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Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:47 pm

Greybeard wrote:Doc...I believe that the comment was tongue in cheek also..I was on the floor near stage and very close to John Herman.

The question about the out of focus footage is valid...that particular long film was shot completely out of focus. I have that footage and sold my reels of the film some years back. I did not film it though. How or why it was filmed that way we can only guess. I had a similar thing happen when I took a new Super 8 movie camera to Philly...not knowing exactly how it operated left me with 80% of the film shot with that camera being out of focus.

As for the feeling of being there as opposed to listening to the recording...well it is like night and day. Experiencing what was such an unexpectedly good performance was a treat. John had spoken to me about Elvis' appearance in Vegas just weeks before so I was prepared for the worst. It was really something to see him looking more fit than just weeks earlier and in good spirits.

Listening to a show for those who were there evokes memories of what you saw and heard. That is why I am always amazed at discussions about "best shows" by folks who never saw the actual event. You cannot simply assume what you hear is the way it went down. The comment made earlier about Elvis being agitated for example. Without witnessing the sly smile that follows such a comment changes the way you perceive the moment. One concert that always comes to mind is the way people think the last Philly show was an Ok show- yet I being there know how incredibly sad it really was.

Another thing that happens because of how busy people like us who were recording, photographing, filming etc is that we were so caught up in what we were archiving we really didn't fully enjoy the event. Oh sure we had a great time but it was like we were "working" the event as well. John Herman shot over 20 minutes of film.ran 2 cassette recorders.and shot over 175 photos. While I assisted in the process it still took focus off the event for us.

After I returned home from Pittsburgh I sent a note off to Elvis wishing him a Happy Birthday and telling him what I witnessed in that show. I went on to tell him thanks for the entertainment he had given us all through the years- a tradition I have continued with those around Elvis I have had the pleasure to correspond or chat with- from Scotty & DJ to John Wilkinson I thank them all.

John & I discussed this concert quite a bit in January and when he told me how terrible Elvis looked when back on the road in February we were puzzled. We also discussed what might happen if he indeed should pass away. Little did we know that very event would occur in 6 short months.


Greybeard, thank you. What you share not only clarifies a discussion point, but also allows the rest of us to feel -- if only for a moment -- the thrill of your experience back then.

1977 must have been such a difficult year, on so many levels.

And thank you and John both for the on-the-spot archival activities on 12-31-1976, and elsewhere. I've tried to do the same thing at other concerts, and it is indeed hard work!

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:57 pm

Thanks for the informative answer. Too bad the film is out of focus. How much film do you know has surfaced from the show? I know of 5 different cams. Anything we could dream about?

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:15 pm

Greybeard, thank you so much for sharing your memories of the show.

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:15 pm

Seeing Elvis in person and listening and watching even on professionally recorded shows much less audience recordings was like night and day. I was lucky enough to see 2 shows (Vegas in August 73 and Denver in April 1976) where Elvis was in a good mood, good voice and performed very well. I don't know if it was just his charisma but I have never experienced any other concerts like these. The sound systems were great, the band sounded great but first and foremost Elvis's voice sounded amazing and the whole crowd reaction added to the event. I've been to many concerts where the crowd is on their feet cheering the whole time but even though the crowd at the Elvis shows stayed seated for the most part, there was like a worship thing going on like we were in church (this was more evident in Denver than Vegas.) When he walked out on that stage, it really was like God just walked out!

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:35 pm

I agree with Greystoke, tongue in cheek was the mood. I was sitting behind Elvis, right behind the piano. In fact I had a great view of Ginger and Lisa as well. This interaction prompted me to yell "Sing Rags to Riches" later in Charlotte, NC on 2/21/77. His answer, "I'll get to it". I was just happy he heard me!

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:01 am

Ricky wrote:I agree with Greystoke, tongue in cheek was the mood. I was sitting behind Elvis, right behind the piano. In fact I had a great view of Ginger and Lisa as well. This interaction prompted me to yell "Sing Rags to Riches" later in Charlotte, NC on 2/21/77. His answer, "I'll get to it". I was just happy he heard me!



Ricky, how was the sound behind the stage?
I once had a email conversation with the late and great bruce Jackson and of course he mentioned they had 360 degrees sound coverage, but I read quite some articles where I got the impression the sound behind the stage was usually less.
Or were you close enough to pick up the sound coming right from the stage?
Being in the upper level, behind the stage wasn't the greatest place I guess..

