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CONCERT DATE: December 29, 1976 (8.30 pm) Birmingham, AL. Birmingham Coliseum.

Magnetic Elvis can still thrill audience
By Emmett Weaver
Birmingham Post Herald

You would think after all these years that people would be accustomed to Elvis Presley, but not the screaming, loyal fans, numbering 18,400, who packed the Birmingham Jefferson Coliseum Wednesday night.

The show was supposed to start at 8 p.m., but it wasn't until an hour and 45 minutes later that the magnetic Elvis in his familiar tight-fitting, white sequined costume made his entrance. Preceding his appearance was the Stamps gospel quartet, a talented black female trio, "The Sweet Inspirations", and a funny, wise-cracking Canadian standup comic Jackie Kahane. Was it worth the long wait for Elvis to come out in front of the spotlight? Just ask the rabid fans of the rock 'n' roll king, many of whom are women.

Security around the stage where Elvis appeared was heavy when the singer came out, with police and ushers forming a cordon. At times, some of the fans became a bit demonstrative, charging out of their seats, waving at their singer, throwing a cape which Elvis draped casually around his shoulder. When one jubilant fan hollered; "shake it Elvis", the star replied with a rather cool:"hang loose."

And the word ' loose" describes in many ways Elvis' stage demeanor because it is obvious that he is used to such public idolatry. I liked the way he handed out scarves on a wholesale basis to the women who were lucky enough to get close to the stage.

Also, for his first Birmingham appearance which was a complete sellout with people outside the coliseum waiting unsuccessfully to get in, he brought strong backup people, including even some good Alabama talent such as David Briggs of Florence on electric key-board who gave him solid support in Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw You Face". One thing was quite obvious in Wednesday night's Birmingham debut: Mr. Presley's magnetic showmanship can still wrap an audience into a little tight ball. Call him a superstar, and there ain't many around today. Also, he has lost some weight so he isn't as portly in his physical appearance as he was in Tuscaloosa.