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A DAMN FINE SHOW (Vicky 2075) (Released 1995)

1. Review by Joe Russo
Jacksonville, Fl. April 25 1975

Love Me
If You Love Me
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
Big Boss Man
It's Midnight
Burning Love
Introductions/What'd I Say/School Days
My Boy
I'll Rememeber You
Let Me Be There
American Trilogy
Funny How Time Slips Away

Content: 2+ Sound: 4- Artwork: 3

Review by Joe Russo

This soundboard recording is missing the opening numbers 'See See Rider' and 'I Got A Woman/Amen'. It starts with 'Love Me' (for some reason, NOT listed on the CDs packaging). Other titles for this CD could be 'A DAMN ODD MIX' or 'A DAMN INCOMPLETE SHOW'. The piano is up too loud, the drums are almost non-existant and the orchestra sounds like they're set up somewhere out in the parking lot. Also, the mastertape is missing the first and last few numbers of the concert. Other than the lopsided mix, the sound is good and Elvis' vocal is clear and upfront.

Elvis is in his typical mood for 1975-upbeat. He's a little bit slurry, but he's pretty together and sounds like he's enjoying himself. 'Love Me' and 'If You Love Me (Let Me Know)' are decent. Elvis commented during the 1974 rehearsals for this song that it made him "feel happy" - and he sounds that way when he sings it.

Next is a rare song for 1975 - 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me'. Not bad, except the orchestra can barely be heard. 'Big Boss Man' is next - a good, spirited version, followed by 'It's Midnight'. Elvis tended to rush the tempo of this song live, not taking his time with each line in concert like he did on the studio version. As a result, this song rarely came across as powerful as it should have. (The best "live" versions I've heard come from the 1974 rehearsal tape featured in : FROM SUNSET BLVD. TO PARADISE RD - one of the most insightful and interesting CD releases of all time).

Next is 'Burning Love' - a great track he generally avoided for years, then added again throughout much of 1975. Again, the tempo on this song was always "rushed" a bit in concert - and Elvis often flubbed the lyrics - but he does a good job with it here.

The band intros are next and include abbreviated versions of 'What'd I Say' and 'Hail! Hail! Rock n Roll (School Days)' in between the musicians' solos. 'My Boy' is next. Not a bad version-but Elvis' performance is just too restrained and lacking in emotion. The tongue - twisting 'T.R.O.U.B.L.E' follows. Elvis usually had a good handle on this difficult song, but here's a version where he flubs up quite a bit on the third verse. Also, the presentation suffers because the mix is so OFF - (the driving rhythm section just can't be heard).

'I'll Remember You' follows - complete with sloppy piano and a lazy, uncommited vocal - not a good one. 'Let Me Be There' - not one of my favorite songs - is next. A solid version followed by 'American Trilogy'. I like the unique phrasing Elvis uses on some of the lines here. A very strong performance that comes off weak because of the poor mix. The last song is 'Funny How Time Slips Away' before the disc ends short - missing 'Can't Help Falling..' if not more.

This is basicly an unremarkable, but decent show. The main setback is the lousy mix - I'm sure this recording would sound much more impressive if it were presented in a full, balanced mix. The other problem is it's missing the opening and closing numbers. Overall, this CD is absolutely unessential (except for completeists - like me) because there are at least 3 or 4 other soundboard CDs from this era that are truely excellent recordings and far superior in performance value.

© Joe Russo, U.S.A June 14, 1999.

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