Elvis will be IN the building in two months, but did you know he’s been here before? March 29, 1977, the date of the now legendary Austin appearance of Elvis Presley at the Palmer Auditorium, the original site of our building! The Long Center’s very own Paul Beutel, who began his career as an entertainment writer in the 1970s, was there that night on behalf of the Austin American-Statesman. Read his original review below, and don’t miss your change to see Elvis make his triumphant return to the Long Center, March 2 in Dell Hall.
The King still reigns
By Paul Beutel, Amusements Staff
Tuesday, March 29, 1977 | The Austin American-Statesman
At 42, Elvis Presley may be perched precariously on the top of the rock-and-roll hill, but Monday night in Municipal Auditorium, he proved that he’s not over it yet.
Six thousands fans-mostly female- paid up to $15 to watch The King swivel and sing for one hour. And several got more than that. During one part of the concert, Elvis tossed a series of scarves and towels into the audience as hordes of souvenir-crazy women, many well into middle age, charged toward the stage.
The evening began in true Las Vegas fashion with an assortment of brief sets: The Hot Hilton Horns, Elvis’ back-up band; J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, a who-cares gospel group; Jack Kahane, a ho-hum comedian who lectured against pre-marital sex and the evils of marijuana (“The only soft drug is a suppository”); and the Sweet Inspiration, a dynamite black female trio, who actually provided some of the evening’s flashiest and most musically exciting entertainment. Too bad they only sang three songs.
Elvis finally hit the stage at 10:25 p.m., 25 minutes later than scheduled. The audience had been fed a line about “sending out for a missing amplifier part” during the delay, but Elvis later confessed that his car had been blocked in the parking lot.
From the moment he arrived on stage amidst orchestral strains of the theme from “2001,” Elvis could do no wrong. He launched into “C.C. Rider” and was greeted by shrieks of orgiastic glee. During the second verse, the hips began to undulate and the head began to shake, although not as much as they did 20 years ago.
“It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?” Elvis questioned, with reference to his Austin appearance.
SCREAM! came the reply.
“But we’re going to make up for it tonight!”
Following that remark, what else could he do but belt forth with “I Gotta Woman”?
No doubt about it. The world’s most publicized pelvis may have slowed down a bit, but the voice and the style are still there, as distinctive as ever.
Still, it was Elvis – in person – running through an abbreviated bag of old hits and new. So what if he has to dye his hair and fight the battle of the middle-age bulge? For many of the eternally young-at-heart in Monday night’s mob, time had lost all meaning as they were again boppin’ to the “Jailhouse Rock.”
Long live The King.
Elvis LIVES comes to the Long Center Thursday, March 2, in Dell Hall. Get your tickets before they’re gone!