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CONCERT DATE: December 12, 1976. Las Vegas, NV.

Elvis sings and sings for fan's 112th visit
December 14, 1976

On the way into the packed showroom of the Hilton Hotel on his opening night, a young lady was heard to say, "I've seen Elvis' show one hundred and eleven times since 1970."

It was certain that this young lady was telling the truth. What was uncertain was the reason.

Why? Why would anyone want to see him that many times? Or to see him the second time for that matter?

To answer that kind of questions is, first of all, to rehearse what he did on stage for more than hour. While on stage, Elvis Presley sang and sang. As a matter of fact, on opening night he sang almost every song he ever recorded, and more.

What kinds of songs did he sing? Dramatic songs with simple but tense lyrics, telling of love, and a primitive kind of faith in the ability to love no matter what.

Is this one of the reasons why the young lady returns to see him over and over again? Yes that's part of it.

On stage, Elvis also gave the genuine impression that he enjoyed being where he was, in front of a pack of loving fans who were ready and willing to offer him whatever: flowers, stuffed animals, paintings, jewelry, unashamed self.

Is this another reason for the return visits? Yes, of course. In a world where there is so much just out of grasp, Elvis' apparent gift of himself seems always to be something shared, not just a one-sided give or take. It's a shared experience.

What else? What else makes this entertainer a phenomenon, which others only hope to emulate? It's vulnerability. Yes, it's his vulnerability which makes that young lady return time after time.

Elvis Presley is larger than life. But, the minute he sings his love song, he is a little boy yearning to sooth his wounded soul. What is extraordinary is, after all, ordinary. What is the self-assured image of the superstar is also the self-assessing struggle of the perennial youth in search of wonder.

Elvis Presley, therefore, is a paradox. When he is at his most understandable, he, all of a sudden, remains a mystery.

This young lady of steady devotion was asked what single world best described this man for her. Without hesitation, she answered, "charismatic". No wonder


Along with Elvis Presley at the Hilton are opening acts of varying quality.

The Stamp Quartet, featuring J.D. Sumner, who has the deepest bass voice this side of a Russian Orthodox basilica, do gospel-songs with much care and style.

Sweet Inspirations, a trio of singing ladies, are less exciting in their treatment of "Get Away" than they are in their neat arrangement of the Chicago song. "If You Leave Me Now."

Least enjoyable is comic Jackie Kahane who takes much too long with jokes which should be gotten rid of as fast as possible.

Presley's musicians are superlative, as is the total effect of his show.

Courtesy of Mark van Hout