June 20, 1977. 8:30 pm

Pershing Municipal Auditorium, Lincoln, Ne.

For devoted fans, "It´s Now or Never" was how they felt

It happened right after Elvis Presley sang "It´s Now or Never," a moment one mother will never forget.

She had struggled up to the front where women begged below Elvis´ white boots. She held her child, probably about three, a sunkiss towhead, up to Elvis.

The King of Rock ´n´ Roll took the child. But the child turned back, struggling to get back to his mother.

"Ya got stage fright, son?" The King growled in a voice that sounded like he could barely contain himself. "I know exactly how you feel."

Then, he kissed the boy. The child doesn´t know it yet, but his life will never be the same.

This was the night that many people will not forget, the evening that about 7,500 persons saw Elvis, no last name necessary, there is only one that matters.

Does anyone think that Elvis is ready to step aside for the Arrowsmiths, Kisses and Led Zeppelins that followed him?

Ask the young buds with skin bursting out of their garments, the women who knew Elvis when they were buds.

There was skin, skin everywhere - backless tops to show the symmetric shoulderblades, halter tops to reveal cleavage and filmy outfits to allude to curves that couldn´t legally be exposed any other way

For, down deep, sex, raw and sweaty, was  what this evening was about.

Forget the stories that Elvis has gone to paunch, like the "grossly overweight" news captions and the mug shots that look like his cheeks were injected with helium.

At about 10 p.m., Presley looked on stage, the Angel Gabriel, in white and gold rainment, touching the outstretched hands of those who were screaming his name, hitching his white-and-gold belt buckle up over his stomach, and laughing at those fruitcakes who thought a few pounds could change anything.

Presley joked with the audience, with the band and laughed at himself.

He swings his pelvis. Instantly screams.

"This is a routin I´ve been doin´ for years," he says. "It´s nuthin´ new."

The drums roll, and he grinds down, farther and farther, his legs spread, his hips arching wider.

Bedlam! The screams from thousands of mouths that yearn to be wild and fulfilled, yet, knowing tomorrow they would all be tame again.

Presley presented a program that encompassed the scope of American music: gospel, country, blues - the music he took from the black man and the fundamentalist church and made it acceptable to white audiences.

And they called that music rock ´n´ roll, and the world has never been the same.

Security at the concert was tight. Sgt. John Briggs said 25 officers were hired, in the words of one officer, to keep women from storming the stage, get Presley in and out of the concert.

A photographer was stopped from walking toward the stage to take photos.

The reason, he was told by someone in the Presley party, was "We don´t need you."

The corridors resembled the Midway at the State Fair. Every 10 steps, were tables devoted to "Sooper-Souvenirs" - programs, necklaces, opera glasses, pins, posters and portraits.

Police officers patrolled the aisles, clearing out persons hanging around, telling them to return to their seats.

Except, on those prearranged moments, when Elvis would throb out a ballad. The lights would dim red, to the color of frustrated hormones, and the orchestrated security dam would open to let the women tangle at the front of the  stage.

Elvis sings to sold-out crowd at Pershing

One woman handed Elvis a picture. Women offered roses. He would take them, smile, and start passing out purple silk scarves out to the women at his feet.

One woman was up, reaching for a scarf. Another woman pulled down her halter top. Giggle, giggle. Total exposure.

Another woman was up high, on her boyfriend´s shoulder, and Elvis tossed her a scarf. She screamed, stuffed the scarf down into her halter top, and bounded, still screaming, down the aisle.

Copyright: Lincoln Star, June 21, 1977