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

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

'Big E' Leaves His Fans 'Paunchy'
by Andy Smith
The Evening Press
May 27, 1977

Edna Tobey of Watkins Glen marched up the ramp at Broome County Memorial Arena, anxious to see her idol for the fifth time.

The fact that Elvis is now 42 with a noticeable paunch, that he can't belt out "Hound Dog" the weay he used, didn't seem to bother her.

"He's the greatest," Tobey said, "I don't care how fat he gets - there's all the more of him to love!"

Tobey was among 7,000 faithful fans who made a pilgrimage to the Arena to see the man whose pelvis scandalized America 20 years ago.

They came in long gowns and blue jeans, in three piece suits and T-shirts sequins spelling out "Elvis No. 1 Fan."

Although most of the faithful were old fans who had grow up with Elvis, the Big E also managed to draw white-haired grandparents and children too young to remember the original Elvis phenomenon.

"I like Elvis fom the beginning," said a 61 year-old woman as she entered the Arena. "It was his voice that did it for me - especially (on) the ballads."

Ten year-old Mark Howell of Woodland Drive expressed similar opinion of Elvis.

"He's my favorite singer," Howell said, plunking down $3 to buy a souvenir Elvis program filled with color pictures of The King in action.

Programs were not the only Elvis memorabilia available to the fan.

Hawkers throughtout the Arena did a brisk business in $2 Elvis buttons, $10 Elvis belt-buckels and $5 stimulated canvas posters of Elvis suitable for framing.

The crowd waited patiently through a series of preliminary acts and an intermission for The Man's appearance.

In the very front row, Linda Hamel, Edith Robbins and Kay Clark of Cheming sat with their children. Each held a single rose, they were prepared to offer Elvis.

As Elvis hit the stage to the blare of trumpets and the thunder of kettledrums, the audience rose to its feet to rar approval. Flashbulbs went off like heat lightining.

Elvis walked to one side of the stage, and screams of delight came from that part of the audience.

Elvis pointed to the people seated behind him and women crowded at the railings, desperate to get a little closer to the man onstage.

And sure enough, as Elvis crooned a ballad, walking to the edge of the stage to drop a scarf into a mass of outstretched hands, he took the outstretched roses from the ladies in the front row.

Now as Elvis sang, there was a small pile of roses at his feet.

Elvis kept dropping scarves in tothe audience. Competition to get the precious articles - which after all, had actually touched Elvis' body - was intense.

One lady who got a scarf jumped up and down with excitement, kissing hte scarf before she disappeared into the crowd.

Reaction to the concert, though, was mixed.

"It stunk," one man said flatly. "Elvis Presley's always been my king - I once played his first record for ten straight hours. But now forget it."

But for other dans, seeing Elvis was the culmination of a 20 year old dream.

"It was fabulous, fabulous," one woman said dreamily. "I love him more than ever."

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez