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Home > Newspaper Articles > 1976 > August 30 1976 (8:30 pm). Tuscaloosa AL.
CONCERT DATE: August 30 1976 (8:30 pm). Tuscaloosa AL.
Old Magic Still There
by Doris Flora
August 31, 1976
"He is one of the few fantasies left in this country today."
"He is the last of the American dream. They have taken everything else away."
An ardent, devoted fan in her late twenties was trying desperately to describe the appeal which rock-and-roll king Elvis Presley still exudes for her after he has hit the 40-year mark.
What ever it is the entertainer has - charisma, sex appeal, love of life - it was apparent Monday night that the old magic is still there, as 17,000-plus fans (or curiosity seekers?) overflowed Memorial Coliseum.
Was it really for one hour's performance by "the king" that all these thousands turned out, with the screams of the women in the audience drowning out his songs on numerous occasion?
Or was it to view the audience's performance that many showed up, to watch the women screaming and jumping, competing with each other for a treasured kiss from the performer or for one of the numerous scarves complete with a little bit of Elvis' sweat which he kept throwing to the howling females out front?
Certainly his managers couldn't care less, why the fans (?) come, just as long as they continue to come and are willing to pay the $12.50-plus prices.
That in itself is amazing that the attraction and devotion to the performer has continued through the years. Fans are notoriuously fickle. The entertainer on top this notoriously week may be virtually ignored the next.
But not Elvis
The Monday night performance brought very vividly to mind a concert in Mobile, some 20 years ago, where the intensity of the feeling was the some.
Good living (one could not call it easy after watching a performance) has made a difference as there is much more of the entertainer to watch now that when he first turned from truck driver to women's idol.
There is more of the entertainer, more performers, more money for the tickets but the feeling seems to be unchanged. Then he had to be flanked by guards at every step to keep the screaming women from literally tearing his clothes.
Last night was little different from the drum fanfare fitting the arrival of an old-time Roman emperor, to the shrill screams which greeted every leg thrust and hip swivel from the originator of the on-stage hip pivoting.
The women went wild and the men just sat there.
The audience itself was far from being the typical University of Alabama concert audience. One astute observer who makes most of the concert scene didn't put an age on the participants, but rather eloquently summed it us by explaining, "why, 90 percent of this crowd has bras on."
Actually the audience ranged from pre-schoolers to senior citizens. It was an unusual mixture, one in which the ceiling of the coliseum was clearly visible, that in itself unique on the night of a concert.
Whatever the age present, there could be no doubt as to who they had come to see as they graciously acknowledged the warm-up groups which included J.D. Sumner, billed as the lowest bass singer in the world, the Stamps Quartet, the Sweet Inspirations, a comedian from Canada and a featured vocalist from California.
They left no doubt who they had come to see and hear oncethe lights dimmed and the drums started rolling. And the excitement continued until he was led from the stage by four body guards.
Of screams, excitement and enthusiasm there was plenty, particulary from the female side.
But at least one in te audience was totally unimpressed. A five-year-old, said to be an ardent Elvis fan, stretched out in his mother's lap and slept happily throughtout Elvis' entire performance.
Elvis? Who's he?
Courtesy of Archie Bald