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CONCERT DATE: April 29 1975 (8:30 pm). Murfreesboro TN.

Chubbier Elvis Still Sports Pelvis That Crowd Adores
by Bill Hance
Nashville Banner

The scratchy bark of souvenir peddler still could be heard long after the two-hour Elvis Presley concert had ended. He was pushing the small felt pennants and cheap looking necklaces, a chain with a pendant picture of the singing idol. "Take Elvis home with you tonight," he kept shouting. "Wear Elvis around your neck." That would be tough, mister. Elvis now "weighs a ton." Well, maybe not a ton, but he's a lot bigger than he was this time a year ago.

Instead of bouncing on stage dressed in sequined body suits, capes and scarves, King Elvis appeared much more subdued Tuesday night in Murfreesboro. He walked up a small flight of stage steps, bowed in all directions to the audience, picked up his guitar and began singing. The Presley movements still were there, but slower.

His eyes appeared puffy as he started out with C.C. Rider and halfway through the song propped his right eyelid open with his fingers and told his band, "I just woke up." No more snazzy, light-colored hip huggers for Elvis. At least not until he joins Weight Watchers, or something similar. Presley was wearing a Navy blue suit, of all things. But the suit had class - a tunic collar, single button, double vent with red , orange, yellow and gold stripes around the neck and down the pant legs. The pants, however, appeared baggy.

But the Presley magnetism still is there and it still is strong enough to pack the 12000 person capacity Murphy Athletic Center at Middle Tennessee State University. The women adore Presley, not just the middle-aged housewife who once considered him the greatest, but also the teen-agers, the pre-teens and some past 50 and 60. Even men of all ages attend his shows. Presley always has handed out neck scarves to the girls in the audience, or those lucky enough to catch one when he tosses it. But this time, Presley ended his show by handing out dozens of them, and in turn, caused a near riot next to the stage. Four girls almost got into a fist fight over one of the scarves, a bright red number.

The show was good. Voices, a singing trio from Nashville, started it off. Then came comic Jackie Kahane, then the Sweet Inspirations, Presley's black backup singers. Then the Stamps quartet. The show was much more relaxed than it ever seemed before, maybe more mature, just as Elvis himself appears.

Relax, Elvis. Just because you're 40 now and a little heavier, you're still good. In fact, the rosy cheeks are reminiscent of when you first started out. Your "gain" is not bad. In fact, it's a little becoming. At least you're not wearing funny clothes anymore and looking like a ballet dancer. You know what they say. The bigger you are, the more there is to love. Girls, take note.

Courtesy of Scott Hayward