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Performance Shows He's Still A Star

24 May 2011

PERFORMANCES SHOWS HE’S STILL A STAR

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Elvis was a good old boy having a good old time.

Once again Elvis made his return to Roanoke like Haley’s comet on a regular cosmic schedule, brightening the skies as he blazed onstage.

And he was definitely enjoying himself, as was this reviewer, whose favourite groups are the Rolling Stones and the Who.

There is no question about it Elvis has something. When he’s up there – giggling more these days than gyrating maybe – you just can’t take your eyes off him.

He has a charming insouciance about him – the easy assurance of a born entertainer, But he has more, too. There’s still something about a corny song like “Love Me Tender” or “You Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog” that makes the hair stand up on a crewcut.

Some people say that the essence of a good performer makes the audience feel like he’s holding something back – like there’s a reserve of force there, something mysterious, that won’t ever quite be known. Something physical and faintly threatening – like a tornado.

Brando has it. James Dean had it. Mick Jagger has it. And so does Elvis – and plenty of it.

On “Jailhouse Rock,” Elvis proved that he may have a paunch, but his pelvis – possibly the most envied body part in human history – is still as good as ever.

Singing “Fever,” the truck driver from Tupelo, Miss., let his eyes roll back in his head and proved that – with the stage lighted in red – his passion is almost as intense as it was 20 years ago.

On “Love Letters,” his voice was fading a bit, but what can you expect when a man’s past 40? He still makes you feel like he’s singing to you out of all the people out there – and there were 10,594 of them.

Elvis stayed on stage for about an hour, but he personally sang a lot less than an hour. He let several of his backup groups sing and then introduced his band. Each member of the band played a solo. So the time Elvis sang was probably more like 40 minutes.

But the audience wasn’t complaining. As Elvis strode the stage, looking like a quick-footed prize-fighter handing out scarves from around his neck, girls leaned over balconies and tore at each other to get a souvenir from their Elvis.

Toward the end of the concert, one of Elvis’ backup singers sang a melancholy song to Elvis as he stood off to the side of the stage. Everything was bathed in somber blue light, and a poster on the wall read “Elvis. We Love You Forever.” Elvis waved his hand from the stage in a goodbye. So long, Elvis, it’s been good ...

ut then people have been saving goodbye for a long time.

Russell Leavitt, Times Staff Writer, Roanoke Times. 3 August 1976.


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