|`We're here to entertain you, and to make you happy. So just enjoy yourself, and leave the driving to us,' said Elvis to an adoring crowd in Rapid City, South Dakota on June 21, 1977. Elvis had been doing just that for over 20 years - entertaining his fans and making them happy.
What was to be Elvis' last concert tour began on June 17, 1977 in Springfield, Missouri. The June 19 appearance in Omaha, Nebraska was filmed for the CBS television special set to air that fall. Only three songs were used from the Omaha performance in the `Elvis In Concert' special, which was broadcast posthumously. `If you think I'm nervous,' Elvis said quietly on stage, `you're right.'
Many Elvis fans were interviewed on camera for `Elvis In Concert', which is not officially available on video. Perhaps the most genuine in his responses was a young African-American man who said, `Elvis deserves credit for bringing blues into rock and country. He's the first guy to ever do that, and I admire him for it. He has a lot of courage. He's my number one singer of all time. I hope to name my kid after him some day. I have about four of his gospel albums, and my favorite is ?How Great Thou Art.' It makes you feel good when he sings it. It brings tears to your eyes. I just love the guy. I know that sounds kinda weird, but I just love the guy and I wish him many years of success.'
CBS also filmed his concert in Rapid City on June 21. It was from this performance that most of the songs on `Elvis In Concert' were drawn. `If you haven't guessed by now, you're on television,' Elvis said with a characteristic grin to the audience. `Don't let the lights and cameras throw you, and try not to throw the lights and cameras if you can help it.'
`Elvis In Concert' was Elvis' first filmed production in four years after the blockbuster `Aloha From Hawaii' television special. The contrast in his appearance between the two shows is striking. `He was obviously way overweight,' said Elvis' friend Joe Esposito, a few years after Elvis' death. `Despite his age, only 42, we knew he was in bad health. It was tough for him, but Elvis accepted his appearance and so did his fans.'
Although he did look ill, that special Elvis smile was still there for his fans. The love and magic was still there. He was Elvis. Through all the ups and downs, the fans always loved him and still do.
Joe Esposito said it best, `Just six weeks before his death, he still poured his heart out. To the end, Elvis' greatest gift his incredible voice never failed him.'
This is an enjoyably show, which was unfortunately misunderstood because of Elvis' death. One of the best performances in this program was "I Really Don't Want To Know."
Be sure to check out Elvis mouthing the words "Smile, you're on Candid Camera" during a guitar solo early in the show. He may have been ill, he may have even been depressed, but he still put his all into that show...and he still managed to have fun one last time with his fans.
When all is said and done, after all the books have been written, and all the tales have been spun, the only question that will be important is ?What did Elvis do?' He made people happy. That was his life.|