The King

Published 8:41 am Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I had dreamed of this moment since childhood, and it was finally happening! The auditorium teemed with people waiting for Elvis, the king of rock and roll, live at LSU Assembly Center. My BFF and her mom, who was always ready for some fun, had made the drive over and couldn’t wait for Elvis to hit the stage!

Barkers selling every kind of Elvis memorabilia imaginable covered the areas where people milled about waiting to go in to their seats. My budget wouldn’t allow me to buy a souvenir since the tickets were a little pricey. I was just glad to have the opportunity to make the concert.

The opening band was OK. I clapped at the appropriate time as did the rest of the concertgoers, but after a while we were all getting antsy. Enough of the opening band, we are here to see “The King,” I thought.

After what seemed an eternity a spokesperson for Elvis came on stage and announced that he was ill and wouldn’t be able to perform. What a letdown after we had waited for so long. Our spirits deflated like a day-old balloon. Anne, Martha Nell and I discussed our disappointment over burgers but decided not to be deterred.

When Elvis rescheduled his tour, we would be found sitting in the audience again. I had always wanted to see him in concert, and I didn’t want to miss my chance. Before long the concert’s make-up date was announced, and this time the King did indeed appear.

His beautiful voice was still beautiful, but anyone could see he was not well. I, along with my friends, were among the last few to see our beloved Elvis on stage. The fast, unhealthy lifestyle and drugs had taken their toll. As we left the concert my heart hurt for Elvis.

It wasn’t long before the end. The news media frenzy that ensued brought Elvis and his inner circle’s strange lifestyle and activities into our homes via radio and television. How sad that such a loving and talented man spiraled downward and left an adoring public much too soon.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at