The Bicentennial Show

By LexDec 26, 2017
The Bicentennial Show

FTD "treated" us at the end of 2017 with two more 1976 shows.


Standard 5" fold out panel FTD with pictures of 1976, so nothing special here.


The July 4th Tulsa show is not one of the worst Elvis did, but it is an attempt for it. Even Trilogy is not what it should be, one would think he tried it more then enough before... Anyway, my opinion on 1976 in general is known by now, unfortunately this show doesn't give me a reason to play the other side of that record, saved for the exceptions. Okay, one more for the effort: the sound is pretty good, so yo can hear all out of tune singing (especially JD was out of shape) perfectly.

The sound of the second show (Duluth, 1976/10/16) is not as good as on the first CD, but still fair. See See Rider already shows the performance will be better. The I Got a Woman routine, well, well, isn't in sleepwalking mode like it was in Tulsa, another promise for a better show. It sounds like E was having a fight with the mike all the time, according to his comments, but it doesn't really bother him. You Gave Me a Mountain gets a more than fair treatment. Even And I Love You So gets a good rendition, which did not happen that often. Steamroller is one of my personal 70s favourites and it is great to have another version of it. After surviving David Briggs' solo we get the Love Letters thing and for sure it is above par too.
Hurt did not really deserve a reprise, seems like he got tired by now. Having said that Now or Never gets a nice treatment a bit later, gladly without the singing saw. So I have a reason to turn the 1976 record for the exception! This show is good for a 1976 show.

The bonus songs (still think it's weird: an encore after closing vamp) starts with Hawaiian Wedding Song, an okay version, but I just don't like the song. The bonus Steamroller is even better than the one from the complete show. America is, uh, America, powerful but over the top at the end. And Blue Suede Shoes, yeah, we really needed another throwaway version of that song. BTW the bonus songs are from October 19, 1976 (Madison, Wisconsin).


Two shows, one bad - even for 1976 - and the other good compared to many other 1976 shows.


