Gotta Find My Baby!

October 17, 2022

A Minnesota Moment (CD - FTD, 2010)

A Minnesota Moment
FTD [FTD 088] [506020 975008 2]
Number of tracks:
Running time:
Type of album:
Linked to:
FTD discography
October 17, 1976
February 2010

A Minnesota Moment was the eighty-eighth FTD CD. It partially covers the October 17, 1976 show in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and features bonus features from October and November of the same year. 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, causing the Colonel to cast him for just one season from December 2-12 at the Hilton; this, as we know today, would be the last of his career in the city. Instead of the dry air of the Nevada desert, the King of Rock chose to do just one more season in Lake Tahoe, where he had last performed two years earlier, between April 30 and May 9, 1976.

By the middle of that year, it didn't look like Elvis had returned to his old form or that that was possible. 
His performances were still fickle, 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 from 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.

1976 is not an easy year to review when it comes to Elvis live. There were no major setlist changes as there had been in previous years, no dramatic "emotional roller coaster" from 1974 and no Huntsville excitement in 1975. Besides to the exceptional explosion of the last tour in December 1976 (inspired by the challenge of new young love Ginger), in retrospect the year seems like a slow process continuing the inevitable downward spiral.

In the year 2000, FTD had to be fully commended when they released the June 1, 1976 soundboard in Tucsonbut unfortunately not because it was a great show - just because it heralded the start of a new era of official soundboard releases. A lackluster performance, "Tucson" was saved purely by the extraordinary single performance of "Danny Boy". For most of the performance, Elvis' vocals are lifeless and he looks bored as he has to go through the old routine all over again.

A real sign of the times in 1976 was that from the April tour to the August tour, Elvis basically wore his "Bicentennial Suit" to every show, certainly signaling a bored artist. In fact, among fans, the August 28, 1976 performance in Houston is often touted as his "worst show ever," but concerts through most of the summer often sounded like Elvis was on autopilot, bored, overweight, unhappy, sick, over medicated and desperate.

FTD's "New Haven '76" with the July 30 performance is one case in point. Released because of the excellent audio quality, Elvis sounds bored, medicated and apathetic, and overall it's a painful listening experience.

However, as with everything about Elvis, there are always contradictions, changes and sometimes a light at the end of the tunnel. Just three months later, things would somehow improve. Even with the threat of the book "Elvis: What Happened?" about to be published (or possibly because of it), there was a definite and positive change in the month leading up to the October 1976 tour.

Elvis had lost a lot of weight, and when he hit the stage in Chicago on the first night of the October tour, he looked like a rejuvenated man. Not only that, but Elvis was once again wearing different jumpsuits every night - and even fitting into the ones he wore in 1974! Bootlegs like "Bringin' the House Down" from October 15th in Chicago demonstrate much better performance.

Of course with Elvis there is always that presence in every show that no mediocrely mixed soundboard can capture. The magic and excitement of seeing Elvis live has always been apparent to any fan who has attended his shows, no matter what state of health he was in. "Royal Gambit in Richfield", from October 23, 1976, is an example where high quality audience recording manages to capture that pure "Elvis magic" and makes you wish you had been there, even in 1976!

Which brings us to a few days earlier in Minnesota on October 17th, another first-of-its-kind show from that tour. While the concert features the "regular" setlist, it also captures Elvis in that rejuvenated 1976 feel. The performance not only received a fabulous review in the local paper, but the fans who were in attendance also remember the emotional night.

So maybe the "dryness" of this soundboard steals the wild atmosphere of 16,000 fans and also reveals a little too much of Elvis "waking up" as he slowly enters the performance, but overall there's no mistaking the feeling that Minnesota was another positive step as the singer headed for the big shows later that year.

Below is our review of this CD.

- 1. Also Sprach Zarathustra: The fanfare announces the start of the show. The audio has a dry mix, similar to "America".

- 2. See See Rider: Elvis enters the song sounding much better than he did on "New Haven '76", not sounding breathless or tired and not mumbling words. The CD photos really show Elvis in better physical shape than he was earlier that year, and his voice is secondary proof of this change for the better.

- 3. I Got a Woman / Amen: Elvis starts singing with a hint of laughter in his voice, indicating his good mood and the joy of performing for fans, unlike the "just got out of bed" versions of the days before. His striptease routine and JD's dive bombs are the song's common ending.

- 4. Love Me: "Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Good evening. I'd like to welcome you to the show and, uh..." He interrupts the sentence to respond to fans who ask him to go back to the other side of the stage: "I'll be back there, I'll be back. I promise, I promise. On John Wilkinson's life, I promise I'll be back there!" Fans ask him to turn up the microphone volume and Elvis responds by jokingly shouting: "Well, listen, goddamn it! You know, we'll get it right one way or another!" The version isn't all bad.

- 5. If You Love Me (Let Me Know): It's so good to hear a version where Elvis proves to be alive and attentive after New Haven's poor rendition that we even want to reprise the track.

- 6. You Gave Me a Mountain: This is always one of the showstoppers, and here it's no different. Elvis gives an enthusiastic performance and has no problems with shortness of breath or hitting the high notes.

- 7. Jailhouse Rock: The 1950s hits medley begins. Elvis is excited, making a version far above the average of that year.

- 8. All Shook Up: "Thank you. I'd like to do a medley of some of my records for you - just, uh, different ones." Elvis turns to his fans and his voice is weak for the first time that night, but it's to be expected as he's focused on serving everyone at the edge of the stage.

- 9. Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel: A throwaway, despite sounding much better than some previous ones, but the singer is bored.

- 10. And I Love You So: Although the audience seems unenthusiastic, it can be heard that Elvis is genuinely interested in this version. He renders it sincerely and majestically, singing it beautifully throughout.

- 11. Fever: This is one of the best of the night and Elvis has fun with it at first. When bending down to attend to the hysterical women, he shows a certain concern with the suit: "Just hope the suit won't break, you know." When a fan is too bold, he remarks: "Honey, don't go completely nuts!" Although he laughs at the reaction of his fans, this is a serious version and very well performed.

- 12. Steamroller Blues: A rarity in 1976, this is an excellent version. Of course, it doesn't quite compare to the ones of early 1973, but Elvis is centered and makes a phenomenal surrender. He is enthusiastic during James Burton's solo and Tony Brown's piano sounds perfect.

- 13. Introductions / Early Morning Rain: "I'd like to introduce the members of my group to you, before we go any further." Elvis introduces The Sweet Inspirations, JD Sumner And The Stamps, Sherrill Nielsen, Kathy Westmoreland and John Wilkinson.

- 14. What'd I Say / Johnny B. Goode / Solos: "On the lead guitar, from Los Angeles, is James Burton." James does his job as usual on the two solos he's been assigned. In the sequence Ronnie Tutt, Jerry Scheff, Tony Brown and David Briggs present their solos. By decision of the FTD, two solos by Sherrill Nielsen were cut from the tape.

- 15. Love Letters: "The first time that David and I worked together, it was his first recording session and we did a song called 'Hurt'. 1944. No! 'Hurt'? I mean, 'Love Letters'. Good grief!Without mumbling the words like in Tucson and New Haven, this is one of the best releases of the year. At the end of the rendition, Elvis introduces Charlie Hodge.

- 16. School Days (Nov. 30, 1976): Due to a sound malfunction, this part was replaced by the audio of the performance in Anaheim, California, on November 30, 1976. Elvis introduces conductor Marty Harrell - orchestra trombonist who replaced Joe Guercio when he couldn't attend the show - and Joe Guercio Orchestra.

- 17. Hurt (Nov. 30, 1976): For the same reason explained above, this track was also replaced by the Anaheim version. "Our lattest record is called 'Hurt', so I'd like to do it.Unfortunately, this version doesn't have the reprise of the song as in the October 17th show, which would help to demonstrate Elvis' good mood and disposition, but the very different mix is another thing that draws attention. With the piano well ahead in the audio - even more than Elvis - the orchestra and band are somewhat hidden. The ending is phenomenal.

- 18. Hound Dog: Throwaway version, with Elvis handing out scarves and kisses.

- 19. One Night: "You want to hear 'One Night', is that it? You see, we're here to entertain you, so it diesn't matter. Whatever you want to hear... We'll do it." Showing a great deal of enthusiasm in this rendition, something that was already lacking in the rendition of his other 1950s classics, Elvis delights in the vocals and delivers a great version - the penultimate of only 8 in 1976.

- 20. It's Now or Never: "I'd like to do a song that I did about ten years ago called 'It's Now or Never'." Without the solo from Sherrill Nielsen's "O Sole Mio", this version in which only Elvis sings is delicious. Rare that year, it is effusively applauded by the audience.

- 21. Mystery Train / Tiger Man: "Mystery Train, baby!" Elvis seems to have plenty of energy tonight and plays the medley that only enters his setlist when he's in the best of moods and health. Despite suffering from an incorrect mix for the song, it's still a fantastic rendition.

- 22. Funny How Time Slips Away: "I'd like to turn the house lights up if we could so I can see you, because we can't see out there." Elvis makes puns on the lyrics to mess with JD before focusing on singing while serving his fans.

- 23. Can't Help Falling in Love: "I'd like to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that, you know, anytime you want us back here, just ask for us and we'll come back, you know. So until we see you again, may God bless you, be careful going home and adiós!As always, Elvis attends to fans and sings in parts. A few seconds of the "Closing Vamp" can be heard before the fade.


- 24. Fairytale: The bonus section starts here and the first two tracks come from Sioux Falls, South Dakota on October 18, 1976. As always, it's also another enjoyable treat, even if it lacks the power of the 1975 versions. Elvis is obviously enjoying himself at the end as he punches out the words with his vocal power. This is one of the few officially released 1976 renditions of this song.

- 25. America: "Ladies and gentlemen, since it's our bicentennial year, I'd like to do our version of 'America, the Beautiful' for you." In Minnesota, for some reason, Elvis left it off the set, even though he was still performing it on most nights. The rendition here is one of the best and there is some prior discussion once again showing that Elvis was still in good spirits the next night. Elvis cleverly jokes about the speaker system: "Why's that thing humming? Is it- 'cause it don't know the words!"

- 26. Hawaiian Wedding Song: The last three bonus tracks on the CD come from Anaheim, California on November 30, 1976. In stereo, the most famous song from "Blue Hawaii" is of great quality. Elvis has a very restrained performance, but this is a much better performance than New Haven's.

- 27. Blue Christmas: "'Blue Christmas'? Ok, if I'm gonna do 'Blue Christmas', I'll play the guitar for you. Is the guitar in tune?Another gem, with the sound quality being so good. There's a charming twist where Elvis says in a deep voice "last line". He would sing this song just 14 more times and the version here has a much slower, "country" feel compared to the March 26, 1977 Norman concert we know. This was in fact the only official release of this song in the year 1976 until FTD produced "Chicago Stadium", 10 months later.

- 28. That's All Right: "The very first song that I recorded was called 'That's All Right, Mama'. And all everything we had was a rhythm guitar, a bass and a, uh... and a tub.Someone in the audience suggests "Lonesome Cowboy" to Elvis, who reacts with shock: "'Lonesome Cowboy'?!" The band even starts playing a few bars of the song, but the singer orders the start of his 1954 hit.

This is not a very common song in the last year of his life, but it sounds very good for 1976, although perhaps it has a very fast tempo. Elvis, however, sounds upbeat as he encourages the band. Again, surprisingly, this is the only official release of this song in 1976 before FTD's "Elvis in Alabama - The Last Double Date" in 2015.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!

REMEMBER: We will not post messages with any kind of offense and/or profanity.