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CONCERT DATE: May 24, 1977. (8:30 pm) Augusta, MA.

They Screamed For Elvis
"All it took was a shake of a finger" By Paul Betit
Kennebec Journal
May 25, 1977


"He was about four feet away. I just couldn't touch him," said the woman bouncing around in her pink slacks and halter-top, her arms outstretched still trying to touch Elvis.

Tuesday night, she and more than 7,000 others got the thrill of a lifetime when Elvis Presley, the undisputed King of Rock and Roll, played the Augusta Civic Center.

It was electric, and it was made even more so by the fact that Presley was late. His Greyhound bus rolled across the grass at the rear of the Civic Center to within yards of the back door. Twin columns of policemen kept the path clear as Presley sprang out of the bus and into the building. It was there that "The Pink Lady" nearly touched him.

About 10:15 p.m. the lights went down and the orchestra began the haunting, imperial strains of the theme from "A Space Odyssey." Then it started. It was deafening. One shrill scream filled the hall. The stage lights came up and a single spotlight caught Elvis as he made his way onto the stage, slowly strolling it's entire length and back again, seemingly drinking it all in. The scream now reached a crescendo and stayed there for nearly a minute. It subsided, a slight undulation of his hips, and it started once more.

Along with the screams, there was the syncopated blinding light of thousands of flashbulbs. It was as if everyone in the place had an Instamatic.

He didn't have to sing. All he had to do was stand there and move something - a finger, a leg, a shake of the head. It was all the same. Every time he struck a different pose, the flashbulbs and the screams would start again.

But Elvis did sing, and it was his old stuff that brought the greatest response - "Treat Me Like a Fool," "Jailhouse Rock," "It's Now or Never," "Don't Be Cruel," "Heartbreak Hotel," and more.

Every once in a while, in the middle of a song, he would stride along the length of the stage throwing silk scarves, which had been draped around his neck, into the audience. As Elvis rid himself of one scarf, one of his sidemen would place another around his neck. Dozens of women flocked to the front of the stage each time this was done.

Elvis got some things thrown at him too. At one point, someone tossed up a dozen long-stemmed roses. The replica of a bright red Maine lobster also came his way.

Nobody seemed to notice that Elvis has changed a little during the last 20 years. There was the hint of a paunch. But the glamour - his angel white jumpsuit with silver brocade - was distracting. Breathed one woman: "He hasn't changed a bit."

Although all the excitement would make it difficult to for one to make an objective assessment of the concert, it was a slick production.

A Las Vegas-based orchestra, Joe Guercio and the Hot Hilton Horns, opened the show with a rock version of Beethoven's Fifth.

Comedian Jackie Kahane followed. Explaining that he was part of the warm up, he said: "the women don't need any warming up. If it were any hotter in here there'd be a fire." After each one of the opening numbers, a slight hush filled the room, as the audience awaited the arrival of the King. It was replaced by a collective groan as the lights went up and there was no Elvis.

It was pure Presley. All the elements of what he is were there - gospel, soul, rock, and plenty of excitement.

Courtesy of John