Gotta Find My Baby!

August 05, 2022

The Bicentennial Elvis Experience (CD - Fort Baxter, 1995)

The Bicentennial Elvis Experience
Fort Baxter [2096]
Number of tracks:
Running time:
Type of album:
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Unofficial discography
August 1, 1976

The Bicentennial Elvis Experience was one of the releases of the fantastic and defunct Fort Baxter. It covers the August 1, 1976 show in Hampton Roads, Virginia - Elvis' last show in town. The work is currently out of print.

1976 had been a year of more ups than downs and Elvis was happy with how things were going. His desire to record was still low, but the sessions at Graceland's Jungle Room were fun and very productive. He no longer seemed interested in Las Vegas, and Vegas was reciprocal.

By the middle of that year, it didn't look like Elvis had returned to his old form or that it was possible. His performances were still erratic, and he would be slow and sometimes confused at the start of the concerts, though nothing like the terrible performances of August 1975 in Las Vegas. In fact, the singer would greatly improve his performance starting in June, culminating in the great show of December 31, 1976 in Pittsburgh, but it was clear that he no longer had that flame that burned in his core.

In this work Fort Baxter brought the August 1, 1976 concert in Hampton Roads for the first time for the fans. There's nothing more exciting than finding a remastered soundboard of an Elvis Presley show like this, any fan would agree. From the quality of the sound and the way the opening riff starts with Tony Brown slaying the piano, we could imagine that this would be a great performance, but looks can be deceiving.

 Unfortunately, Elvis' performances were very questionable for most of the summer of 1976. This concert would be no exception. Fans cheered and cheered anyway just for being able to witness a rock icon in the flesh as he sang. What some viewers didn't realize was that Elvis' voice was very husky and out of tune.

Below is our review of this CD.

- 1. Also Sprach Zarathustra / See See Rider: The fanfare announces the start of the performance. The crystal clear audio is impressive for the age of the tape. Elvis enters sounding tired and clearly ill. The version is average.

- 2. I Got a Woman / Amen: "See, we had a late show last night and I only got two hours sleep, so..." Elvis, probably aware of his not-so-good condition, tries to explain away the obvious tiredness and shortness of breath. After a brief "well, well, well" routine, Elvis does a drawn-out rendition of the Ray Charles classic. Ronnie Tutt tries to give the singer a boost during the striptease routine, but the effort is to no avail. Then the King of Rock teases JD about him being "the world's lowest human" and does a good finish.

- 3. Love Me: "Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Good afternoon. God, that sounds strange... 'Good afternoon'... I just got up!" Elvis was right, despite apparently not knowing it: "Good afternoon" sounded strange because it was already night. To disguise his lack of voice for the show, he focuses on the fans screaming for his attention and does a middling version.

- 4. If You Love Me (Let Me Know): "Ok. If You Love Me, Let Me Know; if you don't, then get the..." Elvis' voice sounds rather weak, but the version is standard for the time.

- 5. You Gave Me a Mountain: "Thank you very much. Mountain.Elvis is not inspired, but he still makes a good version. There is an excellent mix that privileges the orchestra here.

- 6. All Shook Up: "I'd like to do a medley of some of my records for you.The 1950s hits medley begins and Elvis' tiredness - physical and due to the fact that they are very repeated and tedious songs for him - is evident.

- 7. Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel: Elvis turns to his fans and his voice sounds weak.

- 8. And I Love You So: "Ok. Take it on." The shortness of breath and the melancholy in Elvis' voice even help in this rendition, but it's clear that he's not interested or in a position to do the show.

- 9. Jailhouse Rock: It's obvious that Elvis is genuinely uninterested in this version, but at least he doesn't mumble the words or tangle with the lyrics.

- 10. Fever: This is a throwaway version where Elvis' voice fails at several points and his breath is almost non-existent.

- 11. America, the Beautiful: "Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Since it's our bicentennial year, I'd like to do our version of 'America' for you.This is a magnificent version, but it doesn't have the same shine as a few days before.

- 12. Return to Sender: "Please sing 'Return to Sender'? Honey, if we know it..." This is "the" highlight of the night. The only live rendition of this classic from the movie "Girl! Girls! Girls!" is made at the request of fans of the fan club Return to Sender. E elas ganham uma versão mais do que boa.

- 13. Introductions: "I'd like to introduce the members of my group to you." Elvis introduces The Sweet Inspirations, JD Sumner and The Stamps , Ed Enoch (Ed's intro was cut by tape problems), Pat Brown, Kathy Westmoreland and Sherrill Nielsen.

- 14. Early Morning Rain: "On the rhythm guitar, from Springfield, Missouri, is John Wilkinson." Wilkinson's solo follows the pattern of the time.

- 15. What'd I Say: "On the lead guitar from Shreveport, Louisiana is James Burton." JJames does his job as usual.

- 16. Johnny B. Goode / Solos: "I'm going to ask John to play the guitar on the back of his head. He can do that. I mean, James." Elvis realizes he got his guitarist's name wrong and quotes the apostles to try to cover it up. "John" does a great solo.

 - 17. Band Introductions: Next up, Ronnie Tutt does an impressive solo of almost two minutes, followed by Jerry Scheff, Tony Brown and David Briggs.

- 18. Love Letters: "The first time that David Briggs and I worked together, it was his first recording session and we did a song called 'Love Letters'. Hope I can do it." The version is average, with Elvis mumbling a lot of words.

- 19. Band Introductions / Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll!: Elvis introduces Charlie Hodge, Joe Guercio and his orchestra.

- 20. Hurt: "We have a new record out I'd like to do for you." Before starting the song, Elvis jokes: "Hold a minute, I gotta het thos girl's underwear." The performance is one of the least memorable, with Elvis sounding totally lacking in vocal force. "Yeah, thank you very much. Want to hear that last part again?" Elvis sounds a little better.

- 21. Hound Dog: A throwaway version, as usual.

- 22. Funny How Time Slips Away: "Ladies and gentlemen, now that you've had a chance to see us, I'd like to turn the house lights up so we can take a look at you. Good Golly, Miss Molly!" Surprised by the 11,000 people who crammed the place, Elvis quotes a phrase from the famous Little Richard classic. The 1971 classic is averagely rendered, but with Elvis in control.

- 23. Can't Help Falling in Love / Closing Vamp: "I'd like to say something, if I could. I'd like to tell you that you've been a fantastic audience to work to and any time you want us back here, just let us know and we'll come back, really.Elvis attends to fans and sings in parts, failing to hit the final notes. The fanfare ends the CD with a long fade.

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