- Taken on:
- The Indianapolis Star (written by Rita Rose), taken from Elvis The Concert Years (Stein Erik Skar)
- Elvis On Stage by Keith Alverson
- Expo Convention Center, Indianapolis
- Mad Tiger Suit
The Indianapolis Star: Was That Really Elvis Presley At The Expo Center?
By Rita Rose
Ho-Hum, Elvis Presley was in town Saturday. Remember him? The King of rock 'n' roll? Tickets to his two sell-out concerts at the Expo Center were grabbed up way in advance, which is typical for an Elvis concert. His fans were excited as they descended on the building armed with cameras and homemade clothes with their idol's picture on them.
As everyone left, the afternoon performance, there were a lot of subdued faces, which is NOT typical for an Elvis concert. Things like "rip-off" and "I don't believe it" were being muttered. Hard as it may be to fathom, the King just didn't hack it. The flair with which he entertained us at the Coliseum two-and-a-half years ago was only just a memory. We even went so far as to wonder if this man on the stage was an imposter, and hope that the REAL Elvis was going to come bursting on stage, cape swirling, any minute.
Even staunch Elvis fans were disappointed. One, who has been to several performances in the area over the last few years, commented that he "was either sick or had a hangover." The only hangover we saw was the one he had over his belt, which, incidentally, fell off at the start of the show, much to everyone's delight.
It had the makings of a fine concert, but the only ones who got their money's worth were the ones in the first few rows. First of all, the acoustics (or lack of them) in the Expo Center are horrible echo chambers may be all right for records, but not for live concerts. It was fortunate that the amplifiers were suspended above the stage on a platform - too many times fans pay top ticket prices and end up with a $10 view of a speaker - but even that didn't help.
Secondly, lack of enthusiasm on Elvis' part was obvious as he paced around the stage, mumbling into the microphone so no one outside of a five-foot radius could hear him. he spent a lot of time conversing with his musicians and singers, which usually drowned him out when he did sing. It seemed more like a dress rehearsal than a concert. Between songs, Elvis doesn't keep the show moving with glib, witty conversation. All he has to do is look at the box-office receipts to know that fans will be satisfied with paying to see him wiggle his legs and throw sweaty scarves to excited females crowded around the stage. He never sings a song all the way through - just segments of each one.
Somehow, we expected more for our money. It's rare when warm-up acts out-perform the headliner, especially when it's Elvis Presley. But the Voices trio, Sweet Inspirations and comedian Jackie Kahane, with his Elvis jokes, put forth valiant performances. J.D. Sumner of the Stamps, with his deep deep voice, was another highlight.
O.K. so maybe Elvis wasn't feeling good. We hope that's the only reason for the bad show. It would disappoint a lot of fans if the King were to be dethroned.