Home > Newspaper Articles > 1977 > May 26, 1977 (8:30 pm) Binghamton, NY.

CONCERT DATE: May 26, 1977 (8:30 pm) Binghamton, NY.

Presley Makes A Spectacle Of Himself
by Gene Grey
The Evening Press
May 27, 1977

Elvis Presley has become probably through the most calculated planning, Michu the Midget of Rock.

You remember Michu, the little guy in the ringing Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus who got married every performance.

Maybe 500 times a year, Michu gets rolled out on an elaborate float while dancing girls dance, musicians play and circus folk walk around the arena. In the center stands Michu, aglow from the spotlights, his little white suit aglimmer in sequins.

Anybody with any sense at all knew Michu wasn't really getting married. But it was an elaborate spectacle to watch.

Elvis has become a spectacle, an event unto himself. Standing in his white suit last night before more than 7,000 screaming idolaters. Presley had to do little more than grunt "well well well" to create a frenzy of cheers.

In his book "Mystery Train - Images of America in Rick and Roll Music," author Greil Marcus comes closest to defining the essence of the Presley myth when he says people don't really admire self-made men because self-made men are bores.

But people idolize self-made kings. how else to explain the phenomenon of Elvis Presley, a classic rock and roller when rock and roll was supposed to be something nasty? He went from slicked-down hair and swivel hips to a Las Vegas conglomerate.

Presley had transcended rock and, for that matter, what passes for show business. He doesn't survive on the merits of his voice - which is actually pretty good - or even by singing his recent hits, because he hasn't had any.

In his show at Broome County Memorial Arena, he didn't even condescend to sing more than passing matches of the songs he made famous two decades ago.

He is a presence, more than a performer. During one song last night, the spotlight showed only his left foot and pantleg, tapping furiously to his excellent band's rock. Just that image was enough. He didn't have to do anything more.

In the dark, the rest of his 42 year-old body rather calmly was leaning against one of the 10 singers who accompany him. One hand was stuck casually in his pocket. He slipped a Coke. But the foot tapped, the goldleaf design sparkled in the lights and the fans went wild.

Elvis came on after a lenghtly intermission preceeded by two quasi gospel rock acts and a comedian who told old jokes and wore pants with Donald ad Daisy Duck designs.

Presley's first song was "C.C. Rider," a great old-timer record, but he soon switched to slower ballads like Olivia Newton John's "If You Love Me Let Me Go".

After a bit of "Jailhouse Rock," the title song of the first of his more than 20 movies. Elvis launched into "Now Or Never." His 10 back-up singers, five gorgeous girls and five guys, kept up a continual accompaniment.

Presley merely had to utter a word or two, and it sounded like the best studio recording money could by.

Elvis did some recent material like "Little Sister" and "Hurts" and balanced it with ballads like "Why Me Lord," intertwining a little bit of "Hound Dog," and "Heartbreak Hotel."

None of his old songs sounded as good as they did 20 years ago - but then what does? - and his new stuff sounds like Tom Jones or Engelst Humperdink.

A major part of his act is throwing scarves into the audience. That doesn't sound like sucha big deal, and I wouldn't mention it, except it takes up so much of his stage time.

He has this short dude, dressed in black, drape blue scarves around his neck. Elvis gyrates a little, whips off the scarf and tosses it into the audience. I don't know the significance of it, but I have a feeling Anita Bryant wouldn't approve.

The fans, however, eat it up.

Reviewing Elvis Presley is, I expect an exercise in futility. Those who came to worship at the shrine certainly don't need to reinforce the Presley catechism. Those who think Presley is washed up wouldn't have been there anyhow.

But a newspaper does reviews and this is the Presley review.

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez