THE MAN IN WHITE (Lone Star A131415) (Released 2002)
1. Review by Oven Egeland
2. Review by Marco Lofino
|Forth Worth, June 15 1974 (A.S.)
See See Rider
I Got A Woman/Amen
Trying To Get To You
All Shook Up
Love Me Tender
Polk Salad Annie
Why Me Lord
I Can't Stop Loving You
Let Me Be There
Funny How Times Slips Away
Big Boss Man
Can't Help Falling In Love
Content: 4 Sound: 4 Artwork: 4
|1. Review by Oven Egeland
Lone Stars 5th release takes us back to June 15 1974. The place is Forth Worth, Texas and Tarrant Count Conventional Center. Elvis would have a total of 4 concerts here in 2 days. He also visited the same place exactly 2 years ago and he would be here again in 2 years ahead. We already have several soundboard recordings from 1974, but only one from this tour. A Profile Vol. 1 contained the show from Kansas City, June 29, a show featuring Elvis in extremely good and joking mood. The Man In White Vol. 1 contains the first show of the tour, something which I always find extra interesting. The mood is not the same as in Kansas, but overall Elvis is in fine spirits.
It would be joke to state that Lone Star (did you catch that one?) delivers high-class products all the way from content to packaging. Their cover art, and CD-print have been cheap, boring and sometimes downright ugly. One CD even had the script "The Eyes Of Texas" even though the CD actually was Dallas Seventy-five. The Man In White offers something else, however. The artwork is quite simple, yet appealing and accurate. Even the CD print suggests that Lone Star this time tried to do a decent job all the way.
A welcomed change!
The Man In White is a soundboard recording of very good quality. In focus is the rhythm guitar and the bass, while the piano and most vocals (including Elvis) are more out of focus.
The CD starts right before the opening line of 'See See Rider'. Some errors in the sound at first, but nothing to write in big letters about. Elvis delivers an energetic 'See See Rider'; after all it was the first show on a 16 days tour. After 'I Got A Woman/Amen' Elvis introduce himself as the NBC Peacock. He was wearing the Peacock suit for the show.
A standard 'Love Me' follows, before the revitalized 'Trying To Get To You' gives Elvis the first vocal challenge this afternoon. Elvis performed this song brilliantly all the way from 1968 to 1977. Even so with the version on this CD.
After some old "throwaways" Elvis then flirts with the audience through 'Fever'. I have never liked these '74 versions of this bass-based song. I blame it partly on Elvis, but mostly on bass player Duke Bardwell. I simply can't follow his playing, which for me ruins several soundboard recordings from 1974.
For the same reason I also give thumb down for 'Polk Salad Annie'. 'Why Me, Lord', however, proves better. This song was still quite new in Elvis concert repertoire, and still performed seriously. Unfortunately it suffers a bit from the recording setup. J. D. Sumner is way back in the mix.
'Suspicious Minds' had lost its charm several months ago, and would not be performed for a long time after this tour. The introduction of the band is quite short and coherent. Having listened to several 1975-1977 shows, it sure is a refreshment to hear this short version.
Also 'I Can't Stop Loving You' would disappear after this tour, except for some inclusions from time to time. Elvis delivers a standard good version this day, before he introduces his next single 'If You Talk In Your Sleep'/'Help Me'. Elvis claims he doesn't know 'If You Talk In Your Sleep' yet, so he chose to perform 'Help Me'. This song was best performed during 1974, and it can't be any better than they way Elvis does it on this show. Simply beautiful! I guess Elvis must have sung this song several times already before he recorded it in December 1973. It took Elvis one take to complete a master, back then!
'American Trilogy' still works very well. This version reminds me of versions from the April tour 1972! Surprising that Elvis could perform this song with such emotion and dedication even at this stage!
'Let Me Be There' is most likely taken from another show, as the sound quality decreases noticeably. Back to normal already on the next song 'Funny How Times Slips Away'. 'Big Boss Man' is the next to last song this afternoon. Elvis started using this song on stage this year. The arrangement works fine, and Big Boss Man is a nice "ending" to this show.
The Man In White Vol. 1 is a fine addition to our soundboard archives. I was surprised by its good sound quality. Lone Star manages to present the CD in a decent manner, unlike several other CD's from their hand. Way to go!
© Oven Egeland, Elvis In Norway, December 2002.
|2. Review by Marco Lofino
1974 was a strange year for Elvis. At the beginning, including the January-February season in Vegas and the March tour, we face a strong and confident artist in great shape. On the contrary, during the second half of the year, we find a bored and uninspired artist with serious health and psychological problems.
This CD features Elvis between these two periods of his life, during the afternoon show at the Forth Worth Tarrant County Convention Center on June 15th, 1974.
This was the first date on a new tour and in general Elvis always to give solid performances in these occasions, even if we all know that during the afternoon shows Elvis was often too asleep to perform the way he could. But not in this case!
This is a standard performance with Elvis still strong on some performances ('Trying To Get To You' is a typical 1974 live version, 'Help Me', introduced by Elvis as the other side of 'If You Talk In Your Sleep', even better, and 'Polk Salad Annie' as usual) less on others ('Fever' is boring as some versions from 1976, the oldies are rushed away as usual). But in general we still listen to a good performer.
In my opinion this show is quite far from those fantastic ones he gave in March 1974 (Ernst, why didn't you publish a show from March 1974 instead of "Dragonheart"?) but it is still enjoyable if you compare it to others from September, October 1974, where Elvis seemed to have lost confidence and will to perform on stage.
In my opinion the sound on this CD is acceptable but not good at all. The bass and the drums are too up front and it is nearly impossible to listen to the horns. In order to give an idea of what I'm saying, it sounds like the concert at the astrodome ("Event number 8"), with the difference that at the astrodome there was no orchestra while at the Tarrant Convention Center Joe Guercio was there with all his crew...
In general I would say that this is a quite good release but nothing special, nothing outstanding. Still, a necessary addition for those who wants to hear Elvis in spring 1974.
Marco Lofino, July 2003