ELVIS RECORDED LIVE ON STAGE IN MEMPHIS - BMG 82876 60987 2
1. Review by Oven Egeland
2. Review by Crister Berge
3. Review by Andy Urias
4. Review by Armond Jospeh
5. Review by Ken Jensen
|Memphis, March 20 1974
1: Also Sprach Zarathustra
2: See See Rider
3: I Got A Woman/Amen
4: Love Me
5: Trying To Get To You
6: All Shook Up
7: Steamroller Blues
8: Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel
9: Love Me Tender
10: Long Tall Sally/Whole Lot-ta Shakin' Goin' On/
Mama Don't Dance/Flip, Flop and Fly/
Jailhouse Rock/Hound Dog
12: Polk Salad Annie
13: Why Me, Lord
14: How Great Thou Art
15: Suspicious Minds
16: Band introductions
17: Blueberry Hill/I Can't Stop Loving You
18: Help Me
19: American Trilogy
20: Let Me Be There
21: My Baby Left Me
22: Lawdy Miss Clawdy
23: Funny How Time Slips Away
24: Can't Help Falling In Love
25: Closing Vamp
|1. Confusing multi-tracks...
(Review by Oven Egeland)
In short it is not necessary to say very much about this CD. The concert featured here was first released on a LP in 1974. Back then several songs were edited out due to lack of space on one single LP. The sound quality was not bad, but the show was mixed poorly. Most annoying was the artificial audience reaction added.
When released on CD for the first time in 1994, the CD stayed loyal to the LP release. The show was just as incomplete and the sound quality remained the same.
So it was with high anticipation Elvis fans waited for this special FTD production. Immediately it became obvious that the sound quality and completeness again could be questioned. Elvis message boards were quickly stacked with impressions from Elvis fans around the world. Many found the mix very poor, emphasizing on the fact that too much reverb was added. It also soon became evident that the show in fact was still incomplete.
I got my hand on this CD just three weeks ago. I was aware of the fact that I might would be disappointed - after all, this has been my favorite concert of Elvis among those released officially - but I was not.
I was SHOCKED!
The sound quality is so cheap and anti-hi-fi as it possible can be, given the fact that the concert was recorded professionally. I'm not sure if the mixing is bad as such, in fact it could be ok! However, artificial reverb is added to the show, even in large amounts. It is not only Elvis' voice that is given this treatment, no, all of it. Such reverb may work on soundboards or other recordings of lower quality. It tends to give atmosphere where this is not on the original recording. DAE has done this with all their releases. Some fans find it to be too much, especially on Let Me Take You Home, but in general it works fine.
However, when you have a professional recording these tricks should not be used. It gives a SOLID distance to the sound. I want James Burton to stand in my living room while I listen to a concert, or even better to have Elvis perform right in front of me. On some recordings you get that impression. Using the same picture; on this CD Elvis and the rest of the band is faaar away.
This amateurish work from FTD is really embarrassing. However, the Memphis concert has been treated amateurish from day one, so why not continue doing it...
In addition to the rotten sound quality, the show has been slightly edited. It is complete as far as the songs goes. Even the
introduction of the band and his luggage crew is complete. But the now infamous false start on 'Help Me' is still excluded. You can download it here if you have not heard it (false start). Even more surprising is the fact that a portion that has always been available, now is edited out. I'm talking about the sequence where Elvis screams to a girl in the audience (edited). Strange!
You may say that none of these omissions matters anything. In general I would agree. However, the question remains; Why even bother editing it out?
So, if anyone asks you if you have the complete concert from March 20, 1974 you would still have to say NO!
, Norway, May 2004
Other reviews of Oven Egeland
|2. After 30 years, classic show is released in its entirety
(Review by Crister Berge)
Well, here it is, the "complete Memphis concert." FTD has given it the same treatment as the soundtracks, meaning 7" format and a booklet. The original LP cover of Graceland is used. As most of you probably know, several songs were cut from the show when released in the summer of '74. This disc's playing time is 68:45, while the 1974 album clocked in at a little over 40 minutes. Sound quality is awesome and as we expected, the FTD release has not as much audience noise as the original record. As usual, James Burton is way too far back in the mix. What a shame.
The 12-page booklet is a huge disappointment. Nine pages are just photos, none of them close-ups, but most of them blurry. The remaining three pages features track list & credits (finally, FTD has gotten Mr. Tutt's first name right!), a March 1974 tour schedule and a short text from The Commercial Appeal, written by one James Kingsley (no, I won't put his name in bold!). Some of the shots reveal eyes that are drug-saturated. Elvis didn't look very healthy at this time in his life. But he sings so good it's beyond comprehension. His voice is smooth, yet strong. And just listen to the falsetto at the end of 'I Can't Stop Loving You': isn't it beautiful? 'Steamroller Blues,' one of the rejects, was released on PLATINUM in 1997 (Thank you Arja, my love).
