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Concerts Reviewed - 1976



April 26, 1976 Seattle
by Evan

Elvis performed at the Seattle Coliseum on April 26, 1976 before 14,600 fans. He wore the White Bicentennial suit (refer to page 177 of Stein Erik Skar's book 'The Concert Years' for a photograph from this concert). This concert was the second to last for this tour before opening season number five in Lake Tahoe from April 30 to May 9, 1976.

As 2001 faded into the opening riff to SEE SEE RIDER, the excitement of the crowd finally climaxes into nothing short of hysteria. Close to the tape recorder are two girls who, as the concert progresses, add another dimension to this Elvis concert. Unfortunately one disadvantage with a lot of soundboard recordings, and RCA releases for that matter, is the lack of audience participation to be heard. Obviously this was a major part of any Elvis Presley concert. But when one has the opportunity to hear the pandemonium that occurred during Elvis' concerts (just look at Teddy Bear from Omaha, June 19, 1977 seen in Elvis In Concert) you can't help but get caught up in the atmosphere. However, I am always interested to hear the spontaneous comments and reactions from fans whilst they attended these concerts. Unlike the comments heard during the audience recording of the Lincoln, June 20, 1977 concert, these aforementioned girls provide the listener with as much information simply with their squeals and giggles as would spoken words. In many cases, their reactions indicate what Elvis was doing, whether he be joking around, or performing his stage antics. Anyway, Duke! Elvis sounds alert and pronounces his words quite clearly. See See Rider is played at a fairly fast pace, and Elvis lets out a "Yeaaaaahhhhhh" as James Burton starts his instrumentals. The audience is completely swept up in the atmosphere. As Elvis does his foot slides and tells Ronnie to beat the drums three and four times. All the while the girls scream in ecstasy.

"Thank you. Thank you very much (lots of screams and giggles). "Wait until after the show" Elvis kids his female admirers. "Wellll (lots of screams) That's all I said 'Wellll'. Well, well, well, welllllllllll. Give me a chord, James! Well well welllllll (bass voice). Well that's it!" Elvis concludes pretending to close the show and leave the stage. The throngs of fans scream "Nooooooo"! begging Elvis not to leave.

I GOT A WOMAN takes off with a great deal of enthusiasm from Elvis. The Sweet Inspirations come across well with their "do, do do" back up. Elvis adds the lyrics; "I got a woman, who starts out early". He leads the song into a medley with AMEN as usual, and asks the audience to sing along with him and for the band to "take it up half a step". "Sing the song now" Elvis belts out with a few "hallelujahs". The end of Amen brings plenty of bumps and grinds from Elvis, and even more screams and wolf whistles from the fans. Elvis rocks the Coliseum with his short "strip routine". If there was ever a showman who could rev an audience up, it was Elvis Presley.

"Ayyy, Ayyyyyy, mennnnnnnnnnn" Elvis sings as he ends Amen. "Go get it JD" Elvis says as JD Sumner starts his dive bomb act. The audience scream as Elvis lowers himself with out stretched arms; his guitar slung across his chest as JD's voice falls four notes off the piano scale causing the speakers to feed back with overload. "That was average on his part ladies and gentlemen. He can do it better than that. He's the world's lowest bass singer, and in fact he's one of the lowest people I've ever met! No, I'm only kidding. But really, he can do it better than that". Elvis sings a quick verse of Amen as though he is in a hurry, and the band does not accompany him. The fans laugh at Elvis' little ditty, then JD performs his act for a second time, and the crowd roar their approval, whilst the two girls recording the show continue their little girl giggles. Even on this recording, the shear power of JD's voice can be heard causing a reverb in my speakers. "" I got a woman, wayyyyyyy cross town. She'' good to me! Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh whoa!" Elvis ends the second song and first medley for the night.

"Thank you very much. Well let's see. My guitar strap came undone (this would also happen in Hollywood on February 12, 1977 prompting Elvis to tear it from the neck of his guitar and fling it into the audience. Photos of Elvis wearing his Indian suit from this show appeared in Albert Goldman's book ELVIS. Despite these being the worst photos of Elvis Presley to ever be published, he was very energetic this night as video footage proves). My shirt's come undone (the audience scream at this comment). That's about all I can afford to undo! Good, good evening ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the show. Ok, I'll turn around" Elvis says obliging his adoring fans' requests who are seated in the bleachers behind the orchestra. Once the applause dies down, Elvis continues, "Ah, we hope you enjoy the show this evening. We're gonna do lots, we're gonna do a lot of songs. New ones, old ones, and in between. Future, past. And we hope you enjoy yourselves, so just. You know, the council man who said to stay in your seats and just sit there, yeah blah blah, blah" Elvis says slurringly in a fashion that completely indicates to the audience to ignore the requests of the auditorium officials. The crowd roars with agreement. "Ah god damn, you, you, you can relax and enjoy yourselves because that's why we're here (huge, deafening applause). It's just that if it gets too wild I may not be here see, hahahaha. Yeah, I'll definitely come up in the balcony" Elvis teases his fans who have been screaming for his attention all night so far. As the applause nearly raises the roof of the entertainment centre, Elvis starts singing, "Treaaaaaat me like a fool." However the lyrics, "treat me mean and cruel" are completely drowned out by the fans' screams. LOVE ME by this stage of the seventies was certainly a song used for several reasons. Firstly, Elvis knew the words back to front and obviously did not have to concentrate whilst winding the fans up with hand shakes, scarves, and kisses. Right in the middle of the song after much kidding, Elvis really does lose his concentration. Just as he sings, ". begging on my knees, all I ask is please, please love me" the band expects Elvis to continue singing, "I would beg and steal" but he suddenly closes the song with a ""Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, ho ho ho, yeeeeaaahhhhhhhhhhh". The fans don't care. One of the giggly girls recording tonight's concert yells her approval,"Oh yeah, Allllvis". She sounds like bit of a hick, actually!

"Thank you, take it on" leads into IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW). Quite an inspired performance, the fans scream continually. This version ranks as one of the best ones available. As Elvis shakes his microphone in time with the drum beats between verses, the girls let out adoring - you got it - giggles! Perhaps the only downer (no pun intended) for this version are the screeching trumpets during the chorus. However, this Seattle audience enjoyed this song.

"Thank you, you're a pretty good audience, thank you." YOU GAVE ME A MOUNTAIN begins with out the usual Ronnie Tutt introduction. This time Tony Brown's piano is used instead, which makes for a nice change. A fan at the edge of the stage can be heard yelling, "Give me a scarf". Elvis sounds very clear and fresh in this song after an almost two year absence from his set (other than a couple of performances). This version is still being performed in the same arrangement as was done in 1973 with the only change being the introduction and the prominent piano. Elvis says thank you then launches into ALL SHOOK UP. A little slower than in previous years. This version still only clocks in at one minute and three seconds.

A slight feed back is heard, then the medley of TEDDY BEAR DON'T BE CRUEL is sung much to the enjoyment of the fans. Judging by the screams, Elvis is taking advantage of his scarf throwing talent he has developed in recent years. Elvis ends the song with a bluesy, "Whoa ho ho ho, whoa ho hoooooe. Alright"!

"Thank you very much. Thank you ladies and gentlemen. You know back there all I can I see is just one huge pair of binoculars. It looks like a bunch of frogs! I love you too dear but I can't do anything about it. This next song. Oh, in case you're wondering why my fingers are taped up, is to keep you from stealin' my rings when I shake hands (the fans laugh). Oh Lord" Elvis says to himself in a tone that suggests he's acknowledging to himself that he is surrounded by crazy people. then lets out a slight cough. "Oh yeah. I have to make an announcement. If you act right, if you can appreciate this everybody gets a Cadillac when the show's over! (screams erupt yet again). I come into town and you've never seen so many nice policemen in your lives, hahaha" Elvis boasts of his security. "This next song we did, err, I recorded a long time ago but we've been doing a lot lately. It's called TRYING TO GET TO YOU". Elvis sinks his teeth into this version. "Yeaaaahhh, EVVVVVVERR since I read your letter, I've been travelling night and day" Elvis belts out.

"Despite the many miles between usssssssss, you know they didn't mean - they didn't mean a thing, hing, ing" Elvis is in excellent form tonight. This version also ranks amongst one of the best versions available. "Thank you very much". Elvis turns to his band and says; "Do My Way". Elvis makes no reference to reading from a lyric sheet, and it is quite possible he is reading the words from the music stand next to Charlie Hodge as he did in the Aloha special. During the line, "I faced it all" Elvis adds, "And I went bald, ur, stood tall". The audience laughs at Elvis joke. For the second verse Elvis gets the giggles and tells Charlie to shut up. Elvis continues his antics with, "Oh what is a man? What has he got? If not his ring, then he has not, hahaha". An otherwise strong and well performed version, Elvis unfortunately ruined this song, although the fans lapped it up. "Thank you. I changed a few of the words around. But you know, the overall meaning was there" Elvis turns to Jerry Scheff and says, "Take it on". The thumping bass introduction of POLK SALAD ANNIE re-kindles the audiences fervor, and the audience clap in time with the Sweet Inspirations' own hand claps. Elvis performs with much energy, and complements the feel of the song with a vicious tone in his voice. Elvis winds the audience up with lots of movements at the conclusion of this song, but before he finishes, he does his leg stretch from right to left, then finishes a brilliant performance.

