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Kisses, scarves and jumpsuits: Elvis’ final show in Dayton


In 1976, Elvis left the building.

That building was the University of Dayton Arena, and it was the final concert Elvis Presley performed in the Dayton region before he died less than a year later.

A crowd of 13,750 people “jammed into a frenzied state of spellbound anticipation,” at the Oct. 26, 1976 concert, according to a Dayton Daily News review written by Vince Staten.

The story described the entrance the “King of Rock and Roll” made this way:

“Out of the darkness came the opening strains of the “2001” theme and the screams from the lower arena seats near the portal. The entire audience leaned forward. There was magic in the air.

“And then he hit the spotlight.

“First the jet black hair. Then the white collar, turned up. And then the body, attired in a white jump-suit with an orange and gold sunburst on the back and front.

“It was all screams.”

Elvis flew into Dayton for the performance in the wee hours of the morning on a white Boeing 707 named “Lisa Marie,” according to Oct. 28, 1976 news story.

He was whisked into a limousine and driven to the Stouffer’s Dayton Plaza Hotel, now the Crowne Plaza. The freight elevator took him to the ninth floor, where a suite awaited. To ensure his security the entire floor was reserved for him.

The concert began with the song See See Rider and ended with I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.

In between a woman broke through the crowd and pleaded for a kiss, according to the news story, and both men and women rushed the stage when Elvis took off his first scarf and tossed it into the crowd.

A pair of women sparred over “scarf number 34.” After two minutes of tugging, the husband of one of the women took out his pocket knife and split it down the middle.

The first time Elvis performed in Dayton was May 27, 1956, at the University of Dayton Fieldhouse, just four months after he released Heartbreak Hotel, his first number one single.

A review in the Dayton Daily News described 3,000 “mostly teenagers” waiting for more than two hours for that show.

“Then, when he finally appeared, they screamed and shrieked all the way through his 30-minute performance so that it’s doubtful if anyone heard more than a couple of words from him, sung or spoken,” wrote the reviewer.

Between the first and final local concerts, Elvis stopped in the Miami Valley three other times. He performed Nov. 24, 1956 at Hobart Arena in Troy, April 7, 1972 at UD Arena and at two concerts (2:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) on Oct. 26, 1976 at UD Arena.

Elvis performed his final concert in Indianapolis on June 26, 1977. He died in Memphis Aug. 16, 1977.



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