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CONCERT DATE: June 22 1977 (8:30 pm). Sioux Falls SD.

A new generation flocks to see Presley
by Hugh O'Gara
Sioux Falls Argus-Leader
June 23, 1977

This time they came to stare. It was a younger audience that came to see Elvis Presley, the one time bad boy of rock'n'roll and his legendary pelvis Wednesday evening at the Arena. Presley's Oct. 18 apprearance in Sioux Falls had brought out the parents, seeking to recapture a glimpse of their youth. This time their youth came with them to see a legend known only through records and movies.

At Wednesday evening's performance, there were more blue jeans than leisure suits in the crowd.

"All I know of him is from records and albums", said 17-year old Colin McKenna, 2417 S. Willow Avenue. "He's changed a lot from the movies."

He certainly has, Colin, except when he sings.

His waist - which once looked like Scarlett O'Haras but know rivals her bust line - may have added a few inches; the once gyrating hips now simply jerk and the between song patter degenerated into incoherent, private jokes with the band; but when he sang, he was Elvis the King again.

With a voice as distinctive as has ever blistered a concert hall, Elvis and his backup performers presented the capacity crowd of 8,189 with hand-clapping spirituals, down home country and western tunes full of cheatin' hearts, and the obligatory Presley standards like Jailhouse Rock, Teddy Bear and It's Now Or Never.

And the crowd loved it.

The one hour performance by Presley produced a display of polytechnics unrivalled since the Fourth of July as fans lit the arena with flashbulbs in a primitive light show. By the third song (Treat Me Like a Fool) the crowd had rushed the stage clamoring for the blue scarves Elvis tossed from around his neck and forcing roses on the star.

It was during one of these crowd-pleasing interludes at the edge of the stage that the concert was marred by an overzealous fan who threw a frisbee from the upper tiers. The plastic toy struck Elvis near his collarbone as he shielded his face and backed away from the crowd muttering: "Who threw that?"

But in the best tradition of troupers, the show went for nearly three hours, counting intermission, with as professional a performance as could be seen between Las Vegas and New York.

Opening with some hot flicks by the stage band, the Hot Hilton Horns, in the theme song from film Rocky ("Gonna Fly Now"), the concert took on a distinct southern-fried flavor with the rhinestone-studded revue Of J.D. Sumner and his gospel quartet. The one-hour warm-up for the king continued with comedian Jackie Culhane and the slick soul trio, the Sweet Inspirations.

But, as Culhane said, the crowd came to see Elvis, and went away with an earful. His voice was just as full of power, surprises and emotions as when he emerged from Tupelo, Miss. 42 years ago to become the raunchy, twisting darling of the teenagers of the 50s.

Wednesday evening those former teenagers were showing a younger generation what rock 'n' roll really meant. Or as one parent remarked as he dragged his young son through the departing crowd, "Now, at least he got to see Elvis."

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez