Concert Date: May 22 1977 (8:30 pm). Largo MD.
Just One Little Quiver: Elvis Needs No More
By John McKelway
May 23, 1977
There has been a tendency in recent years to look critically at Elvis Presley's weight. Presley is over 40 - about 42 - and at that age the body does tend to settle in spots. The King of Rock, or the Rock King, returned last night for another engagement at the Capital Centre and some 20000 got off the Beltway to have another look at the legend. Presley has gained weight, naturally, compared to 20 years ago. But those who flock to see him have, by and large, gained far more weight. Unbelievably fat women - far over 200 pounds - go to see Elvis. They are not self-conscious about it and must spend hours packing it all in before they feel they are presentable and ready to see Elvis once again in concert.
If Elvis has indeed gained too much weight, it is hard to say it is his fault. He really doesn't have to do much anymore. The slightest quiver in the rear end, like ripples in a mill pond, sends his fat fans into shrieks of delicious torment. Why do more? Meanwhile, he continues to attract some new, young, thin, pretty girls, and from all appearances he's got it made. If they never saw him work, so what?
He still sings in a deep rhythmic mumble, with occasional bursts of grandeur in the higher reaches. But he just refuses to turn it on - and one can only assume, unfortunately, that he still can. He drinks a lot of water from a paper cup during the show, handed to him by a little man who has got to be a sycophant. He's embarrassing. Slavery is no longer practiced, right? Why anyone who has watched him over the years would pay the top price of $15 for a seat is just as much of a mystery as why they have allowed themselves to get so fat.
Elvis appeared, and a fine roar filled the comfortable place, but he was only on for maybe 50 minutes. When he left, there did not seem to be any discernable wave of disappointment in his wake. Maybe they would have been satisfied with 30 minutes. He really doesn't have to do much. Just prowl around. But he ought to something about his costume. Elvis chose white last night - a sort of space suit with spangles. Across the chest was the Aztec calendar, possibly filled with meaning, and then there was the belt. The buckle was the size of the buckle worn by Santa Claus. On both men, the buckle tends to droop. Elvis hitched the belt up from time to time. Well, they're both legends.
He is still a superb entertainer. There is just the right touch of restrained meanness to him which never quite surfaces. Is that what they like? He tossed two microphones on the stage in casual frustration over a sound system he said was not working properly. Technically, he may have been right. It was still capable of growling and popping ear drums. But it was reassuring to see artists are still temperamental. Whether Presley has fun at these things is hard to tell. He does not appear to enjoy handing out his scarves - lightly dabbed in perspiration - to the clutching, wild little girls, but then again, it is obviously, it's got to be, a rather enjoyable thing to do on a Sunday evening around 10.30 for that amount of money.
He was backed by a good band, a great drummer, and he easily went through some of his more notable songs. He did sing the immortal Hound Dog. He even sounded pretty good doing My Way. The show also included a comedian from Canada named Jack Kahane and the Sweet Inspirations - there are three - who rocked to the sound of a different drummer, equally accomplished. Presley veterans reported he rarely gives members of his troupe so much time in individual performances. But he did. They were enjoyable. A tenor, for example, sang a song called Danny Boy, which has words.
Presley, it has been estimated, picked up something like $175,000 last night. And he must have gotten some return from the Presley collection of souvenirs, which included a 'giant' portrait of Elvis, for $5, which, a voice possibly trained at intermission in a burlesque house said, 'ooks just like an oil painting'. It does not. Presley also picked up a gift from the crowd, a small wind-up bear which beats a little drum. It was going when he got it. He out it on the piano while he was singing something and it went around on top. You don't see that every day. A number of roses were thrown at Elvis. The pace of Presley's performance is an indication he will be around for some time to come. He takes care of himself and he's at the age when he must think of these things. He's growing old gracefully with his old friends all across the country and, last night, in Prince Georges County.
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