Elvis Presley still has it - only more so.
By Cynthia Kirk
It was an event, not a concert. Almost a second coming, a reaffirmation of childhood fantasies for those fast, approaching middle age, a living proof that those dreams were worth dreaming almost 20 years ago.
More that any entertainer, Elvis Presley represents those bopes and dreams for a generation that created a new Ameri-can culture and a new kind of hero - the rock and roll star.
Cars started inching toward Roberts Stadium two hours before the concert. Traffic was backed up in all directions, air to be had for more that two hours. They eagerly snapped up the $2 souvenir photo booklets being hawked in the lots, while putting a final effort to their immaculate hairdos, straightening the ties, the hems.
What modern singer would need 23 policemen as personal bodyguards, and an entire floor at the Executive Inn to keep fans away. It was the 50s all over again. Bee hive hairdos alternated with halter dresses, slit up front, top and bottom. Sweat-soaked work shirts were everywhere, along with the maternity gown, the diaper and bottle bags and the A-line house dress.
The 11.500 sweat-drenched hard-core Elvis fans who showed up last night at the stadium were there to see a 37-year-old man who has before more that a legend, more than an idol.
Those who paid $10, and more than 9000 of the 11,500 did, did so without complaint. There were no free tickets offered, the usual practice for performances here.
"I would have paid $40 to see him. I saw the old magic return tonight," said Doug Collins, one of the minority of male fans resent.
Whether he appeared in New York or in Evansville, the prices were the same, and the crowds just as eager to pay.
For that 10-day tour, which includes stops in Milwaukee, Chicago, Tulsa, Wichita, New York and Ft. Wayne, Elvis was guaranteed $1 million with a promise of more than 90 per cent of each night´s receipts, not bad for a once-impowerished boy from Tupelo, Miss.
It was incredidly hot, insufferable hot. You kept waiting for rain cloads to form among the steel rafters of the stadium from all the heat and humidity.
And then Elvis appeared, and a shining hysteria engulfed the building. Long black hair cascaded past his collar and those famous sideburns appeared fuller than ever. Long and lean, he strode on the platform in baby blue trousers and shirt, encrusted with jewels and a white belt, at least sex inches wide, encircling his famous hips, glittering too and la-den with heavy golden chains.
He picket up his guitar and it was as if a storm had develoved. From every corner of the stadium, the flashbulbs began popping, creating a phychedelic lightning storm amid the hysterical screams, shouts and whistles that were suddenly released.
The songs came, quickly, smoochly, professionally, from a performer who has had almost two decades to perfect the style, "Hound Dog," "Hearbreak Hotel," "Love Me Tender," "Don´t Be Cruel," "I Can´t Help Falling in Love With You" every song set off a new crescendo of screams.
He sweated. His shirt quickly soaked through. Wiping his face, he tossed the sodded scarf to the crowd. Three over 30 women almost tore each other apart scrambling for it. It took three policemen to break them up. Two more scarves were scattered before the evening was done, each producing pan-demonium.
Elvis may not put as much into his pelvis these days but he drew screams when he merely tagged at his belt.
He roamed the stage, reaching to touch those in the stand behind him.
"I loved it I liked every bit of it," chirped Mrs. Edna Rice, who came to the show with her daughter, her grand-daughter and her great-granddaughter. "I´ve loved him ever since he´s been singing."
Although not capacity, the crowd was nearly double the one at Presley´s show in Ft. Wayne the night before. All 560 of the $5 seats were gone, as were the 1500 $7.50 seats. The rest paid $10 and no one complained, despite the heat and the often inaudible sound system, set up by Presley´s own troupe, as was everything else involved with the show.