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Home > Newspaper Articles > 1976 > November 26, 1976 (8:30 pm) Portland, OR.
CONCERT DATE: November 26, 1976 (8:30 pm) Portland, OR.
November 27, 1976
Elvis Still Rock King To His Fans
By John Wenderborn
Count the "kings" of entertainment: There's Benny Goodman, the King of Swing, and Frank Sinatra, just the "king" a singer with a style non pareil.
But the king of rock and roll is still Elvis Presley; his throne has yet to be threatened and he's been at it longer than most, something like 22 years now.
Elvis returned to Portland's Memorial Coliseum Friday night for the first time in about two (maybe three) years and staged a typical Las Vegas show. Except that 11,000 enthusiastic, camera-toting fans were on hand Friday a supposed to the hundreds who view his Nevada shows
Presley was in his usual good humor throughout, tossing silken scarves to those ladies who could break past the super-tight security barrier and making small jokes with the members of his two-dozen person entourage onstage.
He was attired in a swashbuckling white suit with plenty of embroidered glitter around the jacket. And for those who've been reading reports of Presley's battle with the calories, he looked trim enough to look healthy.
If anything, his face has lost that patented sneer. When he smiled it was a gentle smile. And Elvis is either 40 or 41
The show opened with short segments by the Hilton horns, JD Sumner and the Stamps, the Sweet Inspirations and Jackie Kahane, a comic.
The Sumner group was excellent gospel, it a bit Las Vegas. The Inspirations presented a rhythm and blues and soul portion that also was good. But Kahane was excellent if a bit conservative in his comic approach. He was very funny without being blue.
But the show was Elvis, and while it seemed a bit softer than a past performances in Portland it was nevertheless a good Elvis concert. He split the music between old and new stuff and, of course, received the biggest accolades for tunes like "Jailhouse Rock," which dates back to his mid-1950s roots.
There was enough his swiveling to keep the swooners swooning while he passed out like 60 pastel scarves.
It would be a tossup to predict whether the fans were there to listen to music, see Elvis the idol or relive high school rock and roll days.
Presley certainly appealed to catch of those reasons, but his music was stable enough to make that the major reason. His voice is a tender baritone, especially on the beautifully done "Hawaiian Wedding Song?". He played guitar, but did little more than a chord along with the band behind him.
He was ably helped by 10 backup singers, a seven-piece rock and roll band - with James Burton playing lead guitar, one of the real greats in this music - and the six horns.
He generously gave room to other solo performers in the backing group, including Sumner, whose bass voice has got to be the deepest one in music. When he got to the bottom of his voice, it actually rattled the huge bass-powered speakers and amplifiers in the building.
Presley was on about 90 minutes, spreading his music between slow, gospel and short versions of his old rock and roll hits. There's no question that the man is still in the legend category. He holds a position in entertainment only few others can claim, including Frank Sinatra and the Beatles.
He's active enough to keep all hands happy, and the feeling is always that elvis will still be filling the Coliseum 20 years from now.
Courtesy of Francesc Lopez