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CONCERT DATE: June 4 1975 (8:30 pm). Houston TX.

Music: Elvis Presley
by Bob Claypool
The Houston Post

People who were there 20, 21 years ago still remember it vividly and speak glowingly about it - yes, when young Elvis Aron Presley came to Houston and stalked the stage in places like Cook's Hoedown. He was a fiery, intense young man then, full of tightly-compacted violence and raw emotion. When he sang, when he quivered those loose legs, the girls screamed, and the people who saw him then will tell you in a minute that he always "had it."

Elvis returned to Houston Wednesday night, an older, less-intense, less-threatening figure - BUT, when he quivered either his voice or his torso, the screams still came down loud and long for most of the sold-out crowd, the once and future "king of Rock 'n' Roll" could do no wrong - they lapped up ALL of it, laughing at Elvis' jokes, rushing the stage (women only) to snatch a souvenir scarf from him, jumping up and down, chattering among themselves like giddy schoolgirls (this, mind you, from a number of middle-aged women), but most of all…screaming!

There was no doubt, by concert's end, that he still "had it," but for me (and probably a few other dedicated, not-quite-reformed rockabillies in the crowd) there was the nagging suspicion that Elvis or the Colonel or WHOEVER'S in charge isn't all that certain where to put "it." What I mean is, Elvis could rock 'n' roll a heck of a lot more than he does. Right now, his show, from beginning to end, is a monument to Suburban Pop, and many of the original rough edges have been, sadly, smoothed away.

The first half of the show was given over to sets by backup - vocal groups Voice and the Sweet Inspirations, plus an overlong comedy stint from Jackie Culhane. When Presley came on after the intermission, Hofheinz Pavillion took on a psychedelic effect from the thousands of flashbulbs, and the very air seemed charged by the potential of the man's presence. What followed was a pretty standard Elvis show, beginning with C.C. Rider and I Got a Woman.

Then he did Love Me and a member of the band handed Presley a scarf, which he draped around his neck before moving to the edge of the stage. Then it began - women of all ages would come down, give the bending Elvis a kiss and take the scarf, which would then be replaced. It went on all night, and it gave one a disquieting feeling - as though watching a hoked-up ritual. What followed ran the gamut, from If You Love Me Let Me Know and American Trilogy to Hound Dog, Don't Be Cruel, All Shook Up and one of his earliest, Mystery Train.

But the high point came during Elvis' blasting rendition of How Great Thou Art, aided by J.D. Sumner and the Stamps, but proving he can still make your spine tingle. The lowest moments came when Presley's movements seemed to be imitations of his old self via Tom Jones. All in all, it was a good show, but, Lord, what I would give to see him without all of those Las Vegas trappings and hokey throwaway numbers.

Courtesy of Scott Hayward