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ETERNAL FLAME - (Lone Star A 789) (Released 2002)


1.  Review by Oven Egeland
2.  Review by Patrick Suth
South Bend, October 20 1976

Also Sprach Zarathustra
See See Rider
I Got A Woman/Amen
Love Me
If You Love Me
You Gave Me A Mountain
Jailhouse Rock
Help Me
All Shook Up
Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel
And I Love You So
Steamroller Blues
Early Morning Rain
What'd I Say
Johnny B. Goode
Drum solo
Bass solo
Piano solo
Love Letters
School Days
Hurt (w/reprise)
Hound Dog
Funny How Time Slips Away
Little Darlin'
Can't Help Falling In Love
Closing Vamp

Content: 4  Sound: 5-  Artwork: 3

Review by Oven Egeland

This is the third release from the Lone Star label. The previous two volumes focused on Elvis in June 1975, this time we find Elvis in South Bend, October 20 1976.

From this tour (number 22), we already have two great sounding bootlegs. They are Chicago Beat and Bringin' The House Down - both from Chicago - October 14 and 15 respectively. This show from South Bend is of course similar to these. Very similar in fact! Both in sound quality (they are all very good) and in content.

Eternal Flame is a complete soundboard recording (except from some seconds missing of 'Funny How Time Slips Away'). The production is typical "Lone Star". No extensive information of any kind, just a cover and a CD. The pictures used are accurate though, a plus for that. The pictures used for their previous release, Dallas Seventyfive wasn't.

Owning both Chicago Beat and Bringin' The House Down it is difficult to say very much about Eternal Flame. It is the same show, so to speak. The shows Elvis gave during this period are all quite stabile and good, though not very entertaining. I think I prefer a show from Summer 1976 to these autumn 1976 gigs. Even though one could say that Elvis was more focused and professional during October 1976, some of the humour from Summer 1976 is gone. Elvis had reduced his weight with several pounds, and perhaps his slimming affected the general mood?

To the content. 'See See Rider' is quite lacklustre. The versions during summer 1976 and even 1977 are better in my point of view. On 'If You Love Me' I get the feeling that the tape runs a bit to slow. I have never heard such a slow rendition of this song before. Otherwise, it is a nice performance. The same could be said about 'Help Me'.

'And I Love You So' is a solid as usual. It is a fine concert tune. This definitely applies for 'Fever' and also 'Steamroller Blues. Both good versions.

The introduction of the band offers little. 'Love Letters' is a so-so delivery. Of all the live versions I have heard of this song, only a few are performed at the correct tempo. I believe that David Briggs could be responsible for this. Even in 1966, when Elvis first recorded this song in the studio, they had problems finding the correct tempo.

'Hurt' gets a reprised ending. This is a powerful version - as common - but not outstanding. 'Funny How Time Slips Away' was by now less and less performed. Today Elvis finds it appropriate to include it, however.

'Little Darling' is a nice addition to the set. Elvis performed this one quite often during Summer 1975. Less regular in 1976, but here in Notre Dame University Elvis gets a request for it. It doesn't require more!

All soundboards are welcomed, especially those with good sound quality like this one. Though Eternal Flame will not blow your mind, it is nice all the same.

© , Elvis In Norway, March 2002

"...My hometown was just another stop on the tour"
   (Review by Patrick Suth)

After living in South Bend, Indiana and attending the University of Notre Dame, I have been waiting with great angst over the years for a soundboard release of one of Elvis' performances held in South Bend. Now, thanks to the Lone Star Label, Elvis' last of three performances held at The University of Notre Dame has been released.

Upon seeing the information on the internet that this concert was going to be issued to the public, I developed an excitement only equal to that of a child on Christmas morn. Some time ago, with hesitation, I obtained a copy of Elvis' first performance at Notre Dame, which was held during the abysmal September/October 1974 tour. Most hardcore Elvis fans know why I said "with hesitation." Elvis' previous shows during that tour - and the ones that followed for that matter - were embarrassing.

But, a different Elvis Presley appeared in South Bend on September 30, 1974. The South Bend Tribune reported that Elvis liked the area. And, that is very evident from the genesis of his performance on that Monday night, as he states after See See Rider, "I would like to thank Notre Dame. It is a pleasure. Thank you." That concert depicts a motivated, caring Elvis Presley, who perhaps is in the best rich, deep and smooth voice of his entire career. For 75 minutes, Elvis whales and moans, shouts and sighs some of his greatest tunes, eventually bringing many to near tears during his mind-boggling version of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water.' Without hesitation, I would go out on a limb by saying that this is Elvis' best concert of that tour, if not of 1974 altogether.

The October 1976 tour depicted a much slimmer Elvis Presley - perhaps even thinner than his 1974 appearances - giving one the impression that he did care again, even with the personal trials and tribulations he was battling. And, for the first time in months, he even wore a new suit, the "White Flame Suit". But, Elvis' mood was much different or should I say "indifferent" this time around. Yes, on October 20, 1976, a completely different Elvis than the one that gave a brilliant performance two years earlier took the stage. (Believe me, I will do my best to be unbiased in my opinion of this concert; It will be tough). One word can describe my feelings after listening to "Eternal Flame" - disappointing.

From the opening number, one can conclude that Elvis is in extremely weak voice, prompting one to inquire why he was even on stage. Only once does he deviate from the norm by going out of his way to give "the little girl" a scarf after a mediocre version of 'Help Me' - to everyone's approval, by the way. Only once does he push himself during this concert - yes, just once. It only lasts for about 20 seconds during the performance of his latest record, 'Hurt.' His version of 'Hound Dog' would have to rank in the top 5 worst versions ever and 'Little Darlin'' is a throw away from the opening bars. 'Steamroller Blues' is extremely disappointing, sung without any sort of passion at all. Perhaps most appalling is the fact that Elvis never gave any closing remarks before his signature finish 'Can't Help Falling In Love.' He went straight from 'Little Darlin'' to 'Can't Help Falling In Love' without saying one word to the 12,000 packing the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center. Nothing, not "Thank you for coming ladies and gentlemen. Until we meet you again, I bid you an affectionate adios", nothing! Is that a first? (No, it is not..ed!) Perhaps. However, it provides a good illustration of Elvis' mood that night - very quiet, subdued and unmotivated. Maybe I am being too hard. But, after listening to this concert, I was "Hurt," for I didn't want to believe that my hometown was just another stop on the tour for Elvis. Unfortunately, by October of 1976, it was.

One word used to describe this performance: Lackluster!

© Patrick Suth, April 2002.

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