||A PROFILE, THE KING ON STAGE Vol. 2
(Fort Baxter 161096) (Released 1996)
Content: 3+ Sound: 4 Artwork: 4+
||Lake Tahoe, May 27 1974
See See Rider - I Got A Woman/Amen - Love Me - Trying To Get To You - All Shook Up - Love Me Tender - You Don't Have To Say You Love Me - Hound Dog (with two reprises) - Fever - Polk Salad Annie - Why Me, Lord (With reprise) - Suspicious Minds - Band introductions - I Can't Stop Loving You - Help Me - Bridge Over Troubled Water (with reprise) - Let Me Be There - The Wonder Of You - Big Boss Man - The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - American Trilogy - It's Now Or Never - Can't Help Falling In Love - Closing Vamp (Lake Tahoe, May 25 1974)
Content: 4 Sound: 4+ Artwork: 3
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|College Park, September 28 1974
See See Rider - Dialogue - I Got A Woman/Amen - Love Me - If You Love Me - It's Midnight - Big Boss Man - Fever - Dialogue - Love Me Tender - Hound Dog - Band introductions - Blue Christmas - All Shook Up - Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel - Trying To Get To You - Killing Me Softly (By Voice) - When It's My Time (By the Stamps quartet) - Heartbreak Hotel - Let Me Be There (with reprise) - How Great Thou Art...(continues on disc 3)
Content: 2+ Sound: 4 Artwork: 3
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|Dayton, October 6 1974
College Park, Sept. 28 1974:
Hawaiian Wedding Song - Blue Suede Shoes - Dialogue - Can't Help Falling In Love - Closing Vamp
Dayton, Oct. 6 1974 (A.S.):
See See Rider - I Got A Woman/Amen - Love Me - If You Love Me (with reprise) - It's Midnight - Big Boss Man - Fever - Love Me Tender - Hound dog (with reprise) - Band introductions - Lawdy, Miss Clawdy - Band introductions -All Shook Up - Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel - Heartbreak Hotel - Why Me, Lord - Promised Land - You Gave Me A Mountain - Let Me Be There (with reprise) - Hawaiian Wedding Song (with reprise) - Can't Help Falling In Love - Closing Vamp
Content: 4+ Sound: 4 (+) Artwork: 3
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|Las Vegas, March 22 1975
Also Sprach Zarathustra - See See Rider - I Got A Woman/Amen - Love Me - If You Love Me - And I Love You So - Big Boss Man - It's Midnight - Promised Land - Green Green Gras Of Home - Fairytale - Band Introductions - My Boy - I'll Remember You - Let Me Be There (with reprise) - Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel - Hound Dog - You're The Reason I'm Living - Can't Help Falling In Love - Closing Vamp
From Las Vegas March 20 1975 (D.S.)
Content: 5+ Sound: 3+ Artwork: 3
|Review of Disc 2: Joe Russo, New York
College Park, September 28 1974:
Legend has it - and concert tapes tend to bare this out - that Elvis went through a particularly strange period August - October 1974. Elvis did two shows at this venue. The second night is preserved here in all it's weirdness. Allegedly Elvis was better at this show than the night before. Jesus - if that's true, I'd shudder to hear a tape of THAT one!
From the get - go, 'See See Rider', it's easy to imagine - from the condition of his voice - that he's singing this song while lying down in a hospital bed under a resperator. He's out of breath, his mouth is lazy and he's behind the beat. He's on one of is babbling jags too - you know, where he starts making those embarrasing, off-color, incoherent comments. "I've played before many a people..many a person...many an audience - whatever" he says slurring his overmedicated tongue. You can tell this is going to be a bumpy ride a' la "Desert Storm" (another '74 show from this sorry period).
As usual, the excited, loyal audience appears too distracted by his awesome presence to notice. He seems particularly chatty - a dead giveaway he's on something. As in "Desert Storm" and "Night Fever In Vegas" - he finds it hard to stay focused and tends to talk, talk, talk . In beween the "Well, well, well" opening for 'I Got A Woman' he interjects; "You see, folks. I love what I do. I love show BIN-NESS, BI-NESS...BUSINESS". A lazy, lame performance follows. Occasionaly Elvis will give a random line or note a solid push, but it doesn't convince us he's got it together.
At virtually every pause, every quiet passage-Elvis can't stop himself from slipping into voicing more of his bizzare nonsequiters. When some feedback creeps into his monitor, he voices his displeasure with a most peculiar coment - "What is that feedback, son? You either do that (fix the sound) or I'll take your KIDNEY away from 'ya'." Listening to this show is like driving by a car wreck along side the road. It's a tragedy for sure - but the silent, morbid curiosity within urges you to become curious, fascinated...entertained.
He stumbles through 'If You Love (Me Let Me Know)' - hardly attempting to actually "sing" it. 'It's Midnight' follows. A deep, emotional song that takes intense concentration and focus to master - he's short of breath, and none of the lines come close to being realized properly. Next is 'Big Boss Man'. His phrasing during the opening verse is completely off the beat. A perfunctory version follows into 'Fever'. Perhaps Elvis was more aware of his condition than one would imagine because during the walking - bass intro he says to his audience; "I hope I don't fall off the stage. If I do, you guys catch me.If I fall off, you guys just put me back on the stage, that's all". Gee, I hope he wasn't serious.
More chat follows. Elvis complains that a journalist recently made reference to his newly aquired "paunch" during a newspaper review of his concert. Elvis' response to the audience is ,"I got the damn paunch. I wore a bullet proof vest on stage. True. Y' know, in case some fool trys to take a .22 and blow my belly button off. That's true. I got 'is pauch. Sumbitch".
The crowd just eats this up. He calls out to a group of fans shouting for him to "turn around", saying: "If you don't leave me alone I'm gonna walk off the stage and go back to my dressing room and play with my foot". (huh?)
Strangely, among all this weirdness, Elvis chooses to include the rare verse usually left out of 'Love Me Tender'! During 'Hound Dog' he again makes a bizzare, confused attempt at the rare verse in that song, but instead of 'They said you were high class...' it comes out - "Don't you remember you were white trash"! After the rambling band introductions (referring to Kathy Westmorelands' voice: "she's higher than a cats' back") he responds to a request with a morose-sounding performance of 'Blue Christmas', then into the 'All Shook Up/Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel' "scarf-time" medley - throwing them away only slightly more than usual.
'Trying To Get To You' is somewhat average in places, but he's not nearly out of the woods yet and the ending is botched. Next he intoduces the vocal group Voice for 'Kiling Me Softly' ("Let me just get out of the way and shut up") God is this a tacky interpretation of an otherwise beautiful song. (Can anyone imagine if Elvis had put his mind to a version of this?) Then the Stamps do 'When It's My Time' at his request. (Elvis seems to instigate this interlude purely for his own personal edification). He's cheering and whooping it up off mic. He's so taken with Bill Baises' vocal climax of the number, he just gushes and gushes, commenting; "He goes up into hog heaven on that one" (Gee, what a copliment) - then makes him do the damn thing a second time. (Frankly, it sounds more to me like someone is carving his flesh off with a glowing hot sabre).
The recording of 'Heartbreak Hotel' fades in during the first verse. He flubs the words and it's incomplete. 'Let Me Be There' is all over the place. Then there's 'How Great Thou Art'. It's the first time all evening he's tried to apply himself-but his breath control is still poor and he stumbles and cracks. From there it's time for 'Hawaiian Wedding Song'. Something simple and easy to do - but it's not done well.
Next it's a toss up between 'Blue Suede Shoes' and 'If You Talk In Yor Sleep'. He goes for "Shoes" - but barely even sings it. More talk follows. "For an audience like this I will sing my can off, Jack". An odd thing to say before your closing number. Then much like he does on Desert Storm - he takes aim at the tabloid stories of his alleged drug abuse. (Elvis on DRUGS? - nahhhh). "Things written about me in movie magazines are TRASH!". The audience doesn't take him seriously when he offers that he's a "federal nacotics agent" (ironic - wasn't it?) and they LAUGH. "I AM...swear to GOD" he insists. "They don't give you that if you're strung out" (bizzarre mumbling sounds). "On the contrary", he says still groggy and slurring his words, "I have to be STRAIGHT AS AN ARROW...You can take my word or you can take the goddamn movie magazines".
He continues rambling, this time about the shows' travel arrangements when a fan appeals to him for a scarf - "Oh, are you a Grandmother?", he says. "You don't look it, dear. You really don't look it. Some Grandmothers are just DRIED UP LIKE A PRUNE, but you look pretty". Then, just before he begins the final number of what has certainly been a pathetic mess of a performance, he starts on about how he carrys "the most expensive show on the road". "But", he says filled with drama, "I do not care - I want the people to get the best!" Well, judging from the recordings I've heard from this era of 1974 - the LAST thing Elvis was giving his audience was his best.
