New Haven '76 - Cold In Summer

By Elvis In Norway/ Oven EgelandNov 28, 2009
New Haven '76 - Cold In Summer

Follow That Dream's focus on tour number 20 certainly is a tough one! This new CD contains a soundboard recording from New Haven, July 30 1976. Based on bootleg releases, it was obvious what Elvis fans could expect already when the CD release was announced. On bootlegs we have had complete, almost complete and bits and pieces from a total of three concerts this tour. One of the very first soundboard releases ever was called Hurt. This CD covers the second Charleston gig on July 24. It showcases a lazy and largely uninspired Elvis. The same could in general be said about the tracks from Hartford, July 28 as found on Across The Country Vol. 1. And most fans are aware of the - close to horrible - concert that took place in Hampton Roads on August 1 1976 (found on A Bicentennial Elvis Experience).

On many recordings from 1976, Elvis appears uninspired, tired and/or drugged. Several of the soundboards we have from early to late Summer 1976 display an "I don't give a flying ****" attitude from Elvis. Even so, some concerts could still be described as quite enjoyable.

During the end of tour 20, it somehow seems that things were not only influenced by laziness and lack of commitment. On this new CD from FTD, Elvis sounds sick and exhausted. He is not lazy, he does not seem overly drugged; he simply sounds totally exhausted. Striving to squeeze out the right note and concentrating to keep the show hanging together.

This is the same impression you get while listening to the show two days later in Hampton Roads (Aug. 1). Apparently Elvis was sick on July 31, also in Hampton Roads. Sick in the meaning cold or flu or something in that lane. My guess is that he was already sick in New Haven and probably full of cold medicine of some kind.

This has Elvis to perform what must be one of his poorest concerts ever in 1976.

Already during 'See See Rider' you can hear that it will be a tough listen. He seems to be out of breath even on the first verse. Later he really gives an effort to pump things up, but it does not work.

When Elvis announces 'Help Me' he sounds like begging "Help Me!" However, as this song goes along, it turns out to be one of the better achievements.

Elvis is quite talkative during the concert and he is surprisingly coherent. The run through of old hits works fine; it doesn't take much energy in any given shape! 'And I Love You So' on the other hand is off-key and the most uninspired version of the song I have ever heard. 'America' deserves the same comments. Often Elvis made this number a showstopper on his '76 concert. Today it is boring, even though he throws in an extra version of the ending.

'Jailhouse Rock' is somewhat amusing - in a positive way. This version is good for later takes of the song. Almost as good as the one found on Old Times They Are Not Forgotten.

Elvis asks for the lights to be turned up already after Jailhouse. Then he - as normal - sings 'Funny How Time Slips Away'. A fair delivery! The introduction of the band and the songs that follow during this segment - 'Love Letters' included - are ok. As said, Elvis appears more coherent than he often would during Summer 1976.

'Hurt' is performed in full two times. At this stage in the concert, one don't except very much. The both appear to be fine.

'Hawaiian Wedding Song' fits Elvis late 70's vocal nicely. His version in Rapid City as found on Elvis In Concert is one of the better of all out there. His effort in New Haven is not on par with that one, but gives a nice impression all the same.

A paradox; the sound quality is excellent! Almost as good as the July 3 concert released on Rocking Across Texas. A poor show in great sound in other words. The only downside sound wise is a certain amount of overload on Elvis' microphone. In addition, the soundboard has been tweaked through the not so magic hands of Lene Reidel. Some digital artifacts that shouldn't have been there, is there still!

Tagged onto the end is 'Return To Sender' from Hampton Roads, August 1. Bootlegged a zillion times before, I guess an official release like this could not be with out it. However, this song comes in a strange low out-put volume compared to the rest of the CD. A good "producer" would fix this before release.

A new soundboard from a previously uncovered tour (by BMG / FTD) is (partly) what FTD is all about. In that sense, this release is welcomed. And in that one only...

