Chicago Stadium Rocks!!
1976 was a turbulent year for The King of Rock n' Roll. His continually declining health coupled with a hectic touring schedule resulted in a very up and down quality to his shows throughout the year. Coming off the summer portion of his touring schedule, where he endured numerous mediocre concert reviews, Elvis kicked off his 8th tour of 1976 with a 2-night engagement at the Chicago Stadium in the 'Windy City' of Chicago, Illinois. Did the 35-day vacation between tours help Elvis to rejuvenate from the frenzied pace of his summer tours? The 'Follow That Dream' (FTD) Collector's Label answers that question with it's 96th release - Chicago Stadium.
Chicago Stadium is a 2-CD set containing both performances in Chicago on October 14th and 15th, 1976. Disc One kicks off with the October 14th performance, which was also the opening night of Elvis' 8th tour of 1976, and it's apparent from the opening notes of See See Rider that Elvis has indeed benefited from some much needed rest between tours. There is no trace of the tired, overweight, lackluster Elvis Presley that was so widely reported by news and media outlets throughout the summer of '76.
Instead, what the fans were treated to in Chicago was a much slimmer, more energetic and reinvigorated King of Rock n' Roll ready to take on the 'Windy City'. Elvis looks great and sounds fantastic, as clearly captured on Chicago Stadium. As Elvis works through the show captured on Disc One, we are treated to some outstanding performances of You Gave Me A Mountain, And I Love You So, and TWO complete versions of Hurt!!
Elvis is in fine form throughout the entire show, interacting often with the audience while putting on a terrific show. But as I said, Chicago Stadium is a 2-CD set and as terrific as the show on Disc One is, the following night's performance contained on Disc Two is even better!!!
Disc Two captures Elvis' performance on October 15th and finds Elvis in even better form vocally than the previous night's show. Kicking off with I Got A Woman/Amen (See See Rider was not recorded on this night), Disc Two features a somewhat different setlist than the night before including GREAT renditions of Help Me, It's Now Or Never and a cracking version of Steamroller Blues -- perhaps one of the best versions of all-time!! Even the usual concert standards like If You Love Me (Let Me Know), You Gave Me A Mountain and And I Love You So are excellent!! Both shows on Chicago Stadium are taken directly from the RCA soundboard tapes and are in great quality. Of the two shows, Disc Two has a more fuller sound whereas Disc One suffers from a slight muffling of the sound throughout the show, but is still clearly listenable. The October 14th show on Disc One contains the complete show, while the October 15th concert on Disc Two is 98% complete with the exception of See See Rider which was not recorded by the sound engineers and Love Letters, which is slightly incomplete.
The overall artwork of Chicago Stadium is basic, but effective. The 5-inch digipak uses a black background and features photos coming from both shows throughout the package. The October 14th show featured Elvis in his Inca Leaf Jumpsuit, while the following night's performance showcased Elvis in his often worn Indian Jumpsuit. The front cover photo is a great shot of Elvis in his Indian Jumpsuit with reproductions of concert tickets from both night's shows across the bottom of the cover. As is becoming increasingly common with the 5-inch digipak releases, Chicago Stadium also includes an 8-page booklet featuring even more photos from both night's performances. The discs themselves are basic black with Elvis' name and the CD title on them.
The 96th release from the FTD label - Chicago Stadium - is a fantastic time capsule of a much healthier, more focused Elvis as he began the final quarter of 1976 with a renewed sense of performing enthusiasm and that excitement comes through clearly both in Elvis' performance as well as the fan's reactions. All Elvis fans should dust off a space of honor on their shelf for Chicago Stadium!!
