Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All Shook Up, By Yolanda Adele

In the summer of 1969, it was Elvis Presley’s opening night at what was then The International Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. It was the first time he had performed in public for more than nine years. According to a Newsweek article dated August 11, 1969, the showroom was filled with 2,200 seats twice each day for four weeks; total attendance reportedly topped 101,509, a new Las Vegas record. The gross receipts were $1,522,635, also a Las Vegas record.

My husband made reservations six months in advance to be there for our seventh wedding anniversary; it was his anniversary gift to me.

The orchestra played the powerful theme from 2001 Space Odyssey to a reverberating crescendo when Elvis finally made his highly anticipated appearance and took command of the stage, wearing a white jump-suit.

The air seemed to fill with electrifying energy and euphoria as the audience stood and applauded with thunderous frenzy.

My husband bribed a couple of waiters and a maitre’d to sit me up front, center stage. I didn’t sit for long. I rose and pressed my body up against the platform as some women from behind me rushed the stage when Elvis teasingly pulled his scarf off his neck to wipe his brow before offering the scarf to his adoring fans.

I raised and waved my hand to plea for the priceless scarf. I screamed out his name. He turned and looked right at me, giving me his trademark, upper lip curled smile, and said “Hold on honey, I’ll get to you.”

One of his body guards pointed a flashlight beam on my burnt orange hot pants (shorts) and matching calypso blouse that I wore, that seemed to cue the lighting technician, because changing color lights washed over me repeatedly before panning the rest of the audience in the auditorium.

Then a single large spot light followed Elvis as he moved nearer to me and knelt down on one knee directly in front of me. I was mesmerized by his sapphire-blue eyes as he sang Love Me Tender. I was sure he was singing just to me. Slowly Elvis leaned foreword to slip his scarf over my head until it reached the back of my neck pulling me closer to him. I stood on my tip-toes, closed my eyes…then he kissed me on the lips softly and tenderly. Women shrilled fervently, but he chose me.

I opened my eyes feeling a bit shook up and disorientated. All sounds seemed muffled before everything went dim and I fell to the ground. I vaguely heard someone say, “She’s fainted, give her some room!” And I remember thinking, “if only Elvis could give me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.”

That was forty years ago, yet the images of that magical time in my life are vibrant in the recesses of my mind; where I visit from time to time when I need a break from the doldrums and I’m once again feeling vital and All Shook Up.


  1. Hi Yolanda,
    Brilliant as usual. What a great memory of your seventh anniversary. How thoughtful of your honey to bribe the waiters to seat you up front and center. Your story was so vivid, I was right there with you. You must have been adorable in your orange shorts and calypso blouse. No wonder you fainted when Elvis kissed you on the lips. Did you get to keep the scarf? Whenever I hear "Love Me Tender" I will not think of Elvis but of you and your charming story.

  2. Yolanda I was in the audience once watching Elvis in Vegas so I could picture the whole scene of your story. "All Shook Up" is the song that will make me remember your story.

  3. That was a really sweet story. I can see why you would be "all shook up".

  4. Yolanda, I loved reading your "All Shook Up" story. Who wouldn't faint??!! I remember when you read it in class. It was fun but really neat reading it personally so I could soak up all the details. I saw "Jail House Rock" 3 times at the Avenue theatre way back when and was pretty shook up myself. Can't imagine seeing him in person at that time! A very thoughtful anniversary treat from your husband indeed.