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CONCERT DATE: June 6 1975 (8:30 pm). Dallas TX.

Believers Still Rate Elvis King
by Don Harris
The Dallas Morning News

More than 10000 faithful, chanting believers filled Memorial Auditorium Saturday night to take part in a rock-n-roll revival ministered by the King - Elvis. The congregation was filled with people from every walk of life including grandmothers and teeny boppers, housewives and infants - all gathered to hear the Hound Dog gospel preached in song by a man they idolize.

Just like other revivals the Stamps Quartet was there and so was a trio of black female singers and another of Nashville natives. The piano pounded away and the trumpets rang out as the King came on stage to address his followers. Hysterically they jumped, waved and cried trying desperately to get one of the sacred scarfs from their master's neck. One young girl in the balcony behind the stage almost jumped over the railing after the King said, "I love you too, darling."

They all loved him. They put as much as $10 a person in his collection plate before the sermon and more contributions came at the souvenir stands. Shortly before the King came out on stage, a special Elvis package was advertised from the pulpit. "We've marked this down from $14 to $10 especially for this show," the man barked. "If you get three pictures of the King, his latest record album and a genuine Elvis scarf - for only $10. Now hurry, there are only 10 of these packages available at each stand."

As the show wore on periodically a believer would feel the spirit and jump up shouting and crying. With her hands out-stretched, she would beg for a smile, a wink or even a look from the man she craved. A wrinkle in his nose or a wiggle in his legs would send thousands hollering from their seats. An occasional karate chop movement would make masochists out of hundreds.

The chaotic mania went on for about an hour. During one verse of wella wella wella-hoopa hoopa hoopa a girl about 20 years old made a daring rush for her leader. She leaped over a couple of security guards and several chairs but was finally restrained by a couple of deacons in blue. For her sins she was dragged outside of the revival, away from her fellow believers and, more importantly, away from her rock-n-roll king.

A couple of hymnals helped quiet the congregation down a bit. First, the Stamps sang Why Me Lord? and then Elvis led his choir of 12 through How Great Thou Art. He liked his ending so much, he sang it again and the few who sat idle before now yelled their praise. Some of the die-hard cynics dragged to the meeting by their Elvis-religious mates were looking for aging signs on the ex-Tennessee truck driver. Others had heard he was getting fat and peered at him through binoculars looking for a bulge or roll.

What they saw was a 40-year-old singer who was obviously worn from his years of being the idol to millions and having to keep out of their reach. Elvis had put on some weight, but a lot less than rumors lead people to expect. Although his act showed wear and tear, it was still very professional, smooth and entertaining. His singing varied from excellent to good, but you would never have convinced one avid believer that he was anything but perfect. When the final minutes approached and his back stage limousine warmed its engine for a fast getaway, the guards lessened their grip on the crowd and thousands mobbed the helpless policemen at the bottom of the stage. Each on was trying to get final scarf or handshake as the King sang the invitation - "Only the Fools Rush in."

Courtesy of Scott Hayward