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Home > Newspaper Articles > 1973 > June 21, 1973 Atlanta, GA.
CONCERT DATE: June 21, 1973 Atlanta, GA.
And -- Wow It Was Elvis
by Gregory Jaynes
The Atlanta Constitution
June 22, 1973
They played ELvis' standard opening tune, the weighty theme from "2001" - the one that makes you think that God is coming - and Presley walked out and the Omni sounded like somebody had caught a 10,000 pound banshee in a vice
Outside, scalpers were selling tickets for $30 down to $5, depending on how desperate a man indicated he was. Inside, there were 17,143 paid-in-full consumers yelling like they had bought music on tap
It was the first of five Atlanta performances for Presley, who looks these days like the world's oldest Osmond brother, twitches instead of twists, but still set a place on fire.
After enduring a painful comic - "Tell your kids it's better to be hot and bothered than satisfied and worried, that's telling it like it is" - and a fine-looking-but-this-is-a-warmup-act called the Sweet Inspirations, the folks got what they paid for.
He came out dressed like a General Electric test of 1,000 60-watt lightbulbs and ground right into some good old rock and roll. Thirteen cops positioned themselves in front of the stage and the gutsy fans surged forward, only to be ushered back.
One zealous female security guard charged an Instamatic wielder with a flashlight but the flashbulb popped first and the picture taker was ushered away, happy.
There were young, middle-aged and old in the crowd. The ugly fat girls of the 1950s, the ones you had to find a date when you took their good-looking girlfriend out, are now 35-year-old fat girls who look like they've eating 45 r.p.m. records between meals. They were there amongst others.
"Treat me like a fool, Treat me mean and cruel," ELvis sang, flicking sweat, and the crowd swooned. "Love Me Tender, love me true," he genufled, and 5,000 women were salivating.
He sang the old songs and the new ones and threw away more scarves than clothed Ghandi in his whole lifetime. They fought like dogs over the scarves.
Meanwhile, programs sold out and a concrete-haired woman declared: "I wished I 'd bought one, just on general principle."
He took time out to introduce the band and the people in the crowd were so hyped up they applauded hard for all kinds of names they had never heard. "The guy who gives me water, ladies and gentlemen (Yeeeeeaaah!) and sings harmony with me. His name is Charlie Hodge.
And all the while, there were women who whooped while their husbands sat stiff, trying to notice nothing.
The people, apparently mostly all devout Presley fans, indicated they got what they paid for. There were no boos and no hecklers, only hysterical clappers.
When he launched into "How Great Thou Art," it sounded like the Omni seams were splitting. "Whoowee," yelled a man. "Shoot, that's pretty"
The show ended after Presley bowed in four directions, spreading his orange undercolored cape to all and swooping like Batman.
"Elvis has left the building," an obese master of ceremonies said immediately.
There had been a waiting limousine to take him to the airport, "He won't even use the dressing room," Hovie Lester had said. Lester, one of the South's beat-known gospel singers, is a friend of Charlie Hodge, who carries Elvis' water and sings harmony.
"Same, honey?" a tan, thin man in white shoes asked his lacquer-haired wife on the way out.
"He is," she said. "I ain't."
Courtesy of Linda Helms