View Full Version : South Bend '74 or Tucson '76
Just recently listened to these two FTD Concert CDs for the first time in a while, and it appears to me that even though Elvis' health was in decline during 1976 he gave the better show at the Community Center Arena, Tucson on June 1st that year.
Almost two years previous in South Bend, Indiana on October 1st, 1974 it appears that Elvis was in good, high spirits considering what had been happening on that tour e.g. College Park, Maryland. But, this concert in South Bend EP appears to be all over the place with his vocal phrasing and its as though he is attempting to try a different approach to a number of songs. The song list is a strong set just like the Tucson '76 show, but Elvis doesn't do his performance of some of the songs any justice with this very much 'spirited' approach.
It's a shame because "Dragon Heart" is a nicely titled and packaged CD but the performance is somewhat...strange?
Anyone share my thoughts on this?
06-25-2006, 01:25 AM
1976 is a very sad year for me. We have so much concerts from 1975 where Elvis is in a very good mood, enjoying what he was doing, gave away great shows and also looked good.
But then in december 1975 Elvis returned to Vegas and seemed to have gained lots and lots of weight.
In 1976 it was obvious Elvis wasn't going to loose it (and also gained even more). There are many shows in 1976 that are dull, inspired and showed a very out of shape Elvis. At the end of 1976 he seemed to re-take some control over his weight (and hapiness), and he even did some very good shows.
1974 is (to me) a great year, with many great, full speed ahead shows, great setlists, a healthy (and slim!) Elvis, lots of karate and also good energy. There are a handfull shows where Elvis was a bit out of control, but even with those shows (like college park) he seemed to enjoy himself and doing the best to give away a great show.
06-25-2006, 08:08 AM
Well, I really don't mind the weight too much. In my opinion it doesn't exactly correlate to the quality of his show and voice. Of course, 1976 wasn't by any means like 1969 or 1970. But then again his ability for singing dramatic songs and ballads hadn't diminished, but gained power instead. Every Elvis-year has something to offer; apart from that big opera voice, I enjoyed his return to the acoustic guitar and playing the piano later on.
I like Dragonheart. Did anyone notice this rendition of Steamroller Blues? It sounds primal, fiery and wild, making the song a pleasure to listen to. If something "fits to a T" then it's perfect for its purpose, hence Elvis' mood while performing this one, anyway you look at it.
I can't really make a choice between the two. I certainly don't despise the Tucson-show. Although sounding a tad nasal, there was this rare song called 'Danny Boy', unless I'm very much mistaken. There was some warmth in that voice, anyway you listen to it..
06-25-2006, 07:47 PM
I would call 1976 the worst year for Elvis. Only a handful of concerts was good. Out of all the tours of that year, the New Years Eve tour was the best and I think everyone will say that. It seem Elvis was trying his best during this to comeback to his early concert years of the 1969 to 1972 but it didn't do to much good because he passed away during the next year.
06-27-2006, 09:51 PM
I'll take the Tucson show. I gave my Dragonheart away, :supriced: no kidding. Alright, Okay, You Win was cool, but that was about all I could get into--not even Steamroller, which most people seem to like. To me, that song like many others seemed to be changed up (phrasing and what not) just for the sake of change, not really improving anything.
Not just Tucson--pick any show that you can name from '76 or '77 when Elvis was not on top of his game, and I'll take that over the South Bend or College Park show. As bad as some of the other shows might have been--and they were not as bad as some people make them out to be--I still find myself enjoying them because even if there is a certain element of tragedy to them, Elvis' spirit still shines through. When I listen to Dragonheart, I do not identify with that guy nearly as well. His demeanor is entirely different and not in a way that makes you sympathetic. For me that negative vibe infected the songs too much for me to really enjoy them. Admittedly the Tucson show could have used some more energy, but not that brand of it.
I do share your views there, Lonnie.
I mean when you begin to listen to "Tucson 76" you can very much go with the flow of the concert knowing that there are a couple of nice surprises in there e.g. 'Danny Boy'. But on "Dragonheart" I feel that when EP attempts to rephrase some aspects of the songs you begin to question 'Now what's he going to attempt to do with this next song - the same?!'
I think it is quite apparent that there was somewhat of a turning point on that late September/early October 74 tour. Could it be that medication had a lot to do with it too? We know that Elvis took a 5-month rest after this tour.
Im probably biased since I was lucky enough to be in the audience at the South Bend concert but I do think its a better show than the 76 performance.The 76 show to me is another one where Elvis just seems to be going through the motions and sounds uninspired through much of the show.Fairly typical for many 76 concerts I think.South Bend was not a classic but he had a higher energy level that night and to me that makes it more enjoyable to listen to.With some exceptions I think 76 had to be a low point for his concerts.
Yes, I remember you telling me about that. I suppose you can't beat first hand experience of actually being at the show and soaking up the atmosphere of it all. And, it's also a different case if you are actually seeing our man live on stage too.
I just find it quite a difficult concert to listen to and it just so happened that I listened to both "Tucson 76" and "Dragonheart" together last week for the first time in a while.
The "Dragon" jumpsuit must have really been something to see though!
As I said Im probably biased but everybody has their own tastes.The version of Danny Boy is the standout performance from either show in my opinion.I think when Elvis admired a song he always tried to rise to the occasion and he gave a nice rendition of it in Tuscon.
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