Elvis Presley played in front of a frenzied capacity crowd in the Joyce Center on October 20, 1976 — less than a year before his death in August 1977.
Two Elvis albums were released from moments in this concert — Eternal Flame (released in 2005) and Volume 2 of "Elvis" (released in 2015).
Coincidentally, Elvis' final concert before passing would take place just 140 miles south of Notre Dame, at the old home of the Indianapolis Pacers, Market Square Arena.
SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE CONCERT ARTICLE
The Power And Magic Remain
by Joe Raymond
October 21, 1976
I have to admit I was impressed. So, of course, were 12,000 others who filled the Athletic and Convocation Center front to back to see Elvis Presley, the rock and roll king, sing, wriggle and roll. It takes an amazing power to take an auditorium of seemingly perfectly normal women in their mid-30s and take them back to 1960 and transform them into a screaming throng begging for one of the baby-blue towels or a chance to kiss or hug this superstar. For Presley, the power has never left.
His style varies little from the early days, but the world has changed and so has Presley. He now sports a longer hair style with lengthy sideburns and a paunchy frame on his body. He also has a fantastic voice for a rock and roll singer in his 40s. But it's the look that does it all; that sheepish, devilish grin and then a wink that drives the audience to screams and sets the Instamatics flashing.
Presley is backed up by a seven-piece horn section, three vocal groups — including soul singers the Sweet Inspirations — and a fine group of musicians, featuring the talents of David Briggs, songwriter and electric pianist. Warmed up by three acts, the Stamps, comedian Jackie Kahane and the Sweet Inspirations, it wasn't until close to 10 p.m. before the slinky Presley wiggled onto the stage. Opening on an upbeat with a country and western tune, C.C. Ryder, Elvis set the stage for a variety of music that was to come.
Singing rock tunes like Jailhouse Rock, Teddy Bear, Johnny B. Goode, All Shook Up, What'd I Say and Hound Dog, Presley recalled the earthy era of the 50s and 60s. Changing pace in between, Elvis fired up the audience as hot as his fireburst outfit with country and western and blues tunes like Steamroller Baby, Fever and If You Love Me Let Me Know.
In between all this singing, Presley was handing out those baby-blue towels faster than his second, Charlie Hodges, could put them around his sweat-soaked neck. For those who got one, it was the thrill of a lifetime. Debbie Slater of Mishawaka caught one in the middle of the show, much to the delight of her screaming girlfriends. "I'll save it forever," she swooned. "I have to keep it from my sister so she won't take it. I've watched him in his old movies, and by pushing my way up to the front, I got the towel."
It's that magic feeling that makes Presley a success and the magic hasn't left. Not yet at least...