BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
In the summer of 2012, Glen Campbell took the stage in Atlanta for the final time.
His poignantly named “Goodbye Tour” pulled into Chastain Park Amphitheatre on a rare double bill with Kenny Rogers, and fans were well aware that they were saying goodbye to the country legend as they listened to him sing.
Campbell died Tuesday at the age of 81 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Atlanta show came a year after the “Rhinestone Cowboy” publicly disclosed his diagnosis, and while he relied heavily on several TelePrompTers and occasionally stopped playing mid-song, there was more than a glimmer of greatness underneath his few stumbles.
Campbell also seemed happy during the concert, making lighthearted jokes about memory loss as he revisited some of his famous collaborations with Jimmy Webb (“By the Time I Get To Phoenix” and “Didn’t We” among them), while his family-filled band played behind him.
From the review of that concert: Campbell also nodded to the present with a few songs from last year’s excellent “Ghost on the Canvas” release – his 61st (!!) studio album.
“It’s Your Amazing Grace” is a marvelous country-pop tune with a killer chorus. But it was the set-closing “A Better Place,” with its haunting lyrics, that prompted misty eyes.
“Some days I’m so confused, Lord. My past gets in my way,” Campbell sang off the TelePrompTer.
Then, with a towel draped over his shoulders and a guiding hand from Ashley, Campbell gave a final wave over his shoulder as he headed into the backstage darkness.
In 2014, a documentary of the “Goodbye Tour” called ‘”I’ll Be Me” was released to widespread acclaim.
His final album, “Adios,” featuring songs by Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Webb, was recorded din Nashville in 2012-13 and arrived in June.
In a statement announcing Campbell’s death, his family requested that in lieu of flowers, donations for Alzheimer’s research may be made to the Glen Campbell Memorial Fund at BrightFocus Foundation through the donation page at Careliving.org.