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CONCERT DATE: October 18 1976 (8:30 pm). Sioux Falls SD.

Elvis Comes to Arena And Leaves with Audience in His Hand
by Hugh O'Gara
Sioux Falls Argus-Leader
October 19, 1976

For a 41-year-old man, he can still swing. Elvis Presley, the one-time enfant terrible of rock 'n' roll, brought his road show to the Sioux Falls Arena Monday evening and the capacity audience, both young and old, didn't want to let him go. Presley, fighting middle age spread and losing, is till as flashy, magnetic and outrageous as he was in 1957 when he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show from the waist up.

He still has a few gyrations left in him but they are more controlled, not as frantic and fewer in number. As one person said leaving the Arena, "he's getting a little stiff." Call Monday's appearance what you will - high camp or superb theatre - but Presley and his 25-member entourage for one night put on as professional a performance as could be seen between Chicago and Las Vegas. And the audience loved it. The 8200 persons who saw Elvis' one-hour performance cheered each of the more than 15 songs and kept the Arena constantly lighted with exploding flashbulbs.

Mixing his show with country and western songs full of blue moons and broken hearts with black Southern spirituals and, of course, the Presley hits, Elvis had ladies crying hysterically and young girls charging the stage. The show began with a one-hour performance by Presley's back-up groups: his band, a Gospel quartet, a comedian and the trio The Sweet Inspirations. But what the audience wanted, and what the first acts prepared it for, was the King and his music.

Elvis appeared on stage amid screams, flashbulbs popping and frantic tears and spent the next hour giving his fans a little of everything from his repertoire. He covered the old favorites from All Shook Up and Jailhouse Rock to some new touches like America the Beautiful. His act was interspersed with moments of pure showmanship like when he tossed scarves to the clamoring fans in front of the stage. A 15-year-old girl was taken to Sioux Valley Hospital for treatment after the concert when she reportedly was injured during a scuffle for one of the mementos.

A total of 21 off-duty law enforcement officers were placed throughout the front stage area protecting the star from eager and emotional fans. Besides the police protection, Presley had private security guards stationed on stage during his act. Another four policemen were sent to the Downtown Holiday Inn where Presley's party reportedly was staying. Holiday Inn employees refused to confirm or deny Presley's presence.

But despite the heavy protection, the fans couldn't be denied. They flocked around the stage grabbing to touch Elvis and fighting for one of the scarves he threw. After all, it was Elvis Presley in Sioux Falls. The white satin and sequined jumpsuit may not have been tight over his expanding figure and he may not have been able to pull a ring from his finger to throw to the audience, but he could still wail. Or as one person said following the performance, "He is Elvis Presley. He was our generation and we'll probably never see him again."

Courtesy of Scott Hayward