50 Years Ago Today: Elvis Presley Plays First NYC Concert

It was 50 years ago today (June 9th, 1972) that “The King of Rock N’ Roll” Elvis Presley performed his first-ever concert in New York City at Madison Square Garden. Although Elvis has played live in Manhattan back in the 1950’s when appearing on such legendary variety shows hosted by the Dorsey Brothers, Steve Allen, and Ed Sullivan — Elvis had never performed a concert for the general public in the “Big Apple.”

Over the course of three days — June 9th, 10th, and 11th — Elvis played four shows to an estimated 80,000 fans. The first live album issued from the run — Elvis: As Recorded At Madison Square Garden, was rush-released to hit stores a week after the first show on June 18th, 1972 and went on to peak at an impressive Number 11 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. 1997 saw the release of An Afternoon In The Garden, with Elvis Presley: Prince From Another Planet being issued in 2012.

On June 9th, 1972, only hours before launching his sold-out, four-concert run at Madison Square Garden, marking his first New York City shows, Elvis spoke to the press, and shed light on why he returned to live performance: “I just missed it. I missed the closeness of an audience — of a live audience. . . So just as soon as I got out of the movie contracts, I started to do live performances again. There’s so many places that I haven’t been yet. Like, I’ve never played New York here. I’ve never been to Britain either. I’d like to go to Europe. I’d like to go to Japan and all those places. I’ve never been out of this country except in the service, y’know?”

Not too long ago, Elvis’ late, great drummer Ronnie Tutt explained that for the most part, taking the stage with Elvis was a blast: “We had a lot of fun. Elvis loved to laugh and make fun of himself and everybody (laughs) else around him. He had his serious side, of course, but we never knew what he was gonna do next, so it made it fun, (laughs) y’know?”

Elvis Presley’s setlist for the afternoon show on June 9th, 1972 at Madison Square Garden:

Introduction: Also Sprach Zarathustra (Theme From 2001: A Space Odyssey)
“That’s All Right (Mama)”
“Proud Mary”
“Never Been To Spain”
“Until It’s Time For You To Go”
“You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”
“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”
“Polk Salad Annie”
“Love Me”
“All Shook Up”
“Heartbreak Hotel”
“(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear”
“Don’t Be Cruel”
“Love Me Tender”
“Blue Suede Shoes”
“Hound Dog”
“Bridge Over Troubled Water”
“Suspicious Minds”
“For the Good Times”
“An American Trilogy”
“Funny How Time Slips Away”
“Can’t Help Falling In Love”

Categories: Pulse Music