the hard part and we both did not want to come home but sadly all good things must come to an end and we had to go, i was very emotional about leaving and i was very very sad to do so, i still wish i was there but a part of me is still there and the night before we left i stood outside graceland and made a promise to 'E' that i would return to see him again, and you can bet that i will hold that promise true to my heart,
cheers for reading this hope you liked it