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Thread: Elvis at the Summit - Houston, Texas

  1. #1
    TCB Mafia EnigmaticSun's Avatar
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    Elvis at the Summit - Houston, Texas

    Hi folks - I just read something on Elvisnews.com about a concert done by Elvis in 1976! It is exactly 29 years ago and the comments on Elvisnews are pretty negative:

    "Elvis performed at the Summit, Houston, Texas at 2.30 p.m., which was a heart breaking performance"

    Isn't this too harsh? Okay, Elvis was feeling bad. But people often concentrate on things which are irrelevant - his weight, his glassy eyes, his being unable to articulate words and sentences.

    Isn't his warm and tender voice the most important thing? To be honest, I'd like to hear a tired Elvis instead of a happy and healthy Robert Plant because Elvis did know how to sing the soft and delicate tones instead of screaming like the Led Zeppelin guy did. Led Zeppelin also performed at this Texan venue a year later on September 2, unless I'm very much mistaken.

    Isn't it always the easiest thing to do, to attack a person who is either in need or weary because of stress being put on him? It's not that hard to criticize what you can not do yourself or that which you simply do not wish to understand, I guess. It's not that I'm saying that Elvis' lifestyle was healthy for a man in his position, I simply wish to be realistic.

    Okay, it's true - rock 'n roll was getting behind and it fell to the background a bit - but the ballads and gospels were quite amazing! I like almost all his versions of And I Love You So, Hurt, You Gave Me A Mountain, If You Love Me... I mean: he couldn't talk, but he could sing!

    BTW, these were the songs performed on that show - I must admit it contains a versatile combination of emotionally touching and entertaining songs (I don't really know if he performed just one or twice on this day?):

    Houston-The Summit 28th August 1976 Afternoon Matinee Show r/t 80 minutes

    TRACKLIST

    2001 Theme/See See Rider/ I Got A Woman – Amen x 2 / Dialogue/ Love Me/ If You Love Me / You Gave Me A Mountain / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel / Dialogue about band too loud/ And I Love You So/ Jailhouse Rock / Fever / America The Beautiful –with reprise / Introductions & solos: Early Morning Rain - What'd I Say - Johnny B.Goode - Drum solo-Bass Solo( x2 )-Piano Solo-Electric Piano Solo/ Love Letters - Hail Hail Rock & Roll / Hurt / Hound Dog/ Funny How Time Slips Away/ Love me Tender/ Dialogue/ Can't Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp

    Whenever I read reviews on websites like Elvisnews.com in the context of shows from '76 they often say 'we don't like '76 shows', 'we don't like to see Elvis that way' & 'we stopped listening to this compilation after just one song'. Is it me, or is this prejudice? Isn't it up to the Elvis fans to outline the positive things about Elvis? I guess that if people stop listening after just one track, they are not unbiased.

    It's like the Omaha concert from '77 - they always mention weight problems, the performer looking tired, the eyes being sad and glassy - it always comes down to the physical appearance while forgetting everything about musical and / or vocal performance. I don't think Omaha was a bad concert. I can't really tell how this concert from '76 has been because, sadly, I have not been able to hear it.



    I've seen people looking worse than that. Does anyone know how large and round Pavarotti is / has been? And can / should we really blame a person for being sick / lonely / slowly dying?



    Am I wrong with my statements? Or is it justified to defend Elvis? I'm rather curious to find out what's on your mind, people!
    Last edited by EnigmaticSun; 08-28-2005 at 10:32 PM. Reason: minor error

  2. #2
    International Level NEA's Avatar
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    In Defence

    Good thread, Enigmatic.

    I feel it is well-justified to defend Elvis during this turbulent time in his life. I mean, here was a musical genius and a human being combined, and no matter what he was still getting out of what should have been his 'sick bed' to ensure that all of his fans did not lose out and were still very much entertained. The fact that there was also a number of great vocal performances during these shows also add to Elvis' professionalism. Unfortunately, a number of the press and non-fans will always look on the negative aspects of these shows for one reason or another. But, as we, the 100% Fans know, that our defence against such negative reports and accusations are well-justified.

    Apparently, it was just one show that Elvis gave in Houston on that date but it is stated as the Hofheinz Pavilion, Houston, Texas with an audience of 12,000 but an 8:30pm performance - maybe someone can shed some light of information on the name of this 'Summit' venue and the time of the show?

    Cheers,

    NEA.
    Last edited by NEA; 08-29-2005 at 01:18 AM.
    "I oughta break you in half!"...

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  3. #3
    Backstage Pass cutiepie's Avatar
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    Enigmatic Sun--You've articulated so well what a "real" Elvis fan should be!

