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CONCERT DATE: April 23, 1973. Anaheim, CA.

Elvis Presley - Ardent Fans Surprised by Subdued Rhythm Rendition
by Kim Ortiz
Anaheim Bulletin


Elvis Presley once more affirmed his role as the "King of Rock 'n' Roll" to overflow crowds at the Anaheim Convention Center. Reminiscent of his recent TV special, Elvis illuminated the stage in a beaded, white pants suit as he strutted out to the pulsating rhythm of "2001" - an appropriate introduction for the man whose genesis was "Hound Dog" and who has left an indelible impression on the evolution of Rock And Roll.

Twenty years and millions of sold records later, only some of the pelvis in Elvis seems to be gone. He had immediate control over his audience from the first song - C.C. Rider - until his finale of Blue Hawaii. His delivery was both melodic and mellow. Ardent fans may have been surprised by his subdued Rhythm and Blues rendition of Hound Dog and later, James Taylor's Steamroller. His showmanship was apparent throughout the night last week as he appealed, with almost sarcastic flare, to all areas of the audience amidst the strobe-like effect of flash bulbs.

Elvis also got a little help from his friends. Included in the production was an exceptionally fine brass orchestra directed by Joe Guercio, his own backup band led by James Burton, the "J.D. Sumner and The Stamps" quartet and soprano Kathy Westmoreland. Miss Westmoreland's obligato was an unique contribution to Elvis' performance of How Great Thou Art, one of two gospel numbers he included.

The Sweet Inspirations, a soulful female trio, harmonized with Elvis throughout the evening as did the quartet, of whom it was Ray Strampy who had an unbelievable bass voice. The Sweet Inspirations were also one of the lead acts, and were successful in getting the audience warmed up with their rendition of Aretha Franklin's Greatest Hits. Aretha Franklin is one of the many great singers with whom they have appeared.

A particularly moving moment was Elvis' presentation of Dixie and Battle Hymn of the Republic. One of his few comments during the show was that his music doesn't have any message. It is only for our entertainment, and he hoped we enjoyed it. The audience responded throughout the performance with applause, screams and personal pleas. About a hundred loyal disciples diligently braved the strong resistance of Convention Center personnel and local police to get close to Elvis on stage. Although most were unsuccessful, one young fan bobbed and dodged security men in a 440-type dash and succeeded in placing a personalized scarf onto the stage. Unfortunately, the scarf remained untouched by Elvis during the evening.

Elvis' perspiration soaked scarves tossed to the audience were met with near riotous break-outs with fans fighting for their lives almost as much as for the prized souvenirs. The now more "mature" Elvis remained rather subdued, physically, during the show with an occasional relapse into the bumps and grinds that made him famous, during such oldie goldies as Blue Suede Shoes, Fever and Heartbreak Hotel.

Apparent favorites of the audience included Love Me Tender and his more recent record Suspicious Eyes. Each number, however, was met with enthusiastic approval. Introducing the show was comedian Jackie Kahane. Most pre-shows are usually considered to be time-fillers, but Kahane was an unexpected surprise and was consistent with the high quality of Elvis' shows.

Courtesy Of Scott Hayward