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Home > Newspaper Articles > 1970 > November 16, 1970 Oklahoma City, OK.
CONCERT DATE: November 16, 1970 Oklahoma City, OK.
11,000 Fans Wild Over Elvis Presley
by Jon Denton
The Daily Oklahoma
November 17, 1970
Some place deep in Elvis Presley there's a train whistle blowing cool in the night, an ocean liner bellowing across the fog, jackhammers rapping staccato rhythms, cymbals slashing through guitar groans that gnash against your brain.
That's Elvis. There's more, but over the screams of 11,000 fans crammed into the State Fair Arena, you do well to separate the man from the madness.
Monday night Presley turned it all on, let it all hang out for his Oklahoma friends. At first sluggish, the audience gradually warmed to the entertainer's special charisma, until grandmothers sitting next to the toddlers joined in a hand-clapping, cheering roar of Elvis workship. Did Elvis like it? Does a bear like honey?
The Memphis marvel strolled onstage after an intermission at 9:20 p.m. For over an hour Presley stole every minute on the stage. His clowning and singing and leering smile drove his fans into outbursts of ecstasy.
At one point Elvis snatched a red scarf from inside his white jump suit and flung it toward the front rows. While he opened up on another solo, the scramble at front and center drew the eyes of ten helmeted policemen. Finally a young girl settled for half the scarf. Her antagonist, a man in his late 30s, would not yield; his wife gnawed her way through the scarf to settle the dispute.
Elvis also tossed a tassel into the audience. A young Norman man snatched it and after cramming it quickly into a pocket, murmured, "I may not get out alive."
Although sweat poured from Presley's face, the 35 year old singer seemed to enjoy himself. "I've made 480 songs, " he told the crowd. "I can't sing them all - so I'll do 400 of them," he chuckled.
He playfully tossed a cup of water on one bystander. At the moment he looked up at a balcony where a piercing female voice was emanating, "I'll be up there in a minute, honey," he said. "I always come up in the balcony," he laughed, then he added, "I'm not going up there... I'm a lying fool."
Police surrounding the raised stage made assure no fan came too close. Announcers repeated the warning before Elvis appeared that, it anyone left his seat, the show might have to stop.
If fans stayed put it was not because Elvis didn't turn them on. His kneethrobbing, hip swaying, arm slashing, gyrations accompanied every song, from "Blue Suede Shoes" through "Love Me Tender," "That Lovin' Feelin'," "Hound Dog," "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," "Heartbreak Hotel," and even a gospel number, "How Great Thou Art".
A steady stream of lights flashed throughout the auditorium as camera fans popped flashbulb after bulb in the direction of their idol.
Elvis didn't sing in Oklahoma City - he happened to it.
Courtesy of Debbie