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CONCERT DATE: October 26, 1976, Dayton, OH.

by Vince Staten
Dayton Daily News Archives
October 27, 1976

Rare is the man who hasn't at one time or another silently cursed his mother for not making him practice that guitar as a young boy instead of running out to play.

Because she didn't, all those would be crooners who'd rather be "King" Elvis Presley than president have to settle for just watching the great Elvis as they flocked to the UD arena to do Tuesday night.

Altogether, 13,750 jammed into a frenzied state of spellbound anticipation. Loretta Badjo of Kettering sported a GI-green gown with eight Elvis iron-ons around the skirt and three official Elvis buttons pinned on the bodice.

She had that determination in her eyes: if anyone was going to get a scarf when Elvis started handing them out, Loretta Badjo would.

Presley's Las Vegas announcer teased them with whispers of the great name. Elvis is coming. Elvis, but first get your Elvis mementos, your Elvis poster, your Elvis button, your Elvis alarm clock. Gospel singers JD Sumner and the Stamps Quartet opened the show to the explosions of a thousand flashbulbs. Then there was comic Jackie Kahane who gave way to the Sweet Inspirations, who gave way to intermission.

At 9:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the house lights came down again, signaling the final approach of the big moment. Out of the darkness came the opening strains of the "2001" theme and screams from the lower area seats near the portal. The entire audience leaned forward. There was magic in the air. And then he hit the spotlight.

First the jet-black hair. Then the white collar, turned up. And then the body, attired in a white jumpsuit with an orange and gold sunburst on the back and front. It was all screams.

"Oh see," the opening strains of "C.C. Rider" were interrupted by screams. He shook his knee and the crowd screamed. Every time he moved, they screamed.

A woman broke through to his feet and pleaded for a kiss. He bent down slowly, finally getting on both knees and answered her wish. As he started the next song, he took off his scarf and tossed it into the crowd. Pandemonium. Women and men rushed the stage.

Loretta Badjo made her move but was stopped by a guard. During the ballad, "You Gave Me A Mountain," the front of the stage was swamped. Loretta Badjo raced up the second aisle and made it to the stage. She narrowly missed a scarf and was run off.

After "Help Me" and "All Shook Up" she tried again during "Teddy Bear," giving the guard a head fake and running wildly down the second aisle.

During "And I Love You So," both Loretta Badjo and Deanna Rowland grabbed scarf number 34. After two minutes of tugging, they agreed on the only sensible thing to do. Husband Joe Badjo split it down the middle with his pocketknife.

Elvis closed with "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You," singing it stage's edge and reaching out to touch the outstretched hands of fans. And then, as suddenly as he appeared, Elvis was gone.

Courtesy of "Melvis"