you're reading...
1972, Elvis Presley, Madison Square Garden, New York City

The New York Times Reviews Elvis at Madison Square Garden, NYC, June 9, 1972

Presley Draws 2 Generations of Fans

by Grace Lichtenstein
New York Times
Saturday, June 10, 1972

In mink and in denim, in bleached blond bouffant and in shoulder-length shags, the fans of 37-year-old Elvis Presley flocked to Madison Square Garden last night to see the first live concert ever given in New York by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

In many ways the event was like a mother and child reunion.

When Elvis the Pelvis, as he called in his heydey, gyrated, television cameras blipped him at the waist 16 years ago, and parents tried to stop their daughters from viewing the sensual roll of his hips.

Now, 400-million records and a generation later, some of those fans of the 1950’s brought their own daughters to see the man their mothers had warned them against.

“We had different values in those days,” explained Mrs. Eleanor Glick, who proudly accompanied her 16-years-old daughter, Toby.

Last night’s performance was the first of four Mr. Presley is scheduled to give this weekend. The audience that filed into the Garden seemed composed of equal parts of the old Elvis fans and the new.

“I waited 16 years for this,” Mrs. Olga Vaiga, 39, of West Islip, L., I., said as she waved an Elvis pennant.”

“I have every record he ever made. I like Tom Jones, too, but we have a saying in our house -Tom Jones is Jesus Christ, but Elvis God almighty,” Mrs. Veiga said.”

“Mrs. Veiga was accompanied by her two long-haired sons, Rudy, 16, and Augie, 19. “I’ve listened to him all my life,” said Augie, “I think my mother was pregnant with me when I first heard ‘Teddy Bear.'”

“As far as today’s rock ‘n’ roll goes, where would we be without him?” he asked rhetorically.”

A half-dozen 15-year-olds from Brookville, L.I., led by Sinde Israel, obviously couldn’t agree more. “Last year I fell in love with him,” confided Sinde, who was wearing a polo shirt and bell-bottom dungarees. “He was different. He puts feeling into his songs. Like the Rolling Stones, they’re full of music. There’s no feeling.”

It seemed as if all the women at the concert had their own private reasons for coming.

“I’m 29 years old and this has been my fantasy since I was 13. My psychiatrist said ‘Go, get it out of your system’,” Kathleen Crumish of Manhattan said without a hint of embarrassment.

On stage in his white sequined jumpsuit, and cape, Mr. Presley did not disappoint his squealing admirers, one of whom leaped out of the loge onto the stage after he had tossed her his gold scarf.

With an orchestra, rock band and two vocal groups behind him, he swiveled his way through such classics as “Hound Dog,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Blue Suede Shoes,” as well as more current songs such as “Proud Mary” and “Bridge Troubled Water.”

The climax was a medley of “All My Trials,” “Dixie,” and “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic.”

At a press conference earlier in the day, Mr Presley-lean, tanned and greasily handsome, his coal-black hair glistening with an oil 1950’s sheen-was asked for the secret of his longevity on the pop music scene. “I take Vitamin E,” he said, smiling.

But whatever the secret of his appeal through two rock ‘n’ roll generations, some things don’t change.

Talking about her favorite Presley numbers, Sinde Israel gurgled, “Ooooo, I love the way he sings Love Me Tender… It just sends me.” And then she added, “My parents think I’m crazy.”

Watch Elvis Presley perform “An American Trilogy,” Greensboro, NC, April 14, 1972. “Elvis wore the Owl Fireworks suit,” one observer noted.


About markwalston

Writer, historian, creative director, poet, playwright, author of nine books and nearly 200 essays and articles exploring a broad range of American social, cultural and historical topics.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: