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Home > Concerts Reviewed > 1977 > February 21, 1977 (8.30 pm) Charlotte, NC.
Concerts Reviewed - 1977
February 21, 1977 (8.30 pm) Charlotte, NC.
by The Clint
In 1977, Elvis Presley performed in over 55 shows before his final show on June 26, 1977. Of all those shows, many believe his most tolerable was the first tour. This was indeed true, where Elvis seemed to carry the some of the end-1976 fire. However, by February 21 of 1977, this had all changed. Having done some rocking concerts on Feb 12, 14, 16 (maybe others, haven't heard them all), the 21st was indeed a weak closer to what was a above average 1977 tour.
As with the review of April 22, 1977, this concert has been spliced together by me from an audience recording (A RIOT IN CHARRLOTTE) and a soundboard (MOODY BLUE AND OTHER PREFORMANCES). 2001 Theme does its usual gusto and the opening rift begins. The rift itself is rocking and on, but when Elvis hits the mike it reminds you of a mixture of July 5 and August 31, 1976 - with the latter being stronger. Elvis sounds very tired and dragging from the very first note. It is not a bad version of See See Rider, but I have heard better in later tours. Once the song is over Elvis sings, "Here we go again" which gets laughs from that audience - but a listener with a clear hear Elvis almost out of it and tired. Elvis does joke around but it really seems distant from everybody else. Elvis really sounds like he doesn't want to be there. I GOT A WOMAN begins as an average 1977 version and does pretty well. AMEN is pretty good too and the rift is pretty decent.
Elvis decides to play guitar on this closer and tells the audience he "only knows three cords". A woman jokes to him "that's about it.' Elvis responds to her "That's about it" and she laughs. Elvis proceeds to begin ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT as a male fan screams RECONSIDER BABY. We splice into the soundboard as the song begins. Elvis does a false start of ARE YOU SINCERE and then proceeds to mess some lines and a classic moment with the Sweet Inspirations involving the words. Elvis then tries it again, Elvis sounds very tired - but this slow ballad actually is good for Elvis. The spoken words on this version is as bad as June 21, 1977 - although the "gay routine" was in full effect here which saves this version a little bit since it was comedy.
Elvis then probably remembers the fan, which screamed out RECONSIDER BABY, who sounds ironically like the same man in Pittsburgh who said Elvis was the best in the world. I won't say this version matches the Dec. 31 version, but Elvis seems to gain an energy singing these old blues songs. Elvis' vocal is nice and strong and James Burton's solo is rocking the house down.
Hey after one fair version of ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT and a great rocking version of RECONSIDER BABY, Elvis goes into first record routine and proceeds to begin THAT'S ALL RIGHT. A few fans interact with Elvis about his "shaky leg". Elvis proceeds to start THAT'S ALL RIGHT and goes "Woah is this thing tuned?" Elvis then jokes about the guitar not tuned. Funny he didn't notice until now! Elvis finally gives up and probably misses a good chance for a third good song of the night.
LOVE ME follows. Elvis is still up at this point so the version is pretty good. He ends it with a good high note! Elvis did proceeds to try MOODY BLUE because it had been requested in Charlotte the night before. The audience recording I listened to has a female fan respond "PLEASE TRY" after Elvis said, "If we goof this up, please forgive us!" MOODY BLUE was done for the first and the last time live and complete. Elvis is not in the best voice, but the version starts out pretty good. During the verse parts Elvis gets very weak, but the strength returns during the second verse. For the only live version and for 1977 this song really does rock. It was just rare to hear Elvis do one of his "latest records" when he was always calling HURT his "latest record" up until his last show. YOU GAVE A MOUNTAIN follows, and Elvis begins to regain his voice for this fantastic song. However, during the first refrain Elvis starts laughing and goofing off. So much for this being a clean version. The goofing only lasts a few seconds, and remains good until Elvis jokes "You gave ma guitar, this time". Elvis must still been pissed at his out of tuned guitar or something. The rest of the song features some good high notes and it sounds clear enough. Let me just say, I've heard worse in 1976 and later 77.
As usual, JAILHOUSE ROCK occurs and after waiting 30 seconds for Elvis to start - I wished he hadn't. This version really is bad. Elvis' weak voice and slurring of the words and trying to rush this number is sad. Back in late 76 he was able to keep up with a FAST version of JAILHOUSE ROCK - Elvis even adds some length to it, meaning he was having fun - but it sounded real bad. Elvis decides he wants to "do a melody of a few records" but changes his mind real quick to do his 1977 ITS NOW OR NEVER routine. Sherril Neilson does his usual thing, which to me is not that bad. "Smartalec" Elvis mumbles to himself as Sherril does his weird high opera singing. After a good laugh, Elvis sings a pretty good version of the song. You can hear the trumpets screeching with delight on this song!
