Home > Newspaper Articles > 1974 > June 25 1974 (8:00 pm). Columbus OH.

CONCERT DATE: June 25 1974 (8:00 pm). Columbus OH.

Presley Left 'Em Happy. Buy-Minded
By Jack Willey
Columbus Dispatch
June 26, 1974

Freddie Sangelli chewed furiously on a wad of gum as he counted the thick sheaf of wrinkled currency.

It was quieter in the wings of St. John Arena but the cacophony from within still filled the air, so Freddie had stuffed a swatch of cotton in each ear to help keep his numbers straight.

THE MASS of screaming voices inside the arenas didn't care much about Fred. Their attention and for the majority, adoration, was riveted on stage where Elvis, live, in full flesh color, gem studded and gyrating, was in the middle of his show.

And Freddie didn't much care about the audience right then, although his attitude would change as the final number in Elvis' show approached.

Freddie sells concessions at the Presley concerts. Buttons, shirts, programs, posters and whatnot, all emblazoned is some fashion with the King's moniker, are the wares Freddie hawks.

"THIS CROWD'S 'bout the same as the rest of 'em, 'cept maybe a little quieter," Freddie assessed during a quick count of his "Elvis We Love" pennant stock. "Some places they get real bad, you know?. Them women can tear you up.

Freddie, whose salt and pepper hair topped a thin face etched with the lines that come from years on the show-biz fringes, was optimistic.

"Should do a pretty good business after the show," he predicted. "People gonna be happy then... he makes 'em happy usually."

ELVIS DID just that tuesday night for the nearly 15,000 fans who paid up to $10 for ticket office seats and as high as $100 for scalpers' ducats to see the king of rock and roll display his wares.

But while Elvis gleamed and glittered on stage, the audience was nonetheless spectacular and entertaining to anyone who took the time or trouble to divert eyes away from the stage. A melting pot of mostly female flesh turned out in everything from bluejeans and hafter tops to rhinestones and furs.

The average age off the ladies waiting was clearly over 25, but both ends of Father Time were represented. From the six-year-old towhead to a 58-year-old grandmother, the distaff side was out, en masse.

MARY HAMMONDS of Columbus was the grandmother who stopped to buy one of Freddie's pennants for one of her grandchildren.

"I enjoyed him just as much as these young kids did." Mrs Hammonds said. "I've always liked him."

While it was a safe bet most of the audience were localities, the out of towners were around.

Carol Mercer and a girlfriend made the trip from Detroit.

"HE WOULDN'T come to detroit, so i came here," the 19 year old blond explained.

Columbus fan Marge Cheses said she enjoyed the show, but somewhat disappointed.

"It wasn't a nostalgia show," said the woman whose teen years were filled with Elvis' early recordings. "The person who came for nostalgia missed the boat."

Yvone Williams didn't know Elvis in her younger years, but the 22-year-old Columbus woman is a rabid fan now. she was in the front row and hauled in the first of more than two dozen scarves Elvis obligingly sweated on, then passed out to eager females.

VICKI GAFFNER stood at the rear of the arena before the show waiting for a glimpse of Mr. Wonderful. She got her look, but was still upset.

"When I called the ticket office, they told me I couldn't bring a camera," she lamented. "Now I see all these people with cameras...that makes me mad".

The rules inside the arena were strictly enforced. No tape recorders or movie cameras, the man on stage said. But tape and Super 8s rolled at will throughout.

Overzealous fans were kept in check however Security chief James Russell worked closely with Presley's people in setting up and maintaining one of the best crowd control efforts to date for a concert at St. Johns. It was just enough to keep order, yet still allowed the ladies their pictures and a few fleeting chances to reach up for a touch from their idol.

ONE FAN IN the audience who failed to reach the stage, but was already a winner in the personal contact department was Judy Stull, the lady who 18 years ago had a date with Elvis as a prize in a contest.

Mrs Stull and her one-time beau for a an evening had a reunion Tuesday afternoon.

And now that the entourage is safely out of town, it can be told that Squire Presley and company stayed at the Hilton (Smuggler's) Inn on Olentangy River Rd., where a post concert party was thrown into Wednesday morning's wee hours.

Courtesy of Scott Hayward