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CONCERT DATE: October 25, 1976. Fort Wayne, IN.

ELVIS PRESLEY MATURED AS "SWEETEST TOUGH GUY"
by Connie Trexler
Fort Wayne News-Sentinel
October 26, 1976.

Elvis Presley is probably the sweetest tough guy this ol' world has brought forth.

In the Fifties he was threatening but tantalizing. When he hit his stride and became a legend in his own time, he was delicious. Lately he has been like a Viennese dessert - all puff and no nourishing substance

Review

Monday night at the Memorial Coliseum all the puff was trimmed away, and all that was left was pure delight for a full house of devoted fans.

Those saddening reports that Elvis had gone fat - in his attitude as well as in body - were probably true, but he seems to have overcome both physical and attitude problems. He seems to have matured into an excellent and sensitive artist.

Elvis cared about that audience's happiness Monday night. He postured and sneered and strutted about, but he did it for his own and the audience's pleasure not to glorify himself.

He didn't need to glorify himself with any little status games, though the respect his fellow performers gave him was obvious. When he came out, people screamed. When he turned toward the people seated behind the stage, they screamed and a meteor of flash bulbs went off. Elvis is a superstar - he got there by singing well and caring about pleasing his audiences, and it seems he's realized he'll stay on top if he keeps on pleasing those audiences with the good songs and high regard they deserve.

Elvis's voice was in fine shape Monday night. Through more than an hour on stage he sang cleanly and with all the expressiveness he is known for. "You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog" was greeted with peals of screams, and it was only the oldest of a long string of old favorites. The only one he may have missed was "Love Me Tender".

Not unremarkable was the power and high quality of "Hurtin", the song he featured on his latest album. The song pushes him to put out his best singing and expressing abilities, and he did both Monday night. The album should be selling briskly today in the Fort Wayne area.

The impression of the concert one cannot escape is that it was so much fun - fun to see Elvis at his best, fun to see everyone scurrying toward the stage and fun to hear the music performed live when the singer, the chorus and the band were all in top form. It's an energizing experience, and one it would be tempting to repeat often.

The band and chorus deserve as Elvis himself. The playing was crisp and clean, and the chorus, most of whom doubled as warm-up acts, did a good enough job that the people managed to look relaxed and happy and not like a choir.

It was a very friendly show, not marred at all by the high power status plays one might expect. The only bad move all evening was the 25-minute intermission before Elvis came on stage during which souvenirs were heavily hawked at the audience. Maybe the Coliseum is small enough that even with the high ticket prices the tour needs the concessions to make a profit, but it was a low blow after such short, interesting warm-up acts.

He is an impressive sight. He's lost all the fat that recently plagued him, and he looks as young and sassy as he ever did - without a single tinge of the forbidden which gave him such early notoriety. It is a tribute to his entertainment abilities that the lifestyle and music he first popularized have become the accepted standard now. He can be spiffy and respected now, because he's a winner. He can be nice, too, because he's a winner, and it's good to be able to say he is nice and gives his fans a nice concert evening.

Courtesy of Mark van Hout