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CONCERT DATE:June 25, 1977. Cincinnati, OH.

Exhausted Elvis disappointing in concert
by Ken Williams
Journal News
June 28, 1977

There comes a time when a performer should retire for the sake of his fans as well as for himself. I'm sad to say Elvis Presley has reached that time. Reports of recent Elvis concerts have been disheartening indicating that the King of Rock 'n' Roll is dead. Apparently the reports are founded upon truth, and the King confirmed the suspicions with his listless, lifeless performance Saturday night at Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum before another sellout crowd.

It is obvious the fans still love Elvis, as they still pack arenas to see their idol. They come to see the legend, but only find the remains It is a most sad occasion for many, including myself. Gone from his performance is the magic price generated by one of the world's ultimate legends; gone is the energy and vitality of a healthy Elvis; gone is the beauty of the voice that charmed millions.

In last week's AWAY, magazine, Rolling Stone reporter Charles M. Young spoke of Elvis' disaster in Baltimore. I feared the worst for Cincinnati and the fears became a nightmare for me. I don't take pleasure in destroying legends.

After an hour of warmup acts, including a dreadful Canadian comic, the deep bass voice gimmicks of J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet and the delightful Sweet Inspiration; Elvis finally emerged amid a blaze of flashing lightbulbs and a din of cheers, following an unexplained "technical" delay of 30 minutes. Elvis mumbled something to the audience, and couldn't have even been heard by the front row. The only audible words were "Novocain shot." So, like in Baltimore, Elvis already has an excuse for what was about to happen. (Now tell me, do you know any dentist who works Saturday afternoon or evening and if he had a shot, why hadn't it wore off by 10 pm ?

The King looked awful. Though loyal fans attending the concert with me insisted he has lost weight since last year's concert, Elvis still has a paunch which could do a Santa Claus suit without needing padding. Ghastly pale, eyelids nearly swollen shut, Elvis tried to exercise his booty as in the golden years. I've seen senior citizens with better acts.

Elvis failed to generate much excitement. First, the sound system was totally inappropriate; it might have been sufficient for a closet but certainly not for a vast arena like Riverfront Coliseum. Then, Elvis constantly mumbled and the audience couldn't hear what he was singing. Elvis' once strong voice is now dominated by his musicians and backup vocalists. Elvis couldn't remember the lyrics either, and at one point had to have an assistant hand him the words to his giant hit; "My Way," which he has lo have sung a thousand times over.

I wonder why most of the audience stayed till the bitter end. It must have been the myth and not the performance.

Surprisingly, Elvis didn't perform any new songs from his just released album, "Moody Blue. Instead, Elvis sang such oldies as "Jailhouse Rock," "Teddy Bear," "Unchained Melody," "Don't Be Cruel," "Little Sister," "You Ain't Nothing But a HoundDog" and "Now or Never."

There was an emptiness at the end. Yes, there comes a time when a performer should step down, retire or rest. Elvis, we love you, but please don't do this to us. We prefer remembering you at your peak, rather than at your funeral.

"The King is Dead.
Long live the King!"

Courtesy of Mr. Archie Bald