Fort Baxter 22
Dallas, TX December 28th 1976
See See Rider / I Got A Woman - Amen / Love Me / Fairytale / You Gave Me A Mountain /Jailhouse Rock / O Sole Mio - It's Now Or Never / Trying To Get To You / Blue Suede Shoes / My Way / Polk Salad Annie / intro : Early Morning Rain - What'd I Say - Johnny B. Goode - Love Letters - School Days / Hound Dog / Hurt / Unchained Melody / Can't Help Falling In Love
This is the latest Fort Baxter release and an excellent one too. It's a soundboard recording of the second show of the short late December 1976 tour, certainly the best tour of 1976 as well as Elvis was in great spirits and full of energy.
Right from the start you know that it was about to be a " hot night " in Dallas as he yells his wan into " See See Rider ", this is followed by an excellent version of " I Got A Woman / Amen ". His rendition of " Love Me " is above average for the later years and the ending is powerful and let us knows he's there to sing.
" Fairytale " is also pretty good too, " You Gave Me A Mountain " is nothing less than excellent, but unfortunately we don't get to hear the end as it's fading out in the second verse and then fading in the very end of " Jailhouse Rock ", apparently the tape was damaged at that point and explains why these two songs are incomplete.
We get to hear also a very good version of " It's Now Or Never " and a very dynamic version of " Trying To Get To You ", that latter being certainly a highlight in every shows of the tour.Next song is " Blue Suede Shoes ", I'd say here that it's a good version but a bit too fast rendered although I have heard worst.
" My Way " is also excellent and slightly different from the performance he gave in Birmingham the following night, " Polk Salad Annie " is also very good and Elvis seems to have a lot of fun with this one too.
Now we're getting in that part of the show that could become rapidly annoying at times, this is the introduction of the band. In this case though it's mostly entertaining and doesn't seem that long, we get to hear a full version of " Early Morning Rain " and in my view this song was magic in concert, this is where you get to hear nice guitar playing by John Wilkinson and only Elvis' voice, of all the concerts I had the chance to attend, I will always remember that part as a personal highlight. We get to hear as well a soulful version of " Love Letters " and here as well, it's only David Brigg's electric piano and Elvis' voice, very nice. Before that however Elvis improvised during Ron Tutt's drum solo a rendition of " Hey Bo Diddley ", well he's repeating the same line over and over, but yet this is another indication that he was having fun on stage, may I add here that Ronnie's drum solo is particularly excellent and I guess the fact that he's from Big D isn't totally stranger to his very hard working manners.
Nothing really exceptional to say about " Hound Dog ", and " Hurt " with reprise of the last part is very good. Elvis then goes to the piano and started to do " Unchained Melody ", which was only his second live rendition, it certainly shows as Elvis seems unsured at times if he wants to hit higher notes on some lines or simply give it a soft voice emphasised. This is very interesting though as we get to hear a slightly different version when compared to the December 29th in Birmingham, at some point he also requested drum rolls from Ronnie and we could also hear in the background a soft touch of organ sound possibly played by David Briggs. The subsequent version were only Elvis at the piano and he also knew where he wanted to give a special stress on some lines or to a certain word versus others, and consequently the last three versions of that tour were more polished and quite similar at the same time.
Way too soon this is the ending and we get into " Can't Help Falling In Love " before he left the stage after having given to the Dallas crowd one of his best performance there, and clearly one of the best of that year.
Several persons mentioned that this show is better than the Birmingham,Ala. performance, although I really really enjoy the Dallas show I still think that it was slightly better on the 29th.
Both shows had similar performances on the following songs : See See Rider, Fairytale, You Gave Me A Mountain, Trying To Get To You, Polk Salad Annie, Love Letters, Hound Dog and Hurt.
I think that " I Got A Woman " & "Love Me " were better in Dallas, but in my view " My Way " and " Unchained Melody " are better performed in Birmingham, and the extras on the latter show are to be considered as well, these being : The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, For The Good Times and Mystery Train-Tiger Man. The Roberta Flack's hit was sung in a very unusual manner in Birmingham and it was a very very nice rendition, " For The Good Times " wasn't certainly as good as his 1972 versions, but still it's not bad at all and would had been better if the musicians weren't took off-guard by Elvis and messed up a little bit in places, clearly it wasn't rehearsed at all, and finally we get to hear a really rockin' version of " Mystery Train-Tiger Man ", so the advantage is for Birmingham.
Having said the above, I must add that " A Hot Winter Night In Dallas " has a better sound quality, and that fact is without a doubt the reason why several peoples ended up saying that it was a better show than Birmingham. This is certainly normal and it gives also the impression that the Dallas fans were the luckier fans.
Given it all, my advice would be that both shows should be in every collections, both are outstanding performances by an outstanding performer and cannot wait for hearing Wichita, Atlanta and Pittsburg with that same sound quality. Any shows from that tour are a must so .
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