But still better than us watching 'out of focus' 8mm film decades later :wink:

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:05 am

Yes to all of you saying how much more electrifying a concert could be than what is conveyed on a soundboard or an AR. Nothing will ever compare to the Minneapolis show I saw in November, 1971, and even the October, 1976 show in Minneapolis that FTD released was far more satisfying than the soundboard revealed.

Also, as Greybeard wrote, a bad concert that just made you feel sad can kind of come across as average on an AR. Greybeard mentioned Philly from 1977 and I can add St. Paul from April 1977. I've had a number of discussions here with people that think, from listening to the AR, that it was a good show. It was not.

Not seeing Elvis' face at the New Year's Eve show, I was one that thought Elvis was momentarily testy with the woman who shouted, "Play it." This concert would have been breathtaking to have seen live that evening. WOW!

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:41 am

Here are some more pictures from December 31st 76 -
Also known as New years eve show of '76 -
Enjoy - ''Ian''
(ty buddy for liking my pic on earlier post )
And All Fans on forum -
Love em all - ::rocks :smt007 :smt001
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Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:47 am

The sound at most all of the shows I saw was interesting and top notch. The stage held only monitors and amplifiers (in most cases). The speaker cabinets would be hoisted above the stage and were arranged to cover the whole arena...360 sound is definitely what I would call it. In the 77 EIC special you can see the preparations for hoisting the sound up overhead in the opening moments of the program.

I was just talking with a friend about bass singers a few days ago and related to him how JD's low (dive bomber") notes, as well as other notes thru the show, could rattle your chest. You would definitely feel the vibration when he went down on those notes...one of my strong memories from the shows.

I am glad to provide any info and memories that I can.

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:54 am

Greybeard wrote:The sound at most all of the shows I saw was interesting and top notch. The stage held only monitors and amplifiers (in most cases). The speaker cabinets would be hoisted above the stage and were arranged to cover the whole arena...360 sound is definitely what I would call it. In the 77 EIC special you can see the preparations for hoisting the sound up overhead in the opening moments of the program.

I was just talking with a friend about bass singers a few days ago and related to him how JD's low (dive bomber") notes, as well as other notes thru the show, could rattle your chest. You would definitely feel the vibration when he went down on those notes...one of my strong memories from the shows.

I am glad to provide any info and memories that I can.


Ty Greybeard for info and your memories - Lov It - ::rocks
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Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:10 am

Greybeard wrote:The sound at most all of the shows I saw was interesting and top notch. The stage held only monitors and amplifiers (in most cases). The speaker cabinets would be hoisted above the stage and were arranged to cover the whole arena...360 sound is definitely what I would call it. In the 77 EIC special you can see the preparations for hoisting the sound up overhead in the opening moments of the program.

I was just talking with a friend about bass singers a few days ago and related to him how JD's low (dive bomber") notes, as well as other notes thru the show, could rattle your chest. You would definitely feel the vibration when he went down on those notes...one of my strong memories from the shows.

I am glad to provide any info and memories that I can.


The divebomb bit absolutely made an impression when experienced live. J.D.'s voice was freakish. It made the building shake, and Elvis played with it like a toy.

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:20 am

Thanks Greybeard! I always love first hand accounts of seeing Elvis in concert.

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:45 am

Greybeard wrote:The sound at most all of the shows I saw was interesting and top notch. The stage held only monitors and amplifiers (in most cases). The speaker cabinets would be hoisted above the stage and were arranged to cover the whole arena...360 sound is definitely what I would call it. In the 77 EIC special you can see the preparations for hoisting the sound up overhead in the opening moments of the program.

I was just talking with a friend about bass singers a few days ago and related to him how JD's low (dive bomber") notes, as well as other notes thru the show, could rattle your chest. You would definitely feel the vibration when he went down on those notes...one of my strong memories from the shows.

I am glad to provide any info and memories that I can.


Great stuff as always Greybeard..
It wasn't wasn't until recently, I noticed a second soundboard in the back on the main floor. I always thought the EP show only carried one. (it probably did early in the game)
This was Bill Porter's domain, a legend in his own.. I thought it was interesting that back in the Mid 70's the exact same set up was used as today, on a different quality level of course.
Bruce was sitting next to the stage with his mixing desk so I can imagine Bill was easier to approach?
Did you ever try to have a chat with some of the crew at one of your concerts?