"Thank you ladies and gentlemen. Arrh, on January the first this year we played Pontiac, Michigan in a place that holds sixty four thousand people. It was the largest number of people I had ever played to. I-I'll get to it. I'll get to all of them", Elvis says as he responds to requests from the fans." So, I've never been so scared in my life! People ask me if I get nervous before I go on stage. You'd better believe it! I mean err. Just before I go on stage, you can go up to me and say hey hey, you're hair is on fire, and I'd say 'yeah yeah'. Anyway, the fourth song of the show and my pants rip (lots of screams and laughs).'Happy New Year, everybody'" Elvis jokes. "And they had me on a pedes, a pedestal type thing with everybody all around me, and so I'm like this (Elvis imitates himself, and girls giggle). And luckily I had another suit off stage (which was the V-Neck suit with purplish sleeves. Elvis ripped his Rainfall suit). So I went off stage, changed, and came back on. And then Charlie forgot what song was up next, so we cut the show short. Ok, then it go to be twenty seconds to midnight and I'm supposed to do the count down with everybody, you know. Where you going kid"? Elvis asks a member of his Seattle audience who must have been trying to leave quietly to go to the bathroom. The crowd roars with laughter, and the poor "kid" must have felt awful with 14600 sets of eyes focussed on him "Oh. Anyway. They had a huge clock, right. Well I couldn't see it because the spotlight was in my eyes, so - oh hush (Elvis tells a male fan who screams out a song request).No no, I'll get to it in a minute. This clock was in my eyes, see I could see it, and then twenty seconds, fifteen seconds. You know, one, two backwards. And finally just at five seconds before midnight they turn the lights up and I can see the clock. And I started counting and everybody starts singing Auld Lang Syne. Well, I didn't know the words to it, so I'm singing mmmm, mm, mmmmm, mmmmm, and let the audience sing it. Ok they ended the first verse, and thought, 'well that's it', but no, there's a second verse to it! I don't believe it.So arr, I go back to Charlie and it's just after midnight and say, "What song is up next"?

"Let's take it on home" Charlie says, but before he can finish Elvis says over the top of him, "He says let's take it on home! We'd only been on stage for thirty minutes! The audience would have killed us! And on top of that. Other than that, I supposedly got married last week to somebody. I just read it in the paper. I find out about more stuff about myself in the paper. I'm just relating a couple of stories to you, 'cause they're funny to me! Um, I'd like to introduce you to the members of my group to you before we go any further. Urr, the young ladies on my left. We've been together a long time. I think they're fantastic, the Sweet Inspirations. This young man on the end here. He sings with me on my records and my personal appearances his name is Sherril Neilson. The gentlemen back here. They're one of the finest gospel quartets in the nation JD Sumner and the Stamps Quartet. I'd like to introduce you to the Stamps individually because they're the only ones that don't get introduced. Their young bass singer, I dunno how young he is but he's new with 'em. He's from North Carolina, his name is Larry Strictland. Their baritone singer reminds me of a turtle for some reason. I don't know why. Haha, he said thanks a lot! His name is Ed Hill. Their lead singer, the blonde haired kid sitting back there and does his legs (?) faster than I do mine, his name is Ed Enoch. Their high tenor from Nashville is the straightest one of the bunch - Bill Baize. And that ain't saying much! On the rhythm guitar from Springfield Missouri is John Wilkinson. On the lead guitar from Shreveport, Louisiana, is James Burton. Play something JB." James plays WHAT'D I SAY, and Elvis contributes very little with his singing.

"I don't know how I did it, but I forgot our girl singer, Kathy Westmoreland. On the drums from down in Dallas, Texas is hard working Ronnie Tutt". With that Ronnie performs his solo.

"Thank you Ronnie, fantastic. On the fender bass from up in Canada, ladies and gentlemen, with an unnatural hair do, haha, is Jerry Scheff. Play the blues, Jerry"! As Elvis mentions his name, a woman is heard saying, "hey, Jerry Scheff!". Jerry plays a solo quite similar to his June 19, 1977 version, and he seems quite frantic in his approach. On the piano, ladies and gentlemen, he's new with our group. His name is Tony Brown". Tony bangs out a tune, which sounds like it should be from the Frankie & Johnny soundtrack.

