720613

June 13, 1972. 8:30 pm

Roberts Memorial Stadium, Evansville, In.

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.

The word is ´wow´

   Adorned in blue pants and shirt, aglitter with jewels and a gold-linked belt, Elvis Presley wowed an audience of 11,500 here last night at Roberts Stadium.