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CONCERT DATE: August 30 1976 (8:30 pm). Tuscaloosa AL.

Elvis: The Thrill Is Gone...
by John H. Anderson
Crimson White

Flashcubes outshined the stars in Memorial Coliseum Monday night as Elvis made a somewhat less than triumphant return to Tuscaloosa. Elvis fans of every shape and size filled the Coliseum, bravely enduring the announcer's exhortations to "visit the Elvis Concession Stand and take home a souvenir of your evening with Elvis," and a series of opening acts guaranteed to harden the arteries of a stone statue.

The King of Rock and Roll hit the stage. Thousands of flashcubes ignited. Screams drowned out the first strains of C.C. Rider. ELVIS was back in town. But he's just not the same. After two or three numbers it became painfully obvious that whatever Elvis had in his youth has escaped him in recent years. His outfit included an incredibly large belt and baggy pants, both designed to hide his expanding waistline. His face was puffy and his black-dyes hair was swept back into a middleaged ducktail. The overall effect was that of a forty-year-old Fonzie with a beer gut. The vocals were disappointing. At times he sounded tired. His occasional bursts of energy were short-lived.

Toward the end of the show I thought he finally had it together when he delivered a powerful version of I'm Hurt, followed by Hound Dog. The audience was excited and ready for more. More turned out to be a female member of the backup singers, doing a spiritual. After two more numbers, Elvis left the stage, less than an hour after he had entered. "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building," the announcer kindly informed us. The King does not do encores.

But he does sell super souvenirs. "That's right, ladies and gentlemen, a giant six-inch Elvis button for only $5." The spectacle of a middle-aged man shaking his tail feathers before 16054 paying customers is rather saddening. I respect Elvis for who he is and what he has done for American music. But what can you say for a man as famous as Elvis when your wife turns to you in the middle of his performance and says, "We missed 'Rhoda' for this?"

Courtesy of Scott Hayward