Elvis first played Hampton Roads, VA on April 9th, 1972, two shows in a day. It was the beginning of his phenomenal April tour and the Hampton Roads evening show was filmed by MGM for the 'Elvis On Tour' documentary. Elvis returned to Hampton Roads Coliseum on March 11th, 1974, and then again in 1976, for two shows on July 31st and August 1st matinee. It was his final appearance there.
1976 was a special year for the United States of America. The Bicentennial Year, the two-hundredth anniversary of this great nation. Most Americans wanted to show their patriotism in some way. Elvis wanted to spread a positive message about his country throughout this special year, and so he decided to add 'America The Beautiful' to his set-list.
The August 1st, 1976 concert has often been described as a rather poor Elvis show - not because he was 'out of it' or medicated - but because his voice was far from its best. Admittedly, it is true that his voice sounded tired, a bit hoarse and even flat in places, but still, Elvis did a solid job on several songs and his audience definitely enjoyed the show.
Nevertheless, there's no need to deny the fact that Elvis' vocal was far from perfect. It's equally obvious that Elvis was aware, too, because he told to his audience almost apologetically, 'We had a late show last night, and I only got two hours of sleep' and 'Good afternoon! God that sounds strange 'good afternoon'... I just got up!' Yup, the August 1st concert was a 2:30pm show, which was unusual as there was no 8:30pm show that day. Actually, the infamous Houston, August 28th, 1976 show was also a 2:30pm matinee, and after these shows, management decided not to program any afternoon shows in the future.
'Return To Sender... The Summer Of '76' CD from Audionics
The Hampton Roads show has one saving grace: Elvis decided to respond to the audience request for 'Return To Sender', which was an impromptu performance, and a true live rarity. Elvis sings it reasonably well and it was the highlight of the concert.
This show was originally released by the 'Fort Baxter' label in 1995 and then re-released by 'Gravel Road Music' label in 2012). 'Gravel Road Music' label used the original Ft. Baxter CD as a source.
For this ultimate reissue, the Audionics team worked directly from a first generation soundboard tape transfer (RCA tape T0199) and made significant improvements to the audio. Both previous releases suffer from too much of reverb and compression. Audionics was able to work from the unprocessed and complete recording, which gives a more nuanced view of the concert. The original release on Ft. Baxter label was heavily compressed, which made Elvis' voice sound worse. We're not saying that this is now a fabulous concert, but the truth has many nuances, and this more natural sounding tape shows that despite some challenges, Elvis did a solid job and entertained the crowd that afternoon.
Both previous releases were slightly incomplete, a part of Elvis' introduction of The Stamps was edited out, and the Closing Vamp was faded out very early. Our new release is the first to present this recording 100% complete as recorded, and the Closing Vamp is now also complete, including the after show announcements: certainly proof that we went back to the original tape. Most important, the sound is now far more natural too, and with much better dynamics.
As a bonus, Audionics decided to add small collection of songs recorded during 1976 Summer tours. Tracks 29 & 30 were previously released on The Final Homecoming' 2CD (by Audionics, 2009), track 31 was released on 'Houston We Have A Problem' CD (again Audionics 2013). All bonus tracks were newly restored and mastered from scratch.
This CD is presented in 3-panel digipak. Due to the lack of quality photographs from the Hampton Roads concert, great collection of various high-quality concert shots from Summer of 1976 has been used.
So now you have the chance to obtain the ultimate release of the famous 'Return to Sender' concert. This recording never sounded better. It is dynamic, detailed, and in crystal clear sound!
You may ask your import CD dealer for audio samples.
- Introduction: Also Sprach Zarathustra
- C. C. Rider
- I Got A Woman / Amen
- Love Me
- If You Love Me, Let Me Know
- You Gave Me A Mountain
- All Shook Up
- (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel
- And I Love You So
- Jailhouse Rock
- America The Beautiful
- Return To Sender
- Introductions by Elvis of singers, musicians
- Early Morning Rain (John Wilkinson)
- What'd I Say (James Burton)
- Johnny B. Goode (James Burton)
- Drum Solo (Ronnie Tutt)
- Bass Solo (Battle Of New Orleans theme, Jerry Scheff, with Elvis sing along
- Piano Solo (Tony Brown)
- Electric Piano & Clavinet Solo (David Briggs)
- Love Letters
- School Day (Joe Guercio Orchestra)
- Hurt (with reprise)
- Hound Dog
- Funny How Time Slips Away
- Can't Help Falling In Love
- Closing Vamp / Announcements.
- One Night
- That's All Right
- Polk Salad Annie
- Mystery Train / Tiger Man
Tracks 29 & 30 recorded July 5, 1976,8:30pm, The Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, TN.
Track 31 recorded August 28, 1976, 2:30pm, The Summit, Houston, TX.
Track 32 recorded August 31, 1976, 8:30pm, Macon Coliseum, Macon, GA.
Track 33 recorded September 8, 1976, 2:30pm, Von Braun Civic Center, Huntsville, AL.