In this section you can submit questions to people that knew Elvis, or to other important people in the Elvis World.

Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:45 am

May 29, 1977 - In front of a packed house in Baltimore, Elvis falls down on stage during the concert.
The press report the incident widely the next day.

Who can give ANY more information on what REALLY happened ?
I heard somewhere ( don't remember WHERE ) that things went not like this.
Elvis was surely weak but he DID NOT fall on stage.

Thanks

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:24 am

Here's a very good overview of that night, from the great Elvis In Norway site:

Baltimore May 29 1977 represents one of the absolute low-points in Elvis' career. This day Elvis is so weak he has to leave the stage for over 20 minutes. He first sings a lot of old songs in the beginning of the concert ('That's Alright', 'Are You Lonesome Tonight', 'Blue Christmas' and 'Heartbreak Hotel', 'Love Me' and 'Jailhouse Rock'). Then right after 'You Gave Me A Mountain' Elvis asks S. Nielsen to sing some numbers. Obviously not enough, Elvis after singing 'Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel' "hands over" the responsibility to the band. He then leaves the stage. Meanwhile Kathy Westmoreland, Voice and the Stamps all did their best to entertain a dismayed audience.

This concert was released on a rather poor sounding bootleg called Send Me The Light... I Need It Bad.


Image

Before the concert in Baltimore


Even the introduction of the band is taking place without Elvis present. Then suddenly, at the end of the introduction, Elvis is back. First excusing his absence, he then says that he had to leave because of an acing ankle "and nature cause...and you can do nothing about the nature..."

A shocked audience was eager to hear Elvis sing. They had traveled several miles, waited for hours and paid for an Elvis-concert, and the main attraction left the stage! Elvis tries to repair by singing a powerful 'Hurt'. After 'Hound Dog' he performs 'Help Me'.

However, Elvis obviously noticed the lack of excitement from the audience, and almost helplessly ask "What do you wanna hear?". This leads to a very impressive version of 'Unchained Melody'. I can't help but wonder where Elvis found the energy and power to sing this song like he does here, given the overall shape he was in. But this was not enough, and Elvis managed to sing even 5 more numbers, including an incomplete version of 'The Wonder Of You'.


Image

Singing 'Unchained Melody'

There is a story that Elvis right after this concert collapsed in the elevator. I don't know if it is true, but it is not very unlikely...

# Note: "A physically and artistically sub-par Elvis Presley walked out on a strange concert performance for half an hour here Sunday night (29), but eventually returned. A Civic Center spokesman attributed the vet rock and roll singers murmuring, swearing and unscheduled hiatus to the reported intestinal problems that had kayoed Presley from an earlier portion of this tour. After the break Presley came on like gangbusters as he politely and apologetically tried to recoup his losses. He succeeded to the extent that only a handful asked for refunds but at the finale there was no ovation, and patrons exited shaking their heads and speculating what was wrong with him."... By Marty Bennett, Variety, May 1977.

http://home.online.no/~ov-egela/index77.html

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:35 am

It was definitely not one of his shinier moments on stage, but he did not fall.

Not physically anyway.

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:41 am

Here's the full Variety review, as transcribed in Stein Erik Skar's Elvis: The Concert Years 1969-77.

Variety:
What´s with Elvis: Walks Out Midway At Show In Balto.
By Marty Bennett

A physically and artistically subpar Elvis Presley walked out on a strange concert performance for half an hour here Sunday night (29), but eventually returned. A Civic Center spokesman attributed the vet rock and roll singer´s murmuring, swearing and unscheduled hiatus to the reported intestinal problem that had kayoed Presley from an earlier portion of his tour.

After the break Presley came on like gangbusters as he politely and apologetically tried to recoup his losses. He succeeded to the extent that only a handful asked for refunds but at the finale there was no ovation, and patrons exited shaking their heads and speculating on what was wrong with him.

Presley was heavy eye-lidded and appeared to most observers to be weak and tired. He announced he had to leave stage without explanation. When he returned he said he had left because of "a twisted ankle and nature calls and you don´t fool around with nature." Later he said "there´s nothing wrong with my health." He repeatedly thanked the audience for hanging with him and said ambiguously, "If you want us back we´ll come back" - to scattered clapping.

Presley, paunchy and apparently pained, first did 30 minutes marked by anemic singing, a few stilted attempts at his patented gyrations, bewildering patter and awkward stage movements that included having an aide hand-hold his voice mike. Program consisted of ancient hits.

Presley´s show a week earlier at Capital Centre in nearby Largo was reliably described as "even worse." The Civic Center spokesman said Presley was on medication and was treated by a physician during the gap. While Presley was gone his troupe's uneven filling included a vocal flight by an anonymous opera songstress that drew a partial standing ovation, more than the main attraction received at any time after his intro.
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:38 am

Maryland, my home state. With Baltimore, College Park and the Capitol Centre, mentioned in the Variety review, he didn't seem to have much luck here. I wonder why?

