Only in Baltimore would Elvis Presley leave the stage to try to take a 30 minute crap because of intestinal problems. The Elvis In Norway fan site shares this tale of one of Elvis’ worst performances of his career:
Baltimore May 29 1977 represents one of the absolute low-points in Elvis’ career. This day Elvis is so weak he has to leave the stage for over 20 minutes. He first sings a lot of old songs in the beginning of the concert (‘That’s Alright’, ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’, ‘Blue Christmas’ and ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, ‘Love Me’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’). Then right after ‘You Gave Me A Mountain’ Elvis asks S. Nielsen to sing some numbers. Obviously not enough, Elvis after singing ‘Teddy Bear/Don’t Be Cruel’ “hands over” the responsibility to the band. He then leaves the stage. Meanwhile Kathy Westmoreland, Voice and the Stamps all did their best to entertain a dismayed audience.
This concert was released on a rather poor sounding bootleg called Send Me The Light… I Need It Bad.
A shocked audience was eager to hear Elvis sing. They had traveled several miles, waited for hours and paid for an Elvis-concert, and the main attraction left the stage! Elvis tries to repair by singing a powerful ‘Hurt’. After ‘Hound Dog’ he performs ‘Help Me’. However, Elvis obviously noticed the lack of excitement from the audience, and almost helplessly ask “What do you wanna hear?”. This leads to a very impressive version of ‘Unchained Melody’. I can’t help but wonder where Elvis found the energy and power to sing this song like he does here, given the overall shape he was in. But this was not enough, and Elvis managed to sing even 5 more numbers, including an incomplete version of ‘The Wonder Of You’.
There is a story that Elvis right after this concert collapsed in the elevator. I don’t know if it is true, but it is not very unlikely…
“What´s with Elvis: Walks Out Midway At Show In Balto.” – Variety
By Marty Bennett, May 1977
A physically and artistically subpar Elvis Presley walked out on a strange concert performance for half an hour here Sunday night (29), but eventually returned. A Civic Center spokesman attributed the vet rock and roll singer´s murmuring, swearing and unscheduled hiatus to the reported intestinal problem that had kayoed Presley from an earlier portion of his tour.
After the break Presley came on like gangbusters as he politely and apologetically tried to recoup his losses. He succeeded to the extent that only a handful asked for refunds but at the finale there was no ovation, and patrons exited shaking their heads and speculating on what was wrong with him.
Presley was heavy eye-lidded and appeared to most observers to be weak and tired. He announced he had to leave stage without explanation. When he returned he said he had left because of “a twisted ankle and nature calls and you don´t fool around with nature.” Later he said “there´s nothing wrong with my health.” He repeatedly thanked the audience for hanging with him and said ambiguously, “If you want us back we´ll come back” – to scattered clapping.
Presley, paunchy and apparently pained, first did 30 minutes marked by anemic singing, a few stilted attempts at his patented gyrations, bewildering patter and awkward stage movements that included having an aide hand-hold his voice mike. Program consisted of ancient hits.
Presley´s show a week earlier at Capital Centre in nearby Largo was reliably described as “even worse.” The Civic Center spokesman said Presley was on medication and was treated by a physician during the gap. While Presley was gone his troupe’s uneven filling included a vocal flight by an anonymous opera songstress that drew a partial standing ovation, more than the main attraction received at any time after his intro.
“A physically and artistically subpar Elvis Presley walked out on a strange concert performance for half an hour here Sunday night (29), but eventually returned. A Civic Center spokesman attributed the vet rock and roll singers murmuring, swearing and unscheduled haitus to the reported intestinal problems that had kayoed Presley from an earlier portion of this tour. After the break Presley came on like gangbusters as he politely and apologetically tried to recoup his losses. He succeeded to the extent that only a handful asked for refunds but at the finale there was no ovation, and patrons exited shaking their heads and speculating what was wrong with him.”
These clips are not from Elvis Presley’s Baltimore appearances but are still “must views”:
“Elvis Presley: Strung Out In Las Vegas” – Collector’s Music Reviews
A paranoid and neurotic Elvis attacks the press on stage in this show, going on a tirade saying, “From three different sources,” ranted Elvis, “I heard that I was strung out on heroin… I’ve never been strung out in my life…” Then Elvis explodes, “If I find or hear the individual that has said that about me”, he threatened, “I’m gonna BREAK your GODDAMNED neck, you SON OF A BITCH! These reports are dangerous,” he emphasized, “are damaging to my little daughter, to Priscilla, to my father, my doctor, my friends, everyone on stage and,” he motioned to the audience, “to you….” Then he pointed at his invisible accuser, “I will pull your GODDAMNED tongue from the ROOTS!!!” he thundered.
Continue reading “Elvis Presley – Strung Out In Las Vegas”at Collector’s Music Reviews
“Elvis Loses Control” – KLAS TV Eyewitness News
Elvis: “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is Bill Cosby. Elvis closed last night. I’m lighter skinned than he is.”
Continue reading “Elvis Loses Control” at Elvis World Japan
Postscript: Thanks to Al Hoff for pointing out that Elvis could not have been successful in dealing with his Baltimore intestinal problem. Elvis suffered from chronic constipation (codeine binds you up!) and in a little over 2 months after his lackluster Baltimore show he lay dead in his bathroom with a jam-packed “megacolon.” Perhaps there was still some crabcake or Berger’s cookies in the impacted chalk-like fecal matter found in his colon.
According to an account based on the report by the four doctors who performed the post-mortem examination of the entertainer:
The colon is approximately five to seven feet in length in a person Elvis’s size and should have been about two inches in diameter … however, Elvis’s colon was at least three and a half inches in diameter in some places and as large as four and half to five inches in diameter in others … [T]he megacolon was jam-packed from the base of the descending colon all the way up and halfway across the transverse colon. It was filled with white, chalklike fecal material.
Continue reading at Snopes.com