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TRULY THE KING OF ROCK N ROLL
on 8 February 2002
By 1977 Elvis was a lazy, fat has-been, he sat brooding in Graceland eating cheeseburgers and counting his gold records, he had'nt made a good song in years, forgot the words on stage and occasionally played in Vegas.....DONT BELIEVE IT
Elvis was a machine in the mid-late 70s, his recordings at Stax studios and in the Jungle room are sensational.
His albums were more country flovoured and hit the top of the country charts at least six times between 74 and 77.
His two shows in the Houston Astrodome in 74 drew 90,000 in one dayand in December 76 his new years eve show broke the world indoor attendance record
with 62,500 fans and another record in takings for a single performer in one night with almost $900,000 for the King's pocket.
His last studion album, Moody Blue hit #3 in America, Britain and Australia eventually selling 14 million world wide, but its Elvis in Concert that will stand as his final work.
This is a great album that was part of the 1977 CBS TV special Elvis in concert. When Evis died the show was rushed out, and was criminally put together. The raw footage of the two concerts shows a differnt story; there is still pleny scope for a good DVD of the shows. The first concert in Omaha was not one of his best, but two days later in Rapid City El was back on top form.
The album hit #5 in America and has sold close to 5 million copies......and it is excellent!
The opening CC Rider rocks and moves into a tremedous version of Elvis first hit Thats Alright Mama. Elvis is on guitar here and on the following song Are You Lonesome Tonight.
This version of Are You Lonesome Tonight has been picked on by critics as a sign of his failings.....I love this version, Elvis messes up the spoken part, which he ofeten done with this songs all through his career. He keeps in perfect time with the tune 'and im standing there without any hair, and if you wont come back to me, ah the heck with it!, tell me dear.......'
This is not just funny to listen to, but fun as Elvis laughs, ad-libs, messes up and all in good humour...the way all of his concerts were.
Some of the performances on this CD are career highlights. How Great Thou Art is stunning, My Way eclipses Sinatra's, Trying To Get To You is a lesson in voice acrobatics and sheer power and breathtaking in delivery.....whilst Hurt must have been heard in the next state as he gigs deep 'I'm huuuuuuuuuuuuuurt!'
Songs like the Hawaiian Wedding songs are lesser performed, but is breathtakingly done and is just captivating; listen to how he intoduces the song 'one of the most requested songs from Blue Hawaii is the Hawaiian Wedding Song, the film was so real it took me two years to realise it was just a movie, I thought I was married to the chick'
You Gave Me A Mountain is once again a higlight, as is a long I Got A Woman that really moves, listen for JD Sumners 'dive bomber' ending.
Its Now Or Never is given the Italian treatment by Shaun Niellson, one of Elvis backing singers. He sings the opening verse really high as Elvis exclaims 'Smart alec!' then 'good grief man!' as he hits some wierd notes before El steps in to take over.
Teddy Bear and Dont Be Cruel are thrown away, the footage reveals Elvis interacting with the crowd, kissing and throwing scarves. The same applies to Hound Dog as he scats throughout and again the footage reaveals the King having fun and gyrating like a mad-man at the end of the song.
Jailhouse Rock is too fast and high pitched whlist the versions of Whatd I Say and Johnny B Goode were used to introduce band members, not as part of the set.
Elvis between song comments are really funny 'hello im Wayne Newton' and calling Olivia Newton John's song 'If You Love Me Let Me Know, If You Dont Move It' great stuff.
In 1977 Elvis played to 400,000 people in 55 concerts between Feb 12th and June 26th. He was drawing huge crowds whilst still playing smaller auditoriums. His two Chicago concerts in May drew 40,000 fans and $500,000 in takings, he was the King of the road and rightfully was named the top touring act of America in 77, out selling top acts like Led Zeppelin, Yes, Frampton, Pink Floyd, Kiss and Fleetwood Mac......more amazing that he only made it half-way through and still outsold the top music acts of the day.
At least one more tour was planned with 12 days touring from Portland to New York and Home for two shows in Memphis....Sadly Elvis died the day before the tour was to start.
This is a great CD, and it is sad that BMG/RCA refuse to re-master it, and that EPE wont release any of the concert footage.
This is the final legacy of the greatest recording artist, live performer, entertainer and most charasmatic star the world has ever known and will never see the likes of again!
The King was taken too soon, and he is sadly missed.....Thank you Elvis! TCB