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CONCERT DATE: April 21 1977 (8:30 pm). Greensboro NC.

Elvis Spins Magic Web with Scarf
by Jerry Kenion
Greensboro Daily News
April 22, 1977

No magician has gotten as much theatrical mileage out of a steady stream of multicolor scarves as did Elvis Presley in his Thursday night concert at the Greensboro coliseum. This year the performer even had a "scarf man" whose principal duty seemed to be placing a fresh scarf around Elvis' neck as soon as the discarded scarf landed in the uplifted hands of a screaming female admirer. Dozens of the scarves crossed his neck briefly and went out as souvenirs to his fans. The scarf maneuver, which took him around the perimeter of the stage several times during his 75 minutes onstage, was the most motion that Elvis put into his act during the evening.

Elvis was in fine voice - when he really tried to put his power behind the songs. His rendition of My Way, though he read from the sheet music, was filled with emotion and came across loud and clear, showing off that voice that has thrilled millions of record buyers for 20 years. Again in How Great Thou Art and in a few other serious songs, Presley's strong singing sounded as if he were pouring his whole being into it. The chills came; the magic was in the air.

During many other songs, though, there was no magic. The tremendous energy, humor, movement and emotion that characterized Presley's 1972, 1974 and 1975 appearances here just weren't on the stage much of the time Thursday night. He jiggled his left knee a few time, even went so far as executing a toned-down version of his swivel-hips motion during Fever and a couple of other songs. But in general, Elvis moved very slowly, giving the impression that sudden or extreme motion would be painful.

He brought his smile along, and used it often - that crooked, one-corner-up devilish smile. With the corner of his mouth he responded to the deafening squeals; he seemed to soak up and try to duplicate the energy created for him by the sold-out house of some 17000 fans. No matter how much he seemed to be trying, and no matter how much love and response his audience sent back to him, Elvis' energy was lagging. He mumbled through Hound Dog, seeming not to care. He improvised on other old standards, missing notes here and there.

When it comes to loyalty and enthusiasm, Elvis Presley's know no bounds. They worship the man, bring offerings of flowers, gifts, stuffed animals. Elvis could just show up, smile and toss a few scarves. They'd be thrilled enough to offer deafening cheers, standing ovations. Following the prescribed ritual, the fans did all those things and more Thursday night. After 45 minutes of warm-up by the Hot Hilton Horns, J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet and the Sweet Inspirations, there was a half-hour intermission. Then the house was dark and the fanfare began; next came the deafening cheers and there he was, their king, the King of Rock and Roll. The flashbulbs punctuated the darkness for several minutes.

And, outside the Coliseum, another couple of rituals were carried out as usual. Fans hung over the entrance to the elephant doors to see Elvis' car as it whisked the singer silently into the building. Again at the end of the concert, even more fans lined both sides of the road to catch a glimpse as the legend left the building. Though a couple of people were arrested Thursday for trying to sell concert tickets at higher than face-value, other ticket-holders, some two dozen of them, were offering cut-rate prices as concert-time approached. Some $15 seats went for $5 or $10, and a few tickets were given away as the concert began.

At 11.10PM the concert was over, and Elvis' black limousine faded into the darkness, on the road to the airport. Greensboro was Elvis' first performance since his recent hospitalization and he's due to perform in Detroit today, in Toledo Saturday and Ann Arbor on Sunday. Coliseum managing director James Oshust, who greeted Elvis as he arrived in the building here, said that the singer looked good and was "smiling and bright." Oshust added, however, that no one in the Presley entourage would discuss the singer's recent illness.

Courtesy of Scott Hayward