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CONCERT DATE: May 21 1977 (8:30 pm). Louisville KY.

Elvis Rerun... 19000 Fans Don't Seem to Mind
by Billy Reed
Louisville Courier-Journal
May 22, 1977

Early in the concert, Elvis Presley swung into Treat Me Like a Fool, one of his all time, oldie-goldie, break-your-heart hits and the 19000 souls in Freedom Hall went absolutely, stark-raving bonkers. Strutting back and forth in his gold-braid-on-white Captain Marvel suit, Elvis smiled (or smirked, it was hard to tell which), then glanced down at a lovely tanned blonde who was standing there next to the stage.

The blonde wanted something. No doubt about that. So Elvis, ever cool, obliged. He unwrapped a blue scarf from around his sweaty neck and flipped it deftly into the blonde's outstreched claws. And he didn't let go. Instead, he slowly pulled the scarf toward him as he dropped to one knee. Then, while 19000 hearts throbbed out of control, Elvis leaned over and kissed the blonde squarely on her willing lips.

Well, now. Talk about your pandemonium. Instantly, the darkened cavern of Freedom Hall was lit by the furious flashing of what seemed like a million instamatics. Quicker than you can say "bobby socks" middle-aged mothers turned into screaming teeny-boppers. Near the stage, the local police and security guards suddenly found themselves against hordes of screaming , hollering, scratching females.

So it went last night as Elvis Presley - the once, present and future king of rock'n'roll - came to Louisville for the third time in four years to prove, again, that even in middle age he still can turn on a crowd unlike anyone in show business. You'd think, after awhile, that even the most ardent Elvis fan would grow weary of the show. The performance last night was essentially the same one he did here four years ago. The same songs, the same souvenir hucksters selling "Super Elvis Treasures", the same warm-up groups, the same comedian with the same tired jokes.

But the true-blue Elvis fan cares not a whit. Never mind that the show seems set in granite, or that Elvis has this bad habit of mumbling into the microphone so nobody past the first few rows can hear. All that matters is the opportunity to see and hear their idol.

Last night they came again, like pilgrims flocking to a shrine. The ticket prices were outrageous - $15, $12 and $10 - but nobody seemed to mind. Blissfully, the faithful even opened their wallets and purses and paid $5 for binoculars, $5 for giant Elvis posters ("Suitable for framing"), $3 for Elvis buttons and so forth.

There were men in the crowd last night, of course, but, as always, the women were in the majority. And every woman there seemed to be made up as if each fully expected to have a date with after the show. If nothing else last night's show seta new world record for false eyelashes, bouffant hairdos, suntans.

Take Rickey Davis, for example. Dolled up in a purple sequined top with white slacks, she came to bring Elvis a message from Butzbach, Germany, where he was stationed in the army. "I just wanted to send him a kiss", said Rickey, now visiting friends at Ft. Knox. "You see, he used to date my girlfriend Inga. We would get in his pink Cadillac and drive from Butzbach to Frankfurt. Oh, that Elvis. To tell you the truth, he was shy, but he could be very tender with a woman. I was so envious of my girlfriend."

At 9.45PM the public-address announcer said "I'd like to ask all the fans in the aisles to hurry quickly to their seats so the second half of the show can begin." That inspired a chorus of feminine squeals, because everyone knew. The King's arrival was imminent. Sure enough, two minutes later, the auditorium was plunged into darkness, the band began to play the theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey" and suddenly, accompanied by a cacophony of shrieks, there he was waving and nodding and strutting.

To his credit, Elvis looked pretty good. His hair and eyebrows were jet black and his waistline, while a bit pudgy, was not out of control. On the whole, he looked considerably better than most guys in their early 40s. The voice was still there, too. From C.C.Rider to That's All Right Mama to Jailhouse Rock to Hurt Elvis proved that the pipes still are there. And of course, he is still the only man in America who can simply glance over his shoulder - or wiggle his left thigh - and turn thousands of women into stark-raving animals.

Courtesy of Scott Hayward