    My opinion holds that, if I enjoy/love someone, whether it is on a person-to-person level, or from a great distance, I would feel the same no matter what the circumstances. Especially when said person is suffering!

    It really is unfair for people to only look at a few instances of Elvis' life to base their entire perspective of him. What's worse is that the mass media propells that. I believe a parallel can be drawn from a fear of aging and dying. Better to make fun of Elvis' pain than to face one's own??!

    I'm learning so much from Elvis--compassion, undestanding, acceptance, and strength in one's own beliefs. I wish he was still here.

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    Cool



    I agree, but Elvis in 1976 just wasn't a shadow of the Elvis from the early 70's. For me, 1976 is a year which Elvis physically was at one of his worst stages; I actually think that in 77' he appeared stronger, certainly vocally stronger. Although the New Years Eve show is one of the best concert performances he ever gave, in early 76' Elvis seemed to have lost that spark for a while. Even on some of the Jungle Room Session recordings from October, sound tired and nearly forced, while the December sessions on some if not most of the tracks it's like a different man, his voice is stronger and much more powerful. Elvis shouldn?t of been performing to the extent he was in 76' or 77 for that matter, and the thing with the 76' material is, and if you listen to Tucson 76 on the FTD label, its a perfect example, the soundboards are not great quality, and I think the performances sound forced, admittedly I have not heard all of the performances from 76', but the handful I heard were well spread out between the year and they held pretty much a constant until the very end, as Burning in Birmingham and the New Years Eve show are among my all time favourite performances from Elvis.
    The Sun Never Sets On A Legend...

  5. #5
    TCB Mafia EnigmaticSun's Avatar
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    sickness

    Well, it's true that Elvis should have been in hospital. On the other hand, it has all come to pass by now and it's just part of reality.

    For instance, I did not like the Tucson show at first hand - later on I found out that Elvis' voice sounded rich, warm and full - especially on the ballads. He had something that he didn't have in 1970 - the softness and the roundness of his voice grew and grew because Elvis was developing vocally instead of physically.

    True - in 1970 Elvis was a better rocker, but in '76 and '77 he was a better singer of gospels, ballads.. anything that is emotional.

    I do like the Jungle Room Sessions - Elvis does sound tired but that's just the way he felt and I can see why. I really like songs like It's Easy For You, Pledging My Love, Way Down.. I can't really hear him being 'forced' with his singing.

    It's true, though, that Elvis' voice changed in '76 - on the bootleg 'Bringing The House Down' from October '76 Elvis seems to be having a cold and it kind of keeps him from singing the ending of Hurt the way he wanted to. After October and November the change was complete, I guess, and he could get the ending right.

    I guess that even classically trained singers make mistakes and Elvis was a human being. I can't help loving in Elvis in '76, though his voice was nearing it's peak just before he died in '77 and it was even better than a year before.

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    Elvis was a better ballad singer towards the end, but he could still throw out a rocker if anyone got it to him. He did a great job on Chuck Berry's Promised Land in 74', and had in my opinion a great set of sessions in Stax, but for the Jungle Room Sessions, Elvis wasnt that interested. It was apparently very difficult to get him to come down and sing, he kept the band waiting, found excuses, excused himself halfway through sessions and cut short a session when he recieved a delivery of new motorbikes. Felton only got an instrumental of Fire Down Below on track, and even though he asked Elvis to put a vocal on it many times, he just wasnt interested. What I mean when I say forced, is that Elvis basically wasnt that motivated to record new material in 76', and I think certain tracks on the Jungle Room Sessions are testimony to this, but on the other hand, he really threw out a few good tracks during those sessions also, his brillaince was prevelent throughout, especially when he wanted to do something.
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    TCB Mafia EnigmaticSun's Avatar
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    I've finally found someone I can love - a good, clean love... without utensils

    I agree that Elvis wasn't the happiest guy in the world during the Jungleroom Sessions. On the other hand, the sessions really gave birth to some classics: Hurt, Danny Boy, Pledging My Love, It's Easy For You. I guess the sword cuts both ways with a medal having two sides to it. Some may dislike these sessions while others think they're great - it's hard to tell what exactly went through Elvis' mind - but I guess he was not so keen on recording a lot of rock 'n roll songs anymore.

  8. #8
    From Elvis Presley Blvd Lonniebealestreet's Avatar
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    No year had as many ups and owns in terms of Elvis' performance than 1976...1974 being a close second. He had several distinctly different singing voices throughout the year, for one thing. His voice changed seemed to change several times to my ears.

    Most of them work for me, but there were times when his voice sounded very thin and sick. It wasn't just a matter of some nights he sounded good and others he sounded bad though; his voice literally seemed to change with the seasons.

