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Home > Newspaper Articles > 1972 > April 6, 1972 (8:30 pm). Detroit, MI.
CONCERT DATE: April 6, 1972 (8:30 pm). Detroit, MI.
A Middle-aged Elvis wows new era of Bobby Soxers
by Bill Gray
April 7, 1972
Nov. 13, 1956 - Look magazine reports to parents who are concerned about their teenage daughters overreacting to a Tupelo, Miss. singer named Elvis Presley.
"If you are troubled by all this you needn't be; they will get over it soon. Someday they will all yawn at once when Elvis comes bleating out of the loudspeakers"
April 6, 1972 - Elvis Presley comes bleating out of the loudspeakers at Olympia Stadium to an almost hysterical crowd of 18,216 - the largest audience ever to witness a concert at the 44 year-old arena. Look doesn't cover the show - the magazine folded some time before
Presley, who if he isn't the father of rock 'n' roll is at least its godfather, is now 37. His fans have followed him all the way - through a stint in the Army, numerous "B" movies and his return to the Las Vegas stage two years ago
But his workshipers have chucked their blue suede shoes in favor of white go-go boots. They don't wear Elvis Presley Lipstick (available in three colors including "Hound Dog Orange") anymore nor their green stitched black denim Elvis Presley blue jeans.
He once sang that "a man who can sing when he hasn't got a thing is the king of the whole wide world." By those standards and if Detroit concert is any indication. Mr. Pelvis should be staking claim to the universe by this tour's end
THE LADIES AT OLYMPIA last night had stood in line for hours when the tickets went on sale two months ago for as much as $10 a piece.
They began crowding the stadium lobby yesterday at 6 p.m. By the 8:30 curtain time all the stadium's parking resources were depleted and latecomers were leaving their cars somewhere behind second base at the neighboring Northwestern High School ballfield
Inside the stadium, hawkers were selling 8x10 pictures of Elvis for $1. Elvis binoculars (some were used by those sitting as near to the stage as the fourth row) for $2 and Elvis programs. The $3 Elvis posters were gone by halftime.
The ladies sat impatiently through a vocal group and a comedian who kicked off the show. When intermission was announced they screamed. The final countdown was on.
Suddenly, the house lights dimmed to the sound of a piercing collective sigh. The band began playing the fanfare. The occasion had called for Strauss' "Also Spratch Zarathustra"
A vision appeared bounding on the stage with a white sequined jumpsuit cut to the navel, a red scarf wrapped loosely around the neck and a flowing cape.
The vision was greeted by popping flashcubes, lit simultaneously and repeatedly like wild bolts of lightining. theladies let us know immediately what it was:
The first song was drowned out by the penetrating cries that must have surpassed the volume of the Sreaming Meemies of World War I. "These were not the Michaerl Jackson - Donny Osmond type of screamers. Their sound was slightly deeper in tume, but backed with the same hysteria.
The flashes of light and the screaming were to be the predominant sight and sound of the evening, the latter even overtaking Presley's vocals.
The decibel count increased to staggering proportions when the singer flinched his hip. When he stood with his legs apart and tapping a foot to the pounding rhythm, the screams became shrieks. When he dropped to his knees to sing to a lady int eh first row, an entire section of floor seats almost toppled.
FOR THE MOST PART, however, Presley was relatively calm. His bumps and grinds were performed as if he were mocking a 1950's rock star. He often smiled at their peaks of frenzy as if to say, "We're not really taking each other seriously are we?
The highlight was a medley of his early hits including "All Shook up," "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog". During "Teddy Bear," someone threw a teddy bear on stage.
For his version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," the house was relatively quiet and his pleasant baritone was able to break through most effectvely.
Near the end of his act he did a highly emotional version "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." He finished by stretching the final note into an ear-splitting crescendo, then reached for an object on the stage and hurled it into the crowd.
It would have been a most dramatic moment but, alas, teh object was the teddy bear."
Courtesy of Ron Theisen