Originally airing on October 3rd, 1977, less than two months after his death, Elvis in Concert, is the final documentation we have of Elvis Presley performing in front of an audience. He would do just five more shows after this. It is never likely to see a proper release. Showing a bloated, druggy, puffy-faced performer who can barely remember the lyrics to songs he has sung hundreds of times before, Elvis in Concert is the very epitome of the “fat Elvis” period. Certainly it’s not the way the singer’s estate would like him to be remembered. Might be bad for business!
The media at the time was luridly fascinated with the King’s rampant Demerol addiction and terrible diet, such as his late night demands for deep-fried peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches. A book titled Elvis: What Happened? written by three former members of his Memphis Mafia inner circle, became a best-seller. The National Enquirer even ran a truly tasteless cover photo of Elvis in his casket that was their best-selling issue ever.
And then this came on TV, in the midst of all that. For lovers of the “fat Elvis” era, this is as good as it gets. During “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” the footage the producers had made Elvis look so bad (sweaty, fat, nervous, mumbling, incoherent and unfunny) that they cut away to a fan interview during the song. This footage was later used in the amazing documentary, This is Elvis, to illustrate just how far he’d fallen. (I highly recommend renting This is Elvis on Netflix, it’s a fascinating cautionary tale. In the span of the film’s 144-minute running time, the rapid physical decline of Elvis, as seen from between 1973 and his death four years later is painful to watch)
Via Calle Nostalgia