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CONCERT DATE: July 24, 1976 (2:30 pm). Charleston, WV. Civic Center.

Presley Poundage Doesn't Dim Appeal
By Ann Hughey
Charleston (WV) Gazette
Sunday, July 25, 1976


Charleston policeman Cody Roberts, directing traffic for the Elvis Presley concert Saturday afternoon at the Charleston Civic Center, said he'd heard that Elvis had given Cadillacs to two Colorado policemen.

"But I think I'd like a Beech Baron. I fly," said Roberts grinning.

Mrs. R.L. Bearce was trying to sell eight $12.50 tickets for $10 each outside the civic center. She said there'd been a death in the family and she couldn't unload them.

Other scalpers also had trouble getting rid of their tickets, although their prices were a little higher, ranging from $30 for a front row seat to the $12.50 face value as concert time neared.

Elvis souvenir sellers hawked buttons for $2, programs for $3 and Elvis T-shirts for $6. Civic Center Manager Dick Cobb said the center gets 15 per cent of the souvenir sales.

Inside, the heavily female crowd, all ages, clapped through some songs by the Sweet Inspirations, a trio which travels with Elvis, and laughed at jokes like "Every time she cooks for you it's a sacrifice (pause). A burnt offering."

After an intermission so the crowd could buy soft drinks and souvenirs, Elvis came on. And the screaming started.

Wearing blue pants, a white shirt and a jeweled vest the King of Rock'n'Roll looked a lot more portly than he did on television Friday night in the 1966 film "Spinout."

But he was in full voice, and the extra pounds did not diminish his appeal to the screamers who shrieked and wailed every time he executed a sedate bump, grind or deep-knee bend.

Two young ladies had to be removed from the stage by police and Elvis bodyguards. And a short man in a red jumpsuit followed Elvis around the stage with an armload of scarves which Elvis draped around his neck and then tossed to those members of the crowd who had managed to elude the tight security and get to the front of the stage.

More than 50 scarves were disposed of in this fashion while Elvis sang crowd-pleasers like "Jailhouse Rock," "Fever" and "Fools Rush In."

After a rendition of "America the Beautiful," he touched a stuffed rabbit held up to him from the crowd. At one point he took a handkerchief offered him from the crowd, rubbed his chest with it and handed it back. And the audience roared approval.

"When he shakes it, that's what really turns me on," said Mrs. Beverly Johnson of Charleston following the concert. Mrs. Johnson said she'd been at Elvis' Charleston concert last year, and commented that he looked a little puffy around the eyes and said his color wasn't good.

Mrs. Johnson and three friends had paid $22.50 each for their seats from a scalper who originally asked $50. And they agreed that it had been worth every penny of it.

"It's part nostalgia. He's brought back a lot of good old songs. And his voice is still so great," said Mr. Jean Gerchow of Charleston, explaining why she attended the concert. "But I was a little disappointed that he didn't sing more."

Cobb said the city and state together will make more than $12,500 in business and occupation and sales taxes from the dhow. He said his office had been swamped with requests for autographs, introductions and requests to deliver letters and invitations.

He said the Charleston High School class of 1966 invited Elvis to their class reunion and that five girls from St. Albans embroidered a white satin teddy bear with the lyrics from Elvis' songs. He said Elvis autographed the bear and it was returned to the girls.

Rain held up the departing fans. Officer Roberts, still directing traffic, said he had not yet been given an airplane, but he had hopes for the evening show.

Review courtesy of Gary Abernathy