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tcbRoss (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 31, 2009report abuse
Will rush over to buy it from my local fan club ! However, WHEN will FTD release 'without the book' the LA Concert where EP sang 'You can have her' ?? as we cannot/will not spend $100 for that one CD.....after all: it's an audience recording that doesn't warrant so much money ! Also still waiting for the 72 On Tour Box (4 CDs please compilation !!??)
Dazman (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 29, 2009report abuse
NH'76 with all it's problems there are worse rip-offs than this in the music industry, even in the Elvis world. You can go & watch Britney Spears lip-synch on stage for well over a $grand.
LonElvis (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 26, 2009report abuse
I got this CD for Christmas and listened to it today and really enjoyed it. Elvis really seems to be trying hard in a lot of subtle ways - including the ending of Love Me and his very mellow version of Early Morning Rain (one of the best). Sure he sounds a little tired in spots but overall this is a very solid show that I enjoyed listening to on CD and I"m sure it was even better in person. I like the sound, the setlist, and, again, the subtle things here and there that show he's really trying. And to me the result is a very special show - one of my favorite soundboards. Elvis fans are too quick to dismiss 1976 and 1977 when in reality some of his best work was recorded in these years.
mature_elvis_fan75 (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 22, 2009report abuse
Shows like college park just annoy me,the musicians should have walked off the stage when these type of shows happened,did anyone have any nerve to say anything?
Dazman (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 10, 2009report abuse
In light of what was an abysmal tour with Elvis sounding all washed up & out of sorts I think "New Haven '76" is about as good as it gets. Even if there are better shows from this period the set list was probably identical to th e Fort Worth show & "Polk Salad Annie" would occasionally be dropped from the line-up if he wasn't up to it. Sound would also be another factor to consider because both the Charleston & Hartford bootlegs had very muddy sound to them. I don't think EJ was looking forward to releasing NH'76 either. However after listening to my copy at least Elvis gave an honest effort in trying to enjoy himself in this up-hill battle under the circumstances and putting a slight dent in his rut such as throwing in the "Hawaiian Wedding Song" or an almost complete "Early Morning Rain". It's these little things that should give owners of NH'76 something to hang their hat on.
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 10, 2009report abuse
You want worse - try College Park, MD from Sept. of 74. Ouch!!!
Smile:-) (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 9, 2009report abuse
I received my copy a couple of days ago and I was prepared for the worst since I already have "The Bicentennial Elvis Experience" which was recorded two days later. The recording from Aug. 1 is so far the worst concert "experience" I have with Elvis and I could imagine that New Haven would be exactly the same. Also the various reviews indicated this. I put the record on and shut mye eyes and ears in fear. While slowly opening up, I realised that this "experience" was significantly better than the before mentioned show (previously released on Fort Baxter). Don't get me wrong, the New Haven show is a sad listenand probably one of his worst concerts, but in my ears "The Bicentennial Elvis Experience" from Aug. 1, 1976 still "regns" as Elvis' worst released show ever.... Anyone who can mention a worse show?
Deano1 (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 4, 2009report abuse
Thank you Orion, I appreciate the kind words and Steve V, I can understand your points as well. I will say that most live albums are pretty bad and no where close to a performer's studio work (there are exceptions). I have heard and seen numerous "big" names that exposed their true lack of talent on either a live recording or a TV appearance. True Elvis sounded great at many places he played, but at some arenas, he might not have been able to hear himself and anyone who sings can tell you how easy it is to get off key if you can't hear yourself. Some places like Madison Square Garden are fine. The venues in New Haven and Hampton Roads might have been far worse.

As far as not touring, perhaps he would have been better off, but then again with his personal life in shambles, maybe he would have died even sooner without the stage and the crowds. 76 and 77 produced some great Elvis music that I am happy to have.

There is no doubt that money played into it as he had told Colonel Parker in late 75 (after spending more than he made that year) to put him on tour as much as possible in 76. At that time though Elvis had only had one sub par tour (Oct 74 although some very good shows were given on that tour as well) and he had no reason to think he couldn't just turn it on again.

The one thing I do wish is that his fans (and I include myself) had just let him mature as a performer. There is a picture of him in the great "Concert Years" book of him in 1976 walking down the stairs of the "Lisa Marie" right before the Richmond show on 6/29. The jacket he is wearing is light years better than the "Bicentennial" outfits he wore most of that year. What if Elvis had been allowed to come stage dressed well, not having to sing "Hound Dog" and the golden oldies, sat at the piano part of the night, and performed no "bump and grind" dances. Perhaps Elvis underestimated his fans, perhaps we would have accepted these types of changes, but more than likely a vast number would have been angry because they wanted the "Aloha" Elvis decked out in jump suits or the "Comeback" Elvis dressed in leather and singing "Don't Be Cruel" or the "Vegas" Elvis doing karate chops and acting like, as he said, a "crazy man".

In 1976, Elvis wasn't any of these things, but God bless him he tried to still be all of those things.
I do want to say this, Elvis was truly an artist and he was managed by a carnival huckster (and this is not to discredit Col Parker completely). In the end, something had to give and it was the artist. Elvis made movies too long, was caged in Vegas too long and in 1976 his touring had become stagnant. Elvis needed a change, something he could throw himself into, but no one, not the fans, not Col Parker, not his friends would allow him to change. Look at his record sales for proof. "That's The Way It Is" and "Elvis Country" (two of Elvis' best albums in my opinion) had worse chart runs than "Harum Scarum" and "Kissin Cousins". Two fine LP's from the 70's, "Good Times" and "Promised Land" were out sold by a budget LP called "Pure Gold", which had mainly golden oldies. His biggest selling album of the 70's? A two record set on TV in 1973 of his 50's and 60's hits. His grammy award winning album from 1972 "He Touched Me" had the 3rd worst chart performance of all of his legitmate RCA releases (only "Good Times" and "Speedway" did worse - US charts).

He had tried to make subtle changes in the past. One example was his opening night in Vegas in the Summer of 74. The fans reacted lukewarmly to his more mature repetoire. He returned to the tried and true and he gave the fans want they wanted at the time, to relive their youth. He had so much more to give.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 4, 2009report abuse
All the major acts played the same arenas and had the same bad acoustic problems, so that excuse is weak. Elvis was just not up to it anymore and should have stayed away from touring period. It was a way to make quick money more than anything else.
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 3, 2009report abuse
Deano - I thoroughly enjoyed your post. It really shows you to be an intelligent and true fan of the man and his music. I admit to being negative about this show, but that's only because I could only listen to it with my ears - and that's why I said it broke my heart. You see, as far as the physical Elvis, I only saw him twice. Once in '76 (captued on the Import Holding Back the Years), and once in '77 (the second to last show he gave - in Cincinnati). During each of those shows, he was in bad shape physically, but I didn't see it from my seat (3rd row in '77). I was awe-struck and captivated by his magic. I am sure if the last Cincy were available on sounboard, it too might break my heart. It's hard to tell - the March '76 show sounds great, but I recall how heavy he was and how slow he moved around the stage. However, on CD, it's a favorite import of mine. So, you really never know what you'll find on any soundboard. You also brought up another fantastic point. Elvis never had a clue that we'd be listening to these shows 30+ years later. So, when you find a great sounboard or even a few great performances, it does show the man gave all he had each night. It's just that some nights there was more fire in the furnace. Again, great post !!
Deano1 (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 3, 2009report abuse
Mature_Elvis_fan75, I respect your opinion and I agree that 8/1/76 does not show Elvis at his best, but I have listened to it a couple of times and I don't see as where it is any worse than the June 1st concert in Tucson. He does sound labored at times and he is not the same dynamic entertainer as he had been in the early 70's, but I don't think it is a bad show. I agree that for his sake he should not have been touring as much as he was that year and I wish that he and Colonel Parker would have just found something for him to do that would have been challenging(a new movie, a tour of Canada, a world tour, something). I guess I am just saying the extreme scrutiny we put these shows under 33 years after they happened is a little unfair. They were never meant to be released to the public, the acoustics in many places were horrible and the fans (for the most part) that were there, cheered just as loud at a mediocre show as they did a great one. Elvis' obligation was to those fans in Virgina that Saturday afternoon (not the record buying public) and I bet most of them left the show satisfied.
mature_elvis_fan75 (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 3, 2009report abuse
Very true that there are some enjoyable shows from 76,but aug 1st isnt one of them! Sometimes his best just wasnt good enough and more important he for his own sake shouldnt have been on stage,who tours like that? no one! My comments are not made as a put down,its just a bit of reality! as i said there are some good shows from 76, just pick and choose!
Deano1 (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 3, 2009report abuse
I have not purchased this CD and I probably won't due to the price, but I wanted to give my two cents on Elvis in 1976. I have several of his concerts from 76 on CD (Tucson on 6/1, Ft Worth on 7/3, Memphis on 7/5, Hampton Roads on 8/1 and Dallas on 12/28) and while these shows are of varying degree, none of them are terrible and I am surprised by his fans reaction to them. I received the show from Hampton Roads fearing the worse and I was pleasantly surprised with the show. Now I know that Elvis didn't vary his shows much during 1976. He performed the "I Got A Woman / Amen" routine a little too much, his band introductions were long and sometimes tedious and his oldies were rushed and poorly delivered at times. That said, I still find enjoyment from these shows, even the 8/1/76 show that is called, by some, his worst.

