This is a video of the last known public performance by Elvis Presley just six weeks prior to his untimely and tragic death. The concert at the Pershing Municipal Auditorium in Lincoln, Nebraska on June 21, 1977, is the last known footage of the “King” in person.
Elvis performs “Unchained Melody” on the piano. He is seated naturally and probably of necessity while a man holds the microphone for him. Elvis is in his trademark white sequined leather American eagle outfit.
With no wish to be disrespectful to the dead or their talent, Elvis is quite corpulent in the video. His face and outfit make the fact abundantly clear. Despite age, health, and reputed addictions to various pain medications and other drugs this is a stunning performance by Elvis Presley.
A profusely sweating Elvis shows not only his skill as a pianist but proves that he still has a virtuoso voice that can and does follow all the trills and effects in a difficult song. This is the finale to a concert that we must assume was a full concert according to the marquee on the auditorium.
You can hear the depth of Elvis’ voice from the first few notes. It is very clear that there has been no overdubbing in the video and it is a true live performance. It is truly amazing that such a sick and troubled man could still play and sing at this level of difficulty and quality. Most fans would call the video a testament to the talent that Elvis Presley had and a most laudable addition to the legacy that Elvis left behind.
Twice during the video Elvis looks with a smile and a grin at some unseen person after a particularly difficult vocal flourish in the song. He looks like he is saying “Yes I still have it”. We are led to believe it may be a woman in the audience he grins at because a lady gets Elvis’ trademark neck scarf after the song.
Needless to say the 4,000 plus audience goes wild after this masterful performance. Elvis had reportedly been coaxed into performing and his adoring fans were not disappointed.
After taking a bow, Elvis is hustled to a waiting limo as the announcer exclaims “Elvis has left the building”. Sadly and needlessly it was the last time Elvis Presley did so.
Even people that are not fans of Elvis Presley have to be stunned by this performance. Elvis must have drawn on deep resources of energy, drive, determination, and innate talent to produce a performance like this considering the state of his health and his subsequent death on August 16, 1977. If reports are true, the man was under the influence of narcotics, amphetamines, and sedatives at the time of this stunning performance.
The recently recovered video is the last and possibly one of the best single songs in a concert that Elvis Presley ever did.