Elvis still king - despite dull "helpers"
TUCSON - Don't look now, Glen Campbell and all you other cats, but Elvis is still the king.
And he's the kind of king who can surmount late starts, bad opening acts, and a huckster with all the grace and charm of Johnny Carson's Art Fern character to please something like 10,000 fans.
Elvis can win out over just about anything - squealing girls, microphone feedback and a million flash bulbs going pop-pop-pop, creating an unscheduled light show.
The second stop on his current tour, Tucson provided an apt audience for the veteran show-stopper. Elvis sang and sang and sang, for something over an hour, with little or no breaks for small talk with the audience.
But that's his thing, singing, with a little movement to the music tossed in; that's what causes all the squealing.
Quick to judge an audience, Elvis knew the crowd want-ed the "oldies but goodies" and he gave them that.
Starting with "Love Me" and ending with "Hound Dog," Elvis hit most of the stops in between. Not just a line or two here and there, but the W-H-0-L-E blessed thing.
He's strong, folks, he works hard and he's good.
Within the space of his time on the stage, Elvis evokes a feeling of going home. The majority of the audience looked to be of the first Elvis generation - people who were in their teens when Ed Sullivan was censoring the hip movements of Presley way back in 1956. They really didn't care about his newest hit or his latest movie.
What they wanted (and what they got) was to capture, if only for an hour, that feeling of remembering.
Remembering sock hops and '57 Chevies, The Malt Shop, and going steady.
For that's what Elvis turned a whole generation on to.
Man, you got high just thinking about it all.
But there's no going back, no matter how hard you try or how hard you want to.
With the conclusion of "I Can't Stop Loving You," Elvis was off the stage, the lights were out and the feeling was gone.
Then the lights came up and the Art Fern character was up hustling souvenir programs of the show, ". . . a brand new item, selected for this tour only."
On the debit side of the ledger, an unknown (so unknown there was hardly a mention of his name) comedian opened the show and did 20 very long minutes. Then came the Sweet Inspirations with a very tight, but equally dull, 15 minutes of songs which made Aretha Franklin seem even greater.
And all the time this Art Fern chap is hustling $2 programs, posters and autographed pictures, which was insulting not only to the audience but to Presley.
But the charisma of Elvis overcomes all. The mere thought that he would be out on that stage in less than an hour, kept the fans at least placid during the opening drivel. - HARDY PRICE.
Copyright: The Arizona Republic, November 10, 1972
Elvis dazzles crowd at TCC arena
Elvis Presley, guarded like an easily breakable bauble, pranced on stage at the Community Center Arena last night wearing a glittery tank suit open to the navel and dazzled a capacity crowd of about 9,500 with a medley of the rock and roll songs that made him famous.
Forty bodyguards reportedly lined the backstage area, waiting for Elvis' limousine to arrive at the center's rear entrance. All photographers were evicted from the area before Elvis would emerge from his car, then police ringed the stage for his approach.
However, Elvis did pause long enough backstage to speak to a gravely ill Tucson child who had expressed a desire to meet the idol of the 1950s. "He was very nice to her," one source reported, "and gave her his autograph."
Presley, who was backed by a big, brassy band from Las Vegas, put together a polished performance, combining upbeat renditions of "Don't Be Cruel," "One Night With You," "Heartbreak Hotel" and "I'm All Shook Up" with more contemporary songs such as the Beatles' "Look Back."
His arrival on stage was heralded by one woman who, high up in the seats, saw the superstar and let out a shriek. During his performance, police were required to restrain a few women in the front row from climbing on stage to touch the singer.
Presley, giving the fans the full benefit of his famous leer, occasionally tossed out a scarf as a favor, eliciting sighs and more screams. The audience, most of which appeared to be in their 30s, gave Presley a rousing ovation follow-ing each number.
At 37, Elvis has sold an estimated 96,722,000 singles and appeared in 32 films. His sultry smirk and hip-grinding rhythm remain today much the same as when he hit the big time in 1954 with "That's All Right, Mama" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky."
He still contends he suffers from stage fright but looked at ease during his performance last night. He rushed off the stage following his final song and was immediately whisked away by his waiting limousine. He barely spoke to the audience during his performance, although at one point he remarked: "It's a tough way to make a living."
Presley, whose comeback in this decade can only be described as one of the most remarkable show business developments of modern times, is now regarded by insiders as one of the two most popular entertainers in the world - 'the other being the Rolling Stones.
His reclusive personality remains a mystery, but his brief meeting backstage with the wide-eyed child suggests that the country boy turned millionaire has retained a laudable sensitivity to those less fortunate than he.
Copyright: Tucson Daily City, November 10, 1972