Strangely enough, his opening tours and most all the shows throughout 1975 show Elvis in excellent voice; enthusiastic, playful and commited to giving a solid performance. Clearly, though - these dates during he latter part of 1974 portray Elvis in terrible physical and mental condition. In March he was knocking 'em dead (Guaranteed To Blow Your Mind CD) - by September he sounded like he WAS (almost) dead. Surely the pressure and stress of such a relentless touring schedule caught up with him by years end.
This review of that show may sound harsh - but it is a very thoughtful, objective critique of exactly how Elvis conducted himself in College Park, Maryland - and as I stated earlier - the show on the 27th was bad enough to reportedly move conductor Joe Guercio to tears. I still feel, however, that recordings like this are important in that they stand as a historical document of Elvis' career ups and downs. It helps one accept and appreciate the dedication that drove Elvis to keep going - even as it was costing him his personal health.
It's like I've always said - even at his most uninspred - Elvis never fails to be amusing or entertainig.
This review of College Park, September 28 1974 is written by Joe Russo, New York, U.S.A - June 11, 1999
Review of Disc 2: Brandon Matsler
College Park, September 28 1974:
This was truly a find! Elvis is not at his best, but no matter what you have heard about this period, he still had the gift to put a show on.
It may not be his best, but it is there to teach us Elvis was always out there pouring his heart out on stage.
As far as the show itself: 'See See Rider' sounds ok, but you can tell almost right away that he's not feeling good.
My highlights:'It's Midnight' is rather pretty, 'Fever' when he says: "this is my sex song, so I gotta get it right". 'How Great Thou Art' is always the show stopper!
Most of the dialogue borders on him trying to wake up, so it's semi-enjoyable, but a part you have never heard except on Desert Storm from Vegas (26 days before).
I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan, so they can see what the price of fame becomes if you push day in and day out.
|Review of Disc 3: Sergio Luiz Fiša Biston
Dayton, Ohio October 6 1974:
September-October 1974 witnessed Elvis worst shows of all time. I'm not talking about an "off" night; I'm talking about a real tragedy. A flashback of College Park comes to my mind. Never, ever, did Elvis showed himself in public in such a bad shape. Both physically and vocally!
Interesting enough, the crowd seems to not realize how bad Elvis was those nights. If you hear the College Park recording, you will find that the audience keeps cheering him. And, that's funny (or perhaps sad), but when I first heard the College Park show I did not noticed Elvis bad shape either. It was one of my first imports and I was so trilled to hear an unreleased recording of him, with so many unusual songs that I did not realized how bad Elvis performance was. I think this was the same feeling the audience got back then. They were so trilled to see Elvis in the flash that they got deaf.
But, as much bizarre as those shows, is Elvis capability of recompose himself. After those disastrous performances, he would be at Lake Tahoe and then, off road for four months, returning only in March ┤75 to do some of his best performances. He had again recovered his vocal capabilities, and whatever was causing him such problems had (temporally, at least), gone.
But, all was not so disastrous in October 74.It was kind of a "hit and miss" deal. One night was terrible, the next one good, the next terrible, and so on...
One of those good nights was in Dayton, Ohio. Perhaps aware of his condition, Elvis started to put a little more effort in some of his performances, or maybe for whatever the reason, he just felt better.
Of this particular day, I have mixed feelings about his performance. It is something like a "middle of the road" kind of thing. In one hand, Elvis is upbeat, he really seems to digging being there, and he is rock'n'rolling like this was the last time he would be on stage. The way he "attacks" the more upbeat numbers such as C.C. Rider and Big Boss man is very, how can I saw that... "Rock'n'Roll"?
But, on the other hand, he seems very restrained on his voice. Sometimes it looks like he is... aphonic. I really can't come up with a good definition about his performance, so I will leave it up to the listener.
The songs selected for this matinee show, proved to be a very entertaining choice. Some of the newer songs that he brought to his last summer festival in Vegas are here again. A welcome return to the song lineup is Promised Land, which disappeared after the second show from Vegas, and its here again, much to the delight of the listener. Elvis voice is not good as it was in August, but I think he feels more comfortable with Promised Land this time.
Big Boss man is just crazy; Elvis is really into it, and thus delivering a rock performance. You can see, although, that his voice is not in all his glory.
On the soft side, he delivers a nice version of its Midnight. He starts it gently, only to add power latter, when the song demands so. Although this is not his best rendition of this song, it's not bad at all. I'm yet to hear a bad version of It's Midnight.
One of the surprises of this concert is Lawdy Miss Clawdy. Very different in arrangement, it puts Glen skills well in evidence. Elvis delivers a solid performance.
