Home > Concerts Reviewed > 1976 > Elvis, Hartford, CT. Wednesday 28th July 1976 8.30pm show

Concerts Reviewed - 1976

Elvis, Hartford, CT. Wednesday 28th July 1976 8.30pm show
By Geoffrey Mc Donnell (Australia)

Elvis hadn't played Hartford before and so not surprisingly when a 1976 performance was sheduled people were queuing in the streets for tickets way back from June 18th with 500 fans in line since the previous evening!.All 12,314 tickets SOLD OUT within 6.5 hours!

Hartford's Civic Center was going to be packed out on July 28th!.Scalpers were getting $100 for a $12.50 ticket!. Elvis was still DEFINATLY a HUGE star and 'draw' STILL in 1976. Elvis's WORST 1976 performances are without doubt his August 1976 ones where from 1st August onwards he suffered terrible Flu and in late August 76 was just in terrible performing shape. Whilst still NOT a good tour overall their were still some 'good/ok' SHOWS from Elvis in July 76' Basically after a lackluster show in Syracuse on 25th July(which got TREMENDOUS BAD PRESS) Elvis gradually improved his show quality from 27th July onwards and Hartford was (somewhat similar to his 30.7.76 New Haven show and OK) However in the Joe Esposito Book 'Good Rockin' tonight' Joe highlights Elvis's reaction after the Hartford show as 'shaken' after Elvis had an argument with the Colonel who criticized his performance-apparently Elvis called Tom Hulet for reassurance that his show wasn't that bad. After listening to this show one can think that maybe Joe is talking about the reaction to Elvis's first Syracuse show on 25.7.76 as quite honestly the Hartford show is ok.Incredible as it was despite his failing heath/interest + performance during July 1976 Elvis was as Tom described STILL at the top of his profession WHY? If the Hartford show was REALLY THAT BAD would Elvis have SOLD OUT Hartford for a forthcoming Sunday 21.8.77 show??? (How Great Thou Art a likely song?)NO! I think Elvis's 28.7.76 show was pretty good so lets run through the show and see if you agree?

The 76 minute Hartford show opens with strong crowd excitement before Elvis arrives wearing his Blue Bi-Centennial Suit and rips into a strong/positive version of C.C.RIDER after he quipps 'Thank-you very much-thank-you ladies & gentlemenSnow I know how the Christians felt about being thrown to the Lions!'..(obviously in reference to the HUGE Civic Center audience!)'well,well,well just takes me a few minutes to wake up'.. I GOT A WOMAN is smooth and a well sung AMEN ('what I'm actually doing is waking everything up folks')Elvis does his Airplane moves (that feature in the photo in the Hartford Couriant review by J.Greg Robertson the next day).Then Elvis after one finale gives his little speech -which ends before LOVE ME quite funny as Elvis says 'we start slow and just taper off!'.Millions of scarves seem to be given out during this song as LOVE ME is well sung with Elvis stretching vocally.(Interestingly I'm listening to a 'good' audience tape of this show and Iv'e also listened to the Soundboard of this show, in the Soundboard Elvis sounds a bit foggy,a bit 'nasal' impaired-yet surprisingly from the audience taped view he REALLY does sound 'good' in much better voice-so here's proof that the soundboard 'mix' isn't really always the best overall sound of Elvis-it REALLY does depend on the actual mix at that show!)

Before the next song Elvis shows his humour after a 'feedback' noise by mentioning that someone is feeding back stage!. IF YOU LOVE ME(LET ME KNOW) quite surprisingly contains some of the 'charm' present in the Summer 1975 versions which had been missing for so long after the line 'run their fingers through my hair' Elvis makes a Shoom! Sound as if illustrating this and indeed sings it with energy and interest a 'nice' version!.YOU GAVE ME A MOUNTAIN next is also very well sung and a convincing version with excellent drumming. Next Elvis greets fans and accepts gifts of flowers,imitation silver guitars-on a plaque(welcoming Elvis to Hartford),teddy bear,a crown and lingerie(it was noted that their were a LOT of women at this concert!indeed it was reported that the sheer number of females present took over part of the 'mens' restrooms-to the dismay of police present!) from the mostly female fans up front!. ALL SHOOK UP, TEDDY BEAR/DON'T BE CRUEL really are just scarf giving out songs yet AND I LOVE YOU SO next is both sincere and contains the 'joke' line 'lets hope the stage is not to low' the noisy crowd really quieten down during this song.JAILHOUSE ROCK (WITH reprise) is definatly a better than usual version for this tour and well received.FEVER on the other hand seems dull and completely 'routine' in comparism.After more meeting with Fans Elvis performs his version of AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL (with reprise) and it's another 'good' version.POLK SALAD ANNIE whilst sounding ok and containing ALL the moves of extended drum beat and 'going down' to those 'low' leg squats somehow at the end finds Elvis not out of breath and only ordinary applause before the band intros- so physically he didn't work too hard here. Indeed in his whole concert review on July 29th in the Hartford Couriant J.Greg Robertson noted that "THE BUMPS ARE GONE- BUT HE'S STILL KING" Robertson also noted the total relaxation/confidence and amiable joking around with the band /musicians and audience throughout the conserved energy but well sung concert-particularly on 'HURT'.

Whilst the introductions are here a bit too long Elvis seems able to keep the humour flowing -jokes a couple of thousand scarves to give away wouldn't hurt! and here after all the singers are introduced(with humorous asides!) Elvis says this "I'd like to introduce the Stamps to you individually because Iv'e got nothing else to do!" Then says(something) like this about J.D.Sumner of the Stamps!- "It's a shame of life to me for a guy who is almost 60 years old(J.D. was in his early 50's!) to resort back to wearing blue jeans because he thinks they are "IN"!. I used to wear blue jeans in Mississippi when I was a little kid because I had nothing else. J.D's got the Levis on and Rhinestones on him!." After mediocre E.M. RAIN and J.B.GOODE Elvis in between interestingly sings WHAT D'SAY to James Burton playing a deep version of CHICKIN' PICKING - which is interesting. Drum + Bass solo's are performed including a second Bass Solo where Elvis gets Jerry Sheff to play his BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS solo.Tony Brown then performs a VERY different Piano solo(sounding VERY Elton John influenced) here.

David Briggs of coarse is 'nuts' on his Electric piano before a well sung tender version of LOVE LETTERS. Hail Hail Rock n' Roll is next. After this Elvis does a one off 'rare' thing on stage - he mumbles but says;- UH Ladies and Gentlemen you know the Guy Jackie Kahane the Comic who's supposed to be funny on our show( no,no I'm just kidding!) It's his daughters Birthday Kitten,Kitty Kahane(is that her name?) Kitty -where is she" (long pause)'are you Jackie Kahane's Daughter??'- oh I see you about 2 hours from here but I see you HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU,HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR Kitty, Kitty Kat meow sluurp! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!.

THIS has to be one of the FUNNIEST things I have EVER heard Elvis do at an Elvis concert and a soundboard release of this is ESSENTIAL for any Elvis 'Perfect for Parties CD!'. HURT follows which with reprise is a typical summer 1976 version but certainly strong and ok. HOUND DOG after a pause with 'YOU AIN'T' is 'throwaway' depending on it's boom crash ending as the main purpose of the song.Elvis gets the house lights turned up for FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPS AWAY - which is well performed but completely 'routine' and hardly differs at all from 100's of versions Iv'e listened to throughout the years- HEY you bootleggers NEXT TIME why not miss out FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPS AWAY instead of 'other' missed songs on releases! Oh and by the way this Hartford show is 'real' and NOT the incomplete Charleston 24.7.76 E/S which years ago was being sold with HARTFORD written on it's 'bootleg' sleeve!. Elvis then gives a little 'extra' than of recently by saying' Ladies & Gentlemen we did a movie in Blue Hawaii about 45-50 years ago and in that movie was a song called THE HAWAIIAN WEDDING SONG and performs a 'nice' version. Then he says 'You're a fantastic audience-anytime you want us back up here let us know and we'll put it in our schedule you know to come back..'. CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE is quite well performed and a LAST chance for scarves. Thunderous closing vamp and the end of a 'good' Elvis concert.

Apparently by showtime it's reported that Elvis had developed a sore throat-yet there is NO EVIDENCE of this until his Hampton Roads 1.8.76 show and much more so at his Roanoke 2.8.76 show.In fact for his Hartford show (AND the 29.7.76 Springfield and 30.7.76 New Haven concerts )Elvis established his headquarters on the top floor of the Hartford Hilton . The review of the show is NOTHING LIKE the damming one from Dale Rice after Elvis's mediocre Syracuse 25.7.76 show and indeed with his August 77' show already 'SOLD OUT' who can forget the memory of Elvis's Hartford 1976 show which just left the screaming (mostly) female fans wanting SO MUCH more!.

Geoffrey Mc Donnell (Australia)

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