Home > Newspaper Articles > 1975 > April 27, 1975. Lakeland, FL.

CONCERT DATE: April 27, 1975. Lakeland, FL.

Elvis: The King is Here; The Crowds Await
by Jim DeGennaro
Lakeland Ledger
April 27, 1975

Elvis Presley; the swivel-hipped King of Rock 'n' Roll is sleeping comfortably this morning in Central Florida.

Meanwhile, the mood remains one of excited impatience in the homes of thousands of Polk Countians who will swarm the Lakeland Civic Center today and Monday to witness the frenzy and excitement which accompany any Presley concert.

Elvis arrived in Central Florida late last night after signing and swinging his way through a matinee and evening show in Tampa Saturday.

The superstar's long-time manager Col. Tom Parker, and RCA recording executive Pat Killeher checked in Saturday at the motel where Presley and his traveling troupe will be staying until Tuesday morning.

Waiting outside their rooms were local law enforcement officers, who, along with Presley's personal security force, will try to preserve for the popular singer and actor a maximum of privacy.

The motel's manager said Presley has asked that his whereabouts be kept a closely guarded secret.

Keeping the lid down on the location of Elvis's home away from home in Central Florida is extremely difficult the manager said because the Presley group has reserved about 50 rooms and are asking for more hotel space.

Members of the 40 year old entertainer's backup group and his stage hands arrived at the motel Friday night without much fanfare.

Elvis was not with them, but remained hidden in Tampa.

Most of the 22 backup signers and musicians who will be on stage with the immortal Pelvis today and Monday were out of bed and in the motels restaurant by noon Saturday.

Motel guests in the restaurant at the time had difficulty keeping their eyes on their scrambled eggs any time a show biz type walked by.

Some of the entertainers were decked out in black sequined outfits, stacked shoes, and white patent leather boots. Accessories and jewelry included men's leather purses, jade rings, sequins and spangles, diamonds, and gold belts and wrist bands.

Some of the entertainers were wearing "Elvis" name tags for security purposes.

One of the backup crew, a signer who was born and raised in Lakeland said the three Presley shows would be like a "homecoming" to him.

"It feels good to be back in these parts again," he said. "I was listening to a country and western station in Winter Haven this morning (Saturday) and I couldn't believe how much they were promoting Elvis. People must love him here."

When the singer was told Presley's Lakeland shows were sold out in quick order and 25,000 fans were expected to watch the world famous recording artist perform, he said, "We won't disappoint these good people. We're gonna knock them out of their seats."

The atmosphere around the motel was relatively calm after the backup crew boarded a charter bus for Tampa early Saturday afternoon.

Around the motel's pool tourist sat and sun bathed and chatted about things like the weather an their travel plans.

Few guest knew they were sitting in the middle of a musical maelstrom that comes alive at the Civic Center today at 2:30 and 8:30 p.m. and again at 8:30 p.m. on Monday.

And from a poolside radio Saturday Elvis' unmistakable voice was blaring out what could well be a sure promise to an awaiting Lakeland "I'm a steam roller baby and I'm gonna roll all over you."

Courtesy of Kurt Hinkle