on 14 May 2005
Recorded largely on March 30th 1975, this features an Elvis in good health and sounding great, running through a surprisingly 'modern' repertoire. One of the common (and justified) criticisms of Elvis post '72 is that he doesn't seem interested in his RCA output, meaning his shows seemed soly focused on his output pre '61, throwing in some stuff from '69 and '70 for fun. I realise part of the magic is worked by FTD, by choosing the real highlights of shows on March 22nd and 31st they get to discard the predictable hits, but Elvis seems far more enthusiastic about tackling his current releases around this time.
It's a struggle to find low moments, but the opening numbers are tiresome and his version of "Promised Land" - such a true Presley classic - is both tiered (from Elvis) and bloated (by the band). But that shouldn't worry us, when Elvis belts out "My Boy" (truly inspiring), Burning Love (getting somewhere near the great original) and Fairytale (far outclassing the original).
And then there's the real surprises. "It's Midnight" and "I Love You So", resent hits at this time, are sung with genuine passion, really touching. "Hawaiian Wedding Song", hardly a Presley classic, is sung with such care that it feels almost a waist.
But this album has two real selling points. Elvis cuts lose on his '67 classic "Big Boss Man", and while the results do not touch the inspired original, it's a great track, working especially well with the sparse backing at the start slowly fleshing out later. "You're The Reason" is a song I've never heard Elvis sing before. Elvis does an excellent job on a strong song, it's not well rehearsed, but it is well sung. This makes this album a must of the die hard fan.
on 5 October 2011
This was the first tour of 1975 and this concert was recorded at the Las Vegas Hilton. Elvis had not performed for 5 months prior to this tour. Perhaps this was due to the unpredictable quality of performance from the 7th tour of 1974, much has been written about the performances at College Park, Baltimore on the 27th and 28th September, and they are often referred to as Chaos at College Park! I feel that with this first tour of the year perhaps Elvis had something to prove and that he was right back on track.
The introduction and C.C Rider are delivered confidently and energetically by both Elvis and his band and I have not heard better versions. With most concerts the level of performance of C.C Rider is usually a good indication of what is to follow. After a focused version of I Got Woman/Amen, Elvis introduces his former co-star Ann Margaret who is in the audience that evening and they have some very funny banter.
Elvis fools around when casually singing Love Me although the ending is very powerful indeed. If You Love Me (Let Me Know)is performed very well by Elvis and his band, and much more energetic and fun than later live versions. And I Love You So is the best live version I have heard so far, it is faultless, although his voice is not quite as rich and rounded as in the 1977 In Concert version. Big Boss Man and Promised Land are both performed raw, fast and enthusiastically, I prefer these to the studio versions.
It's Midnight shows Elvis in perfect voice and this is my favourite version. Burning Love is like a very fast runaway train it comes very close to the studio version and this is also delvered with amazing energy. Elvis goes on to introduce the band members, he sounds razor sharp and confident without any of the slurring of some later concerts. Barbara Streisand is in the audience and he introduces her and lets us know that he will see her after the show. Presumably to start discussions about Elvis appearing in the movie A Star Is Born.
My Boy is an amazing version, full of emotion, Elvis fools around in I'll Remember You and half way through asks a young fan how old she is, The fan says that she will be 13 on Sunday, so Elvis says come back Sunday !!
Let Me Be There is superb, and Elvis sounds like he is really enjoying singing this. Hound Dog starts well and then he ends up just fooling around with the song. Elvis sounds bored with American Trilogy and misses some lines and lets the backing singers fill in.
Elvis cruises through You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, but gives more vocal committment as the song progresses. He also fools around with the first verse of The Wonder Of You and again gives more commitment as it goes on. This version of Bridge Over Troubled Water is an amazing version. There are a few false starts with Little Darlin, Elvis is not happy with the backing singers, this version is not as polished as the Ann Arbor version from 1977, which is just fantastic. Elvis expertly cruises through Hawaiian Wedding Song, although not as strong as the 1977 In Concert version, which is magic.
Green Green Grass Of Home is the best version I have ever heard and it easily beats the uninspired studio version. This version of Fairytale is far superior compared to the tired sounding 1977 concert versions and the oversung and laboured studio version.
I love listening to Elvis concerts, each one is very different, even though set lists may be similiar, and listening from start to finish is like a drama unfolding.
I would most certainly recommend this CD. Elvis really sings out on this performance, he is totally in tune with perfect pitch, the show has raw energy and excitement that was lacking in the restrained and safe Aloha From Hawaii concert.
I would recommend this highly.