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CONCERT DATE: May 25 1977 (8:30 pm). Rochester NY.

A Virtual Sellout Greets Elvis as the King Returns to Town
by Jack Garner
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
May 26, 1977

There was a moment there when old Elvis almost cut loose. Yes sir, midway through his performance at the War Memorial last night, some great rock songs began to fly. The show opened in standard fashion and before a standard virtual sellout. (Just 33 seats short of total.)

J.D.Sumner and the Stamps sang a few gospel tunes, showcasing Sumner's rumbling low bass; The Sweet Inspirations did some sweet inspiring; and the comic had some new laughs and some old laughs- After the intermission, came Elvis' opening trademark - the theme from "2001". (Yeah, I know, it's piece of classical music, too, but we're dealing with Elvis here.)

Then came three songs in the same sequence as I've heard them two other times in the last three years - C.C.Rider, I Got a Woman and his old ballad Love Me. His voice was a lot stronger than it was here 10 months ago, however. He dipped confidently into the lower baritone ranges and sprang powerfully into the strong sections of the songs.

Elvis, 43, wore what looked like the same gold-trimmed white jumpsuit he had here last year and looked about the same in weight (which is too much, but what the heck.) He continued working through some newer country and gospel-flavoured tunes. The came a big, too-fast, loud and splashy Jailhouse Rock with the background voices and "Hot Hilton Horns" both working hard. Still standard.

Then Elvis introduced one of the background singers with an Irish tenor voice who sang a verse of O Sole Mio which Elvis converted into his old hit It's Now Or Never. Aha, the first new tune in the recent repertoire. And then, things started to happen. Elvis sang a rollicking and rocking Little Sister, one of the better tunes from his middle period and a song I've never known him to do in concert. Next came a medley of two early classics Teddy Bear and the great Don't Be Cruel. Hot dog, Elvis is going to get goin' tonight!

A superb rock ballad from his Sun Record days - Trying to Get to You - was next and it fit right in. And then, he let the moment go. He introduced the Italian-Irish tenor again to sing Danny Boy and a gospel tune and the momentum went right out the door and down the Genesee River. There was one more brief moment - a strong reading of One Night - and that was it.

He went from that great blues ballad to a nothin' new version of My Way, for which he actually had to read the words on a sheet of paper. He's got hundreds of great songs from his career in his head and he's reading a Sinatra song! He'd done 45 minutes by now and devoted almost all the last 15 minutes of his set to introducing his vast entourage, including ol' Charlie Hodge, who gives Elvis his water and scarves on stage.

Then came a perfunctory Hound Dog and a weak Can't Help Falling in Love which he laughed through. The crowd knows that means it's the end so the rush was on for one last touch, a look, anything to spark once more that incredible feeling they have for this one-time Memphis truck driver. And then he was gone

Courtesy of Scott Hayward