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And then the lights went down

MAC Records RY 24160/24161 (Released 1993)

(CD-1)
C.C. Rider
I got a woman/amen
Love me
If you love me, let me know
You gave me a mountain
All shook up
Teddy bear/don't be cruel
Blue suede shoes
Return to sender
Heartbreak hotel
Hawaiian wedding song
America
Polk salad Annie (incomplete)
Band introductions/early morning rain/what'd I say/johnny b. goode
Love letters
Hail hail rock & roll (incomplete)
Young and beautiful
(CD-2)
That's all right
Blue christmas
Hurt (twice)
Hound dog
Happy birthday Y'all
My heavenly father watches over me (sung by Kathy Westmoreland)
Love me tender
Danny boy (sung by Sherill Nielsen)
Funny how time slips away (sung by sherill Nielsen)
Burning love
Help me
The first time ever i saw your face
Jailhouse rock
One night
How great thou art (plus reprise)
Can't help falling in love
Closing vamp
(Live, Lake Tahoe, May 9, 1976, closing show)

This 2 CD set features E’s last and longest Sahara Tahoe concert, recorded May 6, 1976 in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. This is said to be one of Elvis’ longest shows ever, tracking in at over 2 hours. This nicely packaged set comes in a 6 X 12 trifold cover which opens into a souvenir menu from the Sahara Tahoe Hotel. Each CD features 17 tracks, for a total of 34 tracks. Be sure to pick up one of the later releases. The earlier editions were not complete and did not contain Young and Beautiful and 2001.

This is unfortunately, an audience recording featuring fair sound quality. As stated on the jacket, it has been digitally remastered for improved sound quality. I don’t have a first edition copy of this to compare, but never the less, it is still an audience recording. No matter how much “doctoring up” you do it is still not going to compare to a quality sound board recording.

Featured is a good performance showing what Elvis could do best. Elvis is in a great, sincere mood and interacts with the audience throughout the show. (interaction, not dialogue). Elvis’ good mood is evident, singing a verse from the Mickey Mouse March, before asking the audience if there is anyone celebrating a birthday, then goes into Happy Birthday Y’all! The song selection is pretty much standard, but all are done quite well.

Some interesting performances include Burning Love, where it appears as though he is actually enunciating the words. The ending could of used some tightening up but only a minor flaw. I’ve always preferred the live version of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face over the studio version, and the show features a great version, including the additional verse not featured in the studio version (..and the first time, ever I lay with you....)

All things concidered, I would only recommend this title if your a must have it all collector, although it is nice to have such tracks as Young and Beautiful, Return to Sender, and Happy Birthday Y’all, etc. For the casual import buyer, skip this one, there are several other better quality items. Again, the only draw back is the sound quality. On the other hand, it is worth getting for historic reasons, nice packaging and a quality show, and that is basically why it is in my collection. If a sound board recording of this show ever emerges, it will be a must own.

Reviewed by John Sterlini, USA
Comments or questions can be sent to sterlini@usa.net

Sound rate **