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CONCERT DATE: June 2 1976 (8:30 pm). El Paso TX.

An Excitement Frenzy - It's Elvis in Person
by Barbara Funkhouser
El Paso Times
June 3, 1976

Elvis Presley, a living legend in show business, proved his talents again Wednesday night when 7050 people crowded into the Grand Hall of the Civic Center to clap, tap, cheer and shriek. Thousands of others would have come but there were no more seats. He sang a lot, talked a little, did some limited gyrations and gifted dozens of young women with scarves of various colors. It was Elvis in person, and that's what seemed to count.

There was a frenzy of excitement about this show even before it began. Parking became scarce shortly after 8 PM, and people hurried to the hall although seating was reserved and the kick-off was not until 8.30 PM. Presley is noted for a total show and this was no exception. The band, a male vocal quartet, a comedian and a trio, The Inspirations, are straight from Las Vegas. They provided a fast 50 minute warm-up - good songs, all popular and familiar, spanning the range of contemporary sound - which had the audience in such a state that with any flurry of movement in the staging area, the noise began because it just might be the man, himself.

Finally, after an intermission, at 9.40 PM, it was Elvis, surrounded by bodyguards, being ushered onto the stage to the music of his theme song and psychedelic lighting, The crowd went wild and ultimately gave him a standing ovation even before he sang his first song, C.C. Rider. In baby-blue flared pants and vest with white full-sleeved shirt and, of course, wide rhinestone belt and sparkling insets on his pants, Presley played with the audience for a minute or two, sort of testing the temperature. He found it hot and moved quickly into I've Got a Woman and Amen, the latter with audience participation.

Rotating strobe lights added to the effective lighting of the stage, which was set at the north end of the hall. The floor was packed with people and from above it looked like the cliche, "sea of humanity." Because only the south riser was used and all other seats were on the floor, many could not see and began moving quickly toward the sides where they stood four and five deep throughout Presley's performance. Discarding his guitar, he began shedding his scarves into upstreched hands while singing If You Love Me Let Me Go. The scarf gimmick created a mob scene in front of the stage which ultimately was controlled by policemen joining arms to form a wall to push the women back. Presley continued taking scarves off throughout the program and this undoubtedly proved distracting for most of the people on the floor.

What makes Elvis so popular? He has a dynamic technique, a resonant voice and superb arrangements played exactly for him. He can sing any kind of song, switching effortlessly from rock and roll to love ballad to country western to soul. This is why shows are like family nights. Many groups noted in audience included grandparents, parents, teenagers and small children. They came together, enjoyed it together and each generation had its favorites.

I'm All Shook Up, Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear and Don't Be Cruel were in the tradition of Presley. Then there was Just One More Mile and his sexy rendition of Fever followed by Rockin' and Rollin' and How I Love You So. Presley brought all of his own equipment and it is the best. The Grand Hall was not designed for concerts so its lack of proper acoustics resulted in some muffling of his words. Also, spots in which his voice was not as strong as has been heard before may be due to the present tour which is series of one night stands. The company reportedly travels in three 707 jets.

Presley spent quite a lot of time introducing the chorus and the lead players, allowing the instrumentalists an opportunity for brief solo displays. It again was apparent that the corwd had come to see and hear Presley. So, back to business, he sent the crowd home happy with some driving interpretations of I'm Hurt, which he repeated by popular demand, Hound Dog and Take My Hand. Then the guards returned to escort him from the stage, the house lights went up and people walked slowly out of building and toward their cars, some of them humming, others gyrating a bit. It had been Elvis Presley in person

Courtesy of Scott Hayward