Elvis does sound out of breath at times, but as someone who struggles with high blood pressure (as Elvis did), you have your days wear holding notes and getting your breath is not easy. Elvis in 1976 toured more than ever and while that wasn't the smartest move, it was Elvis doing the one thing he loved to do. His personal life wasn't well, I am sure he missed his daughter and his tumultuous relationship with Linda Thompson did not help. He had a partially paralyzed colon, glaucoma, hypertension and while these ailments were partially self inflicted, he still showed up for his shows and put his best into it. Now he knew there would be the same reaction to him if he did an good version of an oldie or a throwaway and since he never could have imagined that years later people would be buying these concerts (or that a tape would even exist), he smartly lied back on these numbers and saved his energy for "America", "Hurt" and a couple of others.

Now don't get me wrong, the improvement between the August 1st show and the December 28th show is dramatic, but that doesn't mean the August 1st show wasn't enjoyed by 95% of the people who were there that night. I would have loved to see Elvis with the same energy at 41 as he had at 35, but he simply did not have that energy anymore. Not especially night after nightm and that is why he was up and down. His Mom told him after seeing him in 1956 at a concert that if he kept performing like that he would be dead before he was 30. Tragically we lost him at 42. Even at his worst, which I think was at Omaha, NE on June 19, 1977, he still gave us everything he had. He appeared unsteady that night, slurred his words while introducing the band, appeared to be in pain and struggled though some of the songs, but he still pulled himself together that night to produce some memorable moments.

1976 is not a year to be ashamed of as an Elvis fan. The people who make fun at his weight, or a performance, or a missed note or two weren't going to be fans anyway. One more thing to keep in mind is the hideous acoustics of the same of the places Elvis played. When we worry about him being "off key" in a show do we ever stop and think about this? I think it is amazing how good Elvis still sounded in places built for hockey games and circuses. Elvis in 1976 is year to be celebrated by a man that kept on giving until the end. He still cared, if he did not care he wouldn't have worked so hard to try and get himself in shape in October and delivered the terrific shows he did in December of that year. Were there some nights where he was off? Sure. Were there nights when he sounded better than others? Yes, for varying reasons. Would I still take Elvis live in 1976 over 99% of the musical acts that ever performed? ABSOLUTELY!
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 3, 2009report abuse
Waymore - I think you misread my comment. Madison has never released this show - I was replying to Mature's wish for FTD to release some "On Tour" shows. I told him that FTD's release of any "on tour" material would most likey be inferior in terms of packaging and possibly sound -depending on who did the mastering - to what Madison released.

I agree with you that Lene has taken a beating on several forums for the work on several projects that he has done for FTD. It does seem that Vic and Jean-Marc have a better ear for mixing Elvis' catalogue. Really looking forward to the release of "Good Times." The sound should be equal to that of ROR since all the tapes were probably mastered at the same time by Jean-Marc. Hopefully, it arrives BEFORE Christmas.
waymore44 (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 3, 2009report abuse
I never heard the Madison version of this release, but I have enjoyed several Madison releases that I have downloaded. I'm seeing a pattern in folks on here not digging Lene Redel's mastering jobs. Why does the mastering of these FTD releases not always go to Vic Anesini as the primary BMG releases have? I think he does a superb job with whatever project he's a part of.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 2, 2009report abuse
This subject goes about a CD-release and it's content . Not about so-called fans obsessed with publishing-permissions . Sticking to the topic is essential. Always El.
EspenK (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 2, 2009report abuse
Wow - did Oven really give you permission to publish his article on this site?
Jerome-the-third (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 1, 2009report abuse
live material that is..
Jerome-the-third (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 1, 2009report abuse
with al my respect, you have to be a collector, die hard or a new fan to buy this release. I certainly won't by again 76 material..
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 1, 2009report abuse
I agree that there might be a sizeable market for buyers that didn't or weren't able to obtain the Madison releases. Therefore, it might be a profitable release. As far as why they would re-release the one from the boxed set, I believe the master tapes for all but that show are in the MGM vaults. I could be wrong, but something tells me that they are the owners of those Masters. Also, if you look at FTD's track record of re-releasing things, why not pull out a show that you have already had mastered and release it on FTD.

