Gotta Find My Baby!

May 30, 2022

Send Me the Light... I Need it Bad! (CD - Groti Records, 1994)

Send Me the Light... I Need it Bad!
Groti Records [Groti Rec. 101]
Number of tracks:
Running time:
Type of album:
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Unofficial discography
May 29, 1977

Send Me the Light... I Need it Bad! is a CD from the Italian label Groti Records which first brought to the public the full concert on May 29, 1977 in Baltimore, Maryland, in which Elvis leaves the stage during the show. The work is out of print.

The following excerpt is partially taken from Elvis History Blog's review. You can read the full article here: click here.


Every live stage performer is entitled to have an off night once in awhile, especially somebody like Elvis Presley, who gave hundreds of live concerts during his career. Unfortunately, as his health declined in the mid-seventies, Elvis’s touring schedule was increased at a time when it should have been curtailed instead. The result? … a string of sub-par Presley shows that left his fans saddened and obliged ethical reviewers to be honest about the singer’s mediocre performances.

One of those ethical writers was Marty Bennett, whose blunt review of Elvis’s May 29, 1977, show in Baltimore, Maryland, appeared in  Variety three days later. The distressing story of that Presley appearance started before Elvis came to town with widespread ticket scalping and culminated in an embarrassing and painful stage show in the Baltimore Civic Center.

 Tickets, scaled with a top price of $15, went on sale in mid-April and sold out the same day. The take for the 12,700-seat Civic Center was $179,350, a record for a live performance at the facility. (Frank Sinatra held the previous record at $126,555.)

 Immediately after the tickets sold out, they went back on sale, this time illegally. In an April 20, 1977, article, Variety reported that Elvis’s appearance in Baltimore had “generated record illicit prices as scalpers, professional and otherwise, gathered the chutzpah to go public with classified ads in a Sunday newspaper.” Of course, details of such illicit ticket sales are hard to come by, but it is known that one scalper who advertised $15 tickets for “best offer” received up to $100 per ticket.

 Although there was a strict 10-ticket limit at the box office, the professional scalpers were able to accumulate much more than that. One classified advertiser told a radio reporter that he had 67 Elvis tickets for sale at $40 each. One newspaper, The New American, stood by its principles and refused to accept the scalpers’ ads.

 Of course, all the tickets held by scalpers were moved for a healthy profit. Certainly, hundreds of those Elvis fans who were still standing in line when the box office put out the “sold out” sign had no misgivings about paying multiple times the issue price for tickets in Baltimore that spring in 1977. After all, for many it was a once in a lifetime chance to see Elvis Presley in person. The scalpers could have charged even higher prices and gotten them had they and their customers known that Elvis would die just a few months later.

 And what did the fleeced victims get for their overpriced tickets? A performance by Presley they would never forget but wish they could. The headline over Bennett’s concert review in the June 1, 1977, issue of Variety read, “What’s With Elvis: Walks Out Midway at Show in Baltimore.

 Civic Center personnel had shoe-horned an extra 200 seats into the arena, upping the crowd to 12,841 and the record “official” take to $181,410. Bennett noted that the audience’s indulgence was remarkable, “given the fact that some $15 ticket holders could barely see even a fraction of the stage.”

When Elvis came on following the warm up acts, he was “heavy-eyelidded and appeared to most observers to be weak and tired,” judged Bennett.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 movement that included having an aide hand-hold his voice mike.

 Suddenly, without explanation, Elvis announced he had to leave the stage and walked off. His large stage entourage quickly went into ad lib mode. Bennett reported that the crowd “endured the mysterious break with unusual patience.” He added, “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.

 After a half-hour hiatus, Elvis returned to the stage. He had left, he explained, because of a “twisted ankle and nature calls and you don’t fool around with nature.” Though he emphasized, “there’s nothing wrong with my health,” a Civic Center official later said Elvis was on medication and was treated by a physician during the 30-minute gap.

On returning to the stage, Elvis “came on like gangbusters,” noted Bennett in his review’s only praise of Presley, “as he politely and apologetically tried to recoup his losses … He repeatedly thanked the audience for hanging with him and said ambiguously, ‘If you want us back we’ll come back.’” That only a handful later asked for a refund is some evidence that he won back a portion of the crowd’s good will, but Bennett observed that, “at the finale there was no ovation, and patrons exited shaking their heads and speculating on what was wrong with him.


See below for a detailed review of the concert.


- 1. Also Sprach Zarathustra / 
See See Rider: The audience is ecstatic in the beginning. Despite all that was going on in those days, it seemed that the audience was in awe. For a 1977 tape released in a 1994 CD, the sound is above average and you can hear almost all the instruments over the screaming fans. As you can hear, the playing speed of the songs is faster than usual - although the tape could be the culprit. The rendition is standard and Elvis actually sounds great.

- 2. I Got a Woman / Amen: "Hello!", Elvis yells. "Thank you veru much." This is a standard rendition, but Elvis starts his "well, well, well" routine sounding somewhat tired. There is an attempt at a "striptease" in which Elvis sounds good, but some difficulty can be noted. Even his standard joke about JD being "the lowest person in the world" doesn't have the necessary tone to be funny. Unlike what he's been doing, here Elvis doesn't throw his guitar at Charlie Hodge.

- 3. That's All Right: The routine about him knowing "only three chords" ensues. Elvis sounds energetic and it seems that he's actually playing his guitar. It's a quick rendition, but a good one.

- 4. Are You Lonesome Tonight: "And then we did a song called'Are You Lonesome Tonight'." The "gay couple" routine with Charlie makes everyone laugh. The rendition is standard and well-arranged.

- 5. Blue Christmas: "And then we did... Blue Christmas." It's weird to hear this song any time outside Christmas, but the audience doesn't seem to care and loves it. Even wierder, it'd be dropped out for Elvis in Concert. It's hard to believe the Variety review until this point, because it actually feels like Elvis is doing an above average concert.

- 6. Heartbreak Hotel: Who'd think that Elvis would do this song in 1977? The very rare occasions where he performed it that year were killer moments and here it's not different. The sound has a few distortions, but what we hear is a solid version full of good Blues.

- 7. Love Me: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I'm Wayne Newton!" Amidst the screaming, we can hear fans calling for "Burning Love". Honestly, this is a song that Elvis was not prepared to perform in 1977. The audience seems to disapprove of the chosen song, but Elvis performs it anyway. The version is standard and Elvis starts handing out scarves to his hysterical fans.

- 8. Jailhouse Rock: "My third movie was Jailhouse Rock." The rendition proceeds as usual, but it is noted that Elvis' voice is weak.

- 9. You Gave Me a Mountain: Although May 1977 has good versions, this is one of the least memorable. Elvis plays it well, but it sounds rushed in execution - perhaps for what was to come.

- 10. Danny Boy (Sherrill Nielsen): "I'm gonna ask Sherrill Nielsen to come here and do a song. He has a beautiful voice, and... He'll do 'Danny Boy' and Walk With Me'." This was one of the most notable signs that Elvis shouldn't be performing in his state of health. He just hands the show to Sherrill and sits down to drink water and rest - something that was never the normal.

- 11. Walk With Me
 (Sherrill Nielsen): With Elvis still resting, Nielsen does his thing.

- 12. Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel: Elvis returns to the mike to do his scarf and kisses distribution bit, but his voice is clearly weak and almost inaudible under the instruments.

- 13. Walk That Lonesome Road: "I'm gonna have to leave the stage for just a second. I'll have JD do 'Walk That Lonesome Road'' and then Kathy will sing a song. I'll be right back, just hang loose." The audience clearly stands in disbelief with what's happening on stage. As fans ask each other what is going on, JD and The Stamps begin the Gospel improvistion while Elvis leaves. During the song, fans scream: "We want Elvis!"

- 14. My Heavenly Father:  Kathy Westmoreland sings. The audience sounds genuinely annoyed and even boos a little, but applaud the rendition in the end.

- 15. Introductions Done by Charlie Hodge: Charlie takes the mike and introduces The Sweet Inspirations, JD Sumner and The Stamps, before a cut in the tape - due to severe damage or tape running out. In other tapes the introductions are complete with individual introductions for The Stamps and Kathy Westmoreland.

- 16. Early Morning Rain: John Wilkinson does his solo and sings.

- 17. School Days: James Burton does his two solos ("What'd I Say" and "Johnny B. Goode"), followed by the usual solos by Ronnie Tutt, Jerry Scheff, Tony Brown snd Bobby Ogdin, and the introduction of Joe Guercio and his orchestra. Elvis returns to stage and sings during "School Days". He then explains himself: "I'm sorry for leaving the stage early on, but... I have a twisted ankle and nature calls - you can't fool around with nature."

- 18. Hurt: "One of our latest records is called 'Hurt'." It all sounds strange and Elvis' explanation for leaving the stage didn't really convince anybody, but he's back and seems in a better shape than before - even though the tape quality won't let you notice it very well.

- 19. Hound Dog: One more kisses and scarves handling moment and a very throwaway version where Elvis mumbles throughout. He tries to compensate with energetic pelvis thrusts in the end and the audience seems to enjoy it.

- 20. Help Me: "We did a song called 'Help Me', and I..." Elvis seems to be having problems to end his phrases tonight. He doesn't forget his lyrics, though. The version is very well done.

- 21. Unchained Melody: "What d'you all want to hear?" Elvis hears "Unchained Melody" and picks it for his next act. He quickly sits at the piano and starts his version of the 1965 hit by The Everly Brothers. This is a slower version and Elvis plays the piano in a magnificent, haunting way like he used to do in the first 1976 renditions. The air fails him in a given point, but he quickly dismisses it with a beautiful segue. The ending is just amazing for time and circusntance.

- 22. Blue Suede Shoes: "What d'you wanna hear now?A fan yells "Moody Blue" - something Elvis would not sing, as his two attempts in February of that year were unsuccessful. The tape has a cut and Elvis is already halfway through his rendition of the 1956 classic. The version is average.

- 23. The Wonder of You (1 Verse): "Burning Love?!Elvis acknowledges the fans' requests, but decides to interpret the 1970's hit. A few seconds of music are heard before he forgets the words and gives up.

- 24. One Night: A quick, honest but throwaway version.

- 25. O Sole Mio: "In 1960 we did a song called 'It's Now or Never', and it was taken from the Italian song 'O Sole Mio'. So I'd like to ask Sherrill Nielsen to do 'O Sole Mio' and we'll do 'It's Now or Never'. Listen to his voice, ladies and gentlemen."Elvis' adoration for Sherrill's squealing is somewhat masochistic sometimes.

- 26. It's Now or Never: Elvis' version, though not the best of 1977, is really good.

- 27. Can't Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp: "I'd like to tell you that you've been a fantastic audience during this time, you know..." The audience applauds effusively. "So if you want us back, just ask for us and we'll come back." Even though some reviews take this show as "one of the worst", we really couldn't see that. Elvis was still giving a good performance even after all his health issues. The show end with the classic 1961 hit and the usual fanfare. "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building."


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