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Home > Concerts Reviewed > 1976 > Return To Sender. Hampton Roads, August 1st, 2:30pm show
Concerts Reviewed - 1976
Return To Sender. Hampton Roads, August 1st, 2:30pm show
by Stefan Kock
2001 Theme / See See Rider / I Got A Woman-Amen / Love Me / If You Love Me, let Me Know / You Gave Me A Mountain / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear-Don't Be Cruel / And I Love You So / Jailhouse Rock / Fever / America The beautiful / Return To Sender / Intro's / Love letters / Hurt (with reprise) / Hound Dog / Funny How Time Slips Away / Can't Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp
August 1st 1976. It's been almost 2 years and a half since Elvis played in Hampton Roads. He had played there on April 9th 1972. This is well known because MGM filmed the two shows that day for Elvis On Tour. He again played Hampton Roads on march 11th 1974 when he wore a really rare suit: the Light Blue Flower suit. This afternoon Elvis will give his second show in Hampton Roads. The night before he had given the first one. This tour, number 20 since he started touring again in September 1970, showed a very tired, overweighed and very sick Elvis. The tour started on July 23rd with a only fair show. There was very little variation during the shows. Around the 28th Elvis got a throat infection witch bothered him the rest of the tour. Most of the shows were so called "run troughs", standard line-up, little interaction with the crowd and almost no surprises. The shows lacked inspiration and freshness.
It's around 2.30pm when the lights go out and the 2001 Theme begins. When Elvis enters the stage his eyes are closed and he is moving very slowly. The reaction from the audience isn't any less. Elvis shakes some hands and gets his guitar from Charlie. As usual he starts with See See Rider. When he sings the first words some people in the audience are shocked. He sounds out of breath and tired as never before. James and Ronnie are working as hard as they can trying to cover Elvis voice up. His voice gets a little stronger during the song but overall it's a very mediocre performance. Thank you very much. Thank you ladies and gentlemen. The show continues with the very well known Well Well intro to the Ray Charles classic I Got A Woman. Elvis is having a hard time reaching the low notes on the Well's. Elvis must have realized that he sounds very bad as he says: We had a late show last night and I only got two hours sleep, so..
I Got A Woman is mediocre too. The song lacks the usual fire. Elvis is very static on stage. Love Me is nothing less than boring, he could do this song in his sleep. But as always the audience loves it. The next song is a song he introduced in august 1974 and was sung by Olivia Newton John as he mentions. Elvis always said that If You Love Me made him feel happy. Well, this afternoon rendition isn't making ME happy as it's one of the worst performances of the song I've ever heard. He is having a lot trouble to reach and holding the low and high notes. He seems out of breath most of the song and doesn't sound convinced at all. This song is the low point of the concert so far. His rendition of You Gave Me A Mountain isn't much better, although his voice seems a little stronger during this song. He is just not up for it this afternoon. I should like, ah, mean I would like to do a medley of some of my records for ya.... The introduction says it all!!
He goes trough 'em like a freight train, having trouble with the speed of the train. Nothing special here. Take it on home he says and the introduction of And I Love You So is started. Elvis is giving the song a little more effort than he has done so far this concert, resulting in a fine performance. The highlight of the concert so far. With Jailhouse Rock we're going back to the 50's and, surprisingly, this isn't a real bad version. Great Drumming from Ronnie Tutt puts this song above the other oldies. Fever is next and as usual Elvis never failed to give a decent performance of this song. He repeats the last verse twice in order to give the audience a little more. Since this is our Bicentennial Year, I would like to do our version of America the beautiful for you...... A somewhat weak and mediocre version follows, though not as bad as the songs at the beginning of the concert. When he starts the introductions he gets a request for return To sender from a fanclub with the same name.... Honey, if we know it......
He begins singing it, and, much to the surprise of the audience, it isn't just a one-liner. Elvis does an almost full version and It's the absolute highlight of the show. Probably the best version ever!! Then the introductions follow and as usual the highlight is the fantastic drum solo from Ronnie Tutt. Love Letters is to slow and below par. Hope I can do it......we can hear him say during the intro of the song. The intro to Hurt gets a little lengthened when he announces..Hold it a second, I got to get this girls underwear....... Hurt is performed only fair. The reprise is slightly better, but far from good. Hound Dog is the weakest version I ever heard him do. Elvis has the house lights turned on and proceeds with Funny How Time Slips Away. A fine rendition of this song. After a few words of appreciation to the audience he closes the concert with the familiar Can't Help falling In Love. After the closing vamp it's all over.
This concert remind us of the fact that Elvis was only a human being. He shouldn't have been there on that stage. He was sick and very, very tired. But Elvis tried to gave the audience the best he could and always gave 150% during each show. This show may have been a lot better than you might expect after reading the review. When you were in the audience with thousands of other people you wouldn't have cared how he sounded or moved. What the heck, you we re THERE!!! The sound from this disc is So good that you hear everything. That means the GOOD and the BAD things. Elvis tried hard and won the hearts of the Hampton people that afternoon. The tour closing took place in Fayetteville, North Carolina on August 5th. There was a pause of 22 days before tour 21 started on the 27th of August. The story continues from there...........