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CONCERT DATE: May 5, 1975 (8:30 pm) Jackson, MS. State Fair Coliseum

Elvis Nets $108,860 For Victims Of Tornado
UPI
Delta Democrat-Times
May 6, 1975

JACKSON (UPI) Elvis Presley returned to his native state for a benefit performance Monday night and received a thunderous reception from more than 10,000 fans who packed the Mississippi Coliseum.

The 40 years old Tupelo native, a little heavier now but dazzling in a baby blue casual suit and dark blue shirt, strode onto the stage amid cheers and screams and immediately opened with his version of "CC Rider"

He wore blue and white scarves, alternating between the colors as he paused occasionally between songs and tossed them out to the crowd.

The audience was a mixture of all ages but fans in their 20s and 30s seemed to predominate. another 200 or so fans crowded around coliseum doors and windows on the outside trying to catch a glimpse of the super star who hit the big time two decades ago with his shaking rock 'n' roll renditions.

Elvis met with Gov. Bill Waller and other officials backstage prior to his performance and presented the governor with a check for $108,860 from ticket sales that will go to benefit victims of a devastating tornado that ripped through the McComb area of South Mississippi earlier this year. Officials predicted the figure would go much higher when the receipts are in from concessions and the sale of Elvis pictures.

Waller presented the check in turn to McComb Mayor Johnny Thompson and Pike County Board of Supervisors President Sam Alford. Thompson expressed appreciation from the people of McComb for his "most unusual and magnanimous gesture."

State Rep. William Guy of McComb also presented the entertainer during the backstage ceremony with a copy of a resolution passed by the 1975 Mississippi Legislature thanking Elvis for staging the benefit performance, his first public appearance in Mississippi in many years.

"This compassionate gesture of concern is appreciated by all Mississippians," the resolution stated.

Waller called it an "historic occasion" and commended Elvis for the personal donation of time and money. Elvis even picked up his own expenses for the trip.

Mrs. Waller, who also was backstage, said Elvis was "very friendly and surprisingly shy."

The local Elvis Presley Fan Club, consisting of about 40 members, decorated the Coliseum with red carpet, signs and balloons carrying such slogans as "Mississippi has Elvis fever" and other frills a "Welcome Home Elvis" banner draped a sign in front of a motel just across the street from the coliseum.

"I organized the club to share my love of Elvis with Mississippians and to bring him a little closer to them," said Elisabeth Hill, president of the fan club.