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CONCERT DATE: June 3 1976 (8:30 pm). Fort Worth TX.

Does Elvis Still Care?
by Pete Oppel
Dallas Morning-News
June 4, 1976

Old-timers baseball games are a degrading experience. Here are a bunch of athletes, many of whom you admired and worshipped in their prime, who just can't cut it anymore. Some of them can barely lift a bat, let alone swing it. The can't bend down to scoop up the meagerest of ground balls. Their wobbly legs may get them to first base, but not with the speed and grace which they once possessed. And they are forever hitching their pants above bellies that were once sleek and trim.

You remember how these machines functioned in their prime - efficiently, almost effortlessly. It hurts to see them demoted to the role of the clown. They can't perform like they once did so they play the game for laughs, using hidden ball tricks, having mock arguments with vaudeville comedians disguised as umpires. What these men are doing is making a mockery of the tremendous talent that once was theirs. You want to laugh at it all, but it hurts too much.

Let me have men about me that are fat
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o'nights
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous
(Julius Ceasar, Act I, Scene II)

In 1956 Elvis Presley was the Cassius of rock 'n' roll. In 1976, he is rock's Ceasar. In 1956, his music and his performances were raw, bare, exciting. In 1976, they are grandiose, exaggerated and dull. Presley doesn't care anymore. He acts like a piece of merchandise - another one of the "super souvenirs" that were hawked throughout his show Thursday night at the Tarrant County Convention Center.

Once he cared about the songs that he sang, the immense talent that he possessed. Now he tosses off a song like a Dean Martin. Presley once could sing Hound Dog and make your whole body singe. Thursday night he threw it over his shoulder into the garbage heap with all the rest. What he has done - at least what he did in this particular concert - was to strip he very soul from all these songs. Gone was the anger from Jailhouse Rock. Gone was the sensuality from Don't Be Cruel. Gone was the tenderness from Can't Help Falling in Love. Gone was the urgency from Love Me.

All the rough edge that surrounded Presley's songs immaculately was missing. He sounded like a coiffed cabaret singer in a peach leisure suit singing an Elvis Presley medley. Traces of the old Elvis slipped into his performance once, when he sang his latest hit Hurt, the old Timi Yuro song. But Elvis Presley isn't hungry anymore. And the saddest part of all is, that unlike the former baseball star who return for the old-timers' game, Presley could regain his old form. The talent, the ability, is still there. All those moves that were once real - the ones he converted into a mocking self-parody Thursday night - could be real once again.

Courtesy of Scott Hayward