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HOLDING BACK THE YEARS (DAE 3595-3) (Released 1995)

Cincinnati, March 21 1976

Also Sprach Zarathustra
See See Rider
I Got A Woman/Amen
Love Me
Let Me Be There
Love Me Tender
Steamroller Blues
All Shook Up
Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel
You Gave Me A Mountain
Polk Salad Annie
School Days
And I Love You So
Hurt (full reprise)
Burning Love
Hound Dog
Funny How Times Slip Away
Can't Help Falling In Love
Closing Vamp.

Content: 4+ Sound: 5- Artwork: 5

Review by Joni Huopana

This is the third release from the famed Diamond label, which has produced first class imports. They started out with Old Times They Are Not Forgotten, and what a sound it had! No dropouts, everything necessary was audible. The package also was very good, with sharp pictures from the actual show. The same goes for this release, except for the fact that the sound (though it features one of the best mixes around) is kinda hissy and not as clear as for example on most Fort Baxter's outings. We get to hear Elvis in concert on March 21st 1976 from Cincinnati. He is in a good voice. It's kinda clearer, more nasal than on the February studio recordings, and not as deep as in the later part of the year. It's powerful, but not over-energetic. He is in good spirits, perhaps a little tired, but still he has the energy to do almost ten songs after the band intro, which contains many solos. The next day was the closing show of this short tour. The closing itself was short, but not this one.

The disc starts with a half of 'Also Sprach Zarathustra', and then goes to a rocking 'See See Rider'. Sounds ordinary, but it's very clear that on the drums are not Ronnie Tutt, but Larrie Londin with a very energetic style. He's very up front in the mix, creating extra electricity to the show. But Tutt's not the only one who is missing - there's Shane Keister on the piano. He's not very easy to notice; though you can tell there's not Glenn D. or Tony.

Presley greets the crowd with "good afternoon" as well as "good evening" and says "thank you that's it" after the "well well" thing. Amen is a short version as opposed to a dozen verses in the summer, but features a nice "B-52" by J.D. One thing that caught me is that he sings the oldies very well, without the usual fooling - allow for a false start of 'Love Me' (he claims it's too slow)! Especially 'Love Me Tender' and the medley is very faultless. Maybe he straightened himself after the previous evening - I have learned that it was an awful mess. Of course, though even 'Hound Dog' is good for a later version, it cannot be compared with the early ones.

What about the newer songs? The newest was 'Hurt', which he sings twice in a row! They are okay, not outstanding, neither of them has the higher' climax note. 'America', on the other hand, is one of my favorite versions, with a long ending note. 'And I Love You So' is beautiful, not better than three months ago, but with a false start because Elvis started it with the second verse.

'Let Me Be There' is a fine rendition, but it is not so energetic as those in 1975. 'Steamroller Blues' is relatively rare by 1976, but it's done in a surpriseless way. It hasn't the punch. Elvis gets the giggles during 'You Gave Me A Mountain'. It takes the whole song to recover from the line "blamed for the loss of his eye" and therefore it's not very full-blooded rendition, but it could have been.

'Polk Salad Annie' features some fine contributions of another new member of the group, David "Bobby" (as Elvis introduces him) Briggs and also Jerry Scheff's bass sounds good. After that Elvis tells the crowd that "I did that song today and my pants just...." I understand the moment can be seen on some bootleg videos. The weak point is the beginning of Burning Love, in which he loses the words and mumbles the few he doesn't. He even sings "your kisses lift me higher - hurt! - like a sweet song of a choir"! But then he improves his work very much and ends the song with a long "hunkahunka" thing.

One of the strangest moments is the "announcement" he makes: "Somebody just handed me a phone -uuh...note..." A person whose name is spelled, is told to go to a first aid station! And this is an Elvis Presley show!

Good shows often feature some weak points, or maybe they just appear that way because of the high points' higher-than-usual standard. This show is not the cream of the crop - definitely not bad, but high above average. The one here has few clear differences as a whole, and that's one of the reasons it sounds good. Some would say this is a run-of-the-million -show because it hasn't real highlights, but that's because of the whole high quality.

I think this is a good addition to a live Elvis collection since it documents the early 1976 period and because it demonstrates the quality between shows like in September 1974 and December 1976.

© Reviewed by Joni Huopana, Finland for Elvis In Norway.

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