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CONCERT DATE: May 25 1977 (8:30 pm). Rochester NY.

Elvis Sings Low And Lazy - Without Half-Trying
by David Stearns
Rochester Times-Union
May 26, 1977

To the hysterical fans carried kicking and screaming from the stage of the War Memorial last night, Elvis Presley was still the pop star of all pop stars. A 31-year-old East Rochester woman said anything Elvis sings or does is fine with her. One 15-year-old girl testified that Elvis performed better last night than in his Rochester concert last July. A 22-year-old Scottsville man said tickets to a Elvis concert mean having the date of your choice. A 33-year-old housewife said Elvis gets sexier as he gets older. A 16-year-old boy said, "Elvis is cool... he really makes me FEEL the music... he SHOWS you that he's king!"

But to a casual Elvis admirer, he proved few of these things. For Elvis just didn't seem to be trying. He strolled through some of his best songs, trailed by a little man supplying scarves that were passed along Elvis' neck and directly into the hands of hungry fans. As many as ten such scarves swept the king's neck within a single song.

Elvis spent most of his opening number, C.C. Rider, posing for pictures with a guitar that he never bothered to play. Too bad - Elvis can be a pretty decent guitarist. He also gave lackadaisical treatment to Hound Dog, Johnny B. Goode and several gospel numbers, for which he was backed by a superb ensemble of vocalists and instrumentalists. During Teddy Bear he was preoccupied by a toy bear nearly as big as himself being hoisted onto the stage.

Elvis admitted that he hadn't even bothered to warm up his voice before the concert. Much of the time he sang low and lazy, unpredictably breaking into a high, piercing register which predictably brought ecstatic screams from the audience. He mumbled semiaudibly between songs and apparently didn't feel the need for courtesies like facing the audience while singing. He also slowed the show down by taking his own sweet time sipping drinks between numbers.

Only occasionally did we feel Elvis was serious about delivering a first class performance. Little Sister showed him in excellent rock and roll form, vividly showing what originally got the girls screaming over 20 years ago. And in the ballad My Way, he crooned through the vast range of sonic highlights that is his still-remarkable voice.

There was that rich, crooning bass sound in his lower register, that throbbing vibrato, the eloquently stabbing accents and many vocal colors in between. Now that was music. But Elvis had to use a lyric sheet to remember all the words to My Way. Years ago, he could fall off a stage without breaking his pitch. And even in My Way, the voice sounded brittle around the edges, showing that Elvis is indeed nearing his mid 40s. One man in the audience, a 37-year-old accountant, speculated that people flock to see Elvis for the same reason the older generation watches Guy Lombardo on New Year's Eve - "it makes them feel young again." But then there's the 13-year-old Greece girl who caught the Elvis bug from her mother. She can't explain her devotion to a singer old enough to be her father. Whatever their reasons, it seemed worth $10 to $15 just to see Elvis onstage. But we went in wanting to hear music and left wishing Elvis cared enough to give us more of it. After all, the concert is expected to gross $132,000.

Courtesy of Scott Hayward