Also, the boxed set is out of print, so it would be a second chance for those who didn't buy that set. Look at the the recent re-releases of CDs that were once only in FTD books, and you'll see what I mean. That's why I say be careful about what you wish for. A booklet ? really, as much as we've slammed FTD for their titles, their graphics, etc. I can't imagine what a booklet would be like from FTD. Then again, I've enjoyed all of the ones included in the classic releases. So, maybe - just maybe... Nah, they'll never do it. :-)
mature_elvis_fan75 (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 1, 2009report abuse
Alot of folks dont have the madison cd's.and why cant Ftd get the sound right on an On Tour show? Why would they release the san antonio show again? Hampton roads and greensboro should be on the label and put a booklet with the release!
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 1, 2009report abuse
I agree with both CircleG and Mature in that "On Tour" was a good time performance-wise and vocally for Elvis. It's a shame he didn't spend more time in the studio in '72. My only word concerning an FTD release from "On Tour" is to be careful for what you wish - you might get "it." It being a re-release of the San Antione show from the Close Up boxed set from a few years ago. As far as the other shows and rehearsals, I'm perfectly happy with what Madison gave us before going out of buisness. Even if FTD would release something like the Greensboro show, we'd rip Lene to shreds for the mastering as well as the packaging or the lack of. So, I'm not too sure an On Tour release would make us all happy. Another example is the FTD release of "The Wonder of You" vs Audionics release. I was very happy with the Audionics' sound and VERY happy with the booklet, so I skipped the FTD release. I'm sure I'd do the same with an On Tour FTD release. Just something to think about.... My wish for 2010 is "Promised Land" and "From EP Blvd." as classic releases. I also wonder what the last soundboard Ernst and company actually have. If not INDY, did they capture and possess the show in Cincy from the night before ? I'd also like to see a "new" interview with Ernst to see what things he has planned for the new year and beyond.
circleG (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 1, 2009report abuse
two words for FTD - 'on' and 'tour', oh and a third one 'please' ;)
mature_elvis_fan75 (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 30, 2009report abuse
So how about an On Tour Show? The bad soundboards one after the other shows the bad the way Ftd runs this label! Mix it up,not that difficult really!
Ton Bruins (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 30, 2009report abuse
Yes, he attempts a full version of Early Morning Rain; it's off key though, like more songs Elvis did sing that night in New Haven. Very bad concert from Elvis.
You Dont Know Me (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 30, 2009report abuse
This has been one of the very few 'reviews' i have read and it is a 'good quality review' which reflects the concert and what you expect to hear from this CD, The only other comment i'd add to this review is that Elvis attempts a full version of Early Morning Rain at this show.
mature_elvis_fan75 (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 29, 2009report abuse
Ftd needs to focos on the On Tour shows,they also need to get someone who knows what there doing to handle the sound! It is completely absurb to not have the best possible sound on a collectors label! But of course ernie can always say its how the tape was and not his fault! There are many issues with Ftd and one is they dont give every release the same treatment,this is a big no no when you call yourself a collecots label! Maybe they want to match some of Elvis uninspried performances with sound erros and bad artwork but last time i checked,each Ftd costs the same!
Lefty (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 29, 2009report abuse
Let's see, FTD is re-releasing their own stuff, (Rockin' Across Texas) and they're doling miserable shows. Maybe FTD is nearing the end of their run?
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 28, 2009report abuse
I admit to being a soundboard junkie, for you never know what you're going to get. As Forrest Gump said .... Besides the man only did so many shows, and he won't be doing anymore soon; so, I ususally pick up 99% of the soundboards. I usually find most of them listenable because they take me back to the two precious moments when I was in the audience for his live show. However, I must admit that this one was a hard listen. It wasn't because of the sound, for the sound is very good and he looks pretty good on the pictures used. He even looks amazungly tan on the pictures. It makes me wonder where he got the time to work on that tan. Tan or no tan - Elvis does sound worn out. It literally broke my heart to hear how down and wornout he sounds on this one. It's hard to believe that this tired and worn out guy would be recording at Graceland in a few months not to mention giving an excellent show in Pittsburgh in few months after that much less be dead in a little over a year. As I said, it's fine sound-wise ( but the liner notes leave out one Charles Franklin Hodge) but the worn-out guy on stage will break your heart.
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 28, 2009report abuse
Good thoughts exactly...

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