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CONCERT DATE: June 23, 1974 Philadelphia, PA.

Elvis: No Encores For Him
by Ron Williams
Evening Journal (Wilmington, DE)
June 24, 1974

PHILADELPHIA - The Spectrum house lights went down, the band brass blared out the theme from 2001 Space Odyssey and at 9:34 last night Elvis Presley emerged amid a shower of multi-colored spotlights and hundreds of popping flashcubes.

At 10:34 p.m. it was over and the still nameless master of ceremonies announced what has become the standard Presley concert closing "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis Presley has left the building."

There's no encore, you see, at a Presley concert. But for that matter, there really wasn't a need for one, at least at last night's second of two Sunday's shows Elvis did here.

Elvis performed for a solid hour. And although the show had a somewhat computerized character about it (exactly 60 minutes), none of the 19,000-plus who paid $10 each displayed disappointment.

In all, Elvis Presley played before almost 40,000 yesterday, a two-show capacity for the Spectrum. But, of course, Col. tom Parker, Elvis' manager and computer programmer since the beginning, wouldn't have had it any other way.

Elvis is older now, the critics say. He is. He'll be 40 - that's right , 40 - in January. They say his voice has mellowed, that there's more of the baritone, less of the range. Maybe.

To those who saw Elvis Presley live for the first time, none of those things made much difference. It was Elvis, the King, who even the Beatles credited for the "beginning."

With the exception of a brief respite about halfway through, when the house lights were flicked on to give Elvis " a chance to see you," there were 19 consecutive songs, from Hound Dog to Fever. The older and more commonly associated Presley songs like All Shook Up and Love Me Tender were abbreviated, an attempt of sorts at a medley of the oldies.

But the tempo was up from the original 45 RPM singles he made so economically succesful for the Colonel and the voice was lower. Heartbreak Hotel was the closest sound to the old Presley.

But the newer sound in Bridge Troubled Waters and Suspicious Minds captured so successfully that few people probably realized they never even heard Don't Be Cruel, or Jailhouse Rock.

Whether the audience, with its average age up several notches since Elvis played the above-waist-only Ed Sullivan Show, had mellowed a bit, or whether the frenetic antics of by-gone years are now considered "out" wasn't clear. But the falsetto screaming of enraptured teenage gals wasn't there to the same degree we had all been led to believe was the case 10, 15 years ago.

Oh, there was some. But it too seemed a part of the program. Only the spontaneity of the flashcubes, producing a strobe light effect through the smoky Spectrum, convinced you that not everyone was on Col. Parker's payroll.

And then there were the scarves, 19 by my count, several of which were first used by Elvis to blot off the perspiration on forehead and chest before being tossed to outstretched female hands.

Twice he gave colored scarves to a young woman with a baby. The baby with outstretched hand was one of the better gimmicks to squeeze by the stage security guards. But it's also a safe guess that Elvis had no intention of putting on his show without taking off several scarves.

While a twitch of a knee or shrug of the shoulder did bring some "Ahs" from the women, there was little of "that kind of thing," as the mothers and fathersof the 1950s preferred to describe Elvis' pelvisy gyrations.

Maybe the Colonel figures that kind of attention Elvis doesn't need any longer, what with X-rated films and all nowadays.

Mostly, Elvis performed. He joked with members of his massive backup group and band ( a far cry from the Jordanaires of old), he obligingly turned toward the back of the stage to give those unfortunate customers a chance with their flashcubes and he made the Spectrum rock as only Presley can with a combination of Gospel-rooted ballads and plain old R&R.

The duck-tail haircut is more refined now to today's long style, but the sideburns and garish costume remain. While most top rock stars today opt for the T-shirt and jeans. Elvis sported a white suit with red, gold and silver sequins in a wing-spread thunderbird on his back and trousers.

But can you imagine Elvis Presley in T-shirt and jeans singing Fools Rush In.?

Courtesy Of Don Goodyear