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Home > Newspaper Articles > 1970 > September 9 1970 (8:30 pm). Phoenix AZ.
CONCERT DATE: September 9 1970 (8:30 pm). Phoenix AZ.
Presley fans were "unlucky"
By Thomas Goldthwaite
September 10, 1970
If Col. Tom Parker doesn't watch out, his extraordinary property, Elvis Presley, could be headed toward life in a wax museum.
And no doubt your true Presley fan, ardent, crazy and by now nostalgic, would be just as happy to have it that way.
Presley's return to Phoenix last night after 13 years of increasing fortune, if not fame, brought a full house at the Memorial Coliseum of 15,000 persons, Presley fans every one of us: and every one of us perhaps too much wanting him to pick up where he left off here in 1957.
He obliged only too briefly in a rapid fire, false-start, almost impatient string of his early hits: "Blue Suede Shoes," "Hound Dog," and "Heartbreak Hotel."
He could have gone a full hour in such vein and torn the house down. As it was, the audience was wholly shell-shocked from a preceding hour of all kinds of acoustical enormities inflicted on them by lesser talents, one of the most wretched amplification systems ever devised and an unfortunate box office snarl owing to an early evening bomb scare.
No need to dwell on that first hour: four men called the Hugh Jarrett Singers, who looked in their 30s, had potbellied postures of the late 40s and harmonic difficulties mindful of senior citizens. Their rapport with the audience was good natured but darned corny:
"Doggone, you're a good audience!" cried the smiling leader.
Next came a group of seven called Sweet Inspiration who seemed inspired only to deafen everyone. All of this racket abeited by a 15-piece band under Joe Guercio.
It was mayhem, but not in the rock manner of today or even yesterday. It was the hellist kind Renaissance painters used to depict in things like "The Last Judgment"
This is where canny Col. Parker misjudged the times. His clients are not soul searchers. They are cornball Presley fans and it was obvious they came to remember what this creature was like. That he hasn't adapted very well to the music of today - he tried several times last night, abandoned one song and forgot the lyrics to another - is simply a painful reality for all of us.
When he bounced on stage, a mixture of Lord Byron and Davy Crockett, all done up in white with Kelly green scarf and sash, the American flag might as well have appeared for the mighty roar that went up, for all the excitement and popping of flash bulbs. It was then one saw the audience for what it was: a thirtysh crowd with the best of good will and full of hope.
Elvis greeted them warmly, sang some inferior songs of little impact and still waved off the shouting from all about for the old hits ... his hits of 10, 15 years ago.
What he felt at the response is unknown. He's enjoying a universal rebirth at Las Vegas where no doubt his old fans clamor for the old hits, too.
He flopped a bit like the old days, though it seems stylized now and rather like a Kachina mime, posed, pointed, stabbed and sprawled. But there is less of that now.
The voice is better than ever. Swooping a quivering vibrato passionate gasps and a solid baritone. He conducts final chords with great (...). His "Love Me Tender" was tossed off to swooning females where once it was oozed all over them. Still they (..) and rolled and gasped last night, eager as ever to catch his glance or one supposed a drop of his sweat.
They paid $1 for an old fashioned photo album and probably today will buy "Elvis' 50 Golden Hits" on RCA for $15.
MGM brought its cameras to the Coliseum to film the show as a finale for a documentary due at Thanksgiving.
Courtesy of Sebastiano Cecere