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Concert Date: April 15, 1972 Macon, GA

Elvis, Fans Soften Style
by Madeleine Hirsiger and Hoyt Canady
Macon News
April 16, 1972

Elvis Presley, rock idol of millions of teen-agers from 13 to 80, performed before enthusiastic but well behaved capacity audiences yesterday at the Macon Coliseum.

Two performances drew a combined total of about 23,000.

People screamed and shouted when Presley entered the building in the afternoon, and during his performance from the eight feet high, 60 feet wide stage. But absent was the mass hysteria which accompanied Presley concerts a decade ago.

It wasn't until his final numbers that girls tried to reach the stage and Presley. From the foot of the stage girls tossed scarves, half slips, and pocketbooks up to Elvis, who calmly touched them back to their owners.

The crowd at the foot of the stage was finally driven back to their seats by Macon police.

HIS FIRST number was "C.C. Rider," which he launched into after carefully placing one foot behind the other and grabbing the microphone

His famous hips movements somewhat more reserved than years ago, came later. During one number he performed what appeared to be a karate exhibition on the front of the stage.

Presley gave his scarf away to a young man in a wheelchair who sat on the front row. Several women donated replacements, all of which the star used to wipe his forehead before he returned them.

PRESLEY SANG all of his old favorites including "Hound Dog," "All Shook Up," "eddy Bear," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Suspicious Minds," and others. When he sang "Love Me Tender" he walked around the stage and shook hands with those sitting directly behind the band and those who were daring enough to run to the stage before encountering the guards.

Many of those who shook Presley's hand didn't move afterward and kept their hands clutched to their bodies.

The show's finale included a solemn rendition of "Dixie." which received the usual standing ovation. It was followed by "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" sung just as deeply and as seriously.

Presley, the Sweet Inspirations, musicians, technicians and stage hands arrived in Macon at 2:30 am yesterday for two concerts at the Coliseum. Both performances had been sold out for weeks.

PRESLEY'S arrival at the Hilton and his stay in Macon were cloaked in secrecy from the beginning. Reporters and photographers were virtually barred from his quarters at the hotel and backstage in the coliseum.

The audience came from all over Georgia and from distant states like Michigan and Tennessee. There was a mixture of males and females young and old. Crowds arrived as early as 8.30 am for the 2.30 pm performance.

Macon police were on hand to keep people outside the coliseum until the doors opened at 1 p.m. Prior to that time they look countless messages, all of which were personal and intended only for Presley.

One message came from a female member of the Clayton County police, who with a Presley poster in hand, demanded to be escorted back stage as soon as the star arrived.

"I HAVE an important personal message I have to give to him. Surely you can let me back there to speak to him," she said.

But rules set down by Presley's manager were strictly enforced. The woman got nowhere.

A vase of red carnations were delivered to the coliseum for Presley from girls in the business office of Southern Bell in Augusta. The flowers wilted in the 90 degree heat before he arrived

Coliseum officials were kept busy trying to prevent the sale of bootleg programs. Official programs were flown from Texas and were sold at the concert by 35 Wesleyan students.

Officials were also busy checking on people who had ordered tickets through the mail with fraudulent checks. Once seated, these people were told in no uncertain terms to either pay for the tickets or leave.

THOSE WHO had camera equipment were asked to check the equipment at the lobby. One irate fan chose to leave the concert instead.

"I've got $400 worth of camera equipment," he said, "I'll be damned if I'm going to leave it in here."

Cameras smuggled inside however, were abundant in the coliseum, and flash bulbs sparkled during the entire performance.

One woman who took some pictures during the performance declined: "I wouldn't give these up for a million dollars," she said.

The Sweet Inspirations began the show promptly at 2:30 pm. The trio accompanies Presley on all his shows and acts as a backup group during his performance.

Presley arrived at 3:15 pm. His Cadillac was driven into the coliseum to a point directly behind the stage. He emerged in splendid white smiling. A murmur of "Here comes Elvis" went through the audience.

His entrance was preceded by the opening strains from Richard Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra," more popularly known as the theme from the movie "2001." The fans screamed and the chorus hummed and Elvis appeared from behind the musicians.

Then, the screaming stopped and fans settled into their seats for the concert.

The evening performance attracted a largely over 30 crowd who grew up during the days of early Elvis. The few long-hairs who attended were outnumbered by middle-aged women in hot pants.

The audience at the 8:30 performance was more sedate. Although there were screams from across the coliseum when Elvis did a favorite number, no one rushed the stage or threw garments to him.

After Elvis's last number the program emcee announced that Elvis had left the coliseum and the crowd left quietly.

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez