Elvis Welcomes His Final Year,
This review is from: New Year's Eve (Audio CD)
Little did he know that he was welcoming in the year in which he dies, but Elvis and an audience of some 16,400 almost blew the roof off the Civic Centre Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 31st December 1976.
This was the second time Elvis performs on new year's eve. And as in Pontiac, Michigan twelve months earlier, Pittsburgh was frozen over on this night but that did not deter the fans from coming to see their idol in concert. Elvis and his band were on fire and so was the audience. They cheered and screamed their lungs out while Elvis responded by giving everything he had. And though what he had by 1976 was generally considered less than previous years, on this night it was like old times again.
With a thunderous stage entrance some 30 minutes before midnight, Elvis performs one of his best concerts of the last twelve months. Though the song list was mostly his standard 1976 concert repertoire, the atmosphere was truly electric as the audience reacted wildly to Elvis' every sound, every word, and every move. They were ecstatic to see him and made his effort to perform on this night worthwhile. And the more they responded, the more he gave - even singing a truly outstanding version of his rarely performed RECONSIDER BABY. UNCHAINED MELODY left the audience totally spellbound, but the major highlight has to be his first ever live performance of RAGS TO RICHES - a phenomenal display of vocals while accompanying himself on piano!
This two disc release is luckily available thanks to a recording made by an audience member with his tape recorder. So although the sound is barely adequate, interestingly you get to hear what goes on in the audience - the legendary fans reactions to seeing Elvis!
As long as you are aware that this is not a professional recording you will not be disappointed as you listen to an historical event. Elvis would turn 42 just eight days later and had exactly eight months and sixteen days to live, but he was in great form on this night. The electricity and magical audience interaction is unmistakable.
Though the recording is far less than perfect, I have scored this release 4 stars for its historical value and beautiful CD presentation. Still, should you buy this memento of a magical night? Well, only if you are a serious fan or a collector.
And to the fan who tape-recorded this concert, wherever you may be today - a big thank you!