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CONCERT DATE: July 25, 1976. Syracuse, NY.

Fat, Puffy, Has-Been Elvis Is Outshone By His Costume
by Dale Rice
The Post Standard
July 26, 1976

The sex idol is dead!
Long live the memories?

"Funny How Time Slips Away" was the next to the last song Elvis Presley sang at the War Memorial last night, but it might as well have been the title of his whole stage performance.

As a child growing up in the 1950s, I remember Elvis, not so much as a rock and roll star, but as an idol who glistened in a fairly dull decade.

Last night, the illusions were shattered. An overweight Elvis merely went through the motions of what once must have been a polished performance. The show lacked enthusiasm, and the only thing that sparkled was Elvis' costume.

The millionaire songster - who came on stage following the theme from the movie "2001" - was dressed in a baby blue jumpsuit,embroidered with a red and gold thunderbird design. The suit featured a wide (very wide) belt that must have been designed to disguise the fact that Elvis is overweight. It didn't help. Elvis is fat, and there's no hiding it. His cheeks are puffy and he has a double chin.

As a sex idol, his once suggestive movements in those skin-tight suits brought women screaming to their feet. At 41, those movements have lost something.

To many, Elvis must only embody a remembrance of things past. Musically, the performance was mediocre. His voice may have improved in the last year since he lost weight, but it still hasn't regained the vitality it once had.

Surprisingly, the songs didn't bring people to their feet. In fact, the audience response was far less than I had ever expected it would be.

He sang his classics - "Hound Dog," "All Shook Up," "Hurt," "C.C. Rider," "I Got a Woman," "Don't Be Cruel," "Polk Salad Annie" - and closed with "Can't Help Falling in Love." Early in the performance, Elvis put in a plug for the Bicentennial with his own rendition of "America the Beautiful."

The total Elvis performance - which was the second half of the show - lasted just under an hour. The first half was less than mediocre. It featured J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, who sang gospel songs. J.D., according to Elvis, has the lowest bass voice in the world. The speakers apparently could not handle such low notes and distorted his voice at times to where it lost all musical quality.

Also on the bill were a poor Las Vegas comedian, Jack Kahane, and the Sweet Inspirations, a trio of black women who were not half bad.

Elvis is in Rochester for a show tonight. He will return to the War Memorial for a second sellout tomorrow night.

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez