The Madison label released “The Elvis Presley Show - Holding Down The Fort” containing the pre-show and main act, Elvis, as recorded on June 3, 1976.
Contrary to previous designs I don’t like this design at first glance, it simply isn’t attractive. But it fits the man he was back then. Fortunately the booklet makes up for it with no less then 35 shots of Elvis and 3 of the Sweet inspiration and the Stamps. The liner notes are a well written review of the show.
The Pre-show is a nice addition to the full concert experience. Never realized that Elvis the POP star presented his audience with an GOSPEL and SOUL pre-show. Listening to The Stamps when I just saw them live a month ago singing the same songs is a nice experience.
The main attraction is of course our man. And I must say, for an 1976 show this one was pretty entertaining and Elvis lives up to what the audience expect from the world greatest entertainer. Contrary to other later performances Elvis doesn’t sound dull, and really interacts with the audience, his band members and even technicians in a humorous way.
Musically “You Gave Me A mountain”, “Help Me”, “Polk Salad Annie” and “Hurt”, which gets a full reprise, are the best performances. In between some song get "messed up" when our man messes around with the audience and the lyrics … “Fever” is a “good” example or when he messed around with JD Sumner rambling my speakers. Somehow the audience takes it, something I can’t see happening during concerts these days, could it be the man really had that "something” on stage?
About five years ago Madison issued portions of this show, unfortunately far from complete and in lesser sound quality. This material was taken from a first generation soundboard recording. Unfortunately this tape was not without any flaws as there are quite a few feedbacks during "C.C. Rider", a tape stretch at the end of side A damaged "Jailhouse Rock," and the recording of "Hound Dog" was stopped early on. These have been replaced by the same tunes done just one month later in the same building. However, the incomplete June performances are included as a bonus for the "soundboard collector" in all of us. Listening to the damaged parts we can only appriciate the alterations, making this release a complete concert experience and a complete release for the collector. The actual concerts sound very good.
O.k. it isn’t their best release design-wise and Elvis is well over his peak but with the presentation of both the pre-show and main attraction in a good mood the Madison label presents a complete and entertaining 1976 show.
CD1: The Pre-Show
01 - Guercio Introduction / Theme From S.W.A.T. / Love Me Tender 2:32 ; 02 - Stamps Introduction / Your First Day in Heaven 1:44 ; 03 - You'll Never Walk Alone 2:41 ; 04 - Operator 3:03 ; 05 - When The Saints Go Marching In 2:58 ; 06 - Inspirations Introduction / Philadelphia Freedom 3:42 ; 07 - Lady Marmalade 3:15 ; 08 - Introduction of Musicians 2:25 ; 09 - Stevie Wonder Medley Boogie On Reggae Woman ("Party ... Stevie Is A Wonder") / For Once In My Life / You Got It Bad Girl / Superstition / You Are The Sunshine Of My Life / Livin' For The City / All In Love Is Fair / Higher Ground / Closing Announcement 7:40
Total time = 30:07
Track 1: Joe Guercio and the Hot Hilton Horns ; Tracks 2-5 : J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet ; Tracks 6-10 : The Sweet Inspirations
All tracks previously unreleased
CD2 : The Main Event
01 - Introduction Also Sprach Zarathustra 0:47 ; 02 - C.C. Rider 4:40 ; 03 - I Got A Woman / Amen 7:39 ; 04 - Love Me 2:34 ; 05 - If You Love Me (Let Me Know) 3:22 ; 06 - You Gave Me A Mountain 3:24 ; 07 - All Shook Up 1:05 ; 08 - Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel 1:58 ; 09 - Heartbreak Hotel 1:52 ; 10 - Help Me 2:38 ; 11 - Jailhouse Rock 1:36 ; 12 - Fever 3:11 ; 13 - Polk Salad Annie 3:51 ; 14 - Introductions by Elvis of vocalists, band 3:07 ; 15 - Early Morning Rain (John Wilkinson) 102 ; 16 - What I'd Say? (James Burton) 057 ; 17 - Johnny B. Goode (James Burton) 055 ; 18 - Drum solo (Ronnie Tutt) 1:27 ; 19 - Bass solo (Jerry Scheff) 1:36 ; 20 - Piano solo (Tony Brown) 1:17 ; 21 - Electric piano solo (David Briggs) 1:00 ; 22 - Love Letters 2:43 ; 23 - Introductions by Elvis of vocalists, orchestra 0:25 ; 24 - School Day (Joe Guercio Orchestra) 1:18 ; 25 - "Happy Birthday" to Bruce Jackson 0:26 ; 26 - Hurt 1:53 ; 27 - Hurt (full reprise) 1:57 ; 28 - Hound Dog 2:58 ; 29 - Funny How Time Slips Away 4:36 ; 30 - Can't Help Falling In Love 1:42 ; 31 - Closing vamp and announcements 2:26 ; Bonus tracks : 32 - Jailhouse Rock (incomplete) 0:54 ; 33 - Hound Dog (incomplete) 0:21
Total time = 71:54
Tracks 5-10, 14, 16-21, 23-24 and 32-33 previously unreleased ; Tracks 11 and 28-31 recorded at the same venue, on July 3, 1976.