Today it's official: FTD will release the two December 1976 concerts from Birmingham and Dallas as a 2 disc set called Showtime! Birmingham/Dallas ’76.
As I already own the bootlegs Burning In Birmingham and A Hot Winter Night In Dallas featuring the same shows I'm not that excited. Especially since they were both re-released as late as 2008 and 2010 (as High Voltage - Birmingham '76 Revisited and At Full Force, respectively).
Having said that, I'm glad that these two great shows, certainly among the best ones Elvis did in 1976, will finally be a part of the official Elvis catalog. They have an obvious place there, together with the fantastic Pittsburgh gig that concluded the December tour.
One thing confuses me, though. Back in 2002 Ernst Jorgensen told the Elvis Information Network in an interview that FTD has the three December 1976 shows and "one of them could be the basis of a CD and the highlights from the others. None of them are complete on soundboards because the tapes weren’t long enough for those shows ... so we will definitely do that in the future."
Why the third one isn't mentioned anymore is a question I would like to put forward to Ernst Jorgensen (In the interview from 2002, he is probably referring to the Wichita show from December 27 as the one from Atlanta three days later isn't contained in the Sony BMG archives, at least not according to Joe Tunzi's book Elvis Sessions III.) It's also strange that he says that the soundboards aren't complete while judging by the track listing announced today, they obviously are.
I would also like to ask Ernst Jorgensen why FTD never release a box set. Imaging a 5 CD set called Showtime! The December tour including the three soundboards (Wichita, Birmingham and Dallas as well as the audience recording from Pittsburgh) together with a beautiful booklet. Surely a winner!
However, for those of you that have never listened to Elvis' performances in Birmingham and/or Dallas – you're in for a treat!
PS: FTD also announced today the upcoming release High Sierra featureing mainly the performance from May 21, 1974 at the Sahara Tahoe Hotel with additional highlights from other shows that month. That one hasn't been bootlegged to my knowledge (three other shows from that engagement have).