On Tour 'Omaha: April 22, 1976'

- In-depth FTD review by Geoffrey McDonnell -

1976 is not an easy Elvis live-in-concert year to review. There were no major set-list changes, no dramatic "emotional roller-coaster" of 1974 and no high-flying "Huntsville" 1975 excitements. Apart from the exceptional blast of the final December 1976 Tour the year was an inevitable downward spiral.
With ‘America’ FTD provides us with a representation of Elvis' second 1976 tour, the real bonus being that Elvis’ performance in Omaha, April 22 , 1976 has never been released before anywhere. The four extra tracks taken from Spokane April 27 on the same tour have also never been heard before.

Elvis soundboard super-collector Geoffrey McDonnell checks out this new FTD single CD release from 1976.....

To be honest 1976 is not an easy Elvis live-in-concert year to review. There were no major set-list changes as had happened in earlier years, no dramatic "emotional roller-coaster" of 1974 and no high-flying "Huntsville" 1975 excitements. Apart from the exceptional blast of the final December 1976 Tour (inspired by the challenge of new-young-love Ginger) 1976 in retrospect seems a slow-grind continuing the inevitable downward spiral.

By early 1976 Elvis’ set-list had become routine. I Got A Woman would always feature the JD Sumner double dive-bombing routine, the Introduction and solos would be drawn out with the inclusion of Bass and Drum solos, usually two piano solos plus Early Morning Rain and Love Letters. Hurt and America the Beautiful became the regular dramatic highlights with only the occasional surprise addition (Danny Boy!) making a real difference.

A true sign-of-the times was that from the 1976 April Tour #17 through to his August Tour #21 Elvis basically wore his "Bicentennial Suit"at every single concert, surely a sign of a bored performer. And that blowsy-shirtsleeves-and-waistcoat look did Elvis no good at all as a cool-looking jumpsuit.

How did our hero, who stepped onto the Vegas stage on July 31st 1969 to reclaim his throne as a slim and sexy hyper-powered Adonis, fall so low in just seven years?

Unfortunately for collectors the number of Elvis soundboards available in good quality increase at a similar rate that Elvis’ performances declined. His tours also got shorter and shorter. This means that if FTD are to release a soundboard from every Elvis tour we will always get more concerts from 1976 than any other year.

This is a real shame as there are proportionately far fewer good quality soundboards from Elvis’ sensational early years of touring.

FTD will soon have released sixteen concerts from 1976 - compared to only two from 1971.
Go here to see the stats and EIN’s list of FTD/BMG live releases.

America FTD review - By Geoffrey Mc Donnell - with added comments from EIN's Piers Beagley

FTD’s very first soundboard release back in 2000 was of all things a concert from 1976! This was of course ‘Tucson ‘76’ not Elvis best performance but it did include the amazing and unique live performance of ‘Danny Boy’. Such a brilliant official-release revelation was the reason FTD was created in the first place for Elvis collectors.

Classic soundboards from the earlier 70s followed and it wasn’t until 2008 that we got another 1976 official soundboard ‘America’ as a single cd standard 5” digipack.

With ‘America’ FTD provides us with a representation of Elvis' second 1976 tour, the real bonus being that Elvis’ performance in Omaha, April 22 , 1976 has never been released before anywhere. The four extra tracks taken from Spokane April 27 on the same tour have also never been heard before. 

The Packaging is simple 5" double digipack without any booklet.

The cover picture shows Elvis in August 1976 at the end of a show, not too bad a shot actually with Elvis looking focussed at the crowd. At least it's not one of the awful double chinned pictures from Long Beach on 25th April 1976 seen in the ‘Rocking Across Texas’ FTD book!

Inside the sleeve are four more shots taken by super-fan Sean Shaver in April 1976 of Elvis boarding his plane or on stage that month.

The back cover features Elvis in a low-leg-squat, performing Polk Salad Annie during the closing show in Spokane - a very nice close up shot and quite appropriate here.


The CD kicks off with two opening tracks from his “Closing Night” Spokane Show. Elvis was always on better from at his tour finales and so on both 2001 with the full build-up and ‘See See  Rider’ Elvis sounds on pretty good form and not slurry. The sound is also pretty good.

