Millbranch Music (MBM) released another ‘themed’ set, after last year’s Kansas City Revisited it’s up to the Bicentennial Year now, 1976 in bird’s eye (especially the included DVD).
Personally I think the design is better than for the Kansas release. The text is readable this time and despite Elvis’ shape MBM managed to get a tasteful package. The only thing I don’t get is the bonus CD in a separate sleeve. Why not make it a 3CD plus DVD set on 4 panels, or let the sleeve be a part of the cover?
Too bad for MBM the CDs were pressed with a flaw, so there were pauses in between tracks. Gladly MBM replaced them, so I have 3 new coasters. On behalf of my settee I have to say thank you for that!
The three shows were released before, either on bootleg or even by FTD (Fort Worth July 3 on Rockin’ Across Texas and Anaheim on The West Coast Tour ‘76).
I can’t say I listened to them recently and in general it is a punishment for me to do so with 1976 shows. A few exceptions that are ‘good’ compared to 99.9% of them. In particular the long and boring introductions are a pain (those moments I hate David Briggs especially, boy, what a terrible noise he made).
Anyway, having said my well known opinion once again, here’s my bird’s view on the CDs:
Forth Worth, Tarrant County Convention Center, June 3: At least Elvis is in a good mood and it sounds like he is having fun, together with his audience. It was a bearable show.
Forth Worth, same spot, July 3: Elvis on automatic pilot, boring.
Anaheim, November 30: had a big advantage, because I played it right after the July show, so it sounded fresh and exciting. Still it’s a pity he messed up Bridge and Love Letters is (still) pretty bad too.
The sound of all three shows is pretty good. The first impression on the Anaheim show was ‘geez, way too many highs’, but it got better soon. Anyway, they are soundboards, not multi-track recordings.
I think the DVD is the most interesting part. It goes from the Silverdome to Pittsburg, so the whole of 1976 is covered. Not only with 8mm footage of Elvis shows, but also information on the recording sessions, tours, and occasional news clips. During the fourth version of If You Love Me had something like ‘yeah, I know it by now’ but in general MBM managed to keep it interesting, also because they put stills of good quality in (between) the footage. They could have done that a bit more often, instead of the black dropouts because the camera wasn’t pointed right. It was by far more enjoyable than enduring a complete show.
For the lover, obviously not for me. There is so much Elvis music I do enjoy, so why punish myself? The DVD made up a lot and I might watch that again in the future.
Tracklist CD 1: Fort Worth, TX -- June 3, 1976
Introduction by Bruce Jackson / Theme from SWAT – Love Me Tender (Joe Guercio Orchestra) / Also Sprach Zarathustra / See See Rider / I Got A Woman – Amen / Love Me / If You Love Me (Let Me Know) / You Gave Me A Mountain / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear – Don´t Be Cruel / Heartbreak Hotel / Help Me / Jailhouse Rock / Fever / Polk Salad Annie / Group Introductions / Early Morning Rain / What´d I Say / Johnny B. Goode / Drum Solo / Bass Solo / Piano Solo / Electric Clavinet Solo / Love Letters / School Days / Happy Birthday To Bruce Jackson / Hurt (With Full Reprise) / Hound Dog / Funny How Time Slips Away / Can´t Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp – Announcement.
Tracklist CD 2: Fort Worth, TX -- July 3, 1976
Also Sprach Zarathustra / See See Rider / I Got A Woman – Amen / Love Me / If You Love Me (Let Me Know) / You Gave Me A Mountain / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear – Don´t Be Cruel / And I Love You So / Jailhouse Rock / Fever / America The Beautiful / Polk Salad Annie / Group Introductions / Early Morning Rain / What´d I Say / Johnny B. Goode / Bass Solo / Piano Solo / Electric Clavinet Solo / Love Letters / School Days / Hurt (With Reprise) / Hound Dog / Funny How Time Slips Away / Can´t Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp.
Tracklist Bonus CD: Anaheim, CA - November 30, 1976
See See Rider / I Got A Woman - Amen / Love Me / If You Love Me (Let Me Know) / You Gave Me A Mountain / Jailhouse Rock / It´s Now Or Never / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear – Don´t Be Cruel / And I Love You So / Fever / Bridge Over Troubled Water (With Break) / Polk Salad Annie / Introductions I / Early Morning Rain (incomplete) / What´d I Say / Johnny B. Goode / Drum Solo / Bass Solo / Piano Solo / Electric Clavinet Solo / Love Letters / Introductions II / School Days / Hurt / Hound Dog / Hawaiian Wedding Song / Blue Christmas / That´s All Right / Can´t Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp