South Portland, Maine
Nov 21, 2010
Three in a row we could say. But because Elvis is the last, we could also say “Always save the best for last!” Probably leaving a hotel, we can see right in front of Elvis, his girlfriend Ginger Alden, and leading the way is Sam Thompson. Just looking in on the right is ‘Diamond’ Joe Esposito. We have some doubts on the exact date & place when this picture was made, it could be May 5th 1977. Two days earlier Elvis ended a 13-day tour in Michigan and flew home… Any new information is always welcome.
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Didn't Elvis play to 60000 at the Silverdome,New Years Eve 1976?A huge crowd,but Led Zeppelin played to 76,500 in April 1977,at the same venue,a new indoor world record.The Who also played to 75.900 in 1975.I could be wrong,but I think they restricted Elvis ticket sales to 60,000.I don't know why.Maybe they thought he wouldn't sell out the place or some of the audience would be too far away to enjoy the show.Who knows.
Elvis played Chicago May 1 and 2, 1977, 20,000 at each show. It's a large city, no?
Elvis may or may not have sold out MSG or the LA Forum in 1977. Maybe for one show, but not four like he did in 1972. He was no longer a hot commodity. Another reason he probably didn't play in larger cities was the press would have torn him apart. He clearly was not at the top of his game and you don't go into New York City in the shape Elvis was in. He knew his core audience and he played to them. Sad to say, they were mostly hick towns.
You got a point, Snowplow Floater. There was nothing wrong with Elvis performing for rural crowds during the late 1970's.
The big difference, however, between Elvis and Bob Dylan/The Band was that Dylan could choose to do this, while Elvis was increasingly forced to do this. In 1977 his record sales was very low, Las Vegas Hilton had not re-newed his contract, while Elvis' private spending was way off. Hence, his only option was doing an increasingly number of concert tours. However, mentally, physically and artistically Elvis was lacked the necessary condition doing this. Just listen to the various 1976-77 concert tapes. These are really depressing stuff. Elvis is doing the same set list, the exact same stage remarks, he had to take long pauses during his shows getting back his breath, and at the end didn't even bother changing jumpsuits... On February 13th 1977 he performed for a crowd of just 5 981 mostly old, grey haired Florida-retirees in West Palm Beach! Even Elvis noticed the dull, lackluster responce. His prospects was not looking good.
I have an enormous respect for Elvis as an artist, but his last years was really a tragedy.
Well a Real King would play wherever his fans are, even if that is rural parts of America. Bob Dylan performed backwater American outposts in '75/76 during his Rolling Thunder Review, one year after packing out every stadium in the US with The Band, where demand for tickets was astronomical. So Elvis goes back to his roots and plays to ordinary folks, he could have still packed out M.S.G. but his management booked him in to these towns. Who knows why, it doesn't matter, he still broke hearts and played for the people, i'm sure most of them went home happy.
Thanks for your additional info regarding the place and date of this picture, Paul.
The Augusta, Maine show on May 24th 1977 was, by the way, another symbolic low in Elvis' career. While he had enough pull on the general audiences in the early 1970's, his concerts were concentrated in the major US cities. Throughout 1975-77 he increasingly had to do shows in small rural towns. Augusta, Maine didn’t even have a large enough airport, so Elvis had to drive for over one hour to get there. And Elvis was regularly pleading his audiences that "It you want us back, just let us know". Not something a real King should have to do...
Dick Grobe is leading the way, not Sam Thompson
Is he drinking his mountain valley spring water?
Elvis caught on camera leaving the Sheraton Hotel in South Portland, Maine on the morning of May 25, 1977. He had appeared at the Civic center in Augusta, Maine the night of the 24th. Elvis stayed at the Sheraton during the engagement. He was supposed to return to this very hotel on August 17, 1977 for a show in Portland. The show that never was...