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Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 21, 2018report abuse
Thanks for your input. Lets see what is possible.
Dazman (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 9, 2018report abuse
Ciscoking: is there any chance, come the next 1976 soundboard release, you can select a top-shelf or a tour best performance. So far we have none. With what's released so far they seem to range from poor to okay. Jackson and Duluth I would class as 'getting there' but still are found wanting in places. After hearing some of the audience bootlegs the Cleveland and Carbondale concerts from the October tour clearly show that Elvis is right out of the blocks and rising to the challenge. Whereas the previously released earlier concerts are clearly from the lesser half of the tour. I also listened to the Eugene concert from Nov. 27 and again we have stunning highlights from that show and judging by the bonus tracks from that date from the West Coast Tours CD the sound is very strong and well balanced. Okay we did get the Dallas and Birmingham shows from December but they've been common knowledge long before FTD's version. I also read some good reports re the Bloomington, Syracuse, Pine Bluff and Dayton shows among others. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's tired of hearing how bad and indifferent 1976 actually got. I know a top shelf Elvis show would be in the small minority but it would make the collectors experience less predictable.
Dazman (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 26, 2018report abuse
While Elvis isn't exactly bursting out of his skin in Duluth, it's a relief that he sounds like he's back to normal. The sound is a bit weak and muddier than the first disc but it doesn't take away from this better than average concert for 1976. He delivers a pretty loose 'See See Rider' which eventually gains momentum later on. 'You Gave Me a Mountain' shows he's back on song. 'Steamroller Blues' isn't exactly pure napalm, but has enough grunt to satisfy. Also some nice versions of 'And I Love You So' and 'Blue Christmas'. But the show isn't without it's faults. He seems to lack motivation on the stronger numbers of Hurt and How Great Thou Art. On the latter he seems to rely on the backing vocals at the end. At least he put in the effort in the Tulsa version.. By the way I never knew that Joan Deary considered this show for inclusion on the Elvis Aaron Presley 1980 box set. On the bonus cuts from Madison you can sense a lift in Elvis' game, especially on 'Steamroller' with it's even greater intensity from Elvis and the band. America is also good but nothing unique from what we already have. Not even 'Love Me Tender' is a complete throwaway either. Wouldn't mind this show getting the full treatment later on. Overall it's a more than acceptable disc to save this set from being a total write off.
Dazman (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 26, 2018report abuse
Got my copy this week. Sorry to those who see the glass as half full but I'm with Lex on the Tulsa show. This gig is proof that Elvis by this time was no afternoon performer. I think it's one of the most disappointing shows Elvis gave from this Summer period, given the significance of the date. I was expecting Elvis to be leading from the front and giving his all with all his health problems. Instead we get an unprofessional mess. 'You Gave me a Mountain' is very weak. Sounds like he's just climbed one ! Hurt is marred in the end by poor voice control. He dedicates 'Help Me' to Oral Roberts not that I care too much for that huckster but this version sounds more like a cry for the head nurse more than a song. It's woefully laboured. The only positive I can point out is a strong version of America, in fact it's arguably one of the best versions under FTD's watch. I especially like the spoken part. How Great Thou Art isn't too bad but on the final note of the song his tank is clearly running dry. Let's hope any future shows from '76 don't get worse than this.
mikael69 (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 25, 2018report abuse
MemphisFan - Thanks for your reply to my question I just listened to the 4th of July show during a v long traffic jam and frankly this is a very good show : a lot of interactions with the crowd, v good singing, varied set list (and the guitar playin is v nice too). In total disagreement with the review up there. Go, get it and enjoy Looking fwd to listen to Duluth if even better.
TheMemphisFan (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 14, 2018report abuse
mikael69 asked, "Does anyone know why Tulsa - and not a more symbolic place - was booked for that much symbolic date?"
~ As a 59-yr. old lifelong Elvis fan, mikael, I can honestly say the reason was because the state of Elvis' career at that time was seriously mismanaged... No real foresight or solid planning by Colonel Parker or Elvis Presley. They could've made that day a memorable one for all of his fans if they had planned far enough in advance to set up a HUGE concert in Philadelphia, or Washington D.C., or even Memphis at the Liberty Bowl football stadium (instead of doing Memphis the next night at the usual Mid-South Coliseum). I suppose Elvis just wasn't physically fit or mentally driven enough during that time of his life to care enough to put on a big show that could've been & should've been more symbolic.
circleG (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 13, 2018report abuse
Thanks Ernst and Cisco, looking forward to this
You Dont Know Me (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 8, 2018report abuse
I have now had the 2 shows to listen too. Tulsa show has a distorted and over-loud James Burton Guitar mix,Whilst Duluth mix is much more balanced.Tulsa has good performances, but unfortunately mixed with some poor performances, however whilst Duluth is a stronger sung show, the track-listing isn't as variable or as longer show!~ So good/bad points about both shows, certainly all Madison 19th October performances are in good voice and ok. Better Humour during the Tulsa show though and (for 19760 Elvis clearly knows he is actually performing IN Tulsa!~
Lefty (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 1, 2018report abuse
Thank you, Ciscoking. I have wanted the July 4, 1976 concert ever since I read an article about it many years ago. Lex is heavily biased on Elvis in 1976, so I have to take this review with a grain of salt. My copy is en route, so I will make my own judgement when it arrives.
mikael69 (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 28, 2017report abuse
Thanks to Ernst & Cisco to issuing these 2 : even if Elvis is not on top form in Tulsa, it was important to have the 4th of July show of that bicentenial year. Does anyone know why Tulsa - and not a more symbolic place - was booked for that much symbolic date ? Mikael
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 27, 2017report abuse
I think everybody knows what to expect when you purchase a concert from 1976. We all know that it wasnt Elvis best year when it comes live live performances. Anyway,..when you go with this attitude buying the FTD pack you will be pretty surprised how good Elvis could be on stage in 1976 if he only had the right mood. The Tulsa concert was the bicentennial show and really decent for that reason, the Duluth show is equal or even better. Those fall tours were not bad and Duluth is one of the best out of those. Elvis is clear and trim cause his private life was going in good directions. And it is a bonus show which was unreleased in any form before. Ernst, thank you for taking my advice and releasing the shows.
You Dont Know Me (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 26, 2017report abuse
hmm seems the Duluth show is the better performance of the two shows from Lex's point of view.... in that i tend to agree that TRILOGY by 1976 getting the dis respective joke of 'Disneyland' always show a version lacking due care and respect-something you can still occasionally hear in 1975!, however i tend is dis- agree that its one of Elvis's worst 1976 show.. you have to wait until the July/August tour 76 for that Lex!~

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