I can understand why RCA edited this show when it was released (at the midst of the Watergate affair, mind you). When you study the set list for this show, it is painfully obvious that Elvis hadn't upgraded his repertoire for the last few years. Most of the songs that were rejected were to be found on previously released live albums MADISON SQUARE GARDEN (1972) and ALOHA FROM HAWAII (1973). They were also inferior versions, like 'Fever,' for instance. Elvis sings "Never knew how much I love you" twice at the beginning and a member of the Sweet Inspirations laughs hysterically for the first half of the song. Furthermore, Elvis makes many lyric changes. And let's not forget 'Polk Salad Annie;' It is played too fast, the intro is very short and I don't know what the heck James is up to. Lousy version.
During the introductions, all Swedish Elvis fans will note that the only Voice member that Elvis introduces by name is "Pete" (Per-Erik) Hallin. According to the track list in the booklet, 'Help Me' is 2:413... 'Trilogy' is fantastic, but damn those morons that start clapping during it. 'Let Me Be There' is perfect, hell, even Duke Bardwell manages to lay down a funky bass line and James is right on top of things. Both 'My Baby Left Me' and 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy' are sloppy and seem unrehearsed. Tutt doesn't find the right rhythm in the first and it actually sounds like they're playing 'That's Alright Mama' (Elvis even incorporates a few "Di-di-di" from it). Burton's solo is disastrous and the many shortcomings doesn't go unnoticed on Elvis as he sings "The band I knew is gone"...
On a scale from 1 to 5, I give it a 4.
© Crister Berge, Stockholm, Sweden 2004 - E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other reviews by Crister Berge
|3. RECORDED LIVE ON STAGE IN MEMPHIS
(Review by Andy Urias)
After 30 years, the brilliant tapes of Elvis' March 20, 1974 performance are for the most part finally properly released. Many fans consider the original release of 'Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis' as Elvis' most impressive official live album released during his lifetime.
Originally this famous performance was stripped of a handful of tracks and filled with overdubbed fake applause throughout its original release. Still this was not enough to deter it from being one of Elvis' greatest live performances on tape. One could argue that there is a certain explosiveness and passion in Elvis' voice not heard since the August 1970 performances in Las Vegas. The regular routine of Elvis' live shows were starting to make him bored even in 1970 and by 1974, it was obvious he had lost most of his passion to perform at a high level on a consistent basis. But occasionally Elvis was on, and fortunately RCA caught one of these nights on tape.
This new reissue of the album 'Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis' on FTD is a must have. Sadly BMG was only able to see FTD as a vehicle for the tapes of this show as a full-scale release on their Heritage label would have actually done this show justice. With all the live albums BMG/RCA approved for official release over the years, it is mind-blowing that they would not want to showcase such a positive performance in its entirety. 'Aloha From Hawaii' and 'As Recorded Live At Madison Square Garden' are milestones in Elvis' career, but they certainly aren't better performances.
The fact that 'Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis' took place in Memphis during an uneventful year shouldn't make the tapes less desirable. The high quality of the performances is what matters.
Some fans have commented negatively on the mixing. Unless one is experienced with studio mixing, there are no obvious flaws here. Unlike disc 1 on 'Live In Las Vegas' where the electric piano obviously disappeared from the mix, 'Recorded Live On Stage' does not have such flaws. The mixing is adequate and doesn't affect the sound of the show one way or another. The only real questionable element to this new release is why the producers edited out some of the dialogue on the tapes. This is after all an FTD release, just release the whole show unedited. Nothing crucial was left out, but it would be nice to have an entire show unedited.
There really aren't any weak moments on this release. Obviously Elvis is going to blow through his 50s hits such as the boring 'Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel' medley, but surprisingly he sings 'Love Me' with a little more enthusiasm that one would expect for a mid-70s version. Great versions of 'See See Rider,' 'Trying To Get To You,' 'Steamroller Blues,' 'Polk Salad Annie,' 'Blueberry Hill/I Can't Stop Loving You,' and 'My Baby Left Me, are showcased on this release. Obviously the stunning Grammy Award winning version of 'How Great Thou Art' is here as well, as is one of the great live medleys available, 'Long Tall Sally/Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On/Mama Don't Dance/Flip, Flop And Fly/Jailhouse Rock/Hound Dog.' It actually makes hearing a few of Elvis' 50s tunes that he always threw away in concert in the 70s enjoyable for once. It is a pity that Elvis didn't commit to doing this more in the later 70s.
For the most part, FTD got it right with this release. Even though it is a show most have heard either in fragments officially or from the bootleg market, this is a great show that everyone should revisit. It truly represents Elvis at his best on stage, and considering it is a show from 1974, it makes it even that more remarkable.
, May 2004
Other reviews by Andy Urias
|4. "Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis"
(Review by Armond Jospeh)
I remember scrounging around town for empty soda-pop bottles to earn money back in the summer of 1974. I needed $5.99 to buy the newly released "Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis" LP. I finally got it, and even at the tender age of nine I knew a good chunk of the show was missing. How could I not? The LP arrived on the heels of the much longer and more complete "Aloha" double LP. Yet, I really liked the Memphis show. Elvis and the group seemed to be having so much more fun in Memphis than they did in Hawaii.
It took until 1994 for the first official CD version of the Memphis LP to be released. Not a single improvement was made. Ironically, a bootleg CD of the same show titled "Steamroller Blues" was also released in 1994, and it contained all the songs the official release had cut. Sadly, the contrast between them demonstrated one of the reasons why the bootleg market has been so successful where Elvis CD's are concerned.
It took until 2004 for the FTD version to arrive, and it makes up for what the bootleg market stole. The overall packaging is incredible. The larger gatefold album allows for bigger pictures, more text, and that good ol' feel that LP's once had. The show is complete, well, except for the drop out of a false start. Gratefully, the canned applause is gone. What is most interesting about this CD is the sound. It's like you're actually seated in the arena. JD Sumner's voice on 'Why Me Lord' is way back in the mix, but that may be the price you pay to create that real concert feel? That being said, it's neat of FTD to go out on a limb to give us the sound as it was intended to be.
If you've ever heard this show, or if you were there, you already know that it's great. Elvis was really on top of his game, and he benefited from having the home court advantage! In particular, I like the inclusion of the three gospel tunes. Elvis knew his audience, and he gave them what they wanted to hear. Where better than in the Bible belt to sing Southern Gospel songs with such heartfelt inspiration? Even Trilogy, though not technically a gospel song, has overt gospel references and resonates with everything that is the American South. With the audible audience reaction to Trilogy, it's a wonder why the canned applause was ever included in the original release?
It's hard to criticize such a great CD. FTD has done such a brilliant job! I would've liked to see more liner notes, or a complete essay about the show. What was the story behind this recording? Also, the booklet contains an unexplained photo of an LP or CD with Elvis on the cover wearing a black jumpsuit. By the look of the text, it's probably the Japan release of this show? Okay guys, what gives? Anyway, these criticisms are very minor, and as Elvis sometimes said, "That’s enough of that."
Nobody can out perform this CD. I rate it a 5+. It was worth the thirty year wait.
© Armond Joseph, Missouri, USA - May 2004
|5. ELVIS RECORDED LIVE ON STAGE IN MEMPHIS (FTD)
(Review by Ken Jensen)
When this concert was released in 1974, we only got about two thirds of the show. Now, after thirty years, we get the rest. It's fantastic to finally get to hear 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' performed at the Mid-South Coliseum in Elvis' home town, Memphis, Tennessee. The roar from the audience as the King takes the stage is awesome. The roof almost blows off. Elvis does a solid version of 'See See Rider'. I can feel the vocal power streaming from the loudspeakers, making me feel like I'm in the audience.
Some of the pre-banter to the medley 'I Got a Woman/Amen' has been cut away, but that does not detract from J. D. Sumner's deep bass, an element that was toned down when the show was released back in 1974. Unfortunately, the pre-banter is not on track three, as one would expect. Instead, it has been attached to the end of 'See See Rider'. A horrid decision.
Elvis' voice is amazingly crisp and clear during this show. He does what is possibly the ultimate version of 'Trying to Get to You', in addition to a rocking 'Steamroller Blues', presented to us for the first time on 1997's Platinum. The song appears to be mixed better on that release.
