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When one thinks of Hawaii, images of pristine beaches, colorful flowers, and swaying palm trees often come to mind. The Hawaiian Islands have also served as an alluring, exotic backdrop for musical legends over the decades.

If you’re wondering where Elvis Presley gave concerts and delighted his fans in America’s tropical paradise, read on for a comprehensive overview.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Elvis performed concerts at the Honolulu International Center (now known as the Neal S. Blaisdell Center) in Honolulu in 1957 and 1961.

Elvis’s Historic Aloha from Hawaii Concert in Honolulu

The Show That Made Television History

On January 14, 1973, Elvis Presley staged a historic, record-breaking concert at the Honolulu International Center (now known as the Neal S. Blaisdell Center) in Honolulu, Hawaii. Officially titled “Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite,” it was the first entertainment special to be broadcast live around the world via satellite.

An estimated 1 to 1.5 billion people watched Elvis perform an incredible setlist of his iconic hits and fan favorites to a sold-out crowd.

The concert and broadcast were groundbreaking achievements that demonstrated the power of global media connectivity. As Elvis quipped in his opening remarks, it was an event of “a little talking and a lot of singing.”

Clad in his flamboyant white jumpsuit, cape, and Hawaiian lei, the undisputed King of Rock and Roll delivered outstanding renditions of classics like “See See Rider,” “Steamroller Blues,” “Suspicious Minds,” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

Why Hawaii Was Chosen for the Landmark Special

There were several key reasons why Hawaii and its capital city of Honolulu proved to be the prime location for Elvis’s momentous satellite-broadcast show.

First, the beautiful island paradise provided an exotic setting befitting the concert’s trailblazing nature. The postcard-perfect images of swaying palms and sunny skies created visual appeal for international audiences.

Additionally, the venue’s central placement in the Pacific Ocean made Honolulu an optimal site for bouncing transmission signals between multiple geosynchronous satellites across Asia and the Americas. This enabled efficient worldwide broadcasting capabilities.

Moreover, Hawaii had special sentimental meaning for Elvis. Early in his storied career in 1961, Elvis starred in the musical film “Blue Hawaii,” which introduced him to the islands’ vibrant culture. This established a lifelong affection and bond between the star and the Aloha state.

Ticket Sales and Attendance Numbers

The Aloha from Hawaii concert remains one of the highest-grossing and most well-attended live events by a single entertainer. Total ticket receipts topped $75,000 for an audience of 6,500 fans at the Honolulu International Center arena.

Scalpers reportedly fetched over $500 per ticket due to intense demand. Satellite broadcasting expanded Elvis’s audience to roughly one quarter of the planet’s population!

Ticket Price Range $5 to $100
Total Tickets Sold 6,500
Total Ticket Revenue $75,000+
Scalped Ticket Prices Up to $500
TV Viewers (approx.) 1 to 1.5 billion

The numbers speak for themselves. Elvis’s charismatic talent and global fame resulted in unprecedented viewership that highlighted cutting-edge broadcast abilities. As he sang during the famous show, he helped share “aloha” with the world.

Elvis’s 1957 Hawaii Concert Series

Brief Background on the Shows

In 1957, Elvis was at the peak of his fame after exploding onto the music scene just two years prior. His manager Colonel Tom Parker arranged a concert series in Hawaii’s capital city of Honolulu to expand Elvis’s reach to the islands.

Elvis performed a total of 4 sold-out concerts from November 9-13 at the Honolulu Stadium, which could seat 35,000 people. Over the course of the brief concert series, Elvis played to around 75,000 screaming fans who were overjoyed to see the rock n’ roll icon in person.

The Set List Elvis Performed

During the Hawaii shows, Elvis performed many of his biggest hits at the time for the lively crowds. Some of the standout songs included:

  • “Hound Dog”
  • “Don’t Be Cruel”
  • “Love Me Tender”
  • “All Shook Up”
  • “Teddy Bear”
  • “Jailhouse Rock”
  • He also did covers of other popular tunes such as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Tutti Frutti,” and “Blueberry Hill.” For his famous finale number, Elvis always closed with “Hound Dog,” having changed into a flashy gold lame suit that drove fans wild.

    Fan Reactions and Reviews

    Elvis’s Hawaii concerts received rave reviews from both fans and press alike. The Honolulu Star Bulletin praised Elvis’s vibrancy on stage, saying his “singing and performing sent teenagers into hysteria, matrons into nostalgia, and critics looking for new superlatives.”

    Teen fans nearly rushed the state after the iconic finale performance of “Hound Dog” on the final night.

    Other Notable Hawaii Concert Appearances

    1961 Polynesian Cultural Center Show

    In 1961, Elvis performed a benefit concert at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Oahu to raise money for a memorial center after a tsunami devastated the town of Hilo. Elvis flew over from Los Angeles to do the show and thousands of fans flocked to see him perform hits like “Hound Dog” and “Blue Suede Shoes.”

    According to the Polynesian Cultural Center website, over 4,000 people crammed into the newly built amphitheater to watch Elvis. Tickets were $3 each and proceeds went to build the Hilo Memorial Hospital.

    It was a short but memorable trip where Elvis got to take in some of Hawaii’s natural beauty and support an important cause.

    Potential Plans for a 1975 Hawaii Concert

    In the mid-1970s, there was talk of Elvis possibly performing a concert in Hawaii during a break from his heavy touring schedule in 1975. Hawaii seemed like an ideal tropical destination for The King to relax and reconnect with his fans.

    According to a 1975 newspaper article, Tom Moffatt, the famous Hawaiian concert promoter who brought artists like The Rolling Stones to the islands, noted that Hawaii would be the perfect spot for an Elvis comeback special.

    Moffatt said that he was trying to convince Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker about the idea.

    Ultimately the Hawaii concert never materialized, likely due to Elvis’ declining health later in 1975. But for a brief period, Hawaii fans held out hope that they might get one last chance to see Elvis shake his hips in an island paradise setting.


    In conclusion, Elvis delivered spectacular, landmark performances in beautiful Hawaii over the years. From his record-breaking 1973 Aloha from Hawaii concert broadcast worldwide via satellite to electrifying local crowds in the late 1950s, Presley knew how to entertain his passionate fans under swaying palms and azure skies.

    Whenever Elvis performed in America’s tropical oasis, his music and charm complemented the islands’ relaxed vibes perfectly.

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