Alive & Kicking

Alive & Kicking (front)Recorded Live at The Hampton Coliseum Hampton, VA.
August 1st, 1976 (2.30 PM)

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01         2001
02         CC Rider
03         I Got A Woman/Amen
04         Love Me
05         If You Love Me
06         You Gave Me A Mountain
07         All Shook Up
08         Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel
09         And I Love You So
10         Jailhouse Rock
11         Fever
12         America
13         Return To Sender
14         Introductions
15         Early Morning Rain
16         What'd I Say
17         Johnny B. Goode
18         Love Letters
19         Hail! Hail! Rock & Roll!
20         Hurt (incl. reprise)
21         Hound Dog
22         Funny How Times Slip Away
23         Can't Help Falling In Love
24         Closing Vamp



Elvis Presley concerts from 1976 - for collectors it was a dry area for a long time. Now the situation is very different and it is from this year the majority recorded concerts - and also the best ever recordings from a technical point of view - comes. I was very excited especially when I got the information that this 1976 concert contains an ultra rare rendition of 'Return To Sender'.

The sound quality of this CD is exceptionally well. The mixing is almost faultless and all the instruments are clear. The sound is a bit pulsating and is different compared with other live CDs.

Now the concert - I don't say it gladly, but it is the worst ever Elvis concert that I have heard, if I rate his voice condition, which is very poor. He sounds very exhausted and his voice is hoarse, very rough also when he talks between the songs. (pain pills will do that to you) However, he is in good mood, and in any case not 'out of it all' like in College Park, September 27 & 28 1974.

But still, 'See See Rider' and 'I Got A Woman' aren't so bad. I think that Elvis must realize very well how weak his voice was, when he heard himself from the stage monitor. It sounds almost like an apology when he says: "we had a late show last night and I only got two hours sleep, so...", "well that's how I feel, really ". After 'Amen' he greets the people: "Good afternoon! God, that sounds strange, good afternoon, I just got up!" The worst to come: Elvis is totally unable to hit the notes in 'If You Love Me' and 'You Gave Me A Mountain' and these two performances are almost unbearable. There isn't much to say about ordinary rock and roll medley, but in 'And I Love You So' Elvis sounds fair and this song is one of the better from this show. Also 'Fever' is okay, longer than usual, with an additional repeated verse. ' America ', on other side, is the weakest version of all that I know.

Right after it, Elvis starts introductions, but someone gave request and Elvis takes it immediately: "…please sing Return To Sender...". "Honey, if we know it" , Elvis says, and then he sings an almost full version of it. It is the best performance of the evening, what a pity that it only last about two minutes... This song was extremely rare in the repertory, I know only two other more complete ones; from Asheville, July 24 1975 (where Elvis also gave 'Wooden Heart' and 'Pieces Of My Life') and from Lake Tahoe, May 9 1976 (probably the longest show ever, with a nice 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face').

"I'm sorry, but we hadn't rehearsed that too much" , he says and then introduces the band. We have a short but nice 'Early Mornin' Rain', a long Ronnie Tutt drums solo and Elvis then sung a few lines from Johnny Horton's country classic 'Battle Of The New Orleans' to the tune of Jerry Scheff's fender bass solo. In 'Love Letters' is his voice again weak, very trembling. After 'Hail, Hail, Rock & Roll' theme Elvis goes into 'Hurt' it really wasn't a good choice for this evening as this song is built on the voice alone. "Hold it a minute, I gotta get to this girl's underwear..." (!), he says during the beginning, and when he starts singing, for most of time it sounds terrible, but when Elvis repeated the ending (usually a sign of his mood) to wild audience, it is far better, with a high note at the very end. Awful 'Hound Dog' is next, after it you can hear him say "Good golly miss Molly.." . 'Funny How Time Slips Away' and 'Can't Help Falling In Love' closes the set.

It was reported many times that July - August period in Elvis' 'Concert Years' was likely the worst ever, as he was often tired and not feeling to well. He was also more overweight than later this year. But still, there aren't many shows like this one. One thing is strange - when you listen to this CD, you will hear strong ovations after the songs; it seems that the audience didn't notice imperfections in the show. The explanation could be that it is very different, when you are in concert arena in the middle of thousand's of screaming fans, compared to when you sit in the room in front of your stereo system.

Along with this CD, we have many more 1976 concert CDs, including some really excellent ones, where Elvis is in superb vocal condition and in a great mood. Try 'Dallas 76' December 28, 1976 Dallas , TX . & 'Unleashed!' December 29, 1976. Birmingham, AL , and you will know. But the Hampton concert is still very interesting listening, you can imagine how shattering the effect of these tours had on Elvis' undermined health.


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