Star-Sprangled Spectecular Bicentennial ‘76

By LexFeb 12, 2013
Star-Sprangled Spectecular Bicentennial ‘76

Gravel Road Music goes for the most tongue breaking title with their re-release of two soundboards recorded in Hampton (Roads): one from August 1, 1976 and the other from April 9, 1972.


As usual with GRM-releases the design is topnotch. Especially regarding the poor material they had to work with (Elvis in bad shape), they managed to compile a nice booklet for the tasty 3 fold case.
The liner notes are a fun read, with some philosophic words on the remastering of soundboards, which I freely translate as “it’s all a matter of taste”.


Of course both shows were released several times before. The 1976 one has the classic predecessor The Bicentennial Elvis Experience by Fort Baxter. Compared to this one the sound definitely improved. The range is much wider and all instruments are more audible. To my taste the highs are a little too much, but others might like that. For a 1976 show this one isn’t too bad and the inclusion of Return to Sender makes it a kind of special.

Vicky had the honour to open the series of releases of the 1972 Hampton Roads show,but was topped a decade ago by Triangle, which had much better sound, probably one of the best sounding bootlegs ever. GRM is close, with a little more reverb (or whatever it is called that gives it this sound), but I do prefer the Triangle release when closely compared. This one has the advantage that it is much easier to dismantle due to the package, so I might go for this one when playing it in the future.


A good release, especially for those who missed the earlier outings. If you have those, but love 1976 it might be a good upgrade.


August 1, 1976 (2:30 pm). Hampton VA. Hampton Coliseum

2001 Theme / 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 / And I Love You So / Jailhouse Rock / Fever / America The Beautiful / Return To Sender / Band Introductions / Early Morning Rain ( featuring John Wilkinson ) / What’d I Say ( featuring James Burton ) / Johnny B Goode ( featuring James Burton ) / Drum Solo ( featuring Ronnie Tutt ) / Battle Of New Orleans ( featuring Jerry Scheff ) / Piano Solo ( featuring Tony Brown ) / Electric Piano Solo ( featuring David Briggs ) / Love Letters / School Day / Hurt (+ reprise) / Hound Dog - Good Golly Miss Molly (excerpt) / Funny How Time Slips Away / Cant Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp.

April 9, 1972 (8:30 pm). Hampton VA. Hampton Coliseum

Also Sprach Zarathustra /. C. C. Rider /. Until It's Time For You To Go /. Polk Salad Annie /. Love Me /. All Shook Up / Teddy Bear (with 2 false starts)/Don't Be Cruel / Are You Lonesome Tonight? /. I Can't Stop Loving You / Hound Dog / Bridge Over Troubled Water / Suspicious Minds / For The Good Times / Band Introductions / An American Trilogy / Love Me Tender / A Big Hunk Of Love / How Great Thou Art / Sweet Sweet Spirit (The Stamps) / Lawdy Miss Clawdy / Cant Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp/Announcements


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genedin (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 22, 2013report abuse
At we to believe there are is complete shows from Hampton 72 with the full show?
Ton Bruins (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 17, 2013report abuse
I own the "Fort Baxter" release from the August 1 1976 show and it is a very bad show...Elvis (just out of bed ?) sounds very tired and uninspired to say the least....
hankfnsw (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 3, 2013report abuse
Unfortunately the show-repertoire was the same as the audience wanted to here the hits & not new stuff. He did it in Vegas & the the critics like the change (aound 1974) but the people who saw the shows were scratching their heads & the applause wasn't their. Just notice when he sings Hound Dog & you hear all the young girls screaming. But I just love the ballads.
Lefty (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2013report abuse
My copy of this release arrived today. I am impressed with the packaging and the artwork overall. Not that it matters really, but the color balance in the photos is off, and many of the colors appear washed out. Maybe the copy I received was nearing the end of a print run? What really matters is the music. I had never heard the 76 concert before, and it has always had the reputation of being a poor performance, but it did not sound that bad to me. Yes, Elvis sounds nasally when he speaks, most likely due to a cold, and his singing voice is not very powerful; but you can hear that he really tries to give the crowd a good show. He is certainly coherent, which is saying a lot when comparing this performance to some of the utterly dismal shows from 1974 and 1977. The sound quality of is very good for a soundboard. I would give it a 5 rating out of 6. The impromptu "Return To Sender" is great! Elvis almost pulls it off flawlessly, and hearing it made me wish he had sang more of his own songs in the later years. The sad part for me is when I popped 72 concert CD into the player. Of course the show is excellent, but being on the heels of a 76 concert served as a reminder how quickly Elvis had fallen in such a short time. Looking back, I wonder why none of us really had a clue back then as to what was happening with Elvis. I was around back then, and other than talk about him being fat, I never heard of anything bad until after he died. Anyway, I digress. This CD is a welcome addition to my collection, if you're on the fence about it like I was, I say take the plunge and buy it. You will not be disappointed.
mature_elvis_fan75 (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 22, 2013report abuse
Ftd has the complete show,what do they do,nothing,some nonsence about waiting for a dvd release. So instead fans have to get the import if they can find it,duh!
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 22, 2013report abuse
Trouble - Believe me I did try to get a copy of it. At the time, I didn't have a copy of the Vicky CD and Madison's release of the other EOT shows made me want it more. However, I was ripped off from a guy in Norway. I knew something was fishy when he 'strongly' suggested I pay an extra $15-20 have have it sent registered. I didn't and SURPRISE my CD never arrived and soon his e-mails assuring me it would arrive 'any day' stopped as well. I always wished that Madison was going to release this one, but soon after I got a copy of the show on Vicky and have been satisfied.
Troubleman (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 22, 2013report abuse
Thanks Ciscoking. I wonder what happened to them? They started out with good stuff! – TCB
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 22, 2013report abuse
Triangle made the Greensboro Concert and The Hampton Roads Concert. That was it.
Troubleman (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 22, 2013report abuse
I do have the 1976 show `The bicentennial experience `from Fort Baxter and the sound is pretty good. I think they should only have re-released the 76 show on this CD. They cannot possibly compete, or improve the Triangle release for the 1972 show. The packaging and sound is simply outstanding. So why put the title Bicentennial 76 on this CD with a previously released 1972 show?

