Elvis Presley

Tucson '76

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Though there are plenty of officially released live recordings by Elvis, there was no official release from his 1976 tour (though many bootlegs of varying quality have infiltrated the market in the last 20 years or so). Capturing what has long been considered one of his best shows from this tour, this June 1, 1976, mono soundboard recording is both exciting and heartbreaking. Elvis is in fine form most of the time, though he tends to mentally fade in and out during the performance, often distracted by his own tomfoolery. He even halts "You Gave Me a Mountain" to converse with/kiss a female audience member! But when the band is playing and Elvis is drawn back to the music, he shines like the brightest star. "And I Love You So," a song that Elvis considered recording before Perry Como had a hit with it, is powerful. "Danny Boy" is emotionally awesome, blowing away the studio version released on From Elvis Presley Blvd..... "Hurt," also from that same album, is incredibly exciting, so much so that Elvis oddly asks the audience if it wants to hear the song again, and then performs it for the second time in a row! Then again, Elvis stumbles his way through an atrocious "Burning Love" as if he's never performed (or even heard) the song since he recorded it four years earlier. And, as usual for Elvis live recordings, he sleepwalks his way through the hits that made him a star ("Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock," "All Shook Up"), often favoring songs that he emotionally connected with in the '70s such as "Help Me," "Love Letters," and others. Though he works his magic more often than not, Elvis was obviously emotionally detached from the real world at this time, and it certainly shows during this performance. Perhaps the medication had finally taken its toll (this was recorded a year before his death), but it's plain to see that Elvis was fading fast. This is a bittersweet glimpse into the world of the man who would be King.

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