Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:46 am

Elvis closed out his first tour of 1976 in St. Louis:

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Elvis Presley
Monday, March 22, 1976
Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MO

01 - Introduction: Also Sprach Zarathustra
02 - C.C. Rider
03 - I Got A Woman / Amen
04 - Love Me
05 - Let Me Be There
06 - You Gave Me A Mountain
07 - Steamroller Blues
08 - All Shook Up
09 - Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel
10 - Heartbreak Hotel
11 - Love Me Tender
12 - Polk Salad Annie
13 - Introductions by Elvis of vocalists, band
14 - What I'd Say? (James Burton)
15 - Drum solo (Larrie Londin)
16 - Bass solo (Jerry Scheff)
17 - Piano solo (Shane Keister)
18 - Electric piano solo (David Briggs)
19 - Introductions by Elvis of vocalists, orchestra
20 - School Day (Joe Guercio Orchestra)
21 - And I Love You So
22 - Hurt
23 - Hound Dog
24 - America The Beautiful
25 - Funny How Time Slips Away
26 - Can't Help Falling In Love
27 - Closing vamp and announcements


---

For some reason, Rolling Stone was there to cover the event.

The famed rock magazine reviewed this show on page 102, under "Performance."

It was published here:

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Rolling Stone #213 - May 20, 1976


Does anyone have this issue? If so, can they scan the review? A huge photo was included.

It might be very interesting to learn what they thought of Elvis on his March 1976 tour.

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:01 pm

Hey Doc,

I don't have a physical copy of that issue however I do suggest investing in a set called "Rolling Stone - Cover To Cover." It has every Rolling Stone issue from 1967 to May of 2007 on DVD-ROM. It uses Bondi's magazine browser program. It has every cover and back cover; page by page - including the advertisements. It came out in 2007 for the 40th anniversary of Rolling Stone.I looked up the issue you requested. It's on page 102 of the issue.

There is about a half page picture of Elvis on the page with the following review -

Gold-Spangled Elvis: Flashes Of The Old Fire
Elvis Presley
Kiel Auditorium
St. Louis, Missouri
March 22nd, 1976

by Harper Barnes

These days, Elvis Presley wraps himself in the power of other people. There are ten backup singers, including a female high-note specialist and a male low-note specialist; three guitar players, including the brilliant James Burton; a bassist; a pianist on a miked grand; two drummers; an immense horn section; and god knows what else hidden in the tangle of arms and legs.

In St. Louis, where he ended a four-city minitour that had touched Johnson City, Tennessee, Charlotte and Cincinnati, the whole human calliope was going full boil virtually all the time, embracing Elvis in a dense helix of sound. And the rock they play now is harder and louder than it used to be, a lot closer to Capricorn Records than to Sun.

Elvis seems weak, perhaps justifiably so after a prolonged battle with overweight, a battle he has only partially won and problems with his innards that sent him to the hospital. His set lasted barely 50 minutes, he loafed even more than usual and there were none of the karate chops and leaps of a few years ago.

But the fire burned through from time to time, and besides, it was Elvis Presley. You go to see him as much out of reverance for the past as from expectation for the immeditate future. The auditorium, which seats 10,500, had been sold out for weeks. A crippled girl had been unable to get tickets and all she cared about in the world is Elvis Presley. There was a story in the paper and as if by magic a St. Louis massage parlor came up with a couple of ducats right up near the front for the little lady and her friend who pushes the wheelchair. There was a story about that in the paper too.

A creepy Las Vegas comedian named Jackie Kahane, who must be blackmailing Elvis or maybe is his brother-in-law told some prune juice jokes. Then it was time once again for the humble strains of 2001 (Thus Spake Zarathustra), and the rock 'n' roll obelisk named Elvis Presley hove into view. No cape this time, just basic gold-spangled black pants and vest over a ruffled and daringly low-cut baby-blue shirt.

He began with a fast "C.C. Rider" and then really ripped into "I Got A Woman," which became briefly entangled with "Amen," but soon emerged unscathed. The Instamatics were present in approximately one-to-one ratio with the bouffant hairdos and for a while the flash cubes were going off so rapidly it looked like high noon. That must have confused Elvis because, after long applause and a general rush of femininity toward the stage -- the audience was at least two-thirds women, including many mother-and-daughter combos -- he said, "I hope we have a good time this afternoon." It was about 10 P.M.

With the teasing elegance of a stripper in a room full of neck fetishists, Elvis removed and tossed into the audience two or three dozen scarves in the course of the evening, as has become his custom. If you didn't catch one, you could buy them in the lobby at five dollars apiece.

With a couple of exceptions, the remainder of the show. which seemed to be over in a blink, was devoted to a recitation of the classics. It was done quickly and perfunctorily -- with a couple of exceptions - and Elvis leaned on the band for support much of the way. There was "Don't Be Cruel," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Love Me Tender" -- lots of squeals and camera flashes on that one -- "Polk Salad Annie," "Hound Dog." Elvis sort of mumbled his way through the last, but when he was through singing, Burton took off on a glass-etching run of high notes. Elvis twitched his ass to the beat and the crowd went bonkers.

He closed with "Funny How Time Slips Away" -- yes, isn't it -- and "Can't Help Falling In Love." The crowd at the apron of the stage by then consisted of maybe 300 people jammed together, with the ones closest to Elvis reaching up desperately to touch the hem of his garment. As the last note decayed into the vast dome of the ceiling, Elvis turned on his heel and strode into the wings, followed by four or five bodyguards. The crush of women below the front of the stage squealed and waved Elvis goodbye and above the fluttering fingers, held tightly in a strong right hand, swayed a crutch.

Harper Barnes is a feature writer for the St. Louis 'Post Dispatch' and book columnist for Boston's 'Real Paper.'

Daryl
Last edited by Daryl on Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:06 pm

Daryl wrote:Gold-Spangled Elvis: Flashes Of The Old Fire
Elvis Presley
Kiel Auditorium
St. Louis, Missouri
March 22nd, 1976

by Harper Barnes
Harper Barnes is a feature writer for the St. Louis 'Post Dispatch' and book columnist for Boston's 'Real Paper.'

It's interesting, and slightly baffling, to note that the same writer would write two different reviews of the same concert for different papers: http://www.elvisconcerts.com/newspapers/press95.htm

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:21 pm

I remember a guy looking for a recording of this show a few years ago. There wasn't any.

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:17 pm

Scott Hayward wrote:It's interesting, and slightly baffling, to note that the same writer would write two different reviews of the same concert for different papers ...

Nice connection, but the reality is hardly baffling.

Barnes wrote the paper review immediately after the gig, then crafted a more sophisticated piece for RS in April.

Thanks, Daryl for the review.
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:26 pm

Were any more of Elvis' gigs reviewed in Rolling Stone during the 70s?

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:33 pm

Yes there were several. David Dalton wrote about Elvis' 1969 engagement in Vegas in I believe late '69 or early Vegas. Jon Landau wrote a piece about Elvis in Boston in 1971. That piece, one of the most famous pieces written about Elvis at that time, was reprinted in Rolling Stone's 1977 memorial issue. I also believe that there a review of the Aloha concert.

I'm pretty sure the review of the MSG gig was simply a record review as was the review of the Memphis show in 1974.

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:18 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:Nice connection, but the reality is hardly baffling. Barnes wrote the paper review immediately after the gig, crafte a n=more sophisticted piece for RS in April.

Thanks, Daryl for the review.


Cool - 2 reviews :smt001

Interesting how the newspaper review morphed via several layers of pretension and cliche into the Rolling Stone article.

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:19 pm

Hey, Reddy..how are ya,..mein Freund...?.... :smt006

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:40 pm

Tickets went on sale at the auditoriums box office on February 29 ..within 7 hours the show was sold out..the only announcement was made on radio 24 hours earlier..

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Fri Sep 11, 2009 7:48 pm

Ciscoking wrote:Hey, Reddy..how are ya,..mein Freund...?.... :smt006


I am good, thanks. Been at one of those halfway houses for ex-cons, but now they let me out on parole with internet access :mrgreen:

But I must be good from now on.

I heard that there was a Rolling Stone review from 1976 and I just could not stay away!

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:27 pm

Scott Hayward wrote:Were any more of Elvis' gigs reviewed in Rolling Stone during the 70s?

The spot-on 1976 piece may have been the last.


BigredG wrote:Interesting how the newspaper review morphed via several layers of pretension and cliche into the Rolling Stone article.

There is neither pretension nor cliché in the Rolling Stone review.

Honesty abounds.

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:08 am

drjohncarpenter wrote: There is neither pretension nor cliché in the Rolling Stone review.

Honesty abounds.


For those hard of understanding, here are the top five examples of pretension and cliche:

“Elvis Presley wraps himself in the power of other people “

“the whole human calliope was going full boil”

“With the teasing elegance of a stripper in a room full of neck fetishists”

“Elvis twitched his ass to the beat and the crowd went bonkers.”

“He closed with "Funny How Time Slips Away" -- yes, isn't it”

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:26 am

BigredG wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote: There is neither pretension nor cliché in the Rolling Stone review.

Honesty abounds.


For those hard of understanding, here are the top five examples of pretension and cliche:

“Elvis Presley wraps himself in the power of other people “

“the whole human calliope was going full boil”

“With the teasing elegance of a stripper in a room full of neck fetishists”

“Elvis twitched his ass to the beat and the crowd went bonkers.”

“He closed with "Funny How Time Slips Away" -- yes, isn't it”

Sadly, some of them are spot-on observations of Elvis' 1976 live work.

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:09 am

The stuff said couldv'e been written for Elvis in 1957. Just as then,

they often notice the specticle that was Elvis, but rarely do they even mention the music.

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:27 am

This is interesting to read-thanks. footage AND audio albeit poor sound is available for this St Louis gig.His doctor is on record as saying Elvis was more over-medicated for this show than for any other this tour. He doersn't look that over-medicated and the show IS rather short. Most people iv'e talked too don't rate this show as one of the best of the short tour. Most prefer the first show in Johnson City and his 3rd show their as well as the Cincinatti Evening show we have VERY,VERY good audio for.I feel that the opening 17/3/76 show was sung straightest/best and for that reason long for a forthcoming soundboard representation of that show!~ :roll:

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:20 pm

YDKM wrote:His doctor is on record as saying Elvis was more over-medicated for this show than for any other this tour.

Where did Dr. Nichopoulos say this?

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:13 am

i'm scratching myself to find when/where he said this but i read this with good authority somewhere!...now where WAS that? :?

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:44 am

Hello,

In the Revelations Of The Memphis Mafia book, they mention a show in St. Louis that afterwards Elvis nearly overdosed. In the book they state that it took place after the show in 1973. It is my understanding however that the person who said this in the book is mistaken and that Elvis nearly overdosed after this show in 1976.

Reading Harper Barnes' review in Rolling Stone brings up three points. The comment he makes about the crowd going bonkers while Elvis was shaking his ass during "Hound Dog" makes me think off the top of my head to the performance in "Elvis In Concert" from 15 months later. Harper Barnes says to effect that Elvis turned on his heel as he exited the stage. These two comments make me think that he was describing "Elvis In Concert." He also comments about how it had become more of a ritual to go and see Elvis in concert than the actual concert itself. Someone once said to me about Elvis and his Las Vegas engagements that the people came to the "mountain" so to speak to see him perform and really, Elvis didn't need to perform outside the U.S. from 1969 - 1977. Sad but true in many regards. Artistically, it was stifling.

Daryl

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:57 pm

Interesting review and thanks for the thread, gents.

