ECSTATIC ELVIS FANS PAY HOMAGE AT GARDENS
Cincinnati, 27 June 1973It isn’t a concert at all. It is phenomenon. A unique sociological phenomenon.
Elvis at the Gardens.
THERE WERE 13,060 of them. Very young and very old. Fat persons and frail ones. Ecstatic ones and absolutely hysterical ones. All drawn to Cincinnati Gardens Wednesday for just one purpose. To pay homage to Elvis Presley. The King.
As if anyone care, the show was opened by Jackie Kohaney, a comedian who wasn’t particularly funny. Though people laughed, primarily because their spirits were already high.
He delivered his jokes while pacing like a nervous lion, doing a Groucho Marx number. Nearly all the jokes were about the event itself the excitement the madness and a lot of faddy topics – astrology, the younger generation and a touch of sex.
The Sweet Inspirations, three gals who make soul music, followed Kohaney. They chugged along and killed time with an Aretha Franlin medley, Gladys Knight music and basic soul stuff.
The first half of the show lasted 45 minutes.
But the crowd was there for Elvis. Pure and simple. That’s why the crying lady was there. That was why the screaming fat girl was there. And that’s why all the hysteria was there. Just to worship in the presence of royalty.
Elvis came to the stage at 9:30 p.m., accompanied by a full show band doing “2001” and all 13,060, wailing their throats way.
t was like broad daylight with the flash cubes exploding in every corner and Elvis all done up in white, with red, white and blue spangles.
Through all his opening numbers the “instamatics” (cameras) never stopped, the wails were continuous, the hysteria ending.
Elvis, like always, was perfectly cool through the whole display, timing every grimace, sneer, snarl, pelvic twitch and other Elvis trademarks to elicit the maximum response.
And it was the Elvis trademark, not the music that everyone seemed to get off on. The screams were louder for the glitters and contortions than they were for the music.
Elvis, of course, knows all of this accordingly (and it is very noticeable from row two) he is forever squelching sly grins forever working at keeping the emperor of sex appeal image intact.
Oh yea, he sings through all of it. James Taylor “Steamroller,” Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night” and all his hits. Like about a thousand of them. God knows, maybe even a million of them.
And Elvis works while he sings.
It was his basic Las Vegas show with a broad mixture of golden oldies, a touch of gospel, a few standards and batch of Elvisized modern numbers. All done with Elvis grunts and growls.
But who noticed the voice? Elvis is probably one of the two or three best showmen of the world. And he throws one of the best concerts going. Not just good, but fun. It feels good.
Jim Knippenberg, Enquirer Reporter, Thursday, 28 June 1973