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CONCERT DATE: March 27 1977 (8:30 pm). Abilene TX.

Coliseum Crowd "All Shook Up" Over Elvis
by Jim Conley
Abilene Reporter-News
March 28, 1977

It was a different Elvis Presley who returned to Taylor County Coliseum Sunday night after 2 1/2 years between shows. He was healthier looking; he seemed more relaxed; he acted happier; and he gave more of himself.

This time the King of Rock'n'Roll did 22 songs in 75 minutes, more than one every 3 1/2 minutes. Yet, despite doing so many songs, he was far from being a human music machine, as he joked back with the adoring female fans who screamed "Elvis, I love you!" throughout the show.

He made off-the-cuff remarks, saying "Yes, I still get nervous before I go on stage" and ending the show with thanks and a pledge: "If you want us to come back, just tell us and we'll be glad to."

The show was not a sell-out, but a fair estimate of attendance would be about 7500. Coliseum personnel were unavailable today but exact figure should be available by tonight. Elvis wore a cream-white suit, trimmed in gols and with small gold chains draped from the waist band. The outfit was open almost to the beltline, showing several square inches of the chest that has made female hearts pound for more than 20 years.

And his music? His voice? Sensational. As good as we've heard it, and with no trace of the fatigue which seemed somewhat evident when he last played here in October of 1974.

One highlight of the show was his rendition of My Way, the song that Sinatra made famous but which could belong more to Elvis if he continues doing it like he did Sunday night. He wrapped his voice around the song and made it sound autobiographical. In fact, only during My Way did many of the women quiet down, letting the emotion and meaning he gave to the song sink in. Elvis has done things his way, and he's not showing any signs of slowing down.

He took the stage at about 9.55PM after an intermission which followed his typically fine warm-up acts. J.D.Sumner and the Stamps Quartet primed the musical pump with a delightfully warm set of gospel songs. And the Sweet Inspirations, three top notch singers, boosted the temperature in the cool coliseum by a few degrees with their disco-soul numbers.

By the time Elvis came out, the proverbial "fever pitch" had been reached. First he pounded out C.C.Rider, then I Got a Woman. After a hand-clapping Amen, Elvis drew laughs by cracking up when he found gum on one shoe and said: "Man, I'm stuck to the stage."After that it was shades of the old days, as he did Love Me.

His fifth tune was If You Love Me Let Me Know contrasted with a beautifully powerful This Time (Lord You Gave Me a Mountain). Jailhouse Rock brought thundering applause and shrieks. Then Elvis came back down to earth for a few moments, letting a male backup singer lead into It's Now Or Never by doing the song from which its melody was taken O Sole Mio.

Trying to Get to You followed as his ninth song, and just afterward he established even more rapport with the audience. He did what he said was the first song he ever recorded That's Alright Mama, then Are You Lonesome Tonight. For the latter song, he and his assistant, Charlie - who hands him his souvenir scarves and his water - broke each other up. Charlie held the mike near Elvis' mouth while the King whacked on the guitar. The two began looking at each other and laughing at the significance of the words of the love song. Whether the mock "gaiety" was rehearsed or spontaneous, it didn't matter: it was effectively human and silly, and it made his fans laugh right along with him.

His particularly sincere-sounding My Way was next. Fever moved the tempo up a bit, giving even more contrast to his follow-up - How Great Thou Art.Then it was time to introduce the members of his band, and he used the opportunity to sing during short versions of the songs each played. He sang bits of Early Morning Rain, What'd I Say and Johnny B. Goode as the band members demonstrated their individual excellence.

Song number 18 was his latest, the oldie Hurt. Hound Dog had the effect of most of Elvis' past hits: mob mania from the ladies, who did their piranha fish number by the stage, grabbing for the scarves he tossed out, while harried policemen tried to keep the girls out of the aisles. Elvis then passed the mike to his main backup singer for two outstanding vocals, Danny Boy and a gospel number. Oldies were Elvis' next offering, as he gyrated through Blue Suede Shoes and Lawdy Miss Clawdy.

He finished with one of his more romantic, popular hits I Can't Help Falling in Love with You. He took a moment to thank the crowd, mentioning that he would come back if his fans would just tell him, and then he left the stage as the lights dimmed and the band whipped out some fast rock and roll. His announcer made it very clear that it was no use hanging around for any encores. The house lights went up and the voice said: "Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has left the coliseum"

It was over, and the man who is perhaps the world's top star seemed to have vanished, taking his music with him but leaving the memories behind. Echoes of the by-gone Elvis hung in the air... but he was "gone, gone, gone, jumpin' like a catfish on a pole... ol' hip shakin' King Creole." Elvis... old love-me-tender, all-shook-up, don't-be-cruel Elvis, sounding like he'll never grow old.

Courtesy of Scott Hayward