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Home > Newspaper Articles > 1976 > March 21, 1976 (2:30pm). Cincinnati, OH.
CONCERT DATE: March 21, 1976 (2:30pm). Cincinnati, OH. Riverfront Coliseum.
Fans "All Shook Up" No doubt about it: Elvis is still King
By Cliff Radel
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Only Elvis Presley could elicit screams just by singing "America, the Beautiful". As he sang about "amber waves of grain," at his Sunday afternoon Riverfront Coliseum, a chorus of girlish screams shot up from the sold-out audience of 17,540.
The crowd's reaction to the next line was wilder. "For purple mountains" majesty above the fruited plains", Presley sang. Upon reaching "fruited" he momentarily let his gaze drop to the women seated in the first row. He quickly flashed them the patented Elvis sneer. The women jumped out of their seats. Shrieking, they reached out with one hand toward the stage and with the other hit their heads in ecstasy. No performer, 20 years after attaining stardom, receives the response Presley does. If audience adulation was the determining factor, his title to the King of Rock 'n' Roll would be unquestioned.
The years have not been kind to Elvis. His eyes are putty. His ample cheeks and fleshy neck overemphasize his surly lips. If he gains any more weight, they may be squeezed from his face.
Presley's girth is regal in the manner of Henry VIII. The man's legendary hip gyrations are there in spirit, but not in action. The enormous six inch wide belt which before Presley split a rear seam in his powder-blue pants was a matching blue number encircled with the Presidential Seal - and the equally enormous paunch drastically restrict his movements. The hips that once could never be shown on television are now only a memory.
The Singer takes these signs of being mortal in stride. Only a true king would be able to laugh at his physical flaws. After his third song, "Amen," featuring the contrabass vocal glisses of J.D. Sumner, he held up a copy of Jerry Dowling's caricature which appeared in Sunday Enquirer "This picture of me appeared in this morning's paper", Presley drawled. "They captured me just perfect" he added, running his finger across his image's distended stomach.
"All I want to say is whoever drew this," the King paused and then said laughingly, "I hate the (expletive deleted)," And then he broke into "Love Me" with the opening line, "Treat me like a fool..." "Love Me" also ushered in another Presley tradition, the awarding of scarves to the outstretched hands of his loyal followers. In all he gave out 38 scarves throughout the afternoon.
What Presley gave the audience musically was mostly memories. He did "Hound Dog" and "Heartbreak Hotel," "Love Me Tender," "Burning Love," "All Shook Up," and "Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear.' In all he appeared disinterested and on "Burning Love" he forgot the lyrics.
He seemed to delight in garnering screams with the slightest lift of an eyebrow. He only played acoustic guitar in the concerts first three songs. The King did not even touch the instrument, the electric guitar, with which he started a revolution. Despite the jokes about his weight and ambivalent delivery, Presley is still capable of putting across a song. His renditions of "This Time You Gave Me a Mountain" and his new single "Hurt" revealed a powerful voice and wide range all too often tragically obscured by the kind of events that occurred at the concert's conclusion.
As Elvis sang his traditional closer, "Can't Help Falling in Love," from his 1961 movie "Blue Hawaii", hordes of women rushed down the aisles. Yellow-jacketed Coliseum ushers were sent sprawling. Private policemen tried in vain to stop the onslaught. With the crowd rushing the stage and reaching for those scarves, Presley cautioned them to "take it easy and don't get hurt."
Outside the Coliseum after Presley's 65-minute show the crowd, clutching Elvis scarves, posters, buttons, and Souvenir folios, poured onto Cincinnati's streets. Lashed to the building's side was an immense banner proclaiming the "Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus - Alone in it's gratness." To 17,500 people the circus they had just witnessed was for them the greatest show on earth.