Lefty – The Triangle release is also my favorite import CD. I haven’t heard them releasing any other imports though. I wonder what happened to them – anyone knows?

Orion – You must try and get the Triangle release…it`s a `must have`! - TCB
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 21, 2013report abuse need to apologise..everyone has a opinion...and that`s the way it has to be..;-)
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 21, 2013report abuse
Cisco - Sorry about that. I just re-read your original thoughts on the EOT show. You did state that the Triangle release was superior in sound. You and Lefty make me wish that I had that one in my collection. That being said, I did my side-by-side last night, and... drum roll .... I don't think either of the releases are that good for a '76 soundboard. It's nowhere near the quality of the Memphis '76 show that Lefty mentioned. The Hampton show is presented at a higher volume than on the Vicky release and without as much bass. I do appreciate the updated graphics, packaging etc.. I think I'll put my Vicky and Ft. Baxter CDs inside the GravelRoad packaging and be satisfied.
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 21, 2013report abuse
Orion..I didn`t say the sound was better than on the Triangle release..that is almost unbeatable. The sound of the 76 show
is equal than what we had..the main reason to buy this new set is ..when you don`t have the originals or you want an upgrade in modern layout..when you have the originals and you are pleased ..all is fine need for this release..I only had the 76 show on I have it on silver disc..that was the reason for me..
Lefty (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 21, 2013report abuse
I own the Triangle version of the 72 concert. It is by far my favorite import CD. There is no way any significant sound improvements could be made on the Triangle release, so I am not concerned about that. I decided to buy this release for the 76 concert because I do not own it in any of the prior versions. If the sound quality of the 76 concert is anywhere close to the sound quality of "Goodbye Memphis", "Old Times They Are Not Forgotten", or "Tucson 76" then it will be fine with me. As Orion suggests, I'll listen to it and then post my opinion.
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 20, 2013report abuse
Cisco - other than your enjoyment of AR's (had to say it), I usually find your appraisal of CDs to be precise and accurate, but I gotta disagree here. I don't have the Triangle (mine was 'lost in the mail or something on its way to the US from Norway" or something like that) release, but do have the original Vicky release of the '72 show and the original Ft. Baxter '76 show. I simply cannot fathom how you this release to be better... The sound simply baffles me even after pages of the liner notes going into sound repairs of atmosphere and ...blah..blah..blah Memphis... I plan to do a side-by-side comparison to see if I imagining things, but just a straight-on listening leaves me unimpressed.
Lefty - please post your thoughts after you hear it.
Biffx (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 20, 2013report abuse
I bought this set and soon discarded my old disks of these shows. A fine upgrade and money well spent, more than happy with the sound quality. Enjoy!!!
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 20, 2013report abuse
Lefty,..both shows are well known...and when you decide to buy it..I take it that you either don`t have the originals or you
are interested in a fine upgrade of these in modern layout and package.. you cannot do anything wrong there..I have heard it`s already almost sold out..
Lefty (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 20, 2013report abuse
I finally found a dealer for this release and I placed my order. After reading Orion's take, I'm wondering if I wasted my money? GRM has indeed come out with some gems in times past, such as "Good To Be Back". Too bad this one is not up to par.
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 20, 2013report abuse
Lex, your notion that "the highs are a little too much" is spot on. This sounds like a copy of the original with the treble turned completely to the right. Ouch !! I'm not a fan of the mix on this at all. It also seems that it runs a little fast making Elvis' voice a little higher. Think of the trick used on the original "Girl Happy" album. The opposite is true for the second disc. The '72 show from EOT sounds heavy on the bass. Early on GravelRoad put out some good CDs - especially the material from the rehearsals for TTWII, but this release disappoints me. I'll stick to the original Ft. Baxter and Vicky (I think) releases.
VivaLasDavies (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 16, 2013report abuse
Lefty, get yourself another dealer.
Joern (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 16, 2013report abuse
The '76 show seems to run a little faster, this way Elvis doesn't sound a little less exhausted ... but the show doesn't get better this way. The '72 show was perfect on the Triangle release - in fact the people behind the legendary Madison lable didn't re-release the show as they were thinking the same way.
Lefty (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 15, 2013report abuse
I really considered buying this one but my dealer isn't carrying it because the GRM wholesale price eliminates any chance of a decent profit. I contacted a friend in the biz, and he isn't offering it either due to his principles (he says GRM copied the prior CD's). So I am out of luck. Thank Goodness I at least have the Triangle Release!