Unfortunately we are then transported back 5 days to the Omaha 22 April feature concert and the audio drops to a much worse and quite annoying mix. Elvis’ vocal is overpowered by the background singers and while Elvis is singing his heart out you cannot but be distracted by the Kathy Westmoreland shriek.  Of course being a mono tape there is nothing you can do to alter the original mix.

‘I Got a Woman / Amen’ is simply ruined by The Sweet's and Kathy Westmoreland's screams, not only dominating in the mix, but at times also out of tune!

Luckily the audience doesn’t have the same audio mix and is truly appreciative. Obviously in good humour  Elvis tells them, “Just don’t go crazy.. hang loose….  Lean back sit back and have a good time”

‘Love Me’ is 'fair' and sounds fine until the backing singers come in to overpower the mix.

‘If You Love Me’ that follows is the worst sounding mix of the entire concert. The girls shriek and you can’t hear Elvis! It is so unbearable that I feel here having to steal a line from a later song 'Help Me' and state 'I just can't take it anymore!'

Fortunately ‘You Gave Me A Mountain’ is better as most of it is Elvis singing solo with The Stamps and you can tell Elvis is in fine voice for 1976. Sadly the female backing singers still manage to destroy the otherwise fine ending.

‘Trying To Get To You’ is next and is a concert highlight. Elvis jokes to an enthusiastic fan trying to get his attention, “Do you want to go to the bathroom, is that it?”. This song luckily shows off Elvis’ positivity and it’s a great version! Now I'm finally starting to enjoy the show!

The oldies ‘All Shook Up’ and ‘Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel’ are 'routine' but passable as Elvis hands out scarves to the fans. ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ is a decent version again Elvis sounding more interested than usual.

‘America’ performed because of the Bicentennial Year is a very fine version - “Lord, America” sings at the verse chorus. You can feel Elvis’ sincerity- listen to Elvis hitting the last note -  one of the best.

‘Polk Salad Annie’ rocks and would have been a top-notch 1976 performance but is unfortunately ruined by the over-loud Sweets backing vocals.

‘The Introductions’ are the usual over-long 11 minute filler only slightly different from normal in that Tony Brown (who is at his 2nd ever live show with the TCB band) “he’s new with us, second night” plays a fine “Jerry-Lee” style solo. Marty Harrell was also conducting the orchestra this night.

'Hurt' is a good early 1976 version in the spirit of the studio recording, also amazingly the ladies singing up-front here actually improves this version of the song. It’s an interesting “loving” mix.

Unfortunately the very last few seconds of Hurt is faded out and the start of Hound Dog is also missing. No doubt due to a tape fault.

Help Me’ was not a regular in 1976 – the last time Elvis sang it in the previous year was back in May  1975 – and, perhaps because of this, it is rather un-remarkable if passable.

‘How Great Thou Art’ - whilst not in the stunning class of the previous Opening Night's Kansas City version - is a very good performance. You can clearly hear Elvis taking real care of the vocal and putting in some genuine emotion. - another concert highlight.

The craziness of ‘Little Darling’ was a feature of Elvis having fun in 1975 but by 1976 it became more or a rarity. Tonight’s version is a silly and enjoyable as ever.

Elvis then talks to the crowd relating the amusing newspaper story from “the day-before- yesterday” where he woke up to the news that he just got married “to some chick down in Alabama!”. He jokes, “I was dead asleep and I didn’t know anything about it. The chick’s still waiting down in Alabama.”

‘It's Now Or Never’ - which Elvis had performed all last 1975 Vegas Season – is back in the set-list and  is also a great version (without the Sherrill Neilson ‘O Sole Mio’).

At this point Elvis thanks his audience for coming as well as the band since, “it’s been a long time since we’ve all worked together, we had no rehearsal, or nothing. We just walked up here!”
This seems an odd thing to say to the paying audience as it is hardly what you want to hear from your icon. 

Starting ‘Funny How Time Slips Away’ and showing his fine mood Elvis jokes that at the last concert he missed a note (“What key do we do this song in?”) and couldn't sleep all night! Luckily what follows is a better- than-average version taken at a cool pace.

