Home > Newspaper Articles > 1976 > October 14, 1976 (8:30 pm) Chicago, IL.

CONCERT DATE: October 24, 1976 (8:30 pm) Evansville, IN. Roberts Municipal.

Fans Do More Gyrating than Elvis, bur he's still tops
by Lynn Van Matre
Chicago Tribune
October 16, 1976

They loved him tender, loved him true, loved him to the tune of a much as $50 or more, for a scalper's ticket Thursday night at the Chicago Stadium where Elvis Presley one time (some diehards say still) king of rock and roll, made his first Chicago appearance in four years.

It was an evening of rock - and ritual. First came an almost interminable slew of warmup acts, consisting of a godawful gospel group; a comic whose stale stories revolved around pot, the agonies of marriage, and the contention that teens do the darnest things; followed by a soul trio.

THEN CAME INTERMISSION and a parcel of pitches of "super souvenirs" on the event, including portraits of Elvis, "Suitable for framing," and Elvis pocket mirrors "that all ladies will want to carry in their pursues."

Finally the house lights dimmed, the squeals of anticipation turned almost tangible, and there he was, looking, well pretty good, given all the gossip about his avoirdupos. It's true the wide belt on his white suit flecked with multicolored glitter couldn't quite hide his paunchy in profile, and a closeup look at the Presley physiognomy through binoculars revealed a dollop of a double chin lurking beneath his high collar.

There are better showmen that Presley , and better singers - though his voice still rang husky and true - but there's only one Elvis. "If You Love Me, Let Me Know," he sang, and the capacity crowd did just that.

The audience contributed its expectations and its ecstasy, Presley could do no wrong.

BACKED BY A TIGHTLY rhythmic band and a batch of backup singers, he accepted the tributes - flowers, a teddy bear, and a queen-sized bra found their way to the stage - and gave the crowd back some of his old (Don't Be Cruel" and "Jailhouse Rock," one of the show's rocking highlights), some of his new ("Hurt," hi his most recent single release and one of the concert's loveliest ballads, and enough scarves to choke the proverbial horse.

One of the members of Presley's band, in fact, spent less time playing guitar than he did following his leader around the stage placing scarf after scarf around the Presley neck to be blessed with Presley sweat and then tossed to the frantic crowd.

"Oh," said Elvis, staring down with a grin at the sea of raised hands pleading for a treasured piece of cloth, "you want to go to the bathroom, huh? So much for his stage banter.

AS FOR HIS STAGE STANCE, it ran to karate chops, with which Elvis punctuated the ending of much of his music, with a little thigh quaking tossed in. But not much. The hip movements which created such a furor years ago seem tame and respectable now, but they still got the predicted response - pandemonium. But polite pandemonium.

As far as concerts go, the Stadium has seen more stirring evenings. But as far as sell-out events go, this one is ranked right up there. It has been 20 years since Presley raised eyebrows with his provocative wiggles and his way with a song. 20 years since the kid who sang like a black man voice blazed new trails in white rock and roll. Back then, parents condemned him: teenagers took him to their hearts as their musical symbol of adolescent rebellion.

THURSDAY NIGHT AT the Stadium, and Friday night, when the show was repeated, those onetime teenagers went to see the man who once meant so much to them and has since become a legend; the younger crowd, many of whom weren't even born when Elvis first sang "Don't Be Cruel" and "Love Me Tender," went to see what all the shouting has been about.

Though, Presley has long since segued into respectable middle age, turned tame compared to many of today's pop performers, the legend lingers on.

And to think that the sociologists once dismissed him as a "passing fad"

"Funny" as Elvis sang Thursday night, "How Time Slips Away" - and funny how some legends still manage to loom large.