The 3 panel fold out has transparent CD holders, backed with many live photos of the used shows (I suppose). The used font (color, size) makes the text a bit hard to read for these old eyes, especially the liner notes.
The first CD has the March 20, 1976 show as base. Since the show was not recorded completely it is made ‘complete’ by using the opening of the show in Johnson City on March 17. As an extra extra there is some pre-show stuff (JD Sumner and The Stamps and The Sweet Inspirations recorded in Fort Worth on June 3, 1976). The extra extra is not my piece of cake, I’m an Elvis fan and like the music by the Sweets, but The Stamps already bore me when they got the spotlight during an Elvis show. Anyway, the Elvis part of the CD surprised me. It was quite enjoyable and Elvis was obviously dedicated to the job (one of the few times in 1976) and really delivered. Steamroller Blues, And I Love You So, Polk Salad Annie and Fairytale are all among the best live versions from this particular year.
The second CD starts with the incomplete (starting with Love Me) show on February 20, 1977. It certainly isn’t the worst 1977 show, but it underlines my opinion of Elvis in 1977: he should have had a sabbatical (with a lot of treatment) and certainly not be on stage. It just makes me sad this enormous waste of talent. The incomplete show is decorated with bonus material: intros… as if they are not boring enough during a show, we get them here in several versions. Furthermore there are some more explainable tracks like Steamroller, Why Me Lord and the overdubbed single version of Unchained Melody.
The third CD also starts with a track by The Sweet Inspirations before we get yet another incomplete show: February 21, 1977. The same show that was released on probably the only Fort Baxter release I hardly ever played. That Fort Baxter CD must be the one with the most erroneous title ever, or probably – knowing Ger Rijff – the most sarcastic one: Moody Blue and other great performances. Moody Blue is far from great, as is the remainder of the CD.
Soundwise there is nothing to complain about. The sound is very good (the first show is real stereo) and the producers claim the Feb 20 show is from another source than FTD used (but I don’t really hear a difference, maybe because I do not really care about this material). The third CD is an improvement over the original FB-release, it’s clearly clearer.
The first CD gives this set the right of existence, it’s been a while since I enjoyed a 1976 show.