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CONCERT DATE: April 26, 1973. San Diego, CA.

Young, Old Pay Royal Tribute - Capacity Arena Crowd Hails King Elvis
By Joe Cromwell
San Diego Evening Tribune
April 27, 1973

The coaches were piled up almost on top of each other inching and edging their way to the great Sports Arena gates.

The bright sign outside the edifice proclaimed The King would appear before his subjects this night and not a space was left unreserved.

It was a regular holiday - vendors selling their wares which, in the case were pictures of The King, books about The king and, ah yes, food to soothe the raging tide inside that had been left neglected in order to get a better position on the road to the Arena.

It isn't often royalty pays a visit to its subjects.

But when it does, the townfolk verily tumble over each other for a piece of the action.

King Elvis of Presley that crowned monarch of rock 'n' roll rolled into this Southern California hamlet last night. It was his first visit here in two and half years - a long time to keep the peasants waiting.

Once the Arena doors were opened, the multitude, numbering about 15,000 filed in, some stopping to peer and purchase the vendor's ware, others hurrying to their designated places to await the royal performance.

Since good King Elvis has been around 17 years, he's built quite a following in our town ranging in age from the very old to the very young.

All ages groups were represented last night as well as all types from each age group.

There were the young swingers, dressed to the hilt in flares, vests, ascots and buckled shoes, holding on to their female counterparts dressed in mini's pant suits and three-inch heel shoes.

Of course there was the opposite extreme. A few subjects didn't think King Elvis was worth the bother and didn't bother to dress for the occasion. Nafty clothes didn't appear the dominant attire of the evening, but instead offered a rather rude contrast.

After the subjects had been seated in their proper places, aided by redcoated Arena attendants, the show began - a big late, but then royalty doesn't have to be on time. All part of the image.

The King's jester, Jackie Kahane, opened the show with a few quips directed at the local baseball entry, the Padres then proceeded to rap everything from Barbie dolls to men's hair styling salons.

He performed his function admirably, though, and had the subjects laughing heartily.

Next, a group The King himself sanctioned - The Sweet Inspirations - entertained in a soulful fashion, rendering a particularly tantalizing medley of Aortas Franklin hits they helped record.

At intermission, the subjects again milled about the tune of vendor's cries.

Some chose the pub, others souvenir stands.

Then a piercing shrill went up from the Arena interior. Lights flashed as if a thousand cannons had been set off.

Floodlights illuminated the stage and The King - good Elvis of Presley - walked to the center, bowing to his faithful as the band struck up the first song.

But something was strangely different about King Elvis this night. His punch was missing, it seemed. His usually gyrating hips were giving way to just a shake of the head or a jiggle of the leg.

Was age talking its toll on The King? Even his usually strong voice sounded muddled at times as he tried to hit some low notes.

He did deliver a smattering of the songs that put him on the rock 'n' roll throne - "Love Me Tender," "Blue Suede Shoes,"Hound Dog," "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Love Me"

But it seemed his heart wasn't in it. He was going through the motions, both vocally and mechanically, without titillating the subjects who shelled out coins by the multitude to see him.

Oh, the women still swooned and fainted, especially when The King doffed one of his many scarfs in their direction or looked their way during a particular verse.

It's probably true many of these subjects left the great Arena feeling the subdued and reserved King still clung to the top spot.

But it's entirely possible many others left wondering if they had just caught a falling star.

Courtesy of Scott Hayward