Back on the concert circuit for the first time since July 1975, Elvis Presley’s 16th tour throughout the States was a very short one. Vernon and Linda Thompson were along, while Shane Kiester had replaced Glen D. Hardin on keyboards, and Larry Londin sat in for Ronnie Tutt, who joined the Grateful Dead. After just 8 shows, Kiester chose a career of his own and in April he quit the band leaving the keyboards to Tony Brown.
To surprise of some of the band members, James Burton did show up to tour again with Elvis. He had threatened to leave the band, unless he was given a raise. Parker refused at first, but Elvis agreed… raising not only Burton’s, but all fees.
On March 20th, there were a pair of shows in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the Coliseum. Attendance was over 12,000 for both the 2:30 and 8:30 p.m. shows, and the total box office take was about $260,000. During the Matinee Show, while Elvis was singing ‘Steamroller Blues’, a girl broke through the security forces and was able to make it to Elvis for a quick kiss, which cut his lip. Elvis was so rattled that he forgot the words to his next song, ‘Burning Love’. Guitarist John Wilkinson had to restart the intro of the song. By the way, if you look closely, you can see John wearing glasses – a pretty unusual sight.
After the first show, Elvis made it clear that he was ‘not amused’ with the lack of security on and off stage. Later that day, local police officers managed to pull down a few female fans from the fire ladder outside the hotel – they had climbed the ladder in a futile attempt to see a glimpse of Elvis in his hotel room.
Following the evening show, Elvis flew to Cincinnati, where he occupied the twenty-fourth floor of the Netherland Hilton. Parker’s staff was on the twenty-third floor.
The white two piece suit with blue ribbon that James and John are wearing on this picture, is one of the 20 TCB-suits to be displayed at a special exhibition in Mol, Belgium (June 8th) on the occasion of John Wilkinson’s concert.