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CONCERT DATE: August 2, 1976. Roanoke, VA.

Performance Shows He's Still A Star
by Russell Leavitt
The Roanoke Times
August 3, 1976

Elvis was a good old boy having a good old time. Once again Elvis made his return to Roanoke like Haley's comet on a regular cosmic schedule, brightening the skies as he blazed on stage. And he was definely enjoying himself, as was this reviewer, whose favorite groups are the Rolling Stones and Who.

There is no question about it, Elvis has something. When he's up there - giggling more these days than gyrating maybe - you just can't take your eyes off him.

He has a charming insouciance about him - the easy assurance of a born entertainer. But he has more, too. There's still something about a corny song like "Love Me Tender," or "You Ain't Nothing But A Hound Dog," that makes the hair stand up in a crewcut.

Some people say that the essence of a good performer makes the audience feel like he's holding something back - like there's a reserve of force there, something mysterious, that won't ever quite be known. Something physical and faintly threatening - like a tornado.

Brando has it. James Dean had it, Mick Jagger has it. And so does Elvis - and plenty of it.

On "Jailhouse Rock," Elvis proved that he may have a paunch, but his pelvis - possibly the most envied body part in human history - is still as good as ever.

Singing "Fever," the truckdriver from Tupelo, Miss, let his eyes roll back in his head and proved that with the stage lighted in red his passion is almost as intense as it was 20 years ago.

On "Love Letters," his voice was fading a hit, but what can you expect when a man's past 40? He still makes you feel like he's singing to you out of all the people out there - and there were 10,594 of them.

Elvis stayed on stage for about and hour but he personally sang a lot less than an hour. He let several of his backup group sing and then introduced his band. Each member of the band played a solo. So the time Elvis sang was probably more like 40 minutes.

But the audience wasn't complaining. As Elvis strode the stage, looking like a quick-footed prizefighter handing out scarves from around his neck, girls leaned over balconies and tore at each other to get a souvenir from their Elvis.

Toward the end of the concert, one of Elvis' backup singers sang a melancholy song to Elvis as he stood off the side of the stage. Everything was bathed in somber blue light, and a poster on the wall read "Elvis, We Love You Forever." Elvis waved his hand from the stage in a goodbye. So long, Elvis it's been good...

But then people have been saying goodbye for a long time.

Courtesy of Mark van Hout