Now the melodies begin with LITTLE SISTER. Elvis does stop to interact and do a weak parody of his "over there" routine. He sounds real disinterested with the whole thing, as he begins to sing. Elvis sounds very weak, slurry and almost completely disinterested with this song. A little clowning is heard in the song, but I can't tell if it is with the audience or himself. The TEDDY BEAR/DON'T BE CRUEL routine follows where Elvis seems to get semi-strong vocally again. He is weak in places, but it is a whole lot better than his LITTLE SISTER. The ending, however, is very weak.
Elvis decides he wants to do MY WAY, but jokes "he doesn't know it". Is he joking or not? Nobody knows for sure if he was joking with himself, or if he really didn't know the words. I guess it depended on the day. Like I said earlier, when Elvis was singing slow ballads he did usually a good job. Then again, MY WAY has always been a high point when Elvis sang it in late 1976 and all of 1977. These versions seem better than his attempts in 1972-1973. Even with this voice of his on this date, he can not hit a bad note on this version as far as I'm concerned. He does have a few flaws in notes at the first refrain, but mostly he had done a good job. An old song Elvis introduced in Vegas in Feb. 1970 (RELEASE ME). Again, if you want Feb. 1970 forget it. It is good for the time period, but I think he probably did a better version on June 26, 1977. Its not perfect, and it doesn't sound that good, but it was very passable.
"I would like to introduce the members of my troop (TRUPE?)" as we return to the audience recording. Not fun to listen to as Elvis introduces "J.D. Stamps and the Summer QUARRTTE." The tape cuts out for a few minutes and we begin to enter EARLY MORNING RAIN. Nice intro by John Wilkinson, and Elvis starts the song very strong. This is your usual two verse only version, but it is a very good two verse only version. James Burton follows with WHAT'D I SAY, and Elvis doesn't even sing for the first 23 seconds and then when he does start it is very silent. JOHNNY B. GOODE happens next, and again Elvis seems rushed. Elvis has done versions before and after this which sound better - but he has done much worse too.
Elvis decides to allow James to give them a treat and orders up a good serving of CHICKEN PICKIN. Nice little Guitar lead rift by one of the great masters of guitar. This was again another unusual thing, although it wasn't an Elvis thing. The RONNIE TUTT drum solo is next, and it seems it was one of the first time the BO DIDDLEY type rock beat is used to start his drum solo. JERRY SCHEFF does his bass solo next and if you've heard any version from late 1976 - you've heard this one. Elvis sings during it. It's usual, with Burton ending it. Tony Brown does his 1976 type solo, again nothing special.
What happens next has to be the worst moment in Elvis history. He introduces Miss Tennessee, Terri Alden and tells her to play piano. She starts playing piano and my ears begin to bleed. You have to be on drugs to enjoy that garbage. Oh wait a minute, HE WAS ON DRUGS! Either that, or Terri must have given him a good BJ or something, because that was terrible. Is it me, or do you think Elvis would rather had Terri over Ginger?
LOVE LETTERS follow and I believe this might have been the last time he did this, as this was David Briggs final time playing with Elvis on tour. As usual, it is a great version and it's a shame that this was not recorded on soundboard. If he does sing LOVE LETTERS again, it was without David Briggs. Again great version followed by a hapless HAIL, HAIL ROCK AND ROLL.
Elvis goes into his "latest records" but corrects himself and goes "last record" and says HURT. Not a bad version, but Elvis' sounds very hollow and weak at a few points. He finishes it off pretty good though, and therefore it's a okay version. Elvis then request J.D. and the stamps to do WHY ME LORD, which is done in a higher key. This goes on until the second verse. Elvis made an attempt at that key, but he stops real quick and then goes "wrong key fellas." Once again the great Tony Brown F's up and quickly fixes it. Elvis then proceeds to his "southern black mama" voice and jokes with J.D. for the rest of the song. He cracks up J.D. with some great one-liners and proceeds to sing the refrain as serious as possible. Strange isn't it? Call this up as another throw away of what once was a good song. Elvis then quickly ends the show and goes "Wise men know, when its time, time to go" and finishes off a lukewarm CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE and then the closing rift occurs.
This show was not a bad show the time, but it was not a good show for that particular tour. The show was very weak, but it wrapped up pretty much the last good tour Elvis Presley actually did as a whole. RECONSIDER BABY, MOODY BLUE and RELEASE ME makes this a good concert for rare songs, but only the best of the three was RECONSIDER BABY. It was said after this show, Ed Parker recommended that Elvis go to Hawaii for a vacation. I wished he had stayed there, because it only got worse and within six months, he was dead. "Wise men know when its time, time to go?" - does that mean death, or did he really want to retire?