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:01 am

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Last edited by HoneyTalkNelson on Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:24 am

Robert wrote:
Greybeard wrote:The sound at most all of the shows I saw was interesting and top notch. The stage held only monitors and amplifiers (in most cases). The speaker cabinets would be hoisted above the stage and were arranged to cover the whole arena...360 sound is definitely what I would call it. In the 77 EIC special you can see the preparations for hoisting the sound up overhead in the opening moments of the program.

I was just talking with a friend about bass singers a few days ago and related to him how JD's low (dive bomber") notes, as well as other notes thru the show, could rattle your chest. You would definitely feel the vibration when he went down on those notes...one of my strong memories from the shows.

I am glad to provide any info and memories that I can.


Great stuff as always Greybeard..
It wasn't wasn't until recently, I noticed a second soundboard in the back on the main floor. I always thought the EP show only carried one. (it probably did early in the game)
This was Bill Porter's domain, a legend in his own.. I thought it was interesting that back in the Mid 70's the exact same set up was used as today, on a different quality level of course.
Bruce was sitting next to the stage with his mixing desk so I can imagine Bill was easier to approach?
Did you ever try to have a chat with some of the crew at one of your concerts?



I believe one board was for the stage, and the other was for the house. I think the better balanced soundboard recordings came from the house board.

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:58 am

how many kilo's did he get lost for this show.....

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:08 am

elvisjock wrote:He was easily agitated, just as he was in Birmingham, when he told an audience member to "shut up." Speed'll do that to you.

I agree, the show was probably over, or just about over at that point. Rags To Riches was a natural point to "take it on home." Still, the audience member was rude, and Elvis responded in kind.



So, does all this make you re-think the context of the "shut up" in Birmingham?

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:26 am

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Last edited by HoneyTalkNelson on Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:43 am

Ricky wrote:I agree with Greystoke, tongue in cheek was the mood. I was sitting behind Elvis, right behind the piano. In fact I had a great view of Ginger and Lisa as well. This interaction prompted me to yell "Sing Rags to Riches" later in Charlotte, NC on 2/21/77. His answer, "I'll get to it". I was just happy he heard me!


Nice story...it's also cool to note that you got to see "Moody Blue" live!

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:22 am

Brilliant Greybeard thank you for sharing. This is exactly why ::rocks



Greybeard wrote:Doc...I believe that the comment was tongue in cheek also..I was on the floor near stage and very close to John Herman.

The question about the out of focus footage is valid...that particular long film was shot completely out of focus. I have that footage and sold my reels of the film some years back. I did not film it though. How or why it was filmed that way we can only guess. I had a similar thing happen when I took a new Super 8 movie camera to Philly...not knowing exactly how it operated left me with 80% of the film shot with that camera being out of focus.

As for the feeling of being there as opposed to listening to the recording...well it is like night and day. Experiencing what was such an unexpectedly good performance was a treat. John had spoken to me about Elvis' appearance in Vegas just weeks before so I was prepared for the worst. It was really something to see him looking more fit than just weeks earlier and in good spirits.

Listening to a show for those who were there evokes memories of what you saw and heard. That is why I am always amazed at discussions about "best shows" by folks who never saw the actual event. You cannot simply assume what you hear is the way it went down. The comment made earlier about Elvis being agitated for example. Without witnessing the sly smile that follows such a comment changes the way you perceive the moment. One concert that always comes to mind is the way people think the last Philly show was an Ok show- yet I being there know how incredibly sad it really was.

Another thing that happens because of how busy people like us who were recording, photographing, filming etc is that we were so caught up in what we were archiving we really didn't fully enjoy the event. Oh sure we had a great time but it was like we were "working" the event as well. John Herman shot over 20 minutes of film.ran 2 cassette recorders.and shot over 175 photos. While I assisted in the process it still took focus off the event for us.

After I returned home from Pittsburgh I sent a note off to Elvis wishing him a Happy Birthday and telling him what I witnessed in that show. I went on to tell him thanks for the entertainment he had given us all through the years- a tradition I have continued with those around Elvis I have had the pleasure to correspond or chat with- from Scotty & DJ to John Wilkinson I thank them all.

John & I discussed this concert quite a bit in January and when he told me how terrible Elvis looked when back on the road in February we were puzzled. We also discussed what might happen if he indeed should pass away. Little did we know that very event would occur in 6 short months.

