BLACK ANGELS IN VEGAS (Venus VP 2009-06) (Released 2009)
||Las Vegas, August 30 - 1974
Opening Riff/See See Rider - Dialogue - I Got A Woman/Amen - Dialogue - Love Me - If You Love Me - It's Midnight - Big Boss Man - Fever - All Shook Up - Dialogue - Softly As I Leave You - Hound Dog/Intro - Hound Dog - American Trilogy - Dialogue - Suspicious Minds
Karate Intro - If You Talk In Your Sleep - Karate Speech - Help Me - Let Me Be There (reprise) - Dialogue - How Great Thou Art - Dialogue - Hawaiian Wedding Song - Dialogue - You Gave Me A Mountain - Can't Help Falling In Love - Closing Vamp
Content: 4 Sound: 5- Artwork: 6
|1. Short comments
A new label, called Venus Productions has re-issued Night Fever In Vegas, the August 30 Midnight show from 1974. Two CD's housed in a coffee table book containing 84 pages with color photos and appropriate text, focusing on Elvis in 1974 and his fascination for Karate.
This release provides a noticeable sound improvement compared Night Fever In Vegas, although in my opinion it is slightly off-pitched. Part of the 'Opening Riff' and the 'Closing Vamp' has been taken from August 21 Midnight show as found on Nevada Nights to good effect.
All in all this is a very fine presentation. Hopefully more will follow!
© Oven Egeland, October 2009
|2. Review by Sergio Luiz Biston (Of original release)
Rock Legends is known for releases with great sound and both good and interesting shows, and this package is no exception. The only minus of this release is that it comes in a 2-CD set, thus making the show spliced between the discs. Also, it makes the package more expensive, or more valuable if you prefer.
The artwork is regular. The front cover has a nice picture of Elvis in his Chinese Dragon suit, probably from his October gig. The front cover opens to make a little poster of Elvis wearing the same suit, and in the back of the cover we have another picture.
I personally think that this show is a bit underrated in the import community. Although it's not an outstanding performance, it is good enough to be on the same side of famous releases such as From Sunset Boulevard To Paradise Road or A Hot Winter Night In Dallas.
This show is from the same engagement as Fort Baxter's Opening Night '74 (If You Talk In Your Sleep), and although Elvis already was coming back to the same pattern of his old shows, it contains the basic repertoire that Elvis was doing to improve his shows. The only good thing that can be said about this return of the same repertoire is 'See See Rider'. I my opinion is a better show-opener than 'Big Boss Man'.
"OH SEE SEE RIDER, OH SEE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE" the show starts very energetic with Elvis giving a rocking rendition of his classic opening number. Elvis is very loud and up front and his voice is very strong. When I hear the opening of this show I can almost see as if I was there. The adorned white suit, the long hair with big sideburns and the black guitar flashing around, making the folks on the firsts row blind.
Right after the opening act the listener will notice that Elvis is very chatty. Not as much as on Desert Storm or as incoherent as in Maryland but is an indicative of what was to come.
After some jokes with J.D. Elvis launch in 'I Got A Woman' and it's a good version too, featuring a funk solo part after Amen. Probably Elvis is doing some Karate moves, kicks and punches during this solo. It is after this solo too, that Elvis mention that JD Summer is the original Deep Throat.... artist...SINGER! It's a funny moment.
"Good evening ladies and gentleman...my name is Tom Jones and you're all in the wrong place", jokes Elvis before apologizing about some missing shows due to illness. 'Love Me' follows and it's a pleasant listen, as Elvis is not too much involved in giving scarves and kissing girls.
Then it's time for one of my favorite new tune from the new repertoire 'If You Love Me'. This good country number can make you dance and sing along. It's a very good version, very well performed and the tempo is a cross between the early versions and the future ones. Nice!
Another survivor of the new repertoire is 'It's Midnight'...soft, powerful and very focused. It's a song that Elvis really enjoyed to do on stage and remained in the song list until 1975. I have heard better versions out there (on A Profile Vol. 2 and on Desert Storm), but this try is good too.
The opening numbers of the opening concert is now placed between the other songs on the list, and they are rocking versions. It's not as energetic as other versions out there (September 2 '74 or Dayton '74) and Elvis cracks up in some verses, but in general they are good performances. 'Fever' is next, but is not a good number, because Elvis jokes too much on it making it a bit boring.
It's 50's again and the King delivers 'All Shook Up' and 'Hound Dog'. Sandwiched between they is the tender 'Softly As I Leave You' and by this time Elvis is very comfortable with the song, thus delivering a very emotional performance. Chilling!
What comes next is one of the most peculiar moments that I ever heard in an Elvis show. Before starting 'American Trilogy', a girl in the audience says: "I love you Elvis", as Elvis was replying her, a guy in the audience shouts: "I HATE YOU ELVIS" without a hint of hesitation the king replies with a sonory "FUCK YOU!" Over applause and what seems to be a approval acclamation, the King starts 'American Trilogy' with a coolness that only he had. Although some people may find his comment offensive, I think it's a nice answer to a dumb comment, and besides, it's all done in a humorous way, both for Elvis and for the guy on the audience. What about 'American Trilogy' then? Very well delivered, with a strong ending.
'Suspicious Mind's is next and it's a very good version, fast, regretful and with a nice lyric change ("won't you let you love survive, oh Lord get you hate out of you god damn mind, I don't wanna let a good thing die, cause you know honey I have never done a thing to you").
This is the end for this one, so let's get out the second CD from the plastic holder and listening the funkiest song of this gig: 'If You Talk In Your Sleep'.
"I gonna do something a little different for you, if you don't mind..." states Elvis as an introduction to his "Karate" song. 'If You Talk In Your Sleep' is fast and oozes coolness, with a great work of J.B and Ronnie Tutt. I always liked this song, so this live version is bliss to me.
Want to know about Karate? Elvis will teach you everything about this martial art style in about 10 minutes, with some funny moments between.
"Let's do Help Me!" and they do. Very well Indeed (what a surprise...) The same goes to 'Let Me There', a very good version, with a energetic ending, although some fans are distracting Elvis (or Elvis is distracting himself with the fans?)
'How Great Thou Art' is next and what a magic moment is this. You can feel Elvis emotions pouring trough his body, his mind and going to his voice, especially in the reprise part. Outstanding performance, but yet, not the best out there (???)
After that Elvis make short comments about the drugs rumors - a preview of what is to come - and then goes into 'Hawaiian Wedding Song', with a soft performance. Somebody in the audience ask for 'You Gave Me A Mountain' and Elvis goes to one of the best versions that I have ever heard, with some parts being spoken and a very emotional ending.
It's "Adios time" and 'Can't Help Falling In Love’, with a very energetic (and good) ending closes the performance.
My final comment is that despite some strange moments, comments and (some) too long monologues, this is a fine performance, with an inspired and dedicated Elvis. He's maybe a little too chatty, but the good outweighs the bad. If you want a good and uncommon concert, go to Night Fever In Vegas. You won't regret it.
© Sergio Luiz Biston, August 30 2001