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Adios, The final performances

A.J. Records CD 92-2002 (Released 1993)

2001 theme
C.C. rider
I got a woman/amen
Love me
Fairytale
You gave me a mountain
Jailhouse rock
It's now or never
Little sister
Teddy bear/don't be cruel
Please release me
I can't stop loving you
Bridge over troubled water
Early morning rain
What'd i say
Johnny b. goode
Ronnie Tutt drum solo
Jerry Scheff bass solo
Sonny Brown piano solo
I really don't want to know
Robert Ogdin piano solo
Joe Guercio orchestra solo
Hurt
Hound dog
Can't help falling in love
Closing vamp
(Live, Indianapolis, June 26, 1977)

The last farewell, the grand goodbye, this is Elvis Presley's last 71 minutes on a stage. One of the most influential and incredible performers of the 20th century sings his final nineteen songs for an adoring and supportive audience of 18,000 in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Market Square Arena, June 26, 1977. It's a sobering, melancholy experience.

The main June tour was a short nine day stretch that began in Springfield, Missouri and included the taping of the now-infamous 'Elvis In Concert' special for CBS-TV in Omaha, Nebraska and Rapid City, South Dakota. In Indianapolis, as on virtually any show he gave in 1977, Elvis sounds very tired -- frankly, he shouldn't have been performing at all, as the video evidence of the afore-mentioned TV special bears out. Comparing his efforts here to even the previous December shows how far the standard had fallen. In just seven weeks, Elvis Presley would die at his home in Memphis.

Perversely, 'Adios', given all the limitations just mentioned, is quite nice. The audience tape source (in stereo!) for this second escape, uh, release from Mystery Train is different from the one used for the original vinyl issue ('The Last Farewell') -- it's softer and fuller, the graciousness of the crowd more apparent. Indianapolis was very pleased to have Elvis in town that Sunday evening! And Elvis responds in kind. He pulls out spontaneous renditions of "Please Release Me" ("that was totally unrehearsed"), "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water", three numbers rarely given space in his set list in 1977 and generally charms everyone in the building. As usual most of the older numbers are trashed, while something like "I Really Don't Want To Know", short as it is, is delivered with skill and finesse. Even "Can't Help Falling In Love" is imbued with a warmth not found on other shows of the period.

Before leaving, he spends nearly four minutes thanking everyone associated with the tour, including his dad Vernon, cousins like Patsy Gambill ("she's as nutty as a fruitcake"), girlfriend Ginger Alden, even sound engineers Bill Porter and Bruce Jackson (who would take over concert sound for Bruce Springsteen, beginning with the amazing 'Darkness On The Edge Of Town' tour in 1978)! Some people have theorized that this meant Elvis "knew" the end was near, but it's more likely that Elvis wondered (and worried) what his reception on the next tour (scheduled to commence in Portland, Maine on August 17) would be like -- this was the last show he would do before the bodyguard tell-all book "Elvis: What Happened?" went into bookstores and tarnished his "clean" image.

Regrettably, Mystery Train truncates the outro vamp and announcer comments about a last chance to purchase an "Elvis Super Souvenir" before going home (it can be heard on 'The Last Farewell') -- it's as ironic a moment as the sequence in the 1977 TV Special where the frame transitions from a vendor counting money to an overweight, obviously unwell Elvis arriving backstage. A more apt summary of this sad ending to a brilliant career has not been witnessed.

For anyone wishing to possess a complete show from 1977, 'Adios' is more than adequate. If you want to own a piece of history, this disc is essential.

Reviewed by Johnny Savage, USA

Sound rate **1/2