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CONCERT DATE: February 13 1977 (8:30 pm). West Palm Beach FL.

Trumpets Herald Arrival of "King"
by Bud Newman
The Palm Beach Post
February 14, 1977

Trumpets blared the "Theme from 2001", heartbeats quickened, people stood, women screamed, flash cubes exploded in a strobe light effect, and suddenly in one magical instant, he was there in the flesh. Elvis Presley, decked out in a white, sparkling jumpsuit. showed a frenzied audience at the West Palm Beach Auditorium last night why they call him the King. In an hour-long show, Elvis ran through all or part of two dozen songs mixing his classic early records from the 1950s and 1960s with newer material, all the time teasing and toying with his audience so that the excitement level rarely dropped.

The acoustic guitar that became his trademark two decades ago appeared on only the opening number C.C.Ryder but his swiveling hips and twitching legs continued to stimulated the audience. Every time he moved his body, the auditorium exploded with the noise of screaming women but the excitement climaxed as Elvis began to toss blue and white scarves to the people closest to the stage. Fans from all over the auditorium began to rush the stage in hopes of getting a scarf but West Palm Beach policemen and Elvis' security personnel did their best to keep order.

Looking overweight, despite the wide belt around his middle, Elvis showed his voice was in far better shape than his body, but only on a few of the 24 tunes. He rarely sang more than a few bars of his best known songs, like Don't Be Cruel, Hound Dog, All Shook Up and Jail House Rock.

But the audience didn't seem to care. Whatever he did was greeted with screams and applause. In between songs, Elvis occasionally joked with his audience, first asking "Where are we?" and later telling them "My name is Freddy Fender." Among the biggest reactions of the night from the sold-out crowd was when Elvis began to sing the first oldie-goldie of the evening, a 1957 hit called Love Me. Blue Suede Shoes also drew a big cheer but the biggest reaction of all seemed to come when Elvis unleashed his thunderous voice on versions of It's Now Or Never and a more recent record Hurt.

Before Elvis' appearance in the second half of the show, the sold-out crowd of about 5900 was treated to fast-paced performances by three opening acts. After an instrumental number from the brass band which backed Elvis, J.D. Sumner and The Stamps performed Gone at Last, Operator and their special version of Swing Low Sweet Chariot in which Sumner displayed his baritone voice. Comedian Jack Kahane was next and, as expected, much of his material dealt with Elvis.

Kahane jokingly complained that wherever he goes, people come up to him and ask about Elvis. "How many of you have ever gone up to Elvis and said 'How's Jack Kahane?'" he said. He said his job was to warm up the audience even though "the women don't need warming up". And he kidded about how women often nag their husbands about driving too fast. But on the way to the Elvis concert, he said, most women probably turned to their husbands and demanded "Burn rubber, you turkey."

The final act was the black singing group, The Sweet Inspirations, who performed a few well received numbers just before intermission. Security around auditorium was tight as policemen made sure people had tickets before letting them close to the entrances. Hawkers sold Elvis souvenir programs for $3 each and buttons for $2.

During the day, Elvis remained behind closed doors at the West Palm Beach Sheraton Inn on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard. If he ventured out of his two-story suite on the fourth and fifth floors, it was only to visit others in his troop of musicians and friends.

Courtesy of Scott Hayward