Even the oldies get a decent run-through here--despite the fact that Elvis was sick and tired of doing them night after night. The home crowd, no doubt, cheers him on. The medley 'Long Tall Sally/Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' on/Mama Don't Dance/Flip, Flop & Fly/Jailhouse Rock/Hound Dog' is just as great as ever, portraying Elvis as the true King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. As the show progresses, he also proves that he is the King of Gospel. It's almost an indecent combination. 'Fever' is loose and fun; the King fools around with the audience, offering short comments on rock throwing and women in childbirth. I certainly get strong associations to Dragonheart, which is the extreme opposite of this show. 'Polk Salad Annie' is tackled aggressively. Elvis shouts encouragements to James Burton, Ronnie Tutt, and Duke Bardwell. It cooks. 'How Great Thou Art', which earned Elvis his third and last Grammy, is just as brilliant as ever--a masterpiece in the class of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel—although this version is a little tame compared to what I had expected, which probably can be ascribed to bad mixing. I'm waiting for the enormous power he had in his voice this night to manifest itself properly. Something is amiss, some sort of glow, perhaps. The remake of Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite (on CD) from 1998 has got a somewhat boring mix. The same is the case here. Instead of a dynamic concert à la the original On Stage album from 1970 (just ten times better), we get the remastered album from 1999. I can't tell exactly what's wrong, because I'm not a mixing engineer, but there is nothing wrong with my ears. The sound in general is excellent. The instruments and the backup singers are very audible. The FTD edition blows the original out of the water every day of the week. My point is that this could have been so much better. The booklet is a bit disappointing, mainly because it contains almost nothing but pictures. A study of Elvis' eyes indicates that he was on a constant high at the time (if you are interested in following Elvis' decay up close, It's Midnight! and Dragonheart are essentials). We don't even get a review of the concert from one of the local newspapers, just a short note on his upcoming live album.
'Help Me' is better than the studio version, which is just dandy, but FTD have gone nuts with a pair of scissors, removing a false start; Elvis starts the song, stops it, and starts it again. What FTD have done here is nothing short of rape, not to mention a degrading of the record buyers, who might have been under the impression they were getting the complete show. Oh well, all the songs are here, so I guess we just gotta be satisfied, or what?
'An American Trilogy' is outstanding, a display of pathos. 'Let Me Be There' is fantastic. Never heard it better. The band falls to bits on 'My Baby Left Me' and starts to play something that bears a striking resemblance to 'That's All Right', which is why Elvis sings, "The band I knew is gone." It bothers me tremendously that FTD/BMG rarely manage to separate the tracks correctly on live releases. They have placed the pre-banter to 'Funny How Time Slips Away' at the tail end of 'Lawdy, Miss Clawdy'. Extremely unprofessional. 'Can't Help Falling in Love' concludes the show. Al Dvorin announces that Elvis has left for Graceland.
Judging from what has already been released, this is undoubtedly the best concert Elvis has done since 1970. He sings like a god throughout the show, overshadowing the incredible performances from 1972 and 1973. 1971 isn't worth mentioning. This CD offers sixty-eight minutes of first rate entertainment from the best artist of all-time at the top of his vocal powers. The Almighty God Elvis sings rock and roll, pop, country, rhythm and blues, ballads, and patriotic hymns with an authority unparallelled in music history. This concert is a must. Get it now or be forever damned.
© Ken Jensen, Norway, November 2004
Other reviews by Ken Jensen
|6. WHAT HAPPENED?
(Review by Don)
I first saw and listened to Elvis in 1972. I was AMAZED! The vocals literally flowed from his mouth with no thought and it was splendid. It was a happening! I loved Elvis from that moment on. I always have. I then saw Elvis in Freedom Hall, Lousiville Kentucky in 1977. I was only 17 years old remember thinking: "What happened"?
I must admit, when I saw him in 1972, I thought this man is a God. I had NEVER (and can say I will NEVER ) witness anything like it (him) again.
Then came 1977, and it wa sad.
I'm a lot older now and I'm much wiser, I can only speculate as to what happened.
This review of the 1974 show in Memphis doesn't deal with sound, the 'mix' or anything of that nature. It is about Elvis. I won't go into any particular song, but the man himself.
For those of you who have listened (and I mean listened) to Elvis live, you'll understand what I'm about to say.
This CD of the Memphis show is Elvis in control and at his best. Sure, he was most likely buzzed, but it had not taken control or destroyed the man...yet. You won't hear a man trying to get a breathe so he can hit the next note. The power and flow of his voice may be the best you've ever heard and ever will hear in a concert from start to finish. BUY THIS CD! It is historic for several several reasons: The first being, this may be the LAST real Elvis concert ever documented!!! It is AWESOME, from start to finish. I can guarantee, you'll not ever hear another concert like this. It is pure and Elvis is at the TOP of his game.
There are two keys to an Elvis concert. One; is Elvis physically and mentally capable? and two; does he feel like it? This may be the last time both occured from a documentation standpoint. I believe it went on until the fall of 1974 and never existed after that. I'm not sure when in 1974 the 'show stopped', but it was 1974. I've yet to hear anything after that even comes close. However, this 1974 concert is an "Elvis show". There are no two ways about it, Elvis is alive and ready to "blow your mind'. And that he does as only he could!
He set a "standard" that no one could live up too, not even himself. So if you want to experience an Elvis show, get this CD, turn the lights down and the CD up and listen closely to the greatest performer that has ever walked on the face of this earth.
What you may be hearing is one of the last "Elvis shows" that ever took place.
© Don, USA, May 2006
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