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CONCERT DATE: May 27 1976 (8:30 pm). Bloomington IN.

Elvis Lived The Good Life On Assembly Hall Stage
by Rich Stim
Bloomington Herald-Times
May 28, 1976

Since a lot of people are going to be reading this solely to find out if Elvis Presley looked obese last night at Assembly Hall, I might as well start out by saying that I could care less if Elvis was rolled out in a wheelbarrow, as long as his attitude was okay and his voice was in tune.

As it was (and I hate to dwell on this more than necessary) he didn't look much more overweight than the average 41-year-old ticket buyer. Besides which, let's remember that a little extra weight used to be a sign of pride in man. It demonstrates that he can afford to live the good life. Presley wasn't afraid to live the good life on stage at Assembly Hall Thursday night. He laid back often, giving his back-up singers a lot of chances to fill in; and played continually with the audience, shaking and posturing in the way that the crowd remembers him.

Wearing a white outfit (his band wears all black) and tossing scarves like a traveling lingerie salesman, Elvis delighted the crowd with renditions of many of his favorite hits, such as All Shook Up, Please Love Me and Teddy Bear. Referring to the negative publicity surrounding the present Elvis tour, Presley told the audience in a slightly slurred voice, "Regardless what you heard, have a good time."

And regardless what the audience had heard they did have a good time. Women continued to jump at the stage, grab for his neckwear and hope for that magic kiss. Helping to bring out a lot of positive response was Elvis' extremely well-disciplined back-up band and his Las Vegas orchestra which had the best intonation I've ever heard in Assembly Hall. Also excellent was J.D. Sumners and the Stamps Quartet.

As always, Presley surrounds himself with the best in warm-up musicians and back-up bands. But like all the superstar revues, when the smoke has cleared from the early acts, everybody in the show better be ready to put out for the King. Which is what happened during the second act. The gospel quartet, the Sweet Inspirations, and the men who back Elvis on the big notes (I guess you'd have to call them singing aids) all line up on one side to push the sound that the crowd wants to hear.

There were some disappointments, though. The sound system was out of whack through much of Presley's performance, causing the superstar to comment more than once about the "dime-store" microphones. Also disappointing was the long wait for the star to appear (not until the second act). And finally, I think, most disappointing for a few fans was the King's reserved singing on a few numbers. Personally, I thought Elvis performance was a perfect Bicentennial gift. Presley's evolution from a skinny young rebel to the well-heeled showman makes for the ideal statement about what can happen to a person or a country, if they have the right attitude.

Courtesy of Scott Hayward