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:52 pm

He left, at least to some degree, exactly why he said he was leaving. He needed to use the bathroom. Quickly.

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:28 am

Trevell wrote:Maryland, my home state. With Baltimore, College Park and the Capitol Centre, mentioned in the Variety review, he didn't seem to have much luck here. I wonder why?

He kicked major ass during the '71 show.

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:42 am

Rob wrote:He kicked major ass during the '71 show.

Please, leave Hodge out of this discussion.

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Wed Jan 27, 2010 4:01 am

Elvis `falling down' was another 1977 exaggeration but he was obviously unwell that night. The CD is in awful shape and hard to understand so it is difficult to get a good picture of what was happening. But no, he did not fall.

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:06 am

Poor fella. Didn't deserve that!

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:11 am

It's an oddly-moving moment on "Send Me the Light.." when he finally returns to the stage for sing the words "Hail, Hail Rock'n'Roll"...
...

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:16 am

This is the same guy his management decide to go ahead with a TV-Special just weeks after these events. Elvis himself at this point should have just admitted defeat and stopped working, cancelled the special etc. Even if he didn't sort himself out, he shouldn't have gone on like this on stage. It must have broke many fans hearts to witness that show. It makes me angry reading stories like this, Elvis, What Happened?

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:53 am

the full sp wrote:This is the same guy his management decide to go ahead with a TV-Special just weeks after these events. Elvis himself at this point should have just admitted defeat and stopped working, cancelled the special etc. Even if he didn't sort himself out, he shouldn't have gone on like this on stage. It must have broke many fans hearts to witness that show. It makes me angry reading stories like this, Elvis, What Happened?

At that point, for both Elvis and Tom Parker, it was all about the money. That being said, any competent manager never would have contracted the CBS Special during that time period. And once the contract was signed and it because apparent that Elvis was in no condition to meet his obligation, Parker could have at least postponed the taping. And just think, you have a multitude of enthusiasts on this board wishing with all their might that a deluxe DVD reissue of Elvis In Concert happens immediately.

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:15 am

Ok....he was hurting bad. The entire tour was rough. I don't dispute that, but I can't believe there's been so many B.S. reports about how he "collapsed" on stage, etc.
I've heard the entire show. Contrary to what the "so-called critics & their reviews" reported, the crowd did not sound disappointed to me at all. They were actually quite rowdy.
He left for quite a bit, Charlie really kept the show together. His singing at the start was weak, but not shocking. The main reason he left was due once again to stomach ailments.....whether he just had an upset stomach or his colon was a major issue, who knows.
One thing's for sure, he felt & sounded a lot better when he came back on. He also sounded noticeably apologetic & tried to make up for it. Say what you will, but there's pretty descent recordings of this show & I wouldn't categorize this show as that much different from the other shows from that tour. It was a very hard tour for him to get through. He clearly was struggling. I will say that.
I've never heard, by the way, what REALLY happened backstage that night. Of course Dr. Nick had to have given him something to relieve the discomfort with thousands waiting for him to finish the show. Anyone have any info?

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:31 am

Phoenix78 wrote:I've heard the entire show. Contrary to what the "so-called critics & their reviews" reported, the crowd did not sound disappointed to me at all. They were actually quite rowdy.

Were not the "so-called critics" in the building that night?

And you did not attend, correct?

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:09 am

the full sp wrote:This is the same guy his management decide to go ahead with a TV-Special just weeks after these events. Elvis himself at this point should have just admitted defeat and stopped working, cancelled the special etc. Even if he didn't sort himself out, he shouldn't have gone on like this on stage. It must have broke many fans hearts to witness that show. It makes me angry reading stories like this, Elvis, What Happened?


It makes me angry too!

midnightx wrote:At that point, for both Elvis and Tom Parker, it was all about the money. That being said, any competent manager never would have contracted the CBS Special during that time period. And once the contract was signed and it because apparent that Elvis was in no condition to meet his obligation, Parker could have at least postponed the taping. And just think, you have a multitude of enthusiasts on this board wishing with all their might that a deluxe DVD reissue of Elvis In Concert happens immediately.


I took this from Alanna Nash's book The Colonel The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley

as a Parker crony said, "Nobody killed Elvis except Elvis," but with friends like Parker, who needs an executioner?

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:33 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Phoenix78 wrote:I've heard the entire show. Contrary to what the "so-called critics & their reviews" reported, the crowd did not sound disappointed to me at all. They were actually quite rowdy.

Were not the "so-called critics" in the building that night?

And you did not attend, correct?


First off "Doc", critics = people with opinions who just happen to get paid for it.

