Snatches of old songs, a few new ones - that's Elvis
For someone so apparently dedicated to the "less is more" philosophy when it comes to performances, Elvis Presley has been showing up a lot lately in Chicago. Scarcely six months after his white boots stepped on stage at the Stadium last fall, Presley returned for one show Sunday with another set for Monday.
"How come," I wondered aloud a couple of weeks ago to the shows promoter, "Elvis is coming back again so fast?" "Both shows are sold out, aren't they?" came the reasonable enough answer - financially speaking, that is.
Why Elvis was returning figured. Why the shows are sold out is a little harder to figure. Surely all who feel a curiosity about the man who did so much for the cause of rock 'n' roll 20 years ago have had their chance to see Elvis. And the people who were actually old enough to rock along with Elvis when it was all happening should, I would think, find the sight of him mildly depressing these days.
And yet, Elvis continues as some sort of musical national monument, like Mount Rushmore or something of that like, except that Mount Rushmore doesn't put on weight and there are no rumors going around that the faces that grace it have had recent facelifts. But as far as showmanship goes, Presley and the Rush are about on a par.
There is nothing wrong with nostalgia; living legends can be fun. Seeing Presley last fall was fun. For those seeing him for the first time Sunday night at the Chicago Stadium, the chance to actually set eyes on the singer in the plentiful flesh was probably enough to make up for the fact that Elvis really doesn't put on that great a show. For people seeing him for the second time in six months, or for this person at least, it was painfully impossible not to notice that Elvis doesn't put on that a great show.
It was basically, if not almost exactly, a reprise of Presley's last show here - snatches of old songs, a few new ones.