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CONCERT DATE: October 24, 1976 (8:30 pm) Evansville, IN. Roberts Municipal.

Legend replaces zest for Elvis
By James Szymanski
The Evansville Press
October 25, 1976

A slight lift of his leg was all it took. Afleeting glance over the shoulder followed by a pirouette and a dreamy stare from his blue eyes freed primal screams from the front rows.

Then came the teasing from the stage as a diligent valet-musician wrapped silk scarves around the sweaty neck of the King, Elvis Presley. Time after time, he dried himself before a crush of women waiting to catch one of his annointed souvenirs.

It was just the kind of excitement they came to experience.

The sellout crowd of 13,600 who came to hear Elvis perform set a new Roberts Stadium record. Most of the fans who began arriving more than two hours before showtime were so overcome with hero worship that Presley didn't have to work too hard.

His 41-year-old body wasn't moving with the same speed or vigor it did when Presley was the heart-throb of every high school girl in the mid 1950s. His voice was atrong but his delivery was a little lackadaisical, especialy on some old favorites like "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel"

But Elvis did reach down with enough lusty, forceful wailing to assure even the most skeptical that the King is not dead.

His supply of wiggles has dwindled over the years, there was enough hip-churning in "Fever" to set off a white flash of bulbs from teh thousands of cameras in the audience. And he still managed to scale a few high notes, twice in fact, during "Hurt," his latest single recording.

Any other singer might have gotten only a lukewarm response for the same effort Elvis made, but then, Elvis is not just any other singer. What he has lost in energy and zest has been replaced by legendary status. What his fans came to applaud last night was more Elvis the Legend than Elvis the Singer.

Some women in the audience, however, felt a little more than respect for a legend. Mrs Susan Blythe, 32, of 725 Sheffield said minutes before the show, "I feel terrific just being here."

Carolyn Buechler, 19, a student at Indiana State University, waited for Elvis from her front row center seat. "I'm shaking all over," she said waiting for the house lights to dim.

Seventy year old Amelia Koch of 2719 Garvin was there out a grandmotherly affectin for Elvis. "I have lots of his records from when my grandson used to live at home," she said. "I like Elvis because he was so good to his mother and father. When he made it big, he wasn't afraid to mention them"

Despite earlier complaints about tickets being sold before the windows opened and large blocks of seats being given out early to companies, none of the persons questioned in the front rows said they got their tickets before they went on sale.

Most of the audience members questioned said they had to wait hours in line to get their $12.75 seats. A few, however, said they got lucky and were able to buy tickets that had been returned to the stadium ticket office.

One of the few sore spots amid the memories and the mayhem was the commercialism that pervaded the scene in and around the stadium. You could hardly walk a few steps from your car before being assaulted by vendors pushing everything from "I Love Elvis" banners to $5 paper portraits hawked as being "suitable for framing"

The audience seemed imaptient with the groups who preceded Elvis, Th eLas Vegas polish of the Hot Hilton Horns, a brassy show band, was like a little too much sugarfor the majority of Elvis fans.

Middle-aged husbands in pastel leisure suits kept checking their watches while a Canadian comic leaned on pat lines about kids smoking dope and his fear of flying. It wasn't until about a half hour into the show that the Sweet Inspirations, a soul-shaking trio of sisters shook the crowd from his polite indifference.

Except for "Love Me Tender," Elvis managed to work in most of his standards including "Jailhouse Rock," Don't Be Cruel," and "Fools Rush In."

After about an hour on stage, Elvis thanked the crowd for being a good audience, then rushed out the stadium tunnel behind a wall of hulking body guards.