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CONCERT DATE: March 4, 1974. Monroe, LA.

Presley Scores In First Concert Here
By J. C. Casey
Monroe News-Star
March 5, 1974

P. T. Barnum, or somebody, said once, "No man ever went broke by underestimating the taste of the American public," or words to that efect.

Well, Elvis Presley didn't underestimate anybody's taste. He hit it right on the money (make that a quarter of a million dollars) when he played the Monroe Civic Center Monday night in the first on three sellout concerts slated this week.

The people came to have a good time and they did. They came to see a man who has been a sex (pardon the expression) symbol for well over a decade and he gave them their money's worth, really; no doubt everyone there left fully satisfied.

Presley is one of those entertainement phenomenon that gives pause for philosophical thought. The man, a good enough singer but certainly not the finest voice ever to record popular music, doesn't even have to anything but stand there and they scream - just like they did 15 years ago. And these aren't your average every day , run of the mill teeny boppers who turn on to Alice Cooper and David Bowie. These are your 30-40 year-old housewives.

It's crazy. It doesn't make sense. But it happens.

At a concert the Elvis Presley Show is certainly the biggest thing that has ever happened to Monroe entertainment.

Twenty-four thousand people can't be wrong and that's how many people will have seen him when he leaves here, after playing again Thursday and Friday.

The show is an excellent one. It cannot be faulted in any way, whether or not you like Presley. A comedian comes on for the first 15 minutes, funny enough and greeted by hilarity from the 8,000 or so people in the house. Then come the Sweet Inspirations, for the next 15 minutes.

The show is also characterized by a terrific sound system - elevated, with none of the overloud screaming nearly all rock-pop groups have today. And the band is good too - nearly all brass - but not too loud because of the good sound man working the system.

Then the intermission - and then Elvis.

Now, in all honesty - it must be admitted that bringing him on to a melodramatic arrangement of "2001" was reaching a bit. And yet at the same time, those screaming fans obviouly didn't think anything was overdone.

And despite thinking it can't be good for anyone to be that revered and idolized for so long, the man is good. He knows what pleases his audience and he gives it to them. And they love it.

Presley's style has altered only a little in his years as a top entertainer. His arrangements are not much better than they were when he first started; neither is his backup group. The harmony is basic and obvious.

He could have sung "Three blind mice" and they would have loved it. As it was the best numbers he did were not even songs he had made hits. One as "Fever," despite the hokiness; the other was Kris Kristofferson's "Why Me Lord," featuring J. D. Sumner of the Stamps Quartet. Now that really was a good number.

The skeptics in the crowd, if there were any, might be tempted to recall Carl Sandburg's statement in one of his poems.

"I like to see a good flusher work." But make no mistake about it: Elvis Presley is no gour flusher. He gave his audience exactly what it had paid and come to see - himself, just as they thought he would be. It was full value for money rendered. And no one will have any complaints about it at all.

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez