Elvis Gives Great Show
For Sell-Out Crowd
At precisely 9:42 p.m. Monday a young man strode onto a stage and showed why the 10,800 persons present were the largest sell-out audience in the history of the Mobile Municipal Auditorium. Elvis Presley had returned! And he was triumphal.
In about an hour he crooned, belted and played the daylights out of about 20 songs, each one a hit and each rendition overwhelmingly well received.
Watching the man who first played Mobile in 1956 to a less-than-enthusiastic fair crowd, it is hard to imagine that he wasn´t always the star he proved Monday night. And what was so suggestive about his gyrations that Ed Sullivan used to use only head and shoulder shots on television? As Presley put it succintly, "I did in 1956 what Tom Jones just learned to do!" But what a difference.
Presley was in command of his performance. His audience was warned about disruptive behavior and the largest crowd ever in Mobile turned out to be probably one of the best-behaved audiences around. Not that they didn´t appreciate all that was done, no sirree.
The songs, you name 'em and he sang 'em: "Love me Tender," "I´ve Lost You," "You´ve Got That Lovin´ Feeling," "The Wonder of You," "I Love You Too Much,
Baby." The newer ones were warmly applauded but it was the golden-oldies that got the clap-alongs and singing: "Heartbreak Hotel," "Whole Lot of Shakin´," "Don´t Be Cruel," "Hound Dog" and "Blue Suede Shoes."
One of the more recent popular songs of Simon and Garfunkel fame, "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," gave Presley the right amount of timbre and tone that the audience seemed to crave. For this one number the background of musicians and singers paused in their blaring and the rich, vibrant Presley came through for a while. And the audience was spellbound.
The star was not alone, as has been indicated above. The Hugh Jerrod Singers, a male quartet, did a trio of contemporary hits, "Everybody Get Together," "Put A Little Love in Your Heart" and "Close to You." They were good.
The Sweet Inspirations was a misnomer. The Harsh Rea-lity would have been a better name for the cacaphony produced by lungs and equipment. Not that "soul" music isn´t good or that the young women weren´t good singers. It´s just that the total effect was good and loud. A jet leaving Bates Field is a purr compared to what the sound man did with the audience´s ears.
The final warm-up was nightclub comedian Sammy Shore. He had the usual light and slightly sophisticated banter to put the audience in a happy and receptive mood . . . just before intermission. Shore was less than original but, for the most part, his humor was refreshing and he had an interesting manner of mixing history, literature and Hollywood. The trip through the zoo and his revivalist routines had merit. The American cancer Society should award him a plaque for the cigarette-smoker´s song, the hacking is so retchingly real.
But back to Elvis.
Those who went got their money´s worth in talent, memories and artist who appreciates his audience and what they mean to him. He banters with them but had every one in the palm of his hand. For the women he was the knight in white armor (albeit it be cloth with a green tie and belt) and the men seemed to rap with this more masculine of recent idols.
The audience began arriving just after noon Monday, hoping to see the best. By 9:42 p.m. they were primed perfectly. They deserved the best and they got it - Elvis.
MIGNON V. KILDAY
Copyright: Mobile Register, September 15, 1970
Elvis Presley in Mobile:
Super Star to All Ages
Elvis electrifies an audience like 2 million plus kilowatts.
The singer, who came 15 years before The Beatles and Tom Jones, "turned on" more than 11,000 Monday night in Alabama´s answer to the Astrodome.
According to Buddy Clewis, manager of Mobile Municipal Auditorium. Presley is the biggest attraction in auditorium history and it took 30 extra security guards to keep the autograph seeking fans at bay.
The appeal of Elvis, who´s past 30, transcends age and interests. Although most of the audience were pantsuit wearing young women and fringe vested young men, there were sedate executive pigeon plumb grandmothers, chicly dressed Country Club couples, camera clicking teenagers and toddlers squirming to get an extra look at the super star.
