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CONCERT DATE: November 24, 1976 Reno, NV.

The Magical Magnet Of Elvis Still Exists
by Bill Steinauen
Reno Evening Gazzette
November 25, 1976

A weird, strange world, this world of Elvis Presley. Twenty years have passed since the rockin', hip-swinging legend first hit the national scene, making a gigantic impact on the music industry. twenty years can have a way of doing to a lot of people. Bus as demonstrated Wednesday night at the Centennial Coliseum, those years haven't done a whole lot to harm Elvis.

Say what you want about Presley ... and if you choose less than glowing terms. I'll probably join you. The guy's never been my favorite (far from it, as a matter of fact) and I've never understood the magic he undeniably permeates.

But, as a reporter, I must report that the magic - or whatever it is that exists between Presley and his hordes of fans - still exists.

Even after listening to Presley a million times via records, movies and concerts, a Presley concert is still An Event. It sure has the aura of, say, a heavyweight fight.

Thanksgiving Eve in Reno. Buses, some of which have made their way from Canada, are lined up outside the coliseum. The signs reveal the passengers' thoughts and motive for the trip. "We Love You Elvis," a sign reads. Others show title of many of Presley's hits.

Elvis Presley concerts are as slick as the many movies in which he starred. It has the earmarks of a carnival.

When you go to a Presley concert, you just don't go to listen to music. Heck no. Mini-binoculars are on sale for five bucks, an Elvis poster for eight, programs complete with color photos of the superstar for three.

"Getcha souvenirs," the announcer-barker barks. Many did.

And the crowd ... what a trip. Oldsters, youngsters, the works among the sellout audience of 7,500. Women in formals, others in bluejeans. Normally, a singer - it's fair to say - appeals to one general age group or generation. It's also fair to say that you just can't say that about Presley.

What can you say about Presley? first of all, the crowd - after securing their footlongs, binoculars and souvenirs - saw a Presley whose voice hasn't suffered over the years and a Presley who didn't appear as chubby as reported in recent years. (Those two facts seem to concern many a Presley fan.)

Following 45 minutes of opening acts (J.V Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, comedian Jackie Kahane and the Sweet Inspirations), Presley began his hour and 10 minutes of stage with rock 'n' roll oldies "C.C. Ryder" and "I Gotta Woman"

Every hip movement resulted in shrills from the audience. Every time Presley turned around and look to the people behind him, numerous flashbulbs flickered in unison.

Shifting from old to new tunes, from ones he made famous to others, Presley continued his slick rapport with the audience. The audience, of course, loved it.

With Presley is an entourage which is so large that it includes one man, Charlie Hodge, whose primary duties are giving Presley glasses of water and draping scarves around PResley's neck so the singer can, in turn, hand them out to screaming fans.

Elvis does a lot of tunes, but they all seem shortened from original length - "Treat Me Like A Fool," "Fairytale," "Jailhouse Rock," "And I Love Her So," "All Shook Up," "Teddy Bear," "Fever"

Presley best displayed his range and strength of voice in "Hurt," a current release. But the songs receiving the most audience reaction were - as should be expected - the oldies. And he ended the night with three biggies: "You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog," "Hawaiian Wedding Song," and "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You".

During the final song, bodyguards had to keep female fans from climbing the stage. Presley had to take off his rings because the fans were pulling on his hands. Magic, I guess. Anyway, just like that, he was rushed off the stage and the p.a. announcer announced, "Elvis Presley is now out of the building. But you can still get those souvenirs."

So the show? A success, I guess. The sound system was very raspy at first, but improvements were made. The stage was too small and the audience provided more distractions than an audience would have at a casino showroom.

The opening acts were satisfactory. What can you tell in 15 minutes anyway? The group sang rhythm and blues and spiritual numbers and proved better than comic Kahane who did the usual numbers about stereotyped teen-agers and stereotyped wives.

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez