Elvis…A Bicentennial Explosion

Tulsa, Oklahoma July 4th 1976 

By Chris Lincecum


July 4th was the celebration of the country’s 200th anniversary as a nation. As fireworks exploded across the nation celebrating the Bicentennial Birthday of the United States, Elvis Presley exploded on the stage of Mabee Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, playing a sell-out crowd.The first half of the show opened with three pleasing, but minor acts. First, J.D. Sumner and The Stamps followed by comedian Jackie Kahane, and the Sweet Inspirations. 

An intermission there was plenty of Elvis “ Super Souvenirs “ for all. The lobby was well prepared to handle all the fans desires, selling Elvis buttons for $1.00, binoculars for $5.00, scarves, posters and other momentos. 

Finally showtime, lights down and the band began playing the tune of “ 2001 “. Elvis exploded onto the stage wearing a Bicentennial outfit, complete with the Presidential Seal on the face of his giant belt buckle, and opened with “ C. C. Rider “, followed by “ I Got A Woman / Amen “, “ You Gave Me A Mountain “, “ If You Love Me Let Me Know “, “ And I Love You So “ and many others.   

George O. Hill © Tulsa,Oklahoma  July 4th 1976

The crowd loved it and they let him know it as flashes from their cameras lit the auditorium and fans rushed the stage. Elvis showered the crowd with scarves and kisses, and they showered him with gifts and support. He received several gifts, from hats to stuffed animals. 

A medley of some of his old hits, such as “ Jailhouse Rock “, “ Don’t Be Cruel “, “ Hound Dog “ and “ All Shook Up “ was also heard. As a salute to the Bicentennial Celebration, Elvis sang “ America The Beautiful “ and “ American Trilogy “. He had lots of fun with “ Little Darlin’ “ and teased the crowd with “ Fever “. He brought the house down with “ How Great Thou Art “ and his new single “ Hurt “. 

Elvis may be 41 this year but he sure doesn’t sound it. Vocally, he is still strong and the band is tight. If you’re looking for vocal perfection, Elvis has got it.   

George O. Hill © Tulsa,Oklahoma  July 4th 1976

Elvis introduced his band and later asked for the house lights to be turned up, saying “ Now that you’ve seen us, we’d like to take a look at you “, and thanked the audience for their support. He also commented that any time we wanted him back in Tulsa, just let him know. 

Elvis closed this Bicentennial celebration show with “ Funny How Time Slips Away “ and his traditional closer “ Can’t Help Falling In Love “. He was rushed off the stage and on to Memphis,Tennessee where his tour ends tomorrow night at Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis. 

Elvis is truly “ The Spirit of ’76 “. 

Originally published in “ The Strictly Elvis Generation No. 9 “.