A concert review I wrote a few years ago:
May 1977, Elvis health is fastly declining. So far 1977 has been up and down with good concerts at the first tour, lesser concerts during the second one and, again, some very good ones during the third one. It’s the 7th day of his May tour when Elvis arrives in Binghamton, New York for performing two shows in two days. So far the tour has been kind of weak. The shows are short and the set-list is almost the same every show. During the May 25th concert he gave however some satisfying performances of One Night and My Way.
On this Thursday evening 7.125 fans are getting ready to see Elvis perform. First they got to see the Stamps and the Sweets perform their opening acts followed by an intermission. After the intermission Jackie Kahane got on stage and did his (comedy) part for the show. After he had left the stage there was an intermission of about 25 minutes. ..then the lights dimm and the 2001 Theme is set in. The excitement grows as the music gets louder and a spot is dancing around the stage then there’s the, famous, one second gab and Ronnie starts to bang his drums and is joined by the rest of the TCB band for the opening vamp…flashbulbs are lighting the place as Elvis enters the stage from the right site. He’s wearing his Sundial Suit and does look quite good tonight. As the band plays on he walks to both sides of the stage. After getting his guitar from Charlie Hodge he walks to the microphone and grabs it and goes of with See See Rider. He sounds strong and energetic. The song is highlighted by some brilliant guitar playing from James Burton. A fine performance indeed.
Bursts of screams are heard trough out the Well Well routine that proceeds the I Got A Woman – Amen medley. Elvis sounds very “up” for it tonight. I Got A Woman is strongly performed. So far, Elvis is heaving a good time on stage. He sounds very convincing during Amen and spurs the band on with comments like “play it”. After Amen has finished and the guitar has been thrown to Charlie its time for the “welcome” speech. Love is the next song, as usual. But, it’s a very pleasant version tonight with good, committed, vocals of Elvis and the ending is powerful. “Thank you, you’re a good audience! This next song was recorded by Olivia Newton John and is called If You Love Me, Let Me Know and if you don’t, move it…” This is very good version of this classic. Elvis voice is strong and clear and the band is playing fantastic. Its wonderful to hear Elvis accentuate some words of the song, just like he did in the summer of ´75. Its one of the finest versions ive ever heard him do. It sounds like he is moving quite a bit during the song. The movements he makes are very similar as the ones to Walk A Mile In My Shoes back in 1970. Elvis receives a great applause after the song. The crowd is very enthusiastic and warm towards Elvis as was mostly the case in the smaller venues he played. You Gave Me A Mountain is next on the list and he receives some applause before he has even has sung a word. The version that follows is fantastic. It seems that this audience is going to view one of the better performances tonight. James guitar playing is fresh and very audible. Elvis’s voice and confidence are growing during the song and it must have been an impressive sight to see him perform this song that night. A small ovation is his reward. As usual Jailhouse Rock follows Mountain and it’s a fine performance. Nothing near the 71 versions but quite enjoyable. Next Elvis introduces Its Now Or Never to the audience. Its being proceeded by the Italian version, O Sole Mio, sung by Sherrill Nielssen to the delight of the audience. Elvis version Of Its Now Or Never is nothing less than impressive. After Now Or Never Elvis performs one the few early sixties songs he did in the 70´s: Little Sister. Why he never sang more of this material is known only to him, but live performances of Good Luck Charm, His Latest Flame or Blue River for instance would have been a great addition to the live repertoire. A standard, rushed, version of the Teddy Bear – Don’t Be Cruel medley is performed next. Its very clear that Elvis is bored to death with it. But still he manages to throw a funny lyric chance during Don’t Be Cruel. “ What do you want to hear folks?”..” We did a song in an album ..And I Love You So”. As always Elvis delivers a warm, breathtaking version of this song he recorded in March 1975. Although he sounds a bit shaky on some parts of the lyrics it’s a very good performance. Kathy really shines on her “high voice” parts.
When some fans near the stage are yelling out some requests, Elvis replies with “ Do What??” and decides to do Why Me Lord?. This turns out to be the very last live performance of this great gospel song, a favourite of Elvis. On this version Elvis, as usual, tries to make JD laugh and succeeds in doing that. A worthy last version. Before the Band Intros Elvis rocks the house with Polk Salad Annie….how good those late 70´s versions may be, they never reached the incredible height he reached during the early 70´s. Elvis sings very strong and the body movements are really evident. As mentioned before, James guitar playing is quite brilliant this particular performance.
The Band Intros are not as dragging as they could be during this period of Elvis’s career. James plays his usual solos (quite sad that Delta Lady was only played at a few late April concerts as this song was quite phenomenal to hear by James), Ronnie has a different solo than during 75/76, its quite fabulous. Tony Browns solo sounds fresh as he hits the piano.
After Hail Hail Rock ´n Roll its time for “one of our latest records” Hurt. It’s a fantastic version. Sweat drops from his face as he sings the lyrics to this very popular song. A strong version with one of the best endings ever. The audience gives him a great applause. A throwaway version of Hound Dog is next, quite fast paced during this concert.
Elvis mentions that he will be back for a show “tomorrow night” before Cant Help Falling In Love…..after the Closing Vamp there’s only one announcement left: Elvis has left the building.
This is a very good show, considering the poor health he was in and the kind of weakness that surrounded the tour. His voice was very strong and he was in a great mood. Surprisingly after giving a very good first half, he closes with the QCS after the intros. QCS stands for Quick Closing Syndrome. Just two songs followed the intros and that’s a bit sad and even the audience must have expected some more.
"How do I get placed in situations like this? Ah hell, I guess it's all part of showbusiness "~ Elvis in his limo on his way to perform in Omaha, NE on June 19th 1977