The overall performance is good. He is so upbeat in the rock songs, it could be a fantastic show if his voice was up to it. Due to the circumstances of Elvis condition at this time, it's an above average show.
On October 9 he closed this peculiar tour at the Exposition Center, in Abilene, TX. One more short stay at Tahoe and Elvis would be resting until March. He really needed this break. He toured and played Vegas way too much in 1974. This strenuous routine may have played an important part in all the bad things that happened in this short tour.
But that's ok. Times moved on and so did Elvis. The next time his fans would saw him again; they would find a much better performer. What happened in the last months of 74 would soon be shadows of the past. 1975 would be a much, much better year.
© Sergio Luiz Fiša Biston, Brazil December 2002.
|Review of Disc 4: Sergio Luiz Fiša Biston
"I sing all kinds of songs" - Elvis Presley to Marion Keisker
Little is available from this particular interesting engagement. The only soundboard know until now is on the box set A Profile Vol. 2, from Fort Baxter. These shows, I think, was the last time Elvis tried to revamp his act, and gave them a more contemporary feeling.
As on his previous engagement, Elvis worked new songs and poured his heart on the performances. As a matter of fact, I see the March 1975 shows as a continuation and the refinement of the August 1974 shows, as Elvis added more new songs. In addition he maintained some of the new ones of the previous engagement and balanced it with some oldies (A lesson he probably learned with his last season, and in this case, 'Hound Dog' equals "bread for the masses") and if the people on the audience did not reacted as they should do, its they own fault, since they would prefer to pay every year to hear Elvis sing 'Hound Dog' instead of a new and more contemporary song.
But we cannot change history and that was the last time Elvis worked a new repertoire.
To add even more importance to these shows, Elvis is probably at the peak of his voice. It's a warm, bass like, strong and passionate voice you will hear in the 18 numbers captured in soundboard quality. The song list is the definition of what Elvis wanted to mean when he replied to Marion question, back at Sun Studio. Almost every kind of music is covered in those concerts; Rock, country, ballads, pop music and the performances are good at least. During these nights, Elvis choose not to spend too much time in long monologues, rather, he just made some comments, mostly humorous, between the songs. Some performances on the CD, can be the definitive ones, like 'It's Midnight', 'And I Love You So', 'Fairytale' and 'If You Love Me Let Me Know'. These songs are performed with such care and passion that can give you chills in your spine.
Of all the things Elvis was capable to do, one of the most amazing is his ability to trill the listener with a single gesture, a single flexion of his voice. He does so when he finishes 'And I Love You So'. After a brilliantly performance he just shouts at the final moments of the piece, and that's enough to bring you chills and also to make you respect his power.
One of the greatest moments of this particular show is Elvis rendition of 'My Boy'. It's a shame this song was done not so often on stage, because it's such a powerful, emotional piece. I think Elvis performance of 'My Boy', revels a little about himself. His emotional problems and his desperate need to find an escape rout from these problems are all reflected in 'My Boy'. If not for the lyrics, for his emotional interpretation of the piece. When he goes up (brilliantly) on the last verse, it's almost as if he was crying out his pain to the world, seeking someone to hear it in the darkness that he's dreams had became to.
The same thing happens on 'It's Midnight', but this time Elvis is not crying for what life became, but for his own faults, or perhaps, the faults of other.... 'It's Midnight' is the best live version that I ever heard, and I'm doubt that there's another better. It's such a great performance that the audience should gave him a standing ovation, but I guess they should be to busy with their steaks...
But if Elvis life had transformed into a hapless "love absent" existence, what was Elvis living for? Perhaps for the desire of get back to home and settle down and if so, 'Green Green Grass Of Home' was the expression of what Elvis might wanted to happen. What if he could get rid of the entire media buzz, the adoration and the adulation, the heavy weight of being King? Maybe he could get back to Tupelo, find his ol' sweetheart, build a big house and live happy forever...who knows?
'Promised Land' also fits into this hypothesis, but into a different way. The live performances of 'Promised Land' are, somehow, not quite energetic as the studio version, but Elvis is confident on his performance, or perhaps in his convictions?
But is near the ending of the show, that he addresses what could be the answer of the questions we keep asking ourselves. It's a performance that takes us to a trip to his toughs and maybe Elvis recognition that a King is only a king because of his followers. It's a song that maybe reveals his last and true love, the last pillar on his life that he could support himself: his fans. The song is 'You're The Reason I'm Living'.
© Sergio Luiz Fiša Biston, Brazil January 2002.