Elvis wasn´t wearing his "blue suede" shoes. Instead he wore a second-skin fitting white jumpsuit with a wide green belt looped around his snake-like hips, a green scarf at the open plunging neckline, fringe on his football-wide shoulders and long swinging beads.
Like most stars making the concert scene (this is Presley´s first such junket in years) he didn´t appear until after intermission.
Three acts - The Hugh Jarrett Singers (four young men), Sweet Inspirations ( a quartet in the sound of Supremes), and Sam Shore (a comic that was a lookalike for Tom Jo-
nes) - warmed up the crowd who waited patiently for the big man.
When Elvis amoled out on the stage, holding a 20-piece plus orchestra, the screams annd screeches that recalled his early successful days were heard, but with a wave of his hand and a twist of his famous hips he calmed them down.
For an hour he sang old favorites, ("Love Me Tender," "Heartbreak Hotel," "You Ain´t Nothing But a Hound Dog") some new ones, ("The Bridge Over Troubled Waters," "Close to me" and the socially significant "In the Ghetto") and other numbers that provoked cries of familiarity.
Between songs, introducing the members of his group like a polite Southern man and moving with the agility of a tiger, the perspiring performer gulped "Gatorade."
Presley, who was the first singer to have the same single record a hit on the country, pop and rhythm field, pointed out he´d been to Mobile before.
"About 15 years ago I was doing what Tom Jones is doing today," he noted in his Mississippi drawl.
The two singing groups plus a pretty soprano, Cathy Westmoreland (jokingly Elvis added, "She´s related to a general") were on a darkened side of the state while Presley had the spotlight.
The show, which is a hit act from the International Hotel in Las Vegas, has been on tour for six nights - only 10 cities were chosen for the tour.
Col. Tom Parker, the mentor of the entertainer, is reported to have been kindly received by Mobilians before fame came to his protegee and he decided to put the Alabama city on the tour.
Presley, who brought freedom to music and merged black and white sounds, oozes sex appeal but there wasn´t a vulgar moment in the two-hour show.
His ink-black hair tumbled seductively around his sleepy-looking eyes, he answered the girls, grabbed some handkerchiefs, yelled "Later, baby", and twisted those hips which helped bring him stardom. But it was done with a sly grin and showmanship.
Elvis Presley in 1970 is a whole new entertainment trip.
But it´s not booze, babes, and drug freak-outs.
Elvis is soft drinks, Southern fried chicken, a guitar, boots, and the friendliness of "a hound dog."
PAT BOYD, Journal Staff Writer
Copyright: Pensacola Journal, September 16, 1970
The four girls of us - - Mikki, Diane, Linda and I, had an early start on the morning of Monday, the 14th of September. Our destination: Mobile and Elvis! The trip of ours had not had extensive planning; we had learned about Elvis´ appearance just a couple of weeks before. It was the most unpublicized tour we have ever heard of.
We arrived about 12:30 p.m., registered at out hotel and proceeded to find out exactly where Elvis would be staying. It didn´t take us long, about half an hour - - he was scheduled to spend the night at the Admiral Semmmes Hotel. Actually, finding out this piece of information was sheer luck. No one knew where he was staying - - but we had bumped into the pilot who had flown Colonel Parker in, and he gave us the word. And that was all he could give us - - no more! So we waited and waited at the rear of the Admiral Semmmes. Musicians came; we took pictures and got autographs. We met Sonny West, head of Elvis´ security - - but we made no head way, information wise. Only that Elvis was being flown in by private pane and didn´t know exactly when he would arrive.
About 4:30, it started to rain, so we stood under a small shelter over the back entrance. Colonel Parker´s car drove up just then and Sonny told us we had to move for a few minutes. We entered through the back door and waited a few feet down the hall. We could´t miss anything; there was a glass door. How mistaken we were! Elvis had been slipped into the building via kitchen doors during those two minutes we were there. Colonel Parker was the diversion. While everyone was making a fuss over him, Elvis had entered. Sonny opened the door with a smile and said, "You can come out now, girls. He´s in." Oh! That was flustration to every degree. very dishearten, we took a picture of the yellow Oldsmobile Elvis had used and returned to our hotel to dress for Elvis´ 8:30 performance.
