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CONCERT DATE: October 27 1976 (8:30 pm). Carbondale IL.

Ole Elvis Still Thrills The Fans
by Barbara Schechter
Southern Illinoisan
October 28, 1976

There was more flesh than wiggle. And sometimes the voice sounded weak.

But Wednesday night, Elvis was still the king.

The 4l-year-old, rock and roll superstar brought his Las Vegas review to Southern Illinois University - Carbondale before an Arena sellout crowd of 10,200 most of whom paid $12.50 each for a glimpse of the legendary Elvis.

This was not a teenage crowd but one filled with men and women who grew up in the 50s and 60s, when rock N roll was born and a truck driver from Memphis became a living legend.

Many brought along their parents and children - plurking down $50 or more - so all could witness Elvis' first concert in Southern Illinois.

Preceded by four classy, fastpaced warmup acts, Elvis Presley swaggered onto stage to the strains of "Thus Spoke Zarathustra," The crowd roared as he launched into "C. C. Rider" twitching his now hefty frame clad in a white and gold jumpsuit.

Flashbulbs from small cameras transformed the darkened arena into daylight. Despite tight security precautions and SIU Security Police bodyguards, hundreds of women raced to the edge of the stage throughout Elvis 70 minute performance. They pleaded for a touch, a memento, a glance.

Elvis flashed dazzling smiles at the bleachers behind the stage and received the expected shrieks.

As fast as his stage aide tossed towels around the singer's sweat-laden neck, Elvis flung them to the audience, leaving the crowd to fight over each one.

Few seemed to notice that songs like "Jailhouse Rock," "All Shook Up," and "Teddy Bear" lacked the power of a younger Elvis.

Few seemed to care.

"I have loved Elvis all my life" said Linda Grasty, 26, of Energy. "It doesn't make any difference to me that he's older. He can still wiggle and sing like he always did". She said, while wearing an Elvis button, one of many souvenirs hawked repeatedly by the singer's crew.

Middle aged women scooped up $5 color portraits of the singer while younger fans favored the buttons.

"He sounds good. He's better looking now," said Shirley Robertson, 31, of Benton.

Jane Bissi,36, brought her 10 year old daughter, Susan, from West Frankfort to see her mother's idol. "He was the first. "He was the leader, always," said Mrs. Rissi.

Traveling from Scott City, Mo., William Pfatt took his wife and younger son to the concert. "we live in a real small town and a lot of people from there drove up to see him".

Few seemed to object to object to the cost of tickets, a price set by Elvis.

"It's my one chance; there's some kind of mystique about him," said Rhonda Starnes, 26, of Carbondale.

"I loved it," said Carol Bunning of Murphysboro. "I'd pay $12.50 to see him again."

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez