Elvis in Richmond, 1976


In June 1976, Elvis put on his final Richmond performance at the Coliseum.

The singer reportedly joked to his sold out audience, “You paid just to hear me go well, well, well?”

The concert was described to have opened “as it had for the last five years,” with the spotlights centered on an empty microphone. Then as the band began to play, “the screams and squeals climbed the decibel scale.”

When Elvis hit the stage, he was visible only in the flash of the strobe lights. His opening number was “C.C. Rider,” which according to the reporter “took half the song to realize that in the midst of all the shouting.” Throughout his performance, Elvis took time to kneel down and shake hands, accept gifts, pass out scarves and plant the occasional peck-on-the-cheek on a lucky fan.

Presley’s set that night was described by the Times-Dispatch reporter as “heavy with classic rock and roll”—“Mean Woman Blues,” “Polk Salad Annie,” “What’d I Say” and “Johnny B. Goode” to name a few. Later in the performance he sang some slower, “more dramatic songs” including “You Gave Me a Mountain” “Funny How Time Slips Away” and “Hurt” (which was at the time, his hit single).

The singer died the next year, in August of 1977.

Richmond Coliseum

In May 1976, a line wrapped around and beyond the Richmond Coliseum as tickets went on sale for an Elvis Presley concert – about 3,000 people were waiting when ticket windows opened at 10 a.m. His sold-out show in June was his final appearance in Richmond; he died in August 1977.

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