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CONCERT DATE: July 10, 1975. Cleveland, OH. Richfield Coliseum

Elvis Overwhelms 22,000 in the Coliseum
by Bruno Bornino
Cleveland Press
July 11, 1975


Legendary Elvis Presley overwhelmed 22,000 devoted fans in the Richfield Coliseum last night and showed them that life really does begin at 40. At least for Elvis it does.

Sure, his white-sequined jump suit is a couple of sizes larger these days. And granted his blue-black hair is a bit thinner, and even his most worshipping fan will admit he doesn't shake it like he used to. But his voice never sounded better, and that's what made him king of rock n' roll for more than 20 years.

Elvis was magnificent as he stalked, teased, clowned, jumped around, flipped his guitar like a baton and drove the ladies wild with sweaty scarves and probably sweatier kisses. But most of the people came to hear him sing, and he didn't disappoint them.

On stage for little more than an hour, he squeezed in 21 songs, handed out 36 scarves and kissed 20 gals. But you can be sure 10 years from now every female who was in the Coliseum last night will be bragging to her friends how Elvis singled her out for a scarf (you could buy one for $5 if you weren't lucky enough to get one with genuine Presley perspiration) or a treasured smooch.

Presley's range is even more incredible today than it was when he shook and shocked the world in the 50's. He sang some of his old hits like "Love Me," "Love Me Tender," "All Shook Up" and "Teddy Bear."

Then he did his newer ones like "Burning Love" and his current million-seller "T-R-O-U-B-L-E." He received standing ovations for two recent Olivia Newton-John hits ("Let Me Be There" and "If You Love Me Let Me Know").

But the greatest audience response was to a ballad called "The Wonder of You," which Elvis joked he recorded "25 or 30 years ago," and to two spiritual numbers (Kris Kristofferson's "Why Me Lord" and "How Great Thou Art"). These left me -- and most other fans, I'm sure -- with chills and goose bumps all over.

At one point in the concert, Elvis asked that the house lights be turned on so he could read some of the hundreds of signs that were being displayed in his honor. He read aloud one sign that pleaded, "One kiss or I'll die." Elvis did one of his famous stances, curled his lip and said, "I can't let you die, come on down and get your kiss."

The young lady obviously didn't need a written invitation as she raced through a barricade of policemen in front of the stage to collect her kiss and to present Presley with one of many red roses he was given throughout the show.

Coliseum owner Nick Mileti said Presley was a pleasure to work with. "He made absolutely no demands, and his only request was that we give him the dressing room closest to the stage."

In contrast, some rock performers who probably won't be around in six months have "riders" in their contracts that pressure the promoter into supplying the act with a certain brand of peanut butter or they won't perform.

According to Mileti, Elvis spent the night in Cleveland Wednesday as well as last night. "Colonel Parker (Presley's long-time manager) came in Wednesday to check things out," said Mileti. "The Colonel was so impressed with the Keg & Quarter menu (designed specifically for Presley with fatback, collard greens, turnip greens, boiled corn and corn bread) that he told Elvis to come in a day early.

Elvis will perform in the Coliseum again next Friday. The 22,000 fans holding tickets to this concert are in for a great treat. A Presley show has a carnival atmosphere unlike any other in the business.

Even the announcer sounds like a former burlesque comedian when he tells the audience to buy Presley souvenirs (20-page program, $3; poster, $2; button, $1; record album, $5; stereo tape, $6). You almost expect the announcer to say "and a prize in each and every package."

Elvis finished last night's show by picking up black bikini panties that were thrown on stage by one of his admirers, and placing then over the head of one of his musicians.

Then the announcer came back on stage and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building." No, there is nothing like an Elvis Presley show and there probably never will be.

Review courtesy of Jim Choma