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CONCERT DATE: November 25, 1976. Eugene, OR.
by Fred Crafts
November 26, 1976
"People are absolutely nuts about him," said a shivering vendor hawking Elvis Presley Super-Souvenir Programs in front of McArthur Court Thursday night.
"They can't get enough of The King."
The sidewalk merchant was being mobbed by some of the 10,000 people who jammed the University of Oregon's basketball pavilion to hear America's greatest pop idol and maybe carry away a snapshot, a $3 program or even one of his scarves or kisses.
It was an evening to remember, all of it - the good, the bad and the ungodly.
Presley alone among pop stars can generate the kind of electricity from such a wide range of followers as were present in McArthur Court Thursday night. All seemed to come away convinced the 41 years old singer is still the same prancing, prowling, leering sex machine he was when he revolutionized music 30 years ago, even though he's packaged a little slicker now (and is a little thicker around the middle)
Presley, dazzling ina while jump suit plastered with rhinestones and draped with blue rainbows, is still the great original, a universal hero, a symbol. That's reassuring, especially to those Children of the Fifties who believe that Presley is where pop begins and ends.
In short, Presley is a living legend - and everything he does preserves and maybe even enhances that legend. He is a spectacular performer and his fans scream their approval.
Yet, Presley remains an enigma creating a reputation as a mystery man much like the late Howard Hughes.
He slipped into Eugene from Reno, Nev, on his private Convair 880 jetliner at about 1 am. Thursday was whisked in a rented limousine to his top floor quarters at the Valley River Inn and went to bed soon afterwards.
Thanksgiving Day, his aides say, was spent resting, talking with people in the 80-member touring comany and watching football on television. While others were dining on turkey and pumpkin pie. Presley was downing a hamburger with mashed potatoes and gravy.
Security around him is so tight that a bellboy delivered the meal in one room only to have a bodyguard carry the food to a secret room where Presley was staying. Presley's arrival for the concert was also a cloak and dagger act that saw him spirited to and from the concert scene in a limousine full of bodyguards
No one is saying precisely what Presley will be doing the remainder of his stay in Eugene, although it is known he will fly to Portland in time for a concert tonight, perhaps spend the night there, then return to Eugene for a second sold-out performance Saturday.
Courtesy of Francesc Lopez