And very good, I'm just not OLD ENOUGH to have had the chance to see the show myself. Believe me, I would have gone if I could.

However, I do have a damn good set of ears & can tell if an audience is disgusted, disappointed or angry. It's not hard.
None of the above is evident when I listen to this show. I never said he looked great or sounded great. Like I need to "beat that dead horse again."

How bout you? Were you there?

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:42 am

Phoenix78 wrote:... I'm just not OLD ENOUGH to have had the chance to see the show myself.

Thank you.

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:47 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Phoenix78 wrote:... I'm just not OLD ENOUGH to have had the chance to see the show myself.

Thank you.

:D
couldn't resist.

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:41 am

Image

Baltimore, May 29 1977

Also Sprach Zarathustra
See See Rider
I Got A Woman/Amen
That's All Right
Are You Lonesome Tonight
Blue Christmas
Heartbreak Hotel
Love Me
Jailhouse Rock
You Gave Me A Mountain
Danny Boy (S. Nielsen)
Walk With Me (S. Nielsen)

Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel
Walk That Lonesome Valley (The Stamps)
Heavenly Father (by K. Westmoreland )
intro : Early Morning Rain (sung by J. Wilkinson)

What'd I Say
Johnny B. Goode
School Days
Hurt
Hound Dog
Help Me
Unchained Melody
Blue Suede Shoes
The Wonder Of You
One Night
It's Now Or Never
Can't Help Falling In Love


First excusing his absence, he then says that he had to leave because of an acing ankle "and nature cause...and you can do nothing about the nature..."


"And nature cause"?? :roll:

I haven't heard this very interesting show in a while but I assume he says something like "When nature calls"...or "nature calls" ....Not "cause".

Call me a homer but I'm with the audience all the way when they cheer like mad when he (apparently dramatically) finally returns to the stage.

I'll have to listen at it again to get a sense when he "fell down" on stage. This sounds pretty dubious ...but sadly not outside the likely possibilities. I agree with the fine review from below that this does not seem to be the case.

Image
SEND ME THE LIGHT...I NEED IT BAD (Groti Records GR-R 102) (Released 1994)
http://home.online.no/~ov-egela/sendthelight.html
Review by Arnaud Charreyre

This recording does not feature a common Elvis concert! That is the very first thing to say about this CD. I don't think you'll enjoy this Elvis show the way you do with the others recordings. This CD is an archive, a document and a piece of Elvis' history.

The sound is downright awful, not that it is really far away (as, for example, some Vegas audience recordings that only hardcore fans can listen to, can be) but the speed of the tape varied greatly, sometimes Elvis sounds like Mickey Mouse, right in the middle of a song ('Heartbreak Hotel', 'Hound Dog', the end of 'Hurt' and nearly every songs, in fact), to the almost unbearable. And the audience is particularly wild and noisy, screaming all the way to the end of the show (reducing some reports and rumors about that show being a flop without ovations to nothing: the audience never stopped hanging with him). Anyway, it is not for pleasure that you listen to this concert.

And it is a very, very unusual one. Never heard that kind of show, it sounds like a rehearsal in front of an audience. Nothing's prepared, even the track listing is not the one we are used to. A lot of oldies, immediately after 'I Got A Woman/Amen', Elvis takes his guitar and tries to entertain the crowd with a few numbers (he succeed only to the extent that the crowd's reactions are enthusiast and ecstatic, as his performances are sloppy, almost half-awake), before going back to the usual openings ('Love Me') and going immediately to another setup, with his backup singers singing two songs. Elvis then do an anemic 'Teddy Bear/Don't Be cruel' and right after... simply leaves the stage!

So, let's go back to the time this concert happened: we all know that Elvis wasn't in his prime in 1977, but springtime was nothing but a disaster at every points. His way of life, the prescription drugs abuse on a daily basis and his loneliness. Ginger Alden who seems to not be the right person on the right place at the right time, the one-nighters one after the other, not to forget the press which has really begun to attack Elvis in a way they never did earlier. And of course the tell-all book of the bodyguards, which is supposed to wake him up... That's a lot of pressure, a lot of problems, which drive to this result: a complete fiasco in Baltimore, May 29th 1977.

From the beginning of the show, things seem to be on the edge, but no sign for an abysmal show yet: Elvis try to do his best, and we can clearly FEEL a change from the moment he sings the third number: 'That's All Right'. From then on, things go slightly out of control: even with the sound distortions, we can hear his voice expressing a severe distress, long moments where nothing is said, the crowd screaming to Elvis, but it seems like the stage is empty at times (listen to the endless intermission before 'Are You Lonesome Tonight'). When Elvis talks, it seems like he have something in the mouth, like he's eating. His sentences are never finished, he sounds lost and, to be honest, really stone on a strong degree.