“Thanks Ladies and Gentlemen, you’ve been a fantastic audience” and he’s heading on home…  ‘Can't Help Falling in Love’ has the very end faded which is a pity as Elvis ends on a high note.

Bonus Tracks
Two tracks follow from the much better mixed audio Spokane concert six nights later.
‘Burning Love’ is good despite a word mix up at the start while ‘My Way’ is a very good version, sort of half way between the Aloha and the 'Elvis In Concert' versions.

Overall Verdict: Elvis at Omaha sounds more inspired then the previous FTD ‘Tucson '76’ release as his performance is better. Elvis had his ups and downs in 1976 and you can hear why Ernst chose this release over others as Elvis sounds in fine form (for 1976). However the simply awful sound mix for more that 4-5 songs really takes away much of the pleasure and makes listening a painful experience. With a much clearer audio-mix you could really enjoy Elvis putting on a good show but here it is he is too often masked by the OVERLOUD backing singers. Because of the poor audio-mix this set is really for FTD collectors who need every release, especially as the recent FTD release of Fort Worth 3.7.76 is a very good show and luckily also with good sound! Interestingly, 3 days after the tour ending in Spokane, Elvis performed 15 shows in Lake Tahoe.

Now is this soundboard the closest we will hear of his Lake Tahoe 1976 singing? I don't know but performance wise April 1976 tour was a pretty decent tour, a pity we cannot fully hear this on this FTD soundboard!


Review by Geoffrey McDonnell - with added comments by Piers Beagley.
-Copyright EIN - 2008.
EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.

Click here to comment on this article

Omaha, April 22 1976
Also Sprach Zarathustra (*)
See See Rider (*)
I Got A Woman/Amen
Love Me
If You Love Me
You Gave Me A Mountain
Trying To Get To You
All Shook Up
Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel
Heartbreak Hotel
Polk Salad Annie
Hurt [faded at end]
Hound Dog [incomplete]
Help Me
How Great Thou Art
Little Darlin'
It's Now Or Never
Funny How Time Slips Away
Can't Help Falling In Love
- - - Bonus Tracks - - -
Burning Love (*)
My Way (*)
(*) Spokane April 27 1976

FTD CD Credits: Album and Art produced by Ernst Jorgensen. - Mastered by Lene Reidel.

'Elvis: St Louis & Spokane 1976' FTD In-Depth Review: 1976 is not an easy Elvis concert year to review. There were no major set-list changes, no dramatic "emotional roller-coaster" of 1974 and no high-flying "Huntsville" 1975 excitements.
Released as a 2-CD 5” digi-pak, this new FTD set features Elvis at the Kiel Auditorium on March 22 1976 and The Coliseum on April 27 1976.
Both shows were "Closing Nights" of these short 1976 tours where Elvis would often go that little bit further for his loving fans.
Larrie Londin played drums with the TCB band on the March 1976 tour so it will be a treat for collectors to get an official release featuring 'A Different Beat' with Larrie Londin playing at St Louis on March 22, 1976.

Can there really be that much to say about these two concerts, well EIN's coolest reviewers have rustled up over 4000 words.. and check if there any surprises in store..
Go here as Elvis super-collector Geoffrey McDonnell & Piers Beagley check this new set
(FTD Reviews, Source:GM/ElvisInfoNet)

Go here for other relevant EIN articles & reviews

'Another Saturday Night' FTD Review - June 1975

'Southern Nights' - FTD review 1975:

'High Sierra' Live 1974 FTD Review:

'Nevada Nights' FTD review 1974

'Fashion For A King' FTD in-depth Review

Review of January 1974 FTD 'I Found My Thrill'


Elvis Amarillo ’77 FTD CD Review:

'LIVE in LA' May 1974 FTD Book/CD review

Click here for FTD 'Live In Memphis 1974'

The Impossible Dream FDT review 1971

'An American Trilogy' - FTD Review 1972

Review of FTD August 24th 1974 'It's Midnight'

EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.
Elvis Presley, Elvis and Graceland are trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises.
The Elvis Information Network has been running since 1986 and is an EPE officially recognised Elvis fan club.















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