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America The Beautiful vs San Francisco Bay Blues
by Henryk

(Elvis Rocks The Golden Gate) America The Beautiful (King Records) [Nov 28, 1976]

  • a binaural soundboard recording of pretty good sound quality (with the piano playing 'first fiddle');
  • an incomplete show, with the final three tracks ("Hound Dog," "Can't Help Falling In Love," and "Closing Vamp") 'borrowed' from the August 30, 1976 Tuscaloosa performance to present a 'complete' concert experience; the edit is clearly evident and very easy to notice (track 19 at the 1:54 mark) due to the sudden change in audio quality);
  • 21 tracks in total; "All Shook Up," "Teddy Bear," and "Don't Be Cruel" are presented as a single track and so are "Johnny B. Goode," the drum solo, the bass solo, the piano, and the 'electric clavinet' solo, as well as "Love Letters" and "School Day";
  • "And I Love You So" is incomplete, the first verse is missing;
  • the artwork is really nice; the yellow and silver picture disc still looks pretty terrific; the 8-page booklet features eight pictures of Elvis in concert, and the liner notes give you an overview of what was going on in The City by the Bay at the time of Elvis's final visit to San Francisco.

Running time: 64 min. 31 sec.
Tuscaloosa segment running time: 3 min. 23 sec.

San Francisco Bay Blues (Audionics) [Nov 28, 1976]

  • a stereo (mixed down from binaural) soundboard recording of pretty good (and slightly improved) sound quality;
  • a more complete show but still incomplete; the original tape ends in the middle of "Hound Dog" and the remaining songs ("Hawaiian Wedding Song," "Blue Christmas, "That's All Right," and "Can't Help Falling In Love") were not taped;
  • the four bonus tracks are the original (digitally-restored) binaural recordings;
  • 30 tracks in total (incl. four bonus cuts);
  • "And I Love You So" is still incomplete [the back cover should mention that], however we are treated to 4 extra seconds (the song's opening bars);
  • very good artwork and design; the disc is housed inside a three-panel fold-out digipak including 10 photographs taken during the November 28th San Francisco show; the short liner notes briefly describe Elvis's three concert visits to San Francisco (Oct. 26, 1957, Nov. 28 & 29, 1976); also included is the technical information dealing with the audio restoration process and the missing song performances.

Running time: 72 min. 32 sec.
Bonus section running time: 9 min. 39 sec.

Running time differences:

America The Beautiful
10. And I Love You So 2 min. 23 sec.
17. Hurt (San Francisco) 1 min. 54 sec.
4 min. 17 sec.
San Francisco Bay Blues
10. And I Love You So 2 min. 30 sec.
25. Hurt 2 min. 04 sec.
26. Hound Dog 0 min. 33 sec.
5 min. 07 sec.

General comments:

  • the November '76 tour was an above average 1976 tour (yet not as good as the March tour, let alone the December one) and the San Francisco show on the 28th was just like that, an above average concert, with an interesting finale (unfortunately not recorded by the sound engineer);
  • Lisa Marie was in San Francisco with her Dad, which must have lifted Elvis's spirits;
  • the tape featuring the first San Francisco show is the only known soundboard recording from the November '76 tour;
  • the show that took place the day after (Nov. 29) was even more interesting in terms of the songs selection, with the inclusion of the very rare (1976) rendition of "Blue Suede Shoes;" the concert's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was sang only twice during the November tour, whereas its "Mystery Train / Tiger Man" medley was the only performance of the songs on the tour;
  • the complete August 30, 1976 Tuscaloosa concert can be found on a 1995 DEA CD called "Old Times They Are Not Forgotten."