"On the electric clavin hairnet. Clavinet, whatever it is. Buba roo! (audience laughs). From Nashville is one of the finest musicians I've ever seen in my life, David Briggs". At the end of David's solo Elvis says, "I never know when he's finished, he just goes crazy. The guy that gives me my water and scarves, and sings harmony with me, his name is Charlie Hodge. Our conductor is from Las Vegas, Mr Joe Guercio. Maestro! The fantastic Joe Guercio orchestra" Elvis sings hail, hail rock 'n' roll to SCHOOL DAYS, the orchestra's solo.

"Thank you". Without any introduction, Elvis sings AMERICA, which turns out to be a fine version, and Elvis hits a very high note on the last word. "Thank you. Um. Let's do that love song. How is it? And I Love You So". A very nice version of AND I LOVE YOU SO follows, and captures the audiences attention bringing them to silence for the first time tonight. This is a very good version without any mistakes.

"You aiiinnnnntttttttt" Elvis teases before launching into a very fast HOUND DOG. The audience is really into this version. Elvis stops the song after the third verse and says, "Whoa, the speaker busted" then picks the song up again.

"Thank you ladies and gentlemen. We have out a new record. It goes like this" Elvis takes a few seconds to fill his lungs, then belts out "I'm sooooooooooooooooooo hurt". This version of HURT still has the early live arrangement, which would eventually evolve during 1976 & 1977. The ending of this version contains notes I've not heard Elvis reach before. It is magnificent! Surprisingly it is not reprised.

"Thank you ladies & gentlemen. I did a song a couple of years ago I'd like to do for you, it's called HELP ME". There are very few poor live versions of this song, and this is certainly not one of them. It ranks with the March 3, 1974 afternoon show version. Towards the end, the audience drowns out Elvis and the band with their claps of appreciation.

"Arrh, I'd like to do a song. This is a gospel song that features the Stamps. Its called HOW GREAT THOU ART". Riding on Elvis' enthusiasm, the Stamps provide very strong support throughout. You should hear the notes Elvis hits in the bridge when he sings, "Oh myyyyyyyyyyy God". If only RCA had been on hand to catch this performance! Elvis ends How Great Thou Art in the same fashion as his June 19, 1977 version, which featured in ELVIS IN CONCERT that, included the repeated ending.

Just when you think the concert is over, Elvis launches into a high energy version of BLUE SUEDE SHOES. It's like 1970 again. Even Tony Brown adds some nostalgic '50s rock 'n' roll licks from his piano. "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to turn the house lights up and take a look at you.

Elvis becomes inaudible from the screams but asks the audience something about "Seattle", to which the audience screams back, "Nooooooo". FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPS AWAY is a standard version, but the fans are really going wild for Elvis attention in this song. Elvis is heard thanking people as he accepts gifts, whilst telling other fans to be careful. "Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to tell you that you've been a fantastic audience. I hope we did something that you liked. And urr. If you want us back - here, just let us know 'cause we'll come back, y'know, really!" The audience screams with enthusiasm for Elvis' complement and desire to return.

"I'd like to thank my sound man Felton Jarvis, and Bill Porter, the guy that sits out there. And Bruce (Jackson) what ver his name is from Australia over here. We bring our whole sound system, and we bring a separate sound system for up here on stage. I'd like to thank all my musicians for showing up! Hahaha". At this point a group of girls by the edge of the stage let out a hysterical "ELVISSSSSS!"

"What honey is it you want" Elvis plays back to them. As the screams continue Tony Brown starts CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE and the whole auditorium groan "Ohhhhhh, noooo". Unlike many versions of this done to death song, Elvis sings the words with a tone of sincerity and interest despite two occasions he drops some words to kiss his female admirers.

As the closing riff thunders, this high energy, but drained Seattle audience roars their approval to Elvis congratulating him on a fine performance.

This concert, despite an edit during Tony Brown's solo, runs for seventy minutes. Although an average running time, it is jammed packed with plenty of songs, great performances, and a strong rapport between Elvis and his audience. Considering some of the poor shows Elvis would soon perform between June and September 1976, especially when his weight ballooned to ridiculous proportions, this concert is not only a great concert for 1976, it is a great concert for Elvis Presley. Elvis is awake and alert. He is interested in his songs and performances. He gives one hundred per cent effort in almost every song. He is humorous, playful, and very coherent when telling his fans a good story.

The audience participation could not have been better. Throughout the concert they were attentive and completely involved in the atmosphere. This concert would make for a terrific soundboard release.

Evan



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