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CONCERT DATE: February 16, 1977 Montgomery, AL.

Presley Still Compelling
by Wanda McClusky
Montgomery Independent
February 17, 1977

Pony tails, full skirts, bobby sox, and Elvis, Elvis, Elvis. Elvis records, Elvis movies, Elvis pin-up photos. All were important to teens in the mid-50s, and the Elvis Presley part remains important to a few, of various ages, today. But most of the thousands at Elvis event here last Wednesday night were subdued; applause was not even widespread after every number. Those who screamed and fought for the scarves at the front of Garrett Coliseum were a distinct minority.

The show was a sellout but apparently just barely. The ticket office at 4 that afternoon reported that about a dozen of the best, and most expensive, seats were still available.

The largest group in the audience appeared to be women in their 30s, many perhaps taking advantage of their first opportunity to see their former idol in person. He still looked pretty in his white sequined suit but the paunchiness became more and more evident as his performance wore on. And looking at the thick, black hair through my binoculars, the thought struck me for the first time that it might be a wig. Is he, at 42, now fat and bald? No matter, on stage the personality and the sense of humor are still compelling, and although most spectators sat quietly - after the initial "here he comes!" - they strained to see every movement.

He was only on stage about an hour and barely muttered a few bars of 50s hits. He understandably must be sick of them, but those seeing him in person for the first time probably would have appreciated a little more of Don't Be Cruel and even Hound Dog.

Some genuine spontaneity seemed evident even after all the years and all the performances, however. When he suddenly said he wanted to do a gospel song he had never done on stage before (Where No One Stands Alone), and he took over the piano and played as well as sang, you believed him. I won't pay $12.50 to see him again and I probably won't buy any of his new records. But I will occasionally get out the old ones and replay them. And I wish him well. (And for inexplainable reason, I'll keep my Montgomery ticket stub...)

Courtesy of Scott Hayward