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CONCERT DATE: November 30 1976 (8:30 pm). Anaheim CA.

A Less Weighty Elvis Spectacle
Robert Hilburn
Los Angeles Times
December 2, 1976

Between handing out scarves to adoring fans and joking with members of his band, Elvis Presley's appearance Tuesday night at the Anaheim Convention Center continued to be more spectacle than music. But, at least, it was a slimmer spectacle.

Presley, who opens an 11 day engagement tonight at the Las Vegas Hilton was - perhaps 175 to 180 pounds - noticeably trimmer than in his April concert at the Long Beach Arena and far lighter than the Las Vegas appearances of a year ago where his weight was estimated at 225 or more.

Not only did the weight loss make Presley more animated on stage (there was even a rare - these days - karate kick during "Polk Salad Annie"). but it also enabled him, crucially, to better fulfill visually the requirements associated with the celebration of his past that is very much at the heart of his concerts.

Though Presley continues to have as compelling and evocative a voice as anyone in rock or pop, he rarely challenges himself any more on stage or on record. Except for the "Hurt" single, for instance, everything he did Tuesday night has been in his concert repertoire for years.

While his audience don't seem to mind the lack of challenge in his work (Presley's concerts are invariably sold out), it sells his own talent short. There are, however, points in virtually every performance where he seems to assert himself, almost as if it were a teasing reminder of what he can do.

At Anaheim, they came during a tender, engaging version of his old "Blue Christmas" and on a nicely spirited treatment of the punchy "That's All Right" that reflected far more of the original, intense Sun Records flavor than he brings to mostof his early work.

Most importantly, the loss of weight may be a sign of increased discipline that will now carry over into Presley's recordings. He reportedly is set to go back into the studio in January. It could be a moment of truth. The Hilton engagement, incidentally, is already sold out.

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez