A middle-aged ex-truck driver from Memphis, Tenn., last night drew a throbbing, screaming mob of some 20.000 to Louisville's Freedom Hall, which - of course - was the largest mob to inhabit that spacious edifice since the last time he was in town. When he finally came on stage, with his hand playing the theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey," his familiar wide shouldered, slim-hipped body was draped with this incredible outfit - the style was sort of what you might call "Early Aztec Buck Rogers" - with blue sequined peacocks on front and back and peacock feathers on the flared trousers.
And then, for some 45 minutes with flashbulbs popping like fireflies in the darkened auditorium, while strobe lights flashed with machine-gun rapidity, while graying grandmothers and halter-topped teeny boppers stood side-by-side and screamed out their ever-livin' lungs, Elvis Presley took everyone on a trip through time and space, a journey from reality to yesterday to fantasyland and back home again. He stood up there wiggled and waggled, postured and pouted, snarled and snapped. Alternately cruel and caressing, and always laughing - at himself, at his band, mostly at the audience - Elvis proved once again that he still is the only man alive who can bring thousands of women to their knees by standing on his right foot and wiggling his left foot in the air.
The Presley show last night was superb, if you like Presley, although perhaps not worth the $100-$175 that some scalpers reportedly were asking for tickets. The crowd got what it came for - especially the lucky women who latched onto the the multi-colored autographed scarfs that Elvis continually wrapped around his sweaty neck before bestowing them on members of the audience. Everybody on leaving, seemed to be in a happy, contented mood. The entertainment was so captivating, in fact, that it almost made you forget the slick, high-pressure hard-sell that proceeded it. On the way into the auditorium, before the show, at intermission and after it was all over, hawkers were all over the place, pushing everything from the Giant Elvis Photo Album ($3) to Elvis opera glasses ($9) to Elvis buttons ($1). And for the unfortunate majority unable to get close enough to the stage, management thoughtfully provided Super-Sized Elvis Autographed Scarves for a mere $5. Presumably, these scarves were not pre-dipped in Elvis sweat. But, then, who's to know the difference?