Buy Chicago Stadium 2 CD 1976 Soundboard Set From FTD [Two Concerts]
01) See See Rider 3:25 (Arr. by Elvis Presley)
02) I Got A Woman / Amen 6:45 (Ray Charles) / (Jester Hairston)
03) Love Me 2:42 (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)
04) If You Love Me (Let Me Know) 2:58 (John Rostill)
05) You Gave Me A Mountain 3:11 (Marty Robbins)
06) Jailhouse Rock 1:37 (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)
07) All Shook Up 1:31 (Otis Blackwell/Elvis Presley)
08) (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel 1:59 (Kal Mann/Bernie Lowe) / (Otis Blackwell/Elvis Presley)
09) And I Love You So 3:25 (Don McLean)
10) Fever 3:06 (John Davenport/Eddie Cooley)
11) Polk Salad Annie 4:06 (Tony Joe White)
12) Introductions/Early Mornin' Rain 1:44 (Gordon Lightfoot)
13) What'd I Say / Johnny B. Goode 8:04(Ray Charles) / (Chuck Berry)
14) Love Letters 3:05 (Edward Heyman/Victor Young)
15) School Days 1:19 (Chuck Berry)
16) Hurt 4:19 (Jimmie Crane/Al Jacobs)
17) Love Me Tender 1:55 (Vera Matson/Elvis Presley)
18) Hound Dog 1:46 (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)
19) Funny How Time Slips Away 2:41 (Willie Nelson)
20) Mystery Train/Tiger Man 2:38 (Junior Parker/Sam Phillips)/(Joe Hill Louis/Sam Burns)
21) Can't Help Falling In Love 1:45 (Hugo Peretti/Luigi Creatore/George Weiss)
22) Closing Vamp 1:40
01) I Got A Woman / Amen 6:13 (Ray Charles) / (Jester Hairston)
02) Love Me 2:36 (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)
03) If You Love Me (Let Me Know) 2:56 (John Rostill)
04) You Gave Me A Mountain 3:16 (Marty Robbins)
05) Help Me 3:37 (Larry Gatlin)
06) Jailhouse Rock 1:35 (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)
07) All Shook Up 1:11 (Otis Blackwell/Elvis Presley)
08) (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel 2:17 (Kal Mann/Bernie Lowe) / (Otis Blackwell/Elvis Presley)
09) And I Love You So 3:21 (Don McLean)
10) Steamroller Blues 2:53 (James Taylor)
11) Introductions/Early Mornin' Rain 1:02 (Gordon Lightfoot)
12) What'd I Say / Johnny B. Goode 6:55 (Ray Charles) / (Chuck Berry)
13) Love Letters 2:12 (incomplete) (Edward Heyman/Victor Young)
14) School Days 1:25 (Chuck Berry)
15) Hurt 2:49 (Jimmie Crane/Al Jacobs)
16) Hound Dog 1:16 (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)
17) It's Now Or Never 3:24 (Aaron Schroeder/Wally Gold)
18) Blue Christmas 1:40 (Billy Hayes/Jay Johnson)
19) Can't Help Falling In Love 1:38 (Hugo Peretti/Luigi Creatore/George Weiss)
20) Closing Vamp 1:37
Recorded live on October 14 (Disc 1) and 15 (Disc 2), 1976 at Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois. The opening of the shows; 'Also Sprach Zarathustra and 'See See Rider (on the second show), were not recorded.
Musicians: Guitar: James Burton, John Wilkinson, Elvis Presley, Bass: Jerry Scheff, Drums: Ronnie Tutt, Piano: Tony Brown, Electric piano: David Briggs, Vocals: Kathy Westmoreland, Sherrill Nielsen, the Sweet Inspirations, J. D. Sumner & the Stamps, Joe Guercio and his Orchestra.
Mastered by Lene Reidel. Mastered from cassette soundboard tapes.
Chicago Stadium 2 CD Set
Original Concert Review : Concert Date: October 14, 1976 (8:30 pm) Chicago, IL. Chicago Stadium
Fans Do More Gyrating than Elvis, bur he's still tops
By Lynn Van Matre : Chicago Tribune October 16, 1976.
They loved him tender, loved him true, loved him to the tune of a much as $50 or more, for a scalper's ticket Thursday night at the Chicago Stadium where Elvis Presley one time (some diehards say still) king of rock and roll, made his first Chicago appearance in four years.
It was an evening of rock - and ritual. First came an almost interminable slew of warmup acts, consisting of a godawful gospel group; a comic whose stale stories revolved around pot, the agonies of marriage, and the contention that teens do the darnest things; followed by a soul trio.
THEN CAME INTERMISSION and a parcel of pitches of 'super souvenirs' on the event, including portraits of Elvis, 'Suitable for framing,' and Elvis pocket mirrors 'that all ladies will want to carry in their pursues.'
Finally the house lights dimmed, the squeals of anticipation turned almost tangible, and there he was, looking, well pretty good, given all the gossip about his avoirdupos. It's true the wide belt on his white suit flecked with multicolored glitter couldn't quite hide his paunchy in profile, and a closeup look at the Presley physiognomy through binoculars revealed a dollop of a double chin lurking beneath his high collar.
There are better showmen that Presley , and better singers - though his voice still rang husky and true - but there's only one Elvis. 'If You Love Me, Let Me Know,' he sang, and the capacity crowd did just that.
The audience contributed its expectations and its ecstasy, Presley could do no wrong.
BACKED BY A TIGHTLY rhythmic band and a batch of backup singers, he accepted the tributes - flowers, a teddy bear, and a queen-sized bra found their way to the stage - and gave the crowd back some of his old (Don't Be Cruel' and 'Jailhouse Rock,' one of the show's rocking highlights), some of his new ('Hurt,' hi his most recent single release and one of the concert's loveliest ballads, and enough scarves to choke the proverbial horse.
One of the members of Presley's band, in fact, spent less time playing guitar than he did following his leader around the stage placing scarf after scarf around the Presley neck to be blessed with Presley sweat and then tossed to the frantic crowd. 'Oh', said Elvis, staring down with a grin at the sea of raised hands pleading for a treasured piece of cloth, 'you want to go to the bathroom, huh? So much for his stage banter.
AS FOR HIS STAGE STANCE, it ran to karate chops, with which Elvis punctuated the ending of much of his music, with a little thigh quaking tossed in. But not much. The hip movements which created such a furor years ago seem tame and respectable now, but they still got the predicted response - pandemonium. But polite pandemonium. As far as concerts go, the Stadium has seen more stirring evenings. But as far as sell-out events go, this one is ranked right up there. It has been 20 years since Presley raised eyebrows with his provocative wiggles and his way with a song. 20 years since the kid who sang like a black man voice blazed new trails in white rock and roll. Back then, parents condemned him: teenagers took him to their hearts as their musical symbol of adolescent rebellion. THURSDAY NIGHT AT the Stadium, and Friday night, when the show was repeated, those onetime teenagers went to see the man who once meant so much to them and has since become a legend; the younger crowd, many of whom weren't even born when Elvis first sang 'Don't Be Cruel' and 'Love Me Tender,' went to see what all the shouting has been about. Though, Presley has long since segued into respectable middle age, turned tame compared to many of today's pop performers, the legend lingers on. And to think that the sociologists once dismissed him as a 'passing fad' 'Funny' as Elvis sang Thursday night, 'How Time Slips Away' - and funny how some legends still manage to loom large.
Original Concert Review : Concert Date: October 14, 1976. Chicago, IL.
Surprise! Elvis Still Fits Into His Fancy Suit
By Jack Hafferkamp : Chicago Daily News
Rest easy, ladies, Elvis is not as fat as you feared.
The king of rock 'n' roll returned to Chicago Stadium Thursday night, and revealed to the sell-out crowd that he still can fit into his patented high-collar, flare-leg, glitter-ecrusted suits and look OK. His girdle seemed to hamper him only when he bent down to kiss an adoring woman fan.
Before he came to town, the gossip columnists had it that ol' El had turned into a 41 years old butterball. But he fooled us. Unfortunately that was about the only surprise in his show. Still, an Elvis Presley concert is an experience: partly musical, partly nostalgic, partly carny hucksterism and pure money. For instance, my seat (which I felt lucky to get) was at the opposite end of the hall from the stage. It costs $12.50. But ticket prices were only half the battle. BEFORE THEY COULD get to their seats, the 20,000 excited fans had to run an incredible gantlet. Everywhere you looked, there was somebody selling 'Super Elvis Souvenirs'
There were: $3 programs ('souvenir folio, concert edition, vol. 6'), $3 photo posters, $2 and $3 Elvis buttons, $5 portrait posters ('looks like an oil painting'), Elvis T-shirts, Elvis binoculars, and my own favorite item, $3 Elvis button with a mirror on the other aide ('All the ladies will want to have one in their purses')
Yet if the pitch was hardly soft sell, it didn't faze the faithful who came to watch the former truck driver from Tupelo, Miss. wiggle his hips. The crowd was solid middle-America. Virtually all white, it included young children and grandparents. And they were excited. You could feel it in the air.
The show never quite matched the anticipation. It started with this 14 (I think) member band. Then came a gospel quartet to sing four numbers. Then there was a comedian who said clever things such as 'We've got enough people here to hold our own political convention. We'll nominate Elvis for President...' Then came the trio of black women singers, The Sweet Inspirations, including a long Stevie Wonder medley ('Stevie who? said a woman behind me?) EACH TIME ONE OF those acis was about to bounce onstage, the crowd was certain it would be Elvis. When it wasn't, there was a quick but audible groan. After the Inspirations, the audience was positive 'Elvis' was next. But instead, there was an intermission. And a exhortation to pick up a few 'Elvis Super Souvenirs'. Finally, the band started into the King's intro music. Yes, Elvis still comes out to the 'Theme from 2001' (Struss' Zarathustra) Suddenly, there he was. Elvis Aron Presley. So many flash cubes exploded that the hall seemed to be flooded by strobe lights. Grown women screamed just as loudly as they had 20 years ago. Elvis grinned, planted his right leg, balanced on his left toe, and plunged into See See Rider.
For the next hour and 20 minutes or so he sang a great variety of songs, some new (including his current single 'Hurt', which he did twice) some old ('Hound Dog'), some slow ('Fever'), and some fast ('Jailhouse Rock'). Predictably, every time he swiveled his hips, there were squeals of ecstasy.
DURING THE EARLY part of his performance, it was difficult to hear Elvis above the band. As the sound cleared up, though, it was clear that he remains in fine voice. No matter what else one says about him, there's no doubt Mr. Presley can sing a song. Unhappily, however Elvis has never quite figured out what to do with himself between numbers. His solution is to throw scarves to the crowd - and that's fine for the first few. But Thursday night Elvis must have thrown more than 50 scarves. There's a character onstage whose major function is to put fresh scarves around The King's neck every few seconds. It looked pretty silly.
All in all, my feeling about the show is similar to that of the lady who said to her friend: 'This is nothing compared to Elvis in Vegas. The acoustics are so bad you can't hear anything they sing.
And I was so excited I even wore my black bra. Now i don't know why...'
Buy Chicago Stadium 2 CD 1976 Soundboard Set From FTD [Two Concerts]