They’re coming to Graceland.
More precisely, they’re coming to the Graceland Soundstage in Elvis Presley’s Memphis.
Perhaps EPE’s plan in the beginning was to show Elvis movies at the Soundstage, and to have events there during Elvis Week and the Elvis Birthday Celebration.
But now they are going after more than just Elvis fans to fill the seats. After all, they do have a concert venue holding up to 1,500 people, and there are a lot of good touring acts out there who perfume in front of crowds like that.
I’m not sure about this, but I think the only Memphis concert venue of similar size is the New Daisy Theater on Beale Street.
I went to a midnight concert at the New Daisy Theater during Elvis Week 2002. It featured two young tribute artists named Shawn Klush and Ryan Pelton. Klush went on to win the first Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition in 2007, but he still came back to the New Daisy years after that.
So, the Memphis roster of concert venues has improved with the addition of the Graceland Soundstage. It’s got state-of-the art sound and graphics, lots of parking, and a bonus perk that’s pretty cool. Concert ticket holders get free admission to Elvis Presley’s Memphis from 3pm on, so they can spend 4 or 5 hours in there before going into the concert.
A dozen artists are lined up so far to perform at the Soundstage this spring and summer. But Chubby Checker.is the one I want to write about.
I have always liked Chubby Checker. He is originally from Philadelphia, and so am I. I saw him once back in 1959 before he became a huge star with his hit, “The Twist.” He was one of several local singers that performed in an open pavilion at Willow Grove Park. At that time he had a minor novelty hit called “The Class.” In it, the students were supposedly Elvis, Fats Domino, the Coasters, and the Chipmunks, and Chubby sang a few lines in each of their voices.
He is 78 years old and still performing. Here he is in 2014.
While searching for a current photo of him, I found something that made me laugh.
Chubby Checker had sued the makers of an app that estimated the size of a man’s penis, called The Chubby Checker, for $500 million over “irreversible damage and harm”. He claimed that the app tarnished his name.
I wonder how much he got in the settlement. Not so much for him to finally hang up those twisting shoes for good. No, he’s coming to Graceland on June 22. The top tickets go for $99.50.
Chubby Checker’s act has always included lots of dancing with the fans, not just on the stage, but also down in the aisles sometimes. I’ll bet he puts on a great show at Graceland.
And I like the new option we fans now have. Elvis wasn’t the only music we liked. We had other favorite singers and bands over the years. If one of these gets booked at the Soundstage, it could spark a trip to Graceland for a connection with two of your favorites. A Chubby Checker/Elvis Presley weekend at Graceland sounds like a fine idea to this old fan.
Here’s the rest of the lineup coming to this concert series now named Graceland Live.
These artists are listed without comment for now. Click here to see a wonderful website that tells you everything about them.
Bret Michaels – Saturday March 23 – All tickets are Standing $49.50
George Thorogood – Saturday, April 13 – Top ticket is $101.50
Buckcherry – Friday, April 19 – All tickets are Standing $25
Frank Turner – Saturday, April 27 – All tickets are Standing $27.50
Allman Betts Band – Friday, May 3 ditto
Violent Femmes and X – Thursday May 16 – All tickets are Standing $39.50
Stryper – Sunday, June 2 – All tickets are Standing $25
Boz Scaggs – Sunday, June 16 – Top ticket is $124.50
Chubby Checker – Saturday, June 22 – Top ticket is $99.50
Pat Benetar, Saturday July 26 – Top ticket is $124.50
Brian Setzer, Wednesday, Aug 21 – Top ticket is $99.50
Hot Tuna – Sunday, Sept 1 ditto
That’s an interesting variety of performers. And there’s lots of room for more additions.
Here’s some stuff off that website I told you about
I also want to write about another performer that I’d love to combine with Elvis on a weekend at Graceland: George Thorogood and the Destroyers.
George Thorogood’s current tour is named the “Good To Be Bad Tour – 45 Years of Rock”
He started his career in 1974, back when music was on records. I bought four of his albums, and I picked up a couple of his cassettes at garage sales. Now I’ve got 16 George Thorogood songs on my playlist.
Here’s what the Graceland Live website says about him.
That’s quite a list of adjectives they used to describe George Thorogood’s music. To me, It’s just really good blues-rock. Nothing like Chubby Checker or Elvis music, but I like all three.
Here’s another connection I have with George Thorogood. One of his songs is the ringtone on my cel phone, and it’s not any of those listed above. It’s called “If You Don’t Start Drinkin’ (I’m Gonna Leave)”. I picked it because it starts with a very loud repetitive guitar lick. I need it loud if I’m going to hear the phone ring in my pocket with my crummy hearing.
This is a nice image, but unfortunately, Elvis won’t be performing at Graceland Live.
Remember when Dorothy said to Toto, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Well, “Graceland isn’t just Elvis anymore.”
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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.