    Obviously this was a reflection of his health, to a great extent.

    As fans and as considerate people, I think it makes sense for us to defend Elvis' lesser performances, partly out of a sense of loyalty, but also because Elvis running on one cylinder sounds better than most people running on all eight.

    When Elvis was "on" in '76 and '77, he never sounded better. Well, that's subjective...That's the Elvis voice I like to hear the most.

    Great topic, Fabian.
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    TCB Mafia EnigmaticSun's Avatar
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    anyway you do!

    I also think that an involved and 'up' Elvis in '76/'77 is my favourite, as far as the singing voice is concerned. It's true, though, that sometimes Elvis was very, very ill and he should have been in hospital in those cases. I agree that both '76 and '74 were very up and down.

    The thing that Elvis did right, though, is that he usually did not force his voice. Sometimes he seemed to be doing this, for example some shows in September and October of '76 (did he catch a cold?). But it is rather minor and only on the last part of Hurt. There are classical singers who've got a terrible tremolo and they literally lose their voice because of this poor technique. Elvis never lost his voice.

    One other good thing about Elvis is that he didn't try to scream the concert through like a lot of rock stars do.. I think of Axl Rose, Robert Plant.. I don't think they keep a strong singing voice. Elvis' voice was great just before he died so he must have a done a lot of things right.
    Last edited by EnigmaticSun; 08-30-2005 at 12:11 PM. Reason: minor error

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    I think Elvis had a good voice when he died, but for me, he was at his peak from 69-75. With a few exceptions in that time period, and also between 76-77 he had some great periods to boot.

    For instance, Thats All Right Mama, in 77, for me, just wasnt sounding right. But that's just my two cents, we'l all have different views on him. Probabaly what makes him such a complex and compelling character.
    The Sun Never Sets On A Legend...

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    TCB Mafia EnigmaticSun's Avatar
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    yoo!

    Technically speaking, a singer reaches his peak somewhere between his 40th and 50th birthday. Elvis was about to reach his peak when he died. That is also the opinion of some folks around him, most notably Kathy Westmoreland. The Metropolitan Opera isn't something that I like, but at least they were good in being jealous of Elvis' voice.

    Of course opinions are different - that's the exciting part. Some folks seem to think the '77 versions of That's Allright Mama are better than the ones from '72. I like all the versions because Elvis never really failed on this one and each period has it's unique charm to it.
    Last edited by EnigmaticSun; 08-30-2005 at 02:44 PM. Reason: minor error

  12. #12
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    1976

    Real nice comments EnigmaticSun. I saw Elvis live many times throughout the 70s. I also attended concerts in 76 and 77. Elvis was "different" and was obvious dealing ith health related issues, but every show was super. I think people look at the negative things because it is easy and it is easier to "join the crowd." I prefer to look at the glass as being half-full rather than half-empty.

    IM

  13. #13
    Too Much Monkey Business Jumpsuit Junkie's Avatar
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    Yes there were ups and downs and yes Elvis' voice even when he was poorly was better than most.

    I agree with Fabian's comments for the most part! but feel we should always call a spade a spade, there are many, many great performances out there and people, including the fans will judge from the likes of TTWII and the Aloha shows and use them as a yard stick

    I am a pragmatic fan, there are different era's in the 1970's - 69 to 72, 72-75 and 76 to 77 and you can see changes between these times. Some people will go for the energetic 69 to 72 shows, others will go for the for the 76 to 77 and the power ballads. The question you have to ask yourself is, if you could only go and see one show from 69 to 77 what would it be, you need to be honest with yourself when answering this question, are you going to pick a performance that is universally agreed not to be one of his best? or something from August 1970 or the 1976 New Years Eve show which is generally agreed to have been special!

    I don't think as a fan I should feel duty bound to call a show good when it isn't, by the same token I don't feel inclined to slag it off either, there will always be something that will be the highlight of any show.

    We should contain our bias towards Elvis and be subjective in our views, Elvis did some terrible shows, the reason we know this is because he did some outstanding shows.

    I don't wish to be inflammatory but add another dimension to the debate.

    Matt

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    New Years Eve 76', but if I had to pick a show from any other year then 72'.
    The Sun Never Sets On A Legend...

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    TCB Mafia EnigmaticSun's Avatar
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    allright!

    I don't think anything inflammatory has been said! I did not really mean to say that we should feel the duty to call a bad show good, it's just that we should always be open to Elvis' positive qualities - I don't really think they were ever completely gone!

    I'm4Elvis is right with this comment: I prefer to look at the glass as being half-full rather than half-empty.

    I think the 70's are terribly underrated and we, being the knowledgeable ones, should emphasize that Elvis was still fantastic in oh so many ways.

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