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CONCERT DATE: February 15, 1977 Orlando, FL.

Presley's Hotel Heartbreak For Orlando Fans
By Barbara Webb
Sentinel Star
February 16, 1977

He was up there, they said. Up there for the third-floor penthouse suiite of the Hilton Inn West.

But if you were an Elvis Presley fan and longed for a glimpse of your idol, the Hilton was Heartbreak hotel Tuesday afternoon.

You couldn't get near the man.

Security was so tight that the aging rock star might well have been the President. And just as the Secret Service guards Jimmy Carter, a phalanx of around-the-clock deputies kept watch over Presley until he left for his concert Tuesday night at the Orlando Sports Stadium.

PRESLEY IS SO inaccessible that a man who would identify himself only as someone working for Elvis said he was not even allowed to discuss security arrengements.

"Most of his life is confidential; he wants privacy," said the young man who has been with Elvis for five years.

"We can't say who's up here, but you can't go any further," one deputy said.

A TELEPHONE call to security officers at their posts produced the same kind of answer. No name, no information about who hired them for their task. Everything was a secret.

Fred R. Popson, the hotel's general manager, said the hotel only provided the rooms.

"They arranged everything, their own security" he said.

A busboy for the Hilton House of Beef, the hotel's restaurant, delivered sandwiches and french fries to the penthouse shortly after the entertainer arrived at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

HE WAS MET at the door by a man who took the food. It was not Presley.

A technician who travels with Presley said two limousines entered the parking lot when the idol arrived at the Hilton. One limousine pulled to the front door, to distract the few fans gathered for his arrival.

A second limousine in which Presley rode deliverd him to a side stairway where he greeted a few House of Beef waitresses who had been standing in the February dampness since 11 p.m. Monday.

PRESLEY SPOKE TO a Hilton waitress, Melinda Robinson, and shook her hand as he exited his limousine and headed for the stairway.

A longtime Presley fan, Mrs. Robinson said she saw him in Louisville, Ky concert in 1956. She was 16 years old.

Dutchy Algeo another waitress, also shook hand with Presley. The owner of a "few" of his records said it "was a thrill."

A Vegas band opened the show at 8:40 p.m. just 20 minutes after Sports Stadium officials announced the concert would be delayed to accommodate ticket holders in the midst of a traffic jam several miles long on State Road 50.

The gospel Accompaniment, a male quintet dressed in black , yellow and spangles, had no problem genrating enthusiasm from the capacity crowd of 7,200.

LATER THE mere suggestion of lowering the house lights brought on ear-splitting frenzy- buy only a half hearted squial comared to the commotion Presley's grand entrance generated at 10:10pm.

Clad in a Navoho design jumpsuit opened to his glittery belt, Elvis dazzled his frenetic fans with a mere shake of his ebony hair, a wry smile, a glance.

An unruly forelock which tickled his glassy eyes again precipitated what sounded like perhaps a volcanic eruption.

Presley sang most of his hits. Some from as early as the 1950s. His voice maintains his deep country character. He appears healthy but somewhat overweight, and is visibly appreciative of his success

Presley led off with the gospel "Amen" and then went into a couple of ballads. He created many minor panics in the front row whenver he bend over the edge of the stage to trade scarves with his fans.

Courtesy of Kurt Hinkle