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CONCERT DATE: June 19 1977 (8:30 pm). Omaha NE.

Elvis Has Mellowed But He's Still King
by Steve Millburg
Omaha World-Herald
June 20, 1977

Okay, let's start out by saying that Elvis Presley has put on several pounds, that he no longer sings very much rock'n'roll, and that the pelvic gyrations that once so scandalized Ed Sullivan now are more suggested than actually performed. But he still has an awful lot to offer.

The usual hysteria and publicity that surround a visit by Elvis were magnified considerably by the presence of nine CBS TV cameras inside the City Auditorium Arena Sunday night. Elvis said the cameras, taping the show for a fall special made him nervous, but they seemed to inspire him, too In a way, it is unfair to refer to Presley's rock and roll days. The man is 42 years old, after all, and most in the crowd of 10604 were not rock audience types. He sprinkled many of his old hits throughout the concert- Jailhouse Rock, Teddy Bear - and though he seemed to consider them to be artifacts, the old spirit still showed in flashes.

But it was on the gospel numbers, such as the stunning How Great Thou Art that Elvis showed the awesome power of his voice. The fact that he does have one of the great voices of popular music has been obscured by the mystique that has surrounded him. But he froze the audience with a powerful note he hit during How Great Thou Art and momentarily stilled the rowdy vocal admiration of many of the women.

It wasn't still for long, however. Presley's sex appeal has survived the years, the pounds and the change in musical direction. He cam off as both the supremely confident star and the bashful, disarming country boy at the same time, a pretty devastating combination.

When Presley took the stage amid screams and explosions of flashbulbs, he didn't run or walk on: he swaggered with the half-smile, half-sneer that said he could have any woman in the place and knew it - the King surveying his domain. His onstage patter was not very glib - he introduced one of his backing singers with "Take J.D., please" - but it seemed to strike just the right note of "Sure do thank all you people for coming out to see me and I sure do hope you like the show."

The crowd was allowed to come near the stage only when Elvis was handing out scarves which were draped around his neck by an aide. Frantic female fans grabbed for the precious mementoes and tugs of war often developed. One winner rolled the prize into a ball and stuffed it down her bosom.

Presley started the show with an acoustic guitar draped around his neck. He proved he still knew how to play it during "the very first song I recorded, That's All Right". His white jumpsuit may be cut a lot fuller than his clothes used to be and his moves are reduced mostly to leg twitches and an occasional shake, but the King won't ever lack for subjects.

Elvis' Las Vegas style show also included a five-man gospel group, a comic and a female vocal trio, all of whom received generous and deserved applause. There were some problems caused by the television cameras - some in the crowd had to move because their view as obstructed and the bright lights used to illuminate the audience kept blinking on and off at odd and distracting intervals.

Courtesy of Scott Hayward