November 10, 1971. 8:30 p.m.

Garden, Boston, Ma.

Photo Copyright:

All colour photos above by

Steve Toli

15,500 cheer him on

Elvis rocks the Garden

By Ernie Santosuosso

Globe Staff

     It  wasn´t  exactly  a  rock  opera but last night 15,506 at Boston Gar-den accorded "Elvis Presley -- Superstar"   a   rave   reception.   The 36-year-old elder statesman of rock made an easy conquest of the sports arena  in  a  dazzling  52-minute  dis-play of singing and body English.

   In  the  pop  music  context,  the Elvis-the-pelvis  spectacular  has  to be  ranked  with  the  likes  of  the Beatles´ 1966 visit, the Rolling Stones invasion  of  the  same  Garden  in 1969 and Tom Jones´s first time around in  Boston.

   He  bumped  and  ground  in  the grand tradition of the Old Howard, flailed his arms, jerked his head in tempo, strutted about the stage like a pompous wrestler and postured out-rageously throughout his whirlwind set  to  the  shrieking  delight  of  his fans. He sang in his bluesy, sometimes surly,  sometimes  tender  baritone but at  all  time  he  seemed  to  be  having the most fun of everyone.

   Backed  up  by  his  string  group and a coed choral unit plus Joe Guercio and the Tony Bruno or-chestra,  Presley  fired  off   a fusillade of his hits. (In the million-selling re-cord department Elvis is the cham-pion with 24 gold discs;  the Beatles and  Bing  Crosby  are  runners-up with  20 each.)

   He arrived on stage after inter-mission in a deep blue-sequined cape and  flared  pants  outfit  set  off  by a red scarf. He wore enough  rings to make Zsa Zsa envious. The ovation was ear-splitting and throughout, incessant screaming and cheers punctuated the darkened arene like bomb bursts.

   About  his  intro-music  --  "The 2001 Theme" . . .  That was the tip-off that Elvis was doing a giant put-on, and it set the mood for his in-gratiating act.

   One after another came the songs; "That´s All Right" with a tentative shake of the pelvis; "I Got a Wo-man", "Proud Mary" in which he sim-ulated the rowing motion with  some knee action, "You Don´t Have to Say You Love Me", "You´ve Lost That Loving Feeling", "Polk Salad  An-nie", "Please Love Me" and the old-ies "Heartbreak Hotel", "Blue Suede Shoes", " Just One Night With You", "Hound  Dog",   How  Great  Thou Art".  Then  he  inserted  a  new  tune, "I´m leaving",  an exciting rendition  of "Bridge Over Troubled Waters", "Can´t Stop Loving You", "Love Me Tender", "Suspicious  Mind"  with a very funny la savate bit; "Ain´t it Funny"  and  the  finale,  "I  Can´t Help  Falling  in  Love  With  You." At  the  end  of  the  song  he  spread out  his  cape  full  width  resembling a good-looking Dracula. The crowd of all ages exploded.



                                           by Steve Toli

   I would say it all began the evening I was first in line to buy tickets for Elvis´ Boston performance. Boston was one of the towns he hit on his recent USA  tour. . . 12 cities in all this time around, I stood in line all night, but there were several girls also  waiting  for  the  ticket  office  to  open. . . so I didn´t mind it too much.

   Even  though  I  was  first  in  line, my ticket was for row 21. For all his shows, Elvis buys the first 500 tickets himself for newspapper people, RCA representatives, etc.

   Naturally you know about the show itself. I had my little son, Stephen Elvis with me, attired in his Elvis shirt. I had hopes that he would run up to the stage to see Elvis, but I guess he was too frightened by all the screaming women, the thousands of exploding instamatic flashbulbs, and by big old mean Elvis in pure black, with  gold  studs,  scarf, and almost waist-length cape . . . not to forget  his Prince  Valliant  length  hair . . . really  something else!

   The show opened with the Sweet Inspirations singing too many songs, too loudly, followed by comedian Jack Kahane, who must be a kissin´ cousin  to  Sammy  Shore.  Next,  an  intermission and then, and then. . . I had to go to the bathroom. No,  just  putting  you  on  folks.  Everything  began to happpen with the 2001 Theme . . .  followed by a.

rockin´ drum beat and all of a sudden there HE is; glorious in living technicolor and cinemascope, rockin´ directly into "That´s All Right Mama," before anyone had a chance to catch their breath. At least,  that´s  what  I  think  he  sang - - you  just wouldn´t believe the screams for Elvis Presley - - Superstar.  He  had  his  guitar,  which  was  used only as a prop - - soon discarded. Then "I Got A Woman," with a touch of "Amen" before going into the wind-up ending. He does a new version of "Proud Mary," which makes the recorded version tame in comparison. This one features an endless repetition of ""rollin´. . .rollin´. . .rollin´ on the river." Elvis´ voice constantly rising higher and higher.  It´s  next  to  impossible  to  describe  that voice in person. Records and tapes, no matter how good, can´t capture it. It´s simply magnificent.

    "You Don´t Have To Say You Love Me," and "You´ve  Lost  That  Lovin´  Feeling,"  started   with his back to the crowd. An unusual "Polk Salad Annie,"  he  recites  the  intro  in  a  dull,  ordinary voice  before  he  starts  rockin´.  He  then  goes into a great version of "Love Me," capturing the mood of the 1950´s.  The  man loves to do this song.

   A good "Heartbreak Hotel," and a full-length "Blue Suede Shoes," which he usually does in a medley of old hits. . . and let´s not forget "One Night." A special treat follows; "How Great Thou Art," followed by the Presley national anthem, "Hound Dog," then dueting with Charlie Hodge on "I´m Leavin´." His voice is strong, yet sensitive to the lyrics he sings.

   He did a fantastic job on "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and again, THIS voice just has to be heard in  person.  No  other  performer,  living  or  dead, has a voice with such majesty and soulful conviction. There´s "I Can´t Stop Loving You," which was a number he performed often when he first appeared at the  International,  and  the  traditional  "kissing song", "Love Me Tender."

   He didn´t rock as much as he used to on "Suspicious  Minds,"  saving  everything  he  had  for the ending of the song, where he goes through a series  of  vicious  karate  chops  with  arms  and legs and EVERYTHING. . . each one bringing frantic screams.

   He  performed  my  favorite  song,  "Funny  How Time Slips Away," and closed the show with "Can´t Help  Falling  In  Love."  Near  the  end  of the song,  he  throws  the  mike  down  and  stretches  his  arms out like a spread eagle . . . the great spreckled bird! And then, in an instant, he rushes off stage and is gone . . . perhaps to return in maybe 15 years or so.