Volume 2 in this series from the Czech Republic, a series worth to continue?
Just like volume 1 this design looks professional, not as flashy as earlier releases from this fan club or should we say “producers” looking at the amount of releases they produce.
This DVD contains two concerts from Birmingham (December 28, 1976 08.30 PM) and Pittsburg (December 31, 1976 09.30 PM, the almost legendary last great concert), both filmed from the audience with an overdubbed (soundboard?) soundtrack.
The concert opens with details of those on stage, to mention Elvis’ jump suit is interesting, but “J.D. Sumner: red pants and shirt” … that looks like they want to share a little too much detail. Not all footage is complete; the music is adapted to that so sometimes the image and music jumps, it can’t have been easy to keep everything running synchrony, so compliments to the producers for their work.
But the actual concerts are o.k. to watch, the quality of the 29th. is a bit better than that of New Year’s Eve, but the latter is filmed closer to the stage, so a bit more enjoyable to watch since you have a better view of the stage. Just like of the first volume the main attraction of releases like this is that for many of us this is a nice way to actually see our man in concert besides the usual Aloha of CBS special. See him do his tricks, laying down on stage on the “Hurt” reprise, stage movements, giving out scarves, but above all, see him – and his band - actually perform on stage. It is good to have more footage of Elvis in action on stage; this helps you imagine a concert in your mind when you listen to a live CD. It would be even better if we would get footage from the early seventies … but hope keeps us fans going …
As for the concerts themselves, they have been reviewed on the For Elvis CD Collectors website when they were released on CD, and the reviews for both shows were alike. But to give you an idea:
Burning In Burningham (December 29, 1976)
“This is the third to last gig from an up and down year for Elvis, twelve months which saw him visit more American cities than anyone could have imagined, given his recurring health problems. And what a complete surprise this Birmingham, Alabama performance is! Given the spate of saddening recent "private" releases of soundboards from 1976, here we find an enormously spirited Elvis offering perhaps his single best effort of the year (if one excludes the audience-recorded New Year's Eve concert in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania two days later), singing over twenty songs with vigor and joy! This isn't Elvis at his live best (try anything from 1954-57, or the sit-down shows at NBC studios in June, 1968), but it is the best of Elvis in 1976.”
Auld Lang Syne / Rockin’ With Elvis On New Year’s Eve / Elvis: New Year’s Eve (December 31, 1976)
“One of the highlights of the show is the most over the top "Hurt" Elvis may have ever done, even doing the ending a second time. The building seems to shake as he hits the notes again and holds them even longer! Yes, he liked Mario Lanza! If you ever acquire the underground videotape of this show, you will be amazed to watch Elvis sing this reprise while intentionally falling onto his back, punching his fists into the air when it's over. Both "Unchained Melody" and "Rags To Riches" are Elvis at the piano, the former a solo performance (similar to the one from June 1977, released undubbed on the "Great Performances" CD/video in 1990) which is just gorgeous, even with Sherill Nielson "helping" on the last note. "Rags To Riches" is a number that I don't believe Elvis ever did before or since (the band certainly doesn't know it, as EP calls out the chord changes while he plays), and it's another superb ballad delight. The 16,000 in attendance drop into complete silence on these numbers, and well they should have: they were hearing Elvis Presley, a great American artist, at his best. I wonder how any of them felt seven months and two weeks later?"
A nice release for fans who want to see Elvis in concert (from an audience’s point of view).