Seven o´clock rolled along and we were waiting behind the hotel again. All we really wanted was a closeup glimpse of Elvis. By 9:00, fear began to siege us. Suppo-
se that Oldsmobiled was just a decoy. Suppose Elvis had left already. Suppose we were missing the show! Dash, we were off for the Mobile Municipal Auditorium.
The show was in progress - - but Elvis hadn´t come on yet. The warm up groups all entertained first. Then the lights went off. Everybody drooled. You could feel the suspense in the air. A spotlight shone. And THERE was Elvis, walking toward the center of the stage. He was big and beautiful as all of life singing "That´s Alright." You just couldn´t imagine the excitement if you haven´t seen Ellvis perform before an audience. I had seen Elvis appear at the Astrodome in Houston last February. I thought that nothing could possibly beat that performance - - until I saw him in Mobile. He outdid himself. Mikki, Diane and Linda were experiencing Elvis for the first time.
The show was indescribable!! Elvis sang, he talked, he danced, he told jokes, he shook fans´ hands, he twisted and gyrated, he gave the performance of a life time. He asked for a handkerchief and about 100 were thrown on stage. Some of the songs he sang included "That´s Alright," "Don´t Be Cruel," "Suspicious Minds," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Johnny B. Goode," "All Shook Up," "I´ve Lost You," "Funny How Time Slips Away," "The Wonder Of You," "Hound Dog," "Amen," "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," "Love me Tender," "Whole Lotta Shaking Goin´ On," "Polk Slaad Annie," "In The Ghetto," "You´ve Lost That Loving Feeling," "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Can´t Help falling In Love."
Elvis was dressed in a white jumpsuit (bell bottoms, western style) with a green scarf around his neck and a green sash tied around his hips. he took sips of Gatorade and Mountain Valley Mineral Water between numbers. Elvis´ father, Mr. vernon Presley, was at the performance. That one hour Elvis was on stage passed oh too quickly. It was too much, yet not enough!!
We returned to the hotel following the performance. This time we went into the lobby where all the action was.We
took additional pictures and got more autographs form Elvis´ accompanists, including James Burton. We also met two fans, Vicky and Sherry, from Pascagoula, Mis-sissippi, whom we got to know very well. Just as we were about to leave, we spotted Red West and Richard Davis and ran over to get autographs and a picture. For quite a while we talked and out of the blue, red asked us if we would like to go up! Oh! He just had to be kidding!!! But he wasn´t. The sid of us soon found out.
We reached the 12th floor of the hotel where Elvis had the entire floor reserved, walked down a long hall, and then entered a long room. THERE WAS ELVIS! When I saw him that first moment, my knees got so weak - - if a kindly gentleman hadn´t offered me a chair, I would have fallen to the floor. Elvis came over to us. We talked, each got an autograph, drank champagne with him, and even got his cigar (which has now been divided into several pieces). Although we were told absolutely no pictures, Elvis let us sneak one in the hall (how sweet). Our stay was about 45 minutes long and as we were leaving, Elvis kissed each of us bye! What a night to remember. We retrned (or should I say floated) to our hotel about 2:30 a.m.
Our escapade wasn´t over yet. The next morning we waited behind the Admiral Semmes again. By 2:30 we heard screams and there was Elvis again - - making his way through the hotel lobby by way of the kitchen. Out he came, smiling and waving to his fans whie he shook their hands. He got off into his yellow Olds and he was gone. Oh, how marvelous Mobile is! I would like to thank red West and Richard Davis for making it possible and, of course, Elvis for making it so wonderfully memorable!
by Shannon Millet
Copyright: Strictly Elvis no 33.