By LexJun 6, 2010

FTD paired two classic bootlegs from the December ’76 tour in one set. Both Burning In Birmingham (High Voltage) and A Hot Winter Night In Dallas (At Full Force) were re-released recently, but now we have an official release at last.


Again this set has a booklet! It contains pictures of both shows and the tracklisting spread over 8 pages. The design is fresh and above (FTD) par.


Since the content is pretty well known by most of us, I collected what I wrote in the past on the precursors of this set:

High Voltage!

Since I already happened to bore visitors with my views when the original Burning In Birmingham was released, I looked up what I wrote back then:

“A week ago I was complaining about 1976, lost glory and Elvis not being at his best. Probably true, but this concert shows Elvis at his best. 2001 showed in recent releases they are a synonym for quality. With Burning in Birmingham the only live up to their image. The CD contains an 8 page booklet with pictures of the concert and fragments of a newspaper review. Okay, back to the show itself. The sound quality is great, Elvis in a very good mood and the band at their best. It's hard to name highlights in the show, but to me 'Early Morning Rain' (2'56 !), 'For the Good Times' and 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' are pure gems. After listening several times I am convinced that Elvis did also one of the best, if not the best versions of Mystery Train/Tiger Man (play it, James).”

Nowadays I am a bit more critical. This show is only good compared to what Elvis did the year before and the months after it. I still think the four songs above are a pleasant listening, as are several others. But really great? No way!

Compared to the original release (with which I was quite happy at the time), the sound quality has even improved a lot. The downside is that David Briggs is even more annoying, or at least I experience it more that way.

A Hot Winter Night in Dallas (I never got At Full Force)

“Besides the two CDs below, I received this one today. First I was a little disappointed. I already knew it was from one of his best tours ever. But there weren't special songs on it like "The First Time" or "For the Good Times" on "Burning in Birmingham" or "Rags to Riches" on "New Year's Eve" (Auld Lang Syne). Anyway, when I put the new Fort Baxter, A Hot Winternight in Dallas in my CD player I was a little reserved. That feeling was gone soon... just after a few lines of See See Rider I knew it was something special. Even an incomplete "mountain" and "jailhouse" can't spoil this CD. It really is one of the best shows I have (and I have quite some), certainly regarding the performance and the sound is pretty good too. Much better than "Burningham". It's difficult to name a highlight, but "Hurt" certainly is one of the best versions ever, and "Unchained" is pretty good too. Again, naming just these two songs isn't right, because all others are very good.”

Also on this show I am less positive now, but certainly for 1976 this is way above par. Since this show is doing very well (still) in the Import Top 40 I’m not the only one who thinks so.

The sound quality of both shows has improved compared to the discs I described above. A very good example is Unchained Melody in the Dallas show: Elvis’ heavy breathing is less upfront, which makes it much more listenable. On the Birmingham show David Briggs is pushed back again, which improves the show tremendously.


Finally these two “classic” 1976 shows are available to every Elvis fan!


Related Links

Elvis Presley on: eBay, Amazon


Tony C (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 14, 2010report abuse
The whole point of pairing these two shows together is because they were recorded on consecutive nights, that is the theme of this release. Regarding the set list, I'm afraid that cannot be changed, it is all part of history now. With regard to any connection between the "High Sierra" FTD release and the old import CD "Spanish Eyes", the former was recorded on the 21st and the latter on the 24th. They are different shows but obviously mostly have the same songs on both. All of this information is available on Keith Flynn's site.
Dazman (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 11, 2010report abuse
Lex, I personally see no reason to be more critical of these shows. I still think this would be a good show even if it was done in '72. They were no run-of-the-mill efforts. The fire in his belly seems to have returned. I think its because these shows resulted in 2 very popular bootlegs since 1998 we do tend to appreciate them less. If these shows were used for the first time on "Showtime" I think it would knock "Jungleroom" of its perch.
Sirbalkan (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 10, 2010report abuse
I have High Voltage and Hot Winter in Dallas. Although people say there's a lot improvement on FTD version, I can say a little.But overall, THESE ARE THE BEST 76 CONCERTS you can get from Elvis' period. I really mean it. If you don't have the bootlegs, BUY IT without any hesitate.
Pedro Nuno (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 8, 2010report abuse
Dear Lex Iā€™m still 100% with your original reviews... In my case each time I ear those concerts I rank them as Elvis best concerts from 1972 on. Not as great as 1969, not as good as 1970, not as outstanding as the November 1971 tour (my favorite Elvis tour ever, probably with some of the best concerts from the Rock era, by anyone!), but in any case, fantastic gigs. And if we look to the footage available in Youtube from Birmingham, Pittsburgh and mainly Atlanta, we have to surrender to The king that was resurrecting from his state of lethargy, from summer 1975 on, probably due to some amphetamines taken that were to be "best before 1975"...
Smile:-) (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 8, 2010report abuse
...Elvis chosen Elvis-CD...???? WTF! Writing fast, is not always a good thing;) Anyway, ENJOY the day (with or without our hero)
Smile:-) (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 8, 2010report abuse
Thanks! This is good, quantitative news I really appreciate. I received my copy yesterday and will listen to it on my computer today while at work:) We are a bunch of spoiled kids;) Enjoy your day and enjoy your Elvis chosen Elvis-CD everyone:)
You Dont Know Me (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 7, 2010report abuse
YES Stereo AND significantly better than the fort baxter release!~
Natha (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 7, 2010report abuse
I will buy this release only when the sound is improved significantly as I don't feel like buying the same shows over and over again. If any of ye all can shed some valuable light on this, I am much obliged. Otherwise I skip this FTD. Thank you.
Smile:-) (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 7, 2010report abuse
Does the last comment from "You don't know me" mean that the FTD release is a stereo versieon better than the Fort Baxter release? Significantly better, or...? I have the Fort Baxter release, but find it below par soundwise compared to other 1976 soundboards. It is a great show though, and I will certainly support the FTD release:)
You Dont Know Me (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 7, 2010report abuse
Well not bad comments and i for certain appreciate Hearing the Dallas show in its best stereo sound outing -YET!
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 6, 2010report abuse
Do I have to buy the same (perfect) shows again and again ? The answer is No, Ton. However, I decided to support FTD's efforts and pick this one up. I'm glad I did as Lene did a nice job on these shows as well as on "High Sierra." The Dallas show has much much bass than on the "Full Force" release as well as more up front Elvis vocals, and the in-your-face keyboard isn't quite as omni-present on the new mix of Birmingham as it was on the "High Voltage" release. Since Elvis was feeling good and quite focused during these shows, I'm happy with this release and the new mixes. My only question is why Disc 1 is from the 29th and disc two is from the 28th ? Wouldn't chronological order make more sense ?
Ton Bruins (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 6, 2010report abuse
Too bad you didn't get "At Full Force" Lex...that was a disaster...but anyway I didn't get this FTD release until now..Do I have to buy the same (perfect) shows again and again ? I have the fort baxter releases, "at full force" and "high voltage"...yes, re-releases and more re-releases...But then again Elvis was great at those december 1976 shows..

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