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CONCERT DATE: March 18, 1976. (8:30 pm) Johnson City, TN.

Elvis fans going wild for glimpse of their hero
March 19, 1976 Johnson City, TN

Elvis Presley is two-thirds through his appearance at Freedom Hall. His final show in the 7000-seat facility will be tonight. And the impact on the area may never be forgotten. There's definitive Presley flavor in the air.

Johnson City stores are advertising Presley records. The radio stations are playing all the Elvis hits. But the situation has been just as hectic in Bristol 20 miles away. Elvis has been staying at the Holiday Inn South in Bristol with quarters in a penthouse there.

In the brisk temperatures of Wednesday night hundreds - some even said more than 1,000 - of Elvis fans camped around the motel trying to catch a glimpse of the star.

Bristol police were caught up with the problem of traffic and security. As he left the motel at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, on his way to Freedom Hall in Johnson City, shouting, screaming fans pushed in for a better look.

Last night another group of 500 persons jammed their way in and around the motel. All they wanted, they said, was a glimpse of Elvis. Because of the sizeof the crowd and the inability of the security force to keep them controlled they got more than a glimpse.

Elvis was swamped as soon as he emerged from his fortress-like motel room shortly before 9 p.m. He had to scurry to a waiting busto break away from the first 15 to 20 fans fighting for a chance to touch him.

"Did you see him smiling at me?" one member of the throng, who was tossed off the bus after she had climbed onto it, asked "Elvis was smiling at me. I know he was - he was smiling right at me. I could just die!"

A couple of free-lance photographers from New York, who said they had watched crowd reactions to Elvis in other cities, said last night's crowd "was nothing like I've ever seen"

"We've watched him in New York City, Philadelphia and in Massachusetts, and he's never had so many people welcoming him as he does here. This is unreal."

One woman, walking through the Bristol crowd pleaded, "I'll pay as much as $50 for a ticket to Friday's concert. Please! please. I need a ticket"

A nearby onlooker peered at her over his shoulder, "fifty dollars, lady, won't be good enough to get you within a mile of the joint."

Courtesy of Mark van Hout