|Elvis Express Radio News
|THE KINGS VISIT WAS A DREAM FOR COLUMBUS
November 21, 2015 - Ledger Enquirer / Elvis Express Radio
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|Elvis left the building before he performed at the old Municipal Auditorium - a building Bob Hope compared to a parking garage.
Now comes Elton John, and we can only hope he survives long enough to play at the Columbus Civic Center in March.
Tickets went on sale Friday and online buyers were spending obscene amounts of money to see him perform just nine days before his 69th birthday. John will be the biggest name
ever to grace a local stage, though we've also enjoyed Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Prince and other members of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.
As for Elvis Presley, he was all but booked for a concert on Oct. 1, 1977. An announcement was planned for Aug. 16 -- the day the music died in Memphis. It was mentioned in a
front-page article in the Ledger on the afternoon after he died.
Mike Blackwell remembers. Well he should for local promoters usually weren't involved in an Elvis show.
"He was somebody every promoter dreamed of, a guaranteed sellout, a legend," Blackwell told a reporter 38 years ago. "He was still selling out places when he died. He booked
places and they sold out the day tickets went on sale."
Blackwell was involved because of a stage he had built for an Earth, Wind & Fire show at Memorial Stadium. The auditorium's stage wasn't large enough for Elvis so legendary
promoter Jerry Weintraub called Blackwell, who started booking shows while he was a student at Columbus State University.
"They said I could have 25 percent of the show if I let them use my stage," he said Friday.
The King would have been a hot ticket in 1977 and Sir Elton John is a hot ticket in 2015, even if good seats are $148. He has had 56 Top 40 singles, second only to Elvis.
He'll perform many of them in March, but someone should request an obscure cut off "The Diving Board," an album that came out in 2013. It is a tribute to Blind Tom Wiggins, a
black slave from Columbus who made music around the world in the years after the Civil War.