Well I am gonna compile a review "on the fly" during my second listen through. First off, lets say that the sound is very good for an audience, with a small question mark over the speed! But thankfully the speed and sound are consistent throughout the CD (no shades of Rock & Blues here!)
2001/See See Rider - standard fare!! Neither great nor awful. "2, 3 - 4!!" I Got A Woman/Amen - "Well well well well - is this the same crowd we had last night?” greeted by a load cheer from the audience. As usual from 1976/77 this goes on too long!! "JD was just goofing off", so has to do his Dive Bomber bit twice (groan). This is followed by some interaction with the crowd, Elvis receives some gifts, and then a great ad lib comment from Elvis to the crowd "You know what we are gonna do, we're all gonna get binoculars and look back at you... or use Jerry Scheff’'s eye glasses!!"
Classic Love Me is a solid, no nonsense rendition, not sloppy as sometimes. Long hold for the backing singers at the end Elvis picks up a ladies garment "whose are these? You're gonna freeze honey - I'm gonna keep 'em" If You Love Me, Let Me Know follows, which again is a solid performance by '76 standards. A little bit of interaction with the crowd leads to an over reliance on the backing singers during the mid section, but the crowd is lapping it up!! Lots more chatting with the crowd "you people at the back would not believe what these people are saying to me!!” and receiving more gifts - then "Mountain". This has a slightly labored feel, maybe due to tape speed issues, but is given a passionate rendition. The crowd loves it. I do too!! "We were out in Texas, then we came in here and the climate was different and a lot of us caught a cold.... the guy in the middle caught something ... the creeping crud" "but anyway we are gonna do a medley."
All Shook Up/Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel are then run through briskly, but not sloppily. The guys and gals down in Georgia are getting a good show so far!! "Now here's a song we did a couple of years ago I'd like to do for you ladies and gentleman, it's called Help Me." Super version, with an unusual placement in the show. Very reminiscent of the Memphis version from exactly one month later. Thankyou very much, then straight into Jailhouse Rock!! JHR is sloppy as shit!! Fair bit of mumbling, but in the end it comes off fine, a and you can tell that the crowd loved it.
Immediately into Fever - scarf time, and general messing about causes Elvis to lose his way a bit after the Captain Smith segment. He drifts back into "Sun Lights Up The Day time", before quickly correcting it into "now you've listened to my story..." Again the crowd laps it up. "Since it's our Bicentennial year I'd like you to listen to our version of America" - a precise and beautiful version is delivered to spontaneous patriotic rapture, even at the half waypoint!! Sounds like everyone was up on their feet at the end!! "I got to tell you something, and I said it last night, the people around in Atlanta and down here are some of the best audiences...and I mean that"
Introductions follow, truncated somewhat by the omission (not on the tape?) of the solos - no great loss as we get Love Letters and HHR&R!!! The intros are lucid, and all the Stamps get humorously introduced. There is none of the stumbling hesitancy that I had expected. Love letters is ponderous (as per usual), but I am glad it is included, as it is performed sincerely. Not sure why they combined School Days and Hurt #1 on 1 track - (minor quibble!!) but Hurt is splendid, and given a superb full reprise!!
IMO, this is the point in a '76 show that defines the great show from the ordinary. Does Elvis do Hound Dog then close with CHFIL? Oh no, far far from it in this closing show!! Elvis has done an hour, but is keen to go on and please this great crowd. A rare '76 version of Burning Love is greeted with cheers from the crowd. Elvis rips through it like it was June '75, and if anything is more sure of the words here than he was in ‘75!! (Reading??) Elvis can be heard whooping during the extended "hunk hunk" ending - awesome!! "Somebody threw a chicken on stage! ...Better go give 'em a scarf!" - "you wanna hear Big Boss Man ... ok Big Boss"
And then we get the "title track" - very unusual opening - sounds like the opening of Boy From New York City!! Pretty good version then ensues - cool and driving beat. Great drum work from Ronnie too!! I think what happens next is completely unplanned. Elvis asks for the house lights to go up "so we can have a look at you" Obviously in preparation for Funny How Time Slips Away. He is bending down and shaking hands with fans, (as per the cover shot). He tests the suit to see if it will "hold up" to the bending down, and calls out Shake a Hand, before launching into an impromptu version. He is pretty unsure of the words, mixing up several verses, but it is a rare treat and great fun to hear. It may have been a shouted request, or an off the cuff thought, but shows that Elvis was in a great mood and wanting to be out there entertaining. The background singers do a fine job backing him up considering!! "We never rehearsed that song, so we really didn't know it!" he says before starting Funny.
Lots of shrieks as Elvis moves among the crowds round the stage, but a fair version results. More shades of '75. "Mystery Train/Tiger Man" says Elvis, choo woo - off we go!! Wicked I think a bra then flies onto the stage - "is this yours Estelle?" "It’s not big enough?" "Don't brag!!" Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to say something if I could, in all seriousness" "...any time you want us to come back to Atlanta just let us know" - the crowd lift the roof off of the Omni!!!! "Wise men say..." we know the rest!! Lucky crowd man, lucky crowd. I had read in various places (FECC included) that this was a poor show; with a few unusual songs to part redeem it. Big Boss In Trouble? - hell no!! I have heard loads of Summer '76 shows, and some are pretty turgid. This one is great IMO - best '76 show before the final tour of the year?? I think probably yes!! This review was originally posted on the For Elvis CD Collector's Forum.
Also Sprach Zarathustra - C.C. Rider - I Got A Woman - Amen - Love Me - If You Love Me - You Gave Me A Mountain - All Shook Up - Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel - Help Me - Jailhouse Rock - Fever - America The Beautiful - Band Introductions - Love Letters - School Days - Hurt (#1) - Hurt (#2) - Burning Love - Big Boss Man - Shake A Hand - Funny How Time Slips Away - Mystery Train - Tiger Man - Can't Help Falling In Love - Closing Vamp - Announcements