There's an awful lot of truth to what the RS writer saying but then I also see what Big Red is talking about. There's long been a dismissiveness in the baby boomer-oriented ROLLING STONE about '50s acts (rock or otherwise, performing well or not) as no doubt LTB might tell you.

As much as I enjoyed the review, there's something about that generation writing about Elvis that was itself larded on with its own biases. As an aside, if not quite proof, I still remember being a young schoolboy in the '70s and having a Beatle-loving, art teacher (she literally taught us how to tie-dye t-shirts) play us only Beatles records as we made our "art" She bad-mouthed Elvis when I mentioned him as a favorite of mine. So much for "open-mindedness." I put my head down and felt like crying. .... :| :(

Oh well! :lol:

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:59 pm

Daryl wrote:In the Revelations Of The Memphis Mafia book, they mention a show in St. Louis that afterwards Elvis nearly overdosed. In the book they state that it took place after the show in 1973. It is my understanding however that the person who said this in the book is mistaken and that Elvis nearly overdosed after this show in 1976.

Where did you rad about the mistaken date? St. Louis in June 1973 makes more sense, as he was in really bad way at that time.

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:14 am

Well Carless Love makes it seem like an incident happened twice both times in St. Louis. 73 and 76. Problem is that It sounds really like the same event is being described.

I personally doubt the 1973 date only because of how dynamic Elvis was on that tour. A number of people at the 1973 show say it was THE best concert they ever went to. So at the very least we know he was more then fine at the show. I don't recall any problems with the rest of the June tour and he continued to get great reviews. Again I have no way of knowing exactly what happened or when it did as all we have heard is a story about a problem in St. Louis. Going by what I have learned from people who attended the 1973 tour, by audio tapes, by newspaper reviews, I don't think it happened then.

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:16 am

Some people consider the 1973 summer tour one of the best ever that Elvis gave. In particular, the St. Louis show was phenomenal as was the shows afterwards. Looking at the 1976 St. Louis show, being at the end of a tour, it makes more sense logically for Elvis to overindulge in the drugs at the end of a tour when he knew he didn't have to go on stage the next night. By most accounts the same thing happened in January 1973 after the Aloha show.

Daryl

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:34 am

Nice detective work, gents. It doesn't take long for mistakes to be repeated over and over, even by people who met him. It can be especially hard to say to such an authority that their comments don't gibe. It's better to work around it. Years later, who can remember (even a reviewer) that watching, say, that fall '77 CBS telecast can shape memories..? I've had at least one person confuse aspects of ALOHA with what they saw in person at the Boston Garden!

'71 or '73 and '76 can seem blend together given the passage of time ...especially among the casual observers...

Re: Elvis in St. Louis, March 1976: Reviewed by "Rolling Stone"

Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:28 am

Mike Eder wrote:Well Carless Love makes it seem like an incident happened twice both times in St. Louis. 73 and 76. Problem is that It sounds really like the same event is being described.

Where in Careless Love is St. Louis 1976 mentioned as a time when Elvis nearly overdosed?

The known testimony points to June 1973, cited by lackey James Caughley in Thompson II and Cole's The Death Of Elvis: What Really Happened.

"The last nine months with Elvis [1973], we had three ODs; it was unbelievable." ... Vernon Presley, who from other accounts had kept his distance from his son's drug problems, witnessed some of these overdoses, Caughley said, including a near-fatal one in St. Louis.

- The Death of Elvis, p. 323-324


Presley's June 1973 performances were hardly considered great by all. Esteemed New York Times critic John Rockwell described his appearance at Nassau as "fat, lazy and ineffectual."

Elvis' Stax sessions in July 1973 showed a depressed star whose pallor was "yellow," according to one of the musicians. In October 1973 he was rushed from Graceland as nearly DOA from an abuse of Demerol (meperidine), a narcotic pain medicine.

If someone has factual data regarding St. Louis in 1976, please do share it. Otherwise, the (sad) evidence is clear.