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CONCERT DATE: November 28, 1976 (8:30 pm) San Francisco, CA.

Elvis' return: Triumphant, as always
by James Kelton
San Francisco Examiner
November 29, 1976

Elvis Presley returned to the Bay Area last night for his first concert in four years - the first of two sold-out shows at the Cow Palace.

It was, like all Elvis appearances, a triumph.

The Stamps Quartet, joined for one number by ultra-bass soloist J.D. Sumner, opened the show 10 minutes late at 8:40 after an unseen announcer had intoned:

"As you know, the Elvis show always starts on time. However, tonight we are having difficulty getting people into the arena so the show will be delayed a few minutes."

The Stamps and Sumner, backed by a rhythm section and the Hot Hilton Horns, a seven-man brass ensemble from Las Vegas, crisply belted put five songs before yielding to Canadian comic Jack Kahane.

The Sweet Inspirations, a trio of women soul stylists, added three precision numbers and it was time for a 30-minute intermission.

When the big moment came - with Elvis' band dressed all in black, the Stamps quartet and Sumner, the Sweet Inspirations, two specialty singers and the Hilton Horns all poised for the occasion - Presley sauntered onstage looking disinterested while the band pounded out the thunderous theme from the movie "2001" and the auditorium lit up with flashbulbs.

True to form, Elvis strapped on his guitar and opened with "C.C. Rider" and "I Got A Woman," just as he had at The Oakland Coliseum in 1972.

Dressed all in white and carrying a few extra pounds, the heaviest of rock and roll heavies seems to have little new to show his frantically loyal audience these days.

He began tossing scarves to his stage-front admirers during his third number ("Treat Me Like a Fool") and kept it up throughout the 70-minute performance as wailing fans raced forward periodically - almost on cue.

One woman presented him with a dozen roses, another with a plaque and another with a teddy bear while he was singing "Teddy Bear."

He accepted them all graciously, peeling scarves from around his neck and dropping them into the throng as quickly as his assistant could drape them over him. Three times he knelt to bestow kisses on a chosen few.

He sang a selection of his hits: "Jailhouse Rock," "It's Now Or Never," "All Shook Up," "Hawaiian Wedding Song" and "That's All Right, Mama" which was his first recording.

He did most of his singing, though, on "Lord, You Gave Me A Mountain" and "Hurst," which is his latest recording. He tossed off perhaps his best-known song, "Hound Dog," and breezed through several others with characteristic stirring of the lyrics.

But he was always in command. Elvis, even a distracted Elvis is still the man who founded rock and roll twenty years ago and a (by rock standards) flimsy sound system and methodical delivery don't count.

The crowd last night ranged from very young to elderly, but mostly they were middle-aged family folk who had brought their children and the show was for them.

Presley strutted around the stage incessantly but his showstopping gymnastics were mostly missing. He joked with the bad and occasionally quipped to the audience about its behavior, but always off-handedly

"Some people don't believe I can play the guitar," he said strumming into "That's All Right, Mama," "But I can. I know three chords."

He told the audience goodbye before the finale, "Fools Rush In" and the offstage announcer said as Presley stepped down onto the runaway to leave:

"Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building."

The vendors started their yowls again as the fans rushed past and many stopped to buy.

Presley is a money-making marvel, of course, but he can still drown out his momentous accompaniment when he feels like it. He's a first-rate singer.

His show now blends touches of the current fad - disco music - with the rockabilly style that carried him and rock and roll to fame. Everything about his show is polished and professional.

All that's missing is the ragged energy that helped inspire a generation of rebelliousness.

When he left the stage there were cries for more , but most of the costumers headed for their cars. They didn't seem to care…one way or the other.

Courtesy of Debbie