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CONCERT DATE: June 20 1974 (8:30 pm). Des Moines IA.

Elvis' D.M Performance: 'A Piece Of Las Vegas'
By Dan Piffer
Des Moines Register
June 21, 1974


Elvis Presley brought a piece of Las Vegas with him to Des Moines Thursday night.

There were no riots, no one fainted and the small force of Des Moines police present had no trouble handling the crowd of 11,000 persons at Veterans Memorial auditorium.

The customers, most of whom paid $10 per ticket, saw a slick, sequined Caesars Palace-style show that was built around The King himself.

Elvis was looking pretty good. He wore a one-piece white suit with blue sequin decorations. When he strode onto the portable stage, his hair was brushed back, but not greased.

Only a slight paunch in the middle betrayed his 38 years. It has been 20 years since he first began recording for Sun Records on the way to becoming an American entertainment legend.

He sang a little of everything. There were the oldies, such as "Heartbreak Hotel," "All Shook Up," "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel."

During those numbers, which brought him fame and notoriety in 1956, he gave a sedate version of the famed "Elvis the Pelvis" leg action that once caused television network officials to rder cameramen to show the Presley body only from the waist up when he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show

Side-Eyed Glanced

When Elvis did "Love Me Tender," another oldie, he brought shrieks from females in the balcony by giving them the seductive, side-eyed glance.

Presley did some old rockers, such as "C.C. Rider," and "I Got A Woman," again getting a shrieking, but still restrained reaction from the crowd.

Presley seemed to be in his best element when he did gospel numbers such as "Amen, Amen," "Why Me Lord" and his newest single, "Help Me."

In those selections, backed by his 11-voice chorus, he appeared to put more drive and force into his performance than during other songs.

He did some more recent tunes, such as his own "Suspicious Minds" and "Let Me Be There," ab=nd the audience responded to the familiarity of those numbers.

Elvis' trademark these days is not the hip-grind, but the handkerchief-throw. On too many occasions to count, he took the large handkerchief from around his neck, briefly touched it to his face and then tossed it to an eager pair of female arms prompting more shrieking.

His faithful friend Charlie Hodge, who has been with Elvis since Presley's Army days in Germany, would then step forward from behind the piano and hand Presley another scarf, which would bcome someone else's souvenir a few minutes later.

"Fools Rush In"

The only hint of the kind of riots that once brought the boy from Memphis, Tenn., national opprobrium came at the end of the show, when he did his last number, "Fools Rush In."

A throng of about 75 women rushed the stage and were rewarded witha final torrent of Presley handkerchiefs and in a rare instance, a touch of the hand.

Elvis then left the stage, surrounded by four bodyguards.

The Presley troupe arrived Thursday afternoon from Amarillo, Tex., where Elvis gave a show Wednesday night. After landing in four separate private jets, they took over 67 rooms on the top floor of the downtown Ramada Inn.

"The top floor is barricaded and guarded by police," motel manager Ralph Moffett said Thursday afternoon. "Everybody in the crowd has a single room."

The hustling genius of Elvis' long-time manager, could be seen at the auditorium. Before the show, Elvis buttons, pictures, postcards, pennants and handkerchiefs were being hawked energetically by vendors and at tables. The show's emcee warmed up the crowd by showing the various Elvis memorabilia that could be purchased.

After the preliminary acts opened the show, there was an intermissin during which more Elvis selling was done.

The crowd obviously was not in search of a 1950s rock 'n' roll revival. There was a nary a black leather jacket to be seen, and most of the 11,000 in attendance could be described as well-dressed, middle class and well-behaved.

Ear-Piercing Scream

But they still let out an earpiercing scream when Elvis, without announcement, strode from behind the auditorium curtains onto the stage.

The 10-piece band~backing Presley swung into the tempo for the first tune, "C. C. Rider,' and Elvis began the leg movements and started the voice that can move people as no other can.

Courtesy of Archie Bald