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CONCERT DATE: April 17, 1972. Little Rock, AR.

Elvis Whips 10,000 Into Real Frenzy With a Lot More Than His Singing
by Bill Lewis
Arkansas Gazzette
April 18, 1972

Whatever it is about the lyrics "You ain't nothing but a houn' dog" that elicits screams of ecstasy and fainting spells may escape the casual observer, but Elvis Presley has it in abundance. And then some.

Elvis. How can you explain him? What can you say about him? that's new? Has he found the fountain of youth - in himself as well as to his audience? Will he always be with us?

He remains an enigma and a phenomenon, and above all a showman. Families of four, five and six plunked down a half year's entertainment allowance, at $10 a head, for the best seats at the Coliseum Monday night and were rewarded with the old Elvis' standards - "Love Me Tender," "You Ain't Nothing" etc. "Don't Ask Why," "Heartbreak Hotel."

But it wasn't the songs that mattered. Nobody really cared about the lyrics or the melody. The persona was everything. The staccato haking of that left leg, arched away from the right like an Indian scout's, the wildly flinging arms, the fluttering fingers, the sensuous Father Earth pelvic thrusts every gesture brought squeals of delight bordering on hysteria - just like in the old days.

And it had been a patient and obliging audience co-operative to a remarkable degree. The inevitable traffic jam outside forced a delay and when the show finally began at 8:40, three black girls "The Sweet Inspirations," in form fitting crushed velvet pantsuits and afros, their numbers choreographed as precisely as their arrangements began to warm-up. They were followed by an irish comedian - called something like Jackie Culhane - who managed a few comical jokes. ("I was in a local hotel getting an estimate on a drink") on a very long sporadical funny routine.

The announcer, an overweight type with greased hair announced intermission at 9:40 and that lasted 20 minutes.

But finally that magic moment came. Surrounded by cops, Elvis sprang up the steps to the platform, past his excellent chorus, past the 20 piece orchestra, to a thunderous ovation marched smartly back and forth along the front of the stage giving everyone a good look at his read suit with gold, white cape and white scarf and large (solid gold?) belt buckle.

Then he started to sing. No little speeches. No jokes. No platitudes. Just Elvis and his songs. The guitar he picked up onstage got in the way. He threw it to the floor. "I didn't meant to break my guitar," he said.

I never been to heaven, but I've been to Oklahoma..." The flashbulbs, like an electrical storm gone wild, lit up the smoky cavern like day.

"...Lord I been in a prison for something I never done. You gave me a mountain this time."

The thump thump of the drums are after a gut reaction, the tunes are almost buried in the amplification and the cheers.

"Don't Ask Why," elvis sings, and there are more squeals as he simply sheds his cape, his forehead now beaded, "Treat Me Like A Fool, "Heartbreak Hotel."

Elvis tries a little whimsy. Recalling his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, when the cameras avoided his gyrating hips, he introduces the famous hit as his message song of the evening. And he plays it coy starting out low and gentle. and then halfway through breaking out into that almost gutteral screaming baritone "You ain't nothing but a houn' dog...

Solemn for Moment, then It Heats Up.

Now the house grows quiet, the stage a whitish glare. Elvis sings an impassioned "How Great Thou Art," as the audience maintains a respectful silence.

He stands back, bows his head while the chorus sings a verse.

But it's time to heat things up again. "I can't stop loving you," Elvis sings, and as he approaches a corner of the stage, he whips off his white scarf and flings it to the crowd, deranged scramble, and somebody grabs a souvenir of lifetime.

"Love Me Tender," Elvis scroons, "Love me true..."

The ladies of the audience have the message now. He's donned another scarf, and they're going to get it. The police ringing the stage, their hands not too full beating back the hordes of camera locusts and almost shove the women back to their chairs.

"Me, me! Throw it to me!" the women scream.

"For The Good Times," That curious montage of "Dixie," "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and folk tune "Ain't Funny How Time Slips Away."

"It's 10:25, and the end is near. Elvis asks for the house lights, so he can see the wall in wall crowd probably a record, surely exceeding 10,000 worshiping, adoring fans - all ages, almost 1950ish in its resolute squareness.

"I Can't Help Falling In Love With You," Elvis sings. If the feeling is mutual, it certainly is apparent that he's singing that one from the heart. Hardly a soul moves until he's done. Once more, now again caped, he kneels, arms holding the cape out like a red butterfly's wing facing each side of the Coliseum in turn. Then he strides off stage. Only then does the crowd clutching its souvenir Elvis posters ($2), its Elvis picture book ($2), its Elvis buttons and Elvis autographed portrait, convent to move. With everything, they've gotten their money's worth.

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez