‘I was at Elvis Presley’s final concert, it’s like he knew it would be his last’

By Staff

Elvis Presley died unexpectedly on August 16, 1977 at his Graceland estate at the age of 42 – but many fans remember his final performance as if it were yesterday

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“We’ll meet you again, God bless, adios” Elvis’ last performance

Elvis Presley’ s death in August 1977 shocked the world – as fans came together to mourn the loss of the King of Rock and Roll. Between 1974 and 1976, the star performed almost 400 concerts but by his final months, he looked a shadow of himself, suffering from liver damage, glaucoma, an enlarged colon, and high blood pressure.

It was during his 1977 tour that his manager Colonel Tom Parker organised what would become his third and final TV special. But while many consider CBS’s show Elvis in Concert to be his last performance, it was actually at Market Square Arena, Indianapolis where he took the the stage for the final time, on June 26, 1977.

CBS recorded two of his concerts for their TV special in Omaha on June 19 and Rapid City on June 21 before releasing the live album in October. One fan, who claims to have been in the audience on June 26, 1977, has recalled her thoughts on Elvis and what would become his final performance.

On YouTube, she said: “I attended the last show. It was unusual for him to introduce so many people right before his last song. I had never seen that before and I had seen a total of 24 shows altogether. I miss him so very much. He was an awesome entertainer.” Another fan said: “My mum and dad surprised us with tickets and we got to see that last concert. We were young, but I will never forget it.”

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One more fan, who missed out on seeing the King, said: “He was scheduled to perform in Portland, Maine, on the night of his death. He had never been to Maine before and all you heard for months every night was the news ‘Elvis is coming! Elvis is coming!’. I was in Portland that day and when the news of his death was announced, it was like the world was about to end.”

However, some fans believe Elvis knew his days were numbered, and was trying to send ‘messages’ through his song choices on stage. A video from GrungeHQ claims: “What confused some people [at his final concert], though, was that Elvis took a portion of the show to introduce everyone from his life and from the stage.

“The moment came toward the end of the night just before his closing performance of Can’t Help Falling In Love With You. Many would later wonder if this was because Elvis knew somewhere deep down that he would never play again and wanted to shout out all of those who had made his career possible.

“Equally cryptic for some were the parting words the King said as he left the stage. ‘We’ll meet you again. May God bless you. Adios’.” However, not everyone believes these claims, saying Elvis always introduced those on stage with him to the audience.

Months before his death, around Christmas 1976, his girlfriend of four years Linda Thompson amicably broke up with him, wanting a normal life away from his hectic celebrity lifestyle. When appearing in the 2017 documentary film The King, Memphis Mafia member Jerry Schilling said: “I saw the CBS special and I called The Colonel and I said, ‘How could you let him be filmed looking like that?’”

Linda shared: “I just remember standing and looking at the television set and thinking, ‘Oh my god, this is not even the same man that I said goodbye to eight months ago. It was horrifying to me to watch.” However, just as Elvis Presley Enterprises said in their statement, there were incredible scenes of The King performing well despite his increasing ailments which would soon lead to his death at just 42 years old.

His ex-girlfriend added: “But the power that he had on Unchained Melody that night was just gut-wrenching.” Elvis’ pianist Tony Brown said: “That song brings him pain for some reason, I don’t know why it does but, it was like the greatest performance he’d ever done.”

In the documentary film, Elvis: The Searcher, The King’s ex-wife Priscilla Presley said: “Those last shows were not the most memorable as far as performance. Sometimes he didn’t get through a song. I think the last year, he was pretty much over it. I don’t even know why he went on stage. They’re just hard to watch. Sometimes I think it was maybe better if they just cancelled the show.”

Elvis died unexpectedly on August 16, 1977, at his Graceland estate at the age of 42. It has been reported years of prescription drug abuse and unhealthy eating habits severely compromised his health, leading to his girlfriend Ginger Alden discovering him dead on the bathroom floor.

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