Elvis sings, the women scream

San Bernardino,CA. May 10th 1974

By Steve Cooper

Everyone loved Elvis last night. Even the folks in sardine heaven. Those people who were sitting within an arm's length of the tinsel-covered ceiling at the Swing Auditorium are the true faithful. Forget all about the people in the $10 seats with their smug looks and flashy clothes. Give me the fans packed pelvis to pelvis on wooden benches in the dark upper reaches of that auditorium hugging their binoculars. They love Elvis. 

Well, that's digressing from the main point. 

Elvis Presley sang and women screamed. That's the point. After a few stale jokes, the smooth singing of the Sweet Inspirations and a barrage of buy-Elvis-posters-scarves-and photos hard sell from the announcer, the King of Rock 'n' Roll appeared. Backed by a flawless orchestra from Las Vegas, Elvis gave his usual slick supper club performance. It hums right along as Elvis belts out one quick number after another. 

Mickey Pfleger San Bernadino, CA.  May 10th 1974

Presley, bathed in colored floodlights that made the blue sequins on his white jumpsuit glisten, started his show quickly with a highly stylized version of " C.C. Rider." 

He shot the words of that rocker at the audience so rapidly and deeply that each phrase sounded like one word. And the crowd went nuts. The half of the audience that wasn't screaming was popping flash bulbs off at a dizzying speed.When he wanted to spend his voice lavishly on a song, as in his rendition of "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," it was obvious that this man can sing. But he spent more time toying with audience than concentrating on his singing. He gave his fans what they wanted. 

He gave them low moans, sweaty scarves, swiveling hips, bold stances and none stop Elvis. He concentrated on old songs during the first half of the show and made "Love Me Tender" his scarf song. While his voice slid down the scale to plead "love me true," Elvis was leaning down to hand over one scarf after another to upreaching female hands. As he began "Hound Dog" one woman stepped to the stage with a rose. Elvis chided the fan for interrupting his oldie but then grinned and accepted the gift. 

One song seemed particularly appropriate for the magnetic entertainer - James Taylor's "Steamroller Blues." "I'm a steam roller, baby, I'm gonna roll all over you," he sang. And he did. 

Kathy Manley San Bernadino, CA.  May 13th 1974

Above all Elvis Presley knows what the faithful want and he bowls then over with his style. That's why he was a sellout at the Swing last night, will be on Monday night when he returns and sells out wherever he performs. 

"I'm a cement mixer, baby," he snarled.. at the screamers, a churning urn of burning funk." 

Believe it.

More pictures taken on May 13th 1974.

 Originally published in San Bernardino Sun Telegram