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CONCERT DATE: February 27 1970 (7:45 pm). Houston TX.

Elvis Back, Better Than Ever, And Packing Dome
by Thom Hansard
Houston Chronicle


Elvis is back in town (is a last name necessary?) doing the two-a-day bit at the Astrdome for the Houston Liestock Show and Rodeo through Sunday. The place is packed every performance, but don't hesitate to go - just leave home early, the traffic is murder - because Elvis doesn't make many personal appearances these days. This is his first time here in more than 10 years. The last time I saw him, I got close enough to touch him, had I so desired, but this time it's different.

Most people seem more interested in seeing Elvis than really listening to him, which is unfortunate. in the center of the world's eight wonder, our county stadium, he's merely a figure in a white suit. Take the binoculars if you really want to be sure that's our boy out there.

As for the performance, let's face it, the dome is no place for a concert - rock, country or otherwise. Elvis sounds better on records, on television, in movies; only here you're in the same building with him. It's a shame because Elvis sings much better than he did in the beginning. his voice today is much deeper and more disciplined. "Love Me Tender," his first ballad, 9circa 1957) now gets better treatment than it did before.

The show's fun, all 45 minutes of it, during which the star renders more than a dozen tunes, old and new, without much patter between. He never was much of a talker.

A new slang expression was added to th elanguage when he first introduced "All shook up," and that was his opening number Friday night. He followed it with "I Got A Woman," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Don't Cry, Daddy" (one of his recent ones) and "Heartbreak Hotel," the song that started it all in 1956. His sound was all around you, so you knew that white clad figure out there had to be Elvis.

He did a few numbers that are most closely associated with others, including Tony Joe White's "Poke Salad Annie," a real winner and on several numbers was backed by the gospel like Sweet Inspirations, the Memphis soul sisters who more often accompany Aretha Franklin. His band, the Imperials did what was expected of them.

Now, if you remember how Elvis used to move his body - like the first time he appeared on the Ed Sullivan show the TV cameras dared not pick up what was happening from the waist down - forget it. Elvis still moves, but he doesn't gyrate like he usta.

Of course, neither do you nor I.

Courtesy of Sebastiano Cecere