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CONCERT DATE: March 4, 7-8, 1974. Monroe, LA.

Elvis Thrills Capacity Crowd
By Loyal Elvis Fans
Monroe Morning World
March 9, 1974

Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll, brought back memories of the 50's entwined with the sound of today. These were the things people came to see and hear as they flocked to Monroe's civic Center March 4th, 7th and 8th to view the first live Elvis Presley concerts ever to be held in the city. My every standard of comparison they were not disappointed in their King.

People from 1 to 80 arrived in throngs to see and hear the idol of millions perform live, in concert to the sold-out houses for all three nights.

The biggest attraction ever to appear in Monroe, the audiences began arriving early for the Elvis concert carrying with them the electricity of excitement and anticipation. By 7 p.m. the parking areas were beginning to fill and by 8 it was virtually impossible to find an empty space on the center grounds.

Warming up the already receptive audience for Elvis' appearance was Jackie Kahane, a fine comedian who managed to hold his own and loosen up the atmosphere for the appointed moment of Elvis' appearance. Extricating ample laughter from the audience seemed to be his specialty, gingerly putting everyone at ease while waiting for the King of Rock N Roll to appear. Mr. Kahane was followed by "The Sweet Inspirations" three very talented singers who provided their own good show. They also sing back up harmony with Elvis.

After a brief intermission, the house lights were dimmed. The strains of "2001, A Space Odessey" accompanied by the stirring beats of Ronnie Tutt's drum had the audience almost in a frenzy of anticipation and then Elvis appeared to the almost defining shrieks, cheers and yells. The atmosphere was charged. Flash cubes popped until the arena looked like one giant strobe.

He was resplendent in a white bejeweled jumpsuit with diamonds flashing on both hands. Elvis masterfully sent the audience wild with excitement, then as if to accent the already frenzied atmosphere, reached for his black guitar and belted out "C. C. Rider," with a style that was completely his own.

Living up to the image of "playing strictly to the audience" Elvis disappointed no one and at times made fans feel as if he were singing to each one of them as individuals.

Enthusiastic women yelled and screamed their total approval and men were just as eager to admit that no other performer could please an audience and capture it as much as Elvis did. "If you have ever seen him perform," said one avid fan, "you can't forget ...if you haven't seen him then you don't know what you have missed."

Included in his repertoire of "oldies but goodies" were "I Got A Woman", the now immortalized "Hound Dog", "Love Me Tender" and "Johnnie Be Good," just to name a few. As like all his shows, there was also a religious selection, "Help Me" that was performed as tastefully as any religious song was ever performed.

Holding the entire audience spellbound for the duration of an entire musical selection, Elvis literally brought the audience to its feet with his most moving rendition of "american Trilogy", a selection consisting of "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Dixie" and "All My Trials" sung with such meaning and conviction that you could feel his pride for the south and it's ancient heritage.

Of course no show would be complete without the band and under the close supervision of conductor Joe Gercheau, the Las Vegas brass group consisting of eleven members, accented every note Elvis sung.

Also backing up Elvis in vocals was "Voice", a new group of three very talented singers showing extreme professionalism for being so new to the world of entertainment.

The most noticeable members of the entertainers entourage were his rhythm section musicians, among whom are two native Louisianians, James Burton of Shreveport is lead guitar and band director, with Duke Bardwell of Baton Rouge on bass, John Wilkinson is on rhythm guitar and Ronnie Tutt on drums. The musician who doubles as acoustical guitarist and also provided fantastic harmony with Elvis was Charlie Hodge. Rounding out the group was Glen D. Hardin on piano.

Not only was the concert fantastic in audience appeal but it was also absent of the usually "I can't see" comments so often accompanying the entourage of a group. Due to the expertise knowledge of the sound man in handling controls, only one brief bit of "feedback" was heard by the audience and the elevated sound equipment made it possible for everyone to see what they paid for.

Always included in the hours entertainment is J. D. Sumner ad the Stamps Quartet who will be long remembered for the ir assistance in the rendition of "Why Me Lord" by Elvis.

Near the end of the show Elvis asked for the house lights to be turned on so he could see the audience "You are beautiful audience" he said "and I would like to sing this next song for you"... I Can't Stoop Loving You".

He ended the show with "Can't Help Falling In Love," then immediately left the stage to the cheers and screams of the audience. THe announcer said "Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night," ... and indeed it was a good night. Elvis had proven again that he is truly the King Of Rock N Roll. As one fan put it, "Everyone came to see a living legend and Elvis didn't disappoint them."

Written and Paid For by Elvis Loyal Fans.

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez