Review : Tucson '76 FTD CD
Source: Elvis Australia
December 16, 2016
Elvis Reviews, Elvis CD Reviews, FTD, By Sergio Biston
Tucson '76 is the 6th FTD release and is a soundboard recording of Elvis Presley's concert in Tucson, Arizona on June 1st, 1976. This concert was chosen because Elvis is in very good voice, he's in a good mood, and the concert has some very nice surprises. This concert will surprise many of you. Many of the usual songs from that period are there, but there's also a great rockin' Burning Love (with a long finale), followed by the first surprise of the evening, an excellent version of Help Me Make It Through The Night. After that, Elvis asks: 'what do you wanna hear?', and people shout all kinds of song-titles. Somebody even asks for The Last Farewell, and Elvis acknowledged that it's on his latest album, but that they can't play it. He then says that they could do something else from that album, and Danny Boy is suggested. And then Elvis himself starts doing this song (no this is not a typo, it's Elvis himself, not Sherrill Nielsen!!!). At first, both Elvis and the band seem a little unsure, but they get more and more into the song, and it reaches a beautiful full climax.
Tucson '76 FTD CD Review by Sergio Luiz Fiça Biston
The first soundboard that we have for a long, long time from the official label is a good show with some surprises. The show was recorded in Tucson, Arizona on June 1st, 1976. The artwork is weak, but I have seen worse on the FTD-series. I like the design of the disc itself. The sound is very clear and loud, with all the instruments very audible, but somehow it does not give you that 'live feeling' like on Let Me Take Your Home or Holding Back The Years, for example. But let's talk about the very good content.
The CD starts off with a very, very unusual version of 'See See Rider' lifted from Odessa, with David Briggs 'Funk axe' well in evidence. Elvis performance on this number is just a very regular one, even for 1976 standard. But for me, this version is interesting although many will disagree on that. Then we go to 'I Got A Woman', nothing really worth of comment here except that this number start the Tucson part of this CD. The edit is very noticeable, as the sound picture is very different and Elvis' voice is stronger in Tucson than in Odessa. Next is 'Love Me', performed as usual and then we go to 'If You 'Love let me Go'' as Elvis names the Olivia Newton J. hit, and this is a regular version, sometimes a little weak, but mostly regular.
'Help Me' is the first alteration we have in the repertoire and is well performed. This version had the time slowed and sounds more peaceful than the early versions. It's a nice addition to the song lineup. 'Fever' is good. Elvis announces 'Polk Salad Annie' or 'Sock a Little Tucson' and then we have the first real rocker of the night. This version holds no surprises, and by saying that I mean it's a good version. For me, the late versions are more interesting than the early ones.
After 'Polk Salad', something is edited out and if you listen close you'll notice that. My question is: What was cut out? On the Elvis tapes site, there's a song list for this show and I don't quite recall, but I think that 'One Night' and 'America The Beautiful' was on the list. If BMG edited these out it's a real shame! If they have to cut out something, why not cut for example 'All Shook Up', 'Jailhouse Rock' or 'Hound Dog', since these songs are in almost all shows and are just a scarf throw-away moment? I really hope that what was edited out is a very long dialogue with the audience.
Following 'Polk Salad Annie' we have the introductions of the band mates with his solos, and I like to spotlight the James Burton solo on 'What'd I Say', very groove! 'Love Letters' is from Odessa again, but this time from the evening show and it's not a good version since it's too slow and Elvis' voice is a little weak. What I do not understand is why 'Love Letters' is not the version performed in Tucson. Perhaps if there were some liner notes on the package, the guys on FTD could explain that for us... -:)
After introductions, El goes to his recent record, 'Hurt' and does it twice. Both versions are good, but none have the high note ending. It's time to shake the house again with 'Burning Love' and that's a real surprise. It's a very good version with a long ending and Elvis does not mess up with the lyrics too much. A nice performance! The second 'alteration' in the repertoire is 'Help Me Make It Through The Night', and it's another good surprise. It's a tender, emotional version but a bit too short.
Then we come to the highlight on this CD and of the whole show, 'Danny Boy'. I'm not sure of that but I think this is the first and last time Elvis performed this song on stage, and boy, I'm glad we have that on soundboard! It's like if for some reason that old flame of Elvis sparked again and thus he delivered a chilling performance. It's beautiful, well performed and somehow more dramatic than the studio master.
'Hound' is next and well...its 'Hound Dog'. 'Funny How Times Slips Away' comes after 'Hound Dog' and it's below standard. Well, the end is near and Elvis greets the crowd, saying that they are really fantastic and reacted very well and then he goes to 'Can't Help Falling In Love'. The show is over and I don't think that the audience had gone to their homes disappointed.
Overall I like to say that this is a good show, period. I think that many people have been disappointed because they wanted a fantastic show since it was coming from the official label. But instead what we got is just a decent performance, sometimes better than average, with a good song lineup and Elvis having a good time on stage with a good voice, although sometimes a little weak, and with a giant highlight that is 'Danny Boy'. For some strange reason, I found this disc in my CD player more often than I thought it would be. I congratulate FTD for this release!
For a final comment I like to see more of this kind of shows (74-76) on the FTD label, and if you guys have that shows of the late December 76 tour... bring it on!
Give special attention to:
You Gave Me A Moutain
And I Love You So
Polk Salad Annie
Help Me Making Through The Night
Buy Tucson '76 CD (This was the 6th FTD release).
© Sergio Luiz Fiça Biston, June 23, 2001
Danny Boy is a complete performance of 2,5 or 3 minutes (roughly) and in my opinion, it's much better than the studio version. Elvis sings it with great feeling and determination - no fluffed lines or anything. I had goosebumps all over while listening to this version, it's an amazing performance.
Tucson 76 : Elvis Presley FTD CD
CC Rider/ I Got A Woman - Amen; Love Me; If You Love Me Let Me Know; You Gave ME A Mountain; Polk salad Annie; All Shook Up-Teddy Bear; Help Me Make It Through The Night; JailhouseRock; Fever; Intro of Band; Hurt; Burning Love; Funny How Time Slips Away; One Night; Danny Boy; Mystery Train-Tiger Man; Can't Help Falling In Love (Recorded live Tucson June 1, 1976 except See See Rider (recorded in Odessa May 30, 1976) and Love Letters (recorded in Odessa May 30, 1976)
Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD + 16 page booklet.
Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever.
This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.
The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.