Elvis Presley performs what would be his last Memphis concert July 5, 1976 before a crowd of 12,000 at Mid-South Coliseum. Exactly twenty-two years earlier (7/5/54), Elvis recorded "That's All Right" at Sam Phillips' little studio at 706 Union. Introducing the song, he said: "I've had some people say - well, you can't do that song anymore - well, you, by God, just watch me."
The first chord of Also Sprach Zarathustra is longer than ever before. The audience probably is hardly breathing - in just a few seconds Elvis will appear! Ronnie Tutt begins his introduction of See See Rider and the audience goes crazy.
Some kind of weakness is heard in the Presley's voice but it is OK. "Thank you" Elvis says and goes with "Well, well..." The audience goes completely crazy. Elvis begins I got A Woman, which is pretty good for 1976. From this song he goes into Amen and then asks J.D. to "go and get it!" "Wrong! Wrong!" Elvis says, " I'm sorry ladies and gentlemen, but you know he's world's lowest bass singer and he can do better than that. It's early for him, or something, I don't know, or late. But he can do better than that, really. So listen to him this time. I'm gonna turn around, just hang loose!" Elvis replies to somebody's plea of turning around. "J.D., are you gonna hit it? 'Cause I'm the one who said you can do it. If you don't do it they'll say "Elvis said he can do it, but he didn't". I'm a liar!" After that Elvis begins Amen too fast and even says "Wooh!" After that J.D. hits everything rightly and Elvis shouts "Yeah!" Ronnie is great during the ending.
After the song Elvis greets the audience. He says that it is a pleasure to be back to Memphis. Probably after a female fan tries to get to Elvis he says "It's a high stage, you can't get to me anyway!" What follows is Love Me. "Let's do Fairytale!" Elvis says and after yet another female fan almost falls from the stage after reaching Elvis he says "Be careful!" It is a short decent version. What follows is a good You Gave Me A Mountain. "I'd like to do a medley of some of the records, you know, back through the years..." What he does is All Shook Up which is nice for a late 70's version. Though I think that for his own hometown he should have had something different that night. The next medley is just a waste of time. "O.K. El says and And I Love You So begins which is a nice version. But this is not a favorite live version of mine. The best live version of those I have heard is surely the one from Just Pretend. Next in line is Jailhouse Rock. It is pretty good with some changes of the words "...you should have heard the knock of those sons of bitches, let's rock!" Next is Fever - one of the favorite songs of mine. While Jerry plays the intro for the 3d time (you know, Elvis liked the intro to be long in late concerts) he says "I forgot the song!" As in most late versions after the words "I light up when you call my name" he, in high falsetto adds "Elvis!" The audience goes crazy. "Ladies and gentlemen, since this is a bicentennial year, I'd like to do a version of America, The Beautiful for you" and Elvis and the band do a great version of this patriotic song. No reprise, which is a loose "Say, what will we do next? One Night? You wanna hear One Night?" And they do One Night. This is a pretty weak version, too bad.
"I'd like to introduce you to the members of my group before we go any further...Let me tell you...I will try to get to all the songs you wanna hear, 'cause this is the end of the tour and I've got as long as you have..." He introduces The Sweet Inspirations, The Stamps individually "Their bass singer is from North Carolina, his name is Larry Strickland. The baritone singer... I won't say anything dirty... I won't say anything dirty about you... He's from Nashville, his name is Ed Hill. I found my freedom on..." Elvis begins the song Blueberry Hill, but quickly stops and adds "No, forget it. Their lead singer, the blond kid over here, with a wild look in his eyes, he is from Nashville, his name is Ed... He's J.D.'s knees... His name is Ed Enoch. Enoch... How do you spell it? E-N-O-K? ENOK... Forget it. Their tenor singer he's new with them and, uh... That's all. His name is Ron Buff. For those in the group he's Ron Tooth... The little girl with a beautiful high voice... You, guys are playing loud while I'm talking... Hold it up! What is this? A jam session? Damn... Sun Records, Dewey Phillips... I forgot what I was going to do... She's from Los Angeles her name is Kathy Westmoreland. I don't know what I said previously, so take it easy... And this guy on the end here, with some sleeves on his shirt, he has a beautiful voice, his name is Kathy... Shole Neilson. On the rhythm guitar from Springfield Massachusetts... Missouri, is John Wilkinson. Play something John." As John plays, El says "It is the longest intro I have ever heard". The version was long, but here it is shortened. Next is What'd Say, which is weak and short. "And James can play the guitar on the back of his head, and I can't. So play it, J.B. Johnny B. Goode". A short version is what follows. "On the drums from Dallas Texas, is hard working Ronnie Tutt." What follows is a great solo on drums. As always, Ronnie sounds fantastic. "That was fair! On the fender bass from Los Angeles is Jerry Scheff." And Jerry plays an interesting melody instead of the blues he usually did. "Yeah, thank you Jerry. On the piano, ladies and gentlemen, he's new with us, he's from Nashville, his name is Tony Brown" Tony plays a standard solo, after which Elvis says "On the electric clavinet and the piano is David Briggs" and David rushes a wonderful solo, as short as always. "Is it all there?" Elvis asks. "When David and I first worked together, it was his first recording session, we did a song called Love Letters. I'd like to sing for you". What they do is a standard for 1976 version of Love Letters, which in some parts seems weak for me. "Thank you. The guy who gives me water and sings harmony with me, he's from Decatur, Alabama, his name is Charlie Hodge. Charlie's the most famous person in my gate... Our conductor, ladies and gentlemen, from Las Vegas, Mr.. Joe Guercio, maestro! Fantastic Joe Guercio orchestra!" And the play Hail Hail Rock'n'roll (School Days).
"Thank you very much. I have a new record, I'd like to sing for you tonight", and what they do is a great Hurt, though sometimes El sounds weak. The last "Hurt" is not long held, it is very short. And El asks "Do you want to hear it again?" and he does a complete reprise. In my opinion the reprise is better than the first attempt. The last "Hu-u-u-r-t" is longer and goes higher than the in the first attempt. The next in line (after a fade out) is Hound Dog, which is as weak as always (in the later years). "I, uh... Now that you have seen us I'd like to turn on the house lights up and take a look at you! It's nice to see you, really. No, really it's hard to see... It's hard to see that far we the lights up..." and Elvis begins Funny How Time Slips Away. There are lots shouts from the audience, but the performance itself is pretty weak. But Elvis jokes with the line "Never know when I'm back in town... Back in town that I live!" He asks J.D. to sing the last notes again. Elvis after the song says that he wants to do a song that he recorded some two years ago, called Help Me. What he does is a good (though a bit weak) version of Help Me. But it is a rarely performed onstage song so it is a pretty rare song. After the song Elvis says that How Great Thou Art is a pretty requested song and they do a pretty powerful version of it. As always, it is a highlight. Next in line is what I think is the only outside Vegas version of Softly As I Leave You, which is a beauty. "Since I was here for the last time I was in a hospital for a couple of reasons, but nothing serious, and I am working and glad to be working again," Elvis says after thanking the audience. He also introduces his father. "What I want to do? Polk Salad Annie!" Elvis says. Polk Salad as always rocks. It is a full of music, like all of the later versions. "I'd like to do a song that was a favorite of mine when I recorded it, about 11 years ago, called It's Now Or Never", but what he does instead is a one line of Jambalaya. The next in line is a well treated It's Now Or Never. The show is ended and Can't Help Falling In Love proves it. Within some minutes Elvis will be at home and our journey through what was to be the last concert in his "hometown" ends.