Greybeard wrote:The sound at most all of the shows I saw was interesting and top notch. The stage held only monitors and amplifiers (in most cases). The speaker cabinets would be hoisted above the stage and were arranged to cover the whole arena...360 sound is definitely what I would call it. In the 77 EIC special you can see the preparations for hoisting the sound up overhead in the opening moments of the program.

I was just talking with a friend about bass singers a few days ago and related to him how JD's low (dive bomber") notes, as well as other notes thru the show, could rattle your chest. You would definitely feel the vibration when he went down on those notes...one of my strong memories from the shows.

I am glad to provide any info and memories that I can.

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:15 am

I always enjoyed this great photo from the show... I haven't listened to this show for quite some time
so I think I'll pull out the FTD and play it tonight before I retire for the evening!!
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Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:18 am

When I was a early Elvis concert fan from the 1990's, I was amazed when I found this concert. I wasn't totally aware of how bad 1976 was as a whole at the time, but I always knew how bad 1977 from the limited knowledge I had. After years of study, you know Elvis was still pretty ill and any well being from the show may have been an illusion - but that show to me is still a great show that blows a lot of shows out of the water. Maybe you have to put it in the proper context, but when I first listened to it on cassette in 1997 - it was mind blowing because here was Elvis Presley with a superior, but familiar Elvis In Concert type voice and looking almost thin. I mean compare a Feb 12 or Feb 20 (1977) photo with the Dec 31 (1976) photo and if you didn't know better - you'd think they were years apart.

When he stopped Little Sister that night, it was because the band started it "too fast." It wasn't a perfect concert, but it's one of those shows that still has something. Maybe the best version of Hurt ever performed. Wish RCA had been there, and that concert was Elvis In Concert.

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:21 pm

What a cool and very refreshing topic - MORE! Please!!

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:33 pm

fg76 wrote:When I was a early Elvis concert fan from the 1990's, I was amazed when I found this concert. I wasn't totally aware of how bad 1976 was as a whole at the time, but I always knew how bad 1977 from the limited knowledge I had. After years of study, you know Elvis was still pretty ill and any well being from the show may have been an illusion - but that show to me is still a great show that blows a lot of shows out of the water. Maybe you have to put it in the proper context, but when I first listened to it on cassette in 1997 - it was mind blowing because here was Elvis Presley with a superior, but familiar Elvis In Concert type voice and looking almost thin. I mean compare a Feb 12 or Feb 20 (1977) photo with the Dec 31 (1976) photo and if you didn't know better - you'd think they were years apart.

When he stopped Little Sister that night, it was because the band started it "too fast." It wasn't a perfect concert, but it's one of those shows that still has something. Maybe the best version of Hurt ever performed. Wish RCA had been there, and that concert was Elvis In Concert.


That's three times that he told the band to slow down. Big Boss Man, Fairytale ("Slow it down. SLOW IT DOWN."), Little Sister. It wasn't always Elvis who rushed.

I agree that this show caused some confusion to those of us who came later to the party. If you didn't know how much trouble he was in throughout '76 (and you wouldn't unless you were there, or collected photos or tapes) you might just think his real problems started in '77. This Is Elvis contributed to that storyline, if unwittingly: "In 1977, I started to feel like things were slowly getting out of control."

The soundboards of Birmingham and Dallas reveal flaws that would likely be picked up were a Pittsburgh tape to surface. But, those shows weren't New Year's Eve. Elvis had bad memories of Pontiac fresh in his mind. He'd obviously been working over the holidays to get himself into better shape. The audience arrived on a bitterly cold, snowy night, ready to party. Something magical happened that night, and we are very fortunate to have the show so well documented.

Re: Remembering Pittsburgh 1976

Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:10 pm

Some of my favorite pictures.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image


It's hard to believe the Civic Arena was demolished last year. Such an amazing building!
Image

But what happened inside was even more amazing.
Image

Greybeard thank you for sharing your memories about this show! Always enjoy hearing about your concert experience.

Paul you wrote,
I'm not sure who took these 2 photos of the December 31, 1976 show - does anyone know?





These 2 pictures were auctioned on eBay last year. When I saw them and also saw the person was local for me I contacted them asking about the history of the pictures. The person informed me that they were in "an estate find in Pittsburgh and only these two were available." Sadly I lost this auction. But interesting they were 8x10 photos from the show.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ELVIS-PRESLEY-D ... 7675.l2557