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 15, 2013report abuse
Like Lex wrote : " a good release for those who missed the earlier outings ". I'm one of them, so I'm very glad with this GRM release ! Always El.
Tracey Jayne (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 15, 2013report abuse
Jerome, Perhaps you meant to say " same Old s##t" from YOU.....This package has a lot more to offer than you give credit for so don't knock it unless you have listen to this set......but then that's what you are good at....knocking every single thing that's on this site.
Jerome (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 15, 2013report abuse
do recall a press release of Gravel Road Music in which they announced to be releasing new (unreleased) stuf in the future. But all they do I putting old sh*t in a new package..
Natha (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 14, 2013report abuse
And Boxcar, you are also right in stating that he was there for the audience ! And I would have loved to attend one - if I had the money at that time. For me that is exactly how I listen to these shows. Like you said he was pleasing the audience with it and not recording some live album. There is a lot of music to enjoy. And I experience (apart from a few ones maybe) that he is there for the audience and to give them a great evening. Maybe not everyone enjoyed (enjoys) that, but I do.
Indeed, after all these years we may long for other songs too and as you stated rightly it is because we have nothing new. And there will never be. For me, I never get bored with ELVIS. I get bored with other singers/groups after a few songs, while I can listen to an ELVIS show from the very beginning till the very end.
Natha (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 14, 2013report abuse
Sitdown Revamped, I think that is exactly what happened. By then it must have been clear to him that a tour outside the USA would not happen shortly and became more and more distant, for whatever reason. So there was the routine.
Indeed a useful review, Lex. Thanks.
Boxcar (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 14, 2013report abuse
Elvis has not changed his repertoire? We are used to what we have for all those decades. That makes it boring for us. But give me an undated show-repertoire and I'll tell you the engagement/tour it belongs to. I might even tell you if it's the first or last half of the tour. I said that before in another post. Considering that he only toured for 8 years I think his repertoire changed dramaticly. Look at a 1969, 1973, 1975, 1976 concert. Can't you really tell which one is which? Be honest and you'll find: It's easy. Look at the two tracklistings of this release. Are they really identic? We are bored with what we have and we miss live-versions of our favourite Elvis-songs. But Elvis didn't work on stage to produce one sensational bootleg-album after the other. He had to mix a few new songs with the legendary hits the people wanted to hear. He did that so intense that you, however, can tell the difference between every single tour.
sitdown revamped (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 14, 2013report abuse
Rob127: Not sure what in reality happened during the August 74 opening show in Vegas. Presley by then had changed quite a bit his setlist. But for some reasons returned to "standard" songs pretty soon after that. He once mentioned travelling the world...Might have motivated him to do other songs, but looking at Bob Dylan coming to Europe in the past 40+ years he didn't change his setlist so much either. U.S. setlist of his concerts are quite different to those over here. But yes, would have been intresting. Looking at Keith Finn's Concert setlists of the fifties we are not far from what happened in the 70s. Maybe he lost that certain sparkle to innovate his show somewhere criss crossing the U.S. endlessly and almost aimlessly...
You Dont Know Me (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 14, 2013report abuse
Wow an extremely good 'review' by Lex!~
Smile:-) (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 13, 2013report abuse
I sincerily mean that it is important to be as positive as possible. However.... This 1976 bicentennial concert is brobably one of the worst performances I've ever heard by our man. If not the worst. But (ironic enough) in perfect sound quality;) I love the drum solo by Ronnie Tutt on this release. Pure power! The positive aspect of this concert must be the drum solo, the sound and the fact that this is a historical document of one of Elvis' all time low...:-|
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 12, 2013report abuse
Lex,....your conclusion mirrors my thoughts exaxtly...very well done..!
Rob127 (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 12, 2013report abuse
Guess the 1972 Concert must be good in sharp contrast with the 1976 one ! Can we have the songs tra cklist? I rarely buy or listen to 1976 & 77 shows or concerts....!! Elvis in bad shape, almost always....sorry, folks. He really should have "re-mastered/enchanced" his show-repertoire....with more R'n'R medleys, America, I leavin' it up to you, I need yr love everyday, Your reason Im livin', oh happy days, I can help, shake my hand, Pleging love, Stranger in own hometown.....
Too bad Elvis became too routine... and sick & tired of performing the same all over again....but then, why did he not introduce those new songs in his concerts/shows ? There were many other ways to re-invent everything and modernize it.

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