When he comes back after leaving the stage for nearly 30 minutes, he sounds much clearer. But not for long! Voice is ok through 'Hurt', 'Hound Dog' and 'Help Me'. He is really strong, clear and impressive on 'Unchained Melody'" (quasi a miracle when you know how bad he is since the beginning of the show...). Then, he trash 'Blue Suede Shoes' the way he use to do it these days. He tries 'The Wonder Of You' but is virtually unable to go further than the first verse, and stop the song immediately (you can hear the crowd disappointment, wondering if Elvis is completely out of it or not). He did two more numbers, apologize for having left the stage once again, and close this disturbed and disturbing show for good this time.

Listening to this recording, we can write a few things for sure, contrary to a numbers of rumors and press reports: Elvis did not collapse at all, he simply left the stage. The audience was wild from the beginning to the end of the show; they never started booing or anything. They support the King with the extravaganza they use us to: screaming loud, clapping, etc.

On the opposite, what we can confirm is that, indeed, the King was at the end of his journey, and it is a tragic sight sometimes, because, even with the sound, we can hear the state in which he is, and it is heartbreaking. A wreck of the pre-eminent artist he was, erasing his past with no respect for himself at all, just dying live and that's all. That's nonsense. Why did the professional surrounding and friends never stop this vicious circle? Why hasn't anybody around Elvis called the Colonel and told him that Elvis wasn't going to perform anymore, that he needed rest. Or a holiday in a straightening center, something like the Betty Ford Clinic or else. A drastic change in his career, good songs, top-notch producers, strong albums, a world tour, anything! At least a temptation to escape from this nightmare of endless tours criss-crossing the States with an Elvis who has become the shadow of his former self. Where you'd saw, only two years back, powerful energy, terrific voice and absolute charisma without any pretense, now had become pain, loneliness, fall, weight gain and drug abuse. Shame on them, shame on Elvis too. Things like that mess in Baltimore hurts. Even deeper if it's from an entertainer we all consider as the greatest, as a lovable man and as a good human person.

This document is a piece of Elvis' history, and as fans we care about that kind of things. But Baltimore brings us to the darkest side of Elvis' life and you get out of this CD with relief and sadness. Poor Elvis, if only he'd known how much we love and care for him...

Content: ****
Artwork: **
Sound: **

© Arnaud Charreyre, Belgium, June 2004.

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:51 pm

Thetape is poor but it is obvious Elvis did not fall and obvious the fans are happy to see/hear him

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:51 am

My point exactly Rickeap. And to back up my point further, there's "descent" quality footage from the show. (not much). It has the real sound & you can actually see the crowd standing & cheering more than the norm. To most it doesn't make sense, but I guess for those who were there, it didn't matter how sick the man was, that "same energy" he always had was felt by each & every person in the building. Maybe even more so since he knew he needed more support than usual.
Just my opinion.

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:18 am

midnightx wrote:
the full sp wrote:This is the same guy his management decide to go ahead with a TV-Special just weeks after these events. Elvis himself at this point should have just admitted defeat and stopped working, cancelled the special etc. Even if he didn't sort himself out, he shouldn't have gone on like this on stage. It must have broke many fans hearts to witness that show. It makes me angry reading stories like this, Elvis, What Happened?

At that point, for both Elvis and Tom Parker, it was all about the money. That being said, any competent manager never would have contracted the CBS Special during that time period. And once the contract was signed and it because apparent that Elvis was in no condition to meet his obligation, Parker could have at least postponed the taping. And just think, you have a multitude of enthusiasts on this board wishing with all their might that a deluxe DVD reissue of Elvis In Concert happens immediately.


I'm sure CTP could see the writing on the wall in terms of the limited amount of time Elvis had left... he probably wanted to take advantage of any opportunity he could to bring money in. Had Elvis continued on that August (77) tour, I'm sure that May engagement wouldn't have been the last time Elvis had to "leave the stage". The drugs were simply too big a part of his life by that time... and sadly, he was slowly killing himself. It's hard to comprehend the amount of prescription drugs he consumed in the last 7 months of his life... that any one person could do that to themselves is near unbelievable. I don't think it's a shock to anyone that Elvis was a business to Parker first and foremost... and he certainly made that fact crystal clear in the Spring of 1977.

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:00 pm

Elvis has a difficult time, even to be heard on the audience tape.
But the show isn't nowhere near as bad as "St Paul", which is horrible.

Elvis slipped down the stairs leaving the stage in Milwaukee, nothing like that happened in Balto.
so this is another example of BS..

Re: Baltimore, May 29, 1977

Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:50 am

I was kind of scared to listen to this show after hearing about Elvis falling down but I finally got to check it out. LIES!!!!!

It was actually a pretty good show - run of the mill obviously and nothing special for '77 but it will actually get quite a few listens if I ever get a hold of the physical CD.