From Down Under

 

Elvis: 1975 A Delightful Pre-Christmas Season at the Hilton 

    Part Three

 by Geoffrey Mc Donnell (Australia)

 

Sue McCasland © Las Vegas,NV. December 13, 1975 midnight show

Las Vegas December 12, 1975 (10:00 pm).r/t 75 minutes 

TRACKLIST

2001 Theme / See See Rider / I Got A Woman – Amen x 2 /dialogue/ Love Me / Trying' To Get To You / And I Love You So / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel / One Night / You Gave A Mountain-f.start / Polk Salad Annie / Guadalajara (excerpt) / Introductions;J.B.Goode-Elvis ‘off’ mike / Just Pretend / How Great Thou Art-with reprise / Softly, As I Leave You / America, The Beautiful / Mystery Train - Tiger Man / Little Sister / O Sole Mio - It's Now Or Never / Can't Help Falling In Love. 

JUMPSUITS

Elvis Presley: White V neck Puffy Sleeves suit?  

Tonight it’s a wild Friday night audience and Elvis responds with another great lengthy show. rare tonight is a few lines of Guadalajara and a partial Italian version of O SOLE MIO from Elvis before ' It’s Now Or Never '. During the intros Elvis asks Glen D to ‘play the blues’ and ' Don’t Be Cruel ' receives and extended drumming end. As was often the case Tony in the Orchestra gets to play his Guitar on a 2nd version of ' hail, hail rock n’roll '. ' Little Sister ' tonight is performed as a request and it’s a ‘solid’ version. 

 

Las Vegas December 13, 1975 Dinner Show. R/t 68 minutes 

TRACKLIST

2001 Theme / See See Rider-f.start / I Got A Woman – Amen x 2/dialogue / Love Me / Help Me Make It Through The Night / Trying' To Get To You / And I Love You So / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel / dialogue/ Wooden Heart/ dialogue / You Gave Me A Mountain / Polk Salad Annie / Introductions-J.B.Goode / How Great Thou Art / Softly, As I Leave You / America The Beautiful / Mystery Train - Tiger Man / My Heavenly Father by Kathy Westmoreland /dialogue/ Blue Christmas /dialogue - Can't Help Falling In Love.  

JUMPSUITS

Elvis Presley: Gypsy suit / Reserve belt

Compact Disc; FTD Dinner at Eight complete soundboard of show ( missing ‘ My Heavenly Father ’ )

 Sue McCasland © Las Vegas,NV. December 13, 1975 dinner  show

Like 6th December Dinner show this show is also pretty much kept below the 70 minutes running time because of pressure on him to allow the Hilton Staff to clear tables and get ready for the Midnight show. Amazingly there is a false start to ' C.C. Rider ' because Elvis claims the microphone was set up for Jackie Kahane and not ready for him!. Elvis is in a very chatty relaxed mood tonight and proceeds to give much lengthy chat with fans and later with Charlie Hodge about the ‘ Deranged Alligator ’ that had been the subject in private of many nights of joking around since 8th December ( when he comments that Charlie Hodge is about as funny as a ‘ diseased Alligator! ’ ). Elvis asks Charlie “ what does a deranged Alligator do? ” and Charlie replies’ Anything it wants to! ” Elvis knows he’s killing time and comments that Joe Guercio is waiting back their wondering if the show is going to start? While this is happening Elvis starts trying to play with a YO-YO a fan has given him and when he can’t get it going he says” I sense a deep anxiety out their folks!’. 

Elvis made the stage his ‘own’ even between songs!. During  LOVE ME  Elvis was given some large glasses and does a very funny Elton John inpersonation!. After this he does ' Help Me Make It Through The Night ' for Linda Thompson’s parents and it’s a good version, through hearing so many pages turning before it makes one wonder if he had to read the song?. ' Trying To Get To You ' shows us the power of Elvis’s voice for the first time tonight before the oldies medley of songs.

This whole season he seems to do BETTER versions of these normal ‘ throwaway songs ’ which is refreshing to hear-he’s still using them as scarf giving out material but with some respect. Interestingly after this Elvis is shown the “ Sun Collection ” an L.P. that only came out in England in July 1975 - his reaction is priceless as he’s really interested not having seen it before (and thinks it’s a ‘ Bootleg! ’) .It was American Policeman John  Herman who gave this to Elvis and also a Police Badge and got a signed photo in return!. John Wilkinson later told Herman that Elvis REALLY liked the L.P. ( and it didn’t come out in the States until March 76’ ) John attended 6 shows this season and we can also thank John for the FTD New Years Eve 1976 show sound recording!. ' Wooden Heart ' is performed next in a casual fashion but for long enough to be considered a ‘ rare highlight ’ tonight. Very casual though as he asks the Sweets to la,la,la it then says ‘ La,La,La, HELL! And also changes one of the lines to ‘ It was always yours from the Tart! ’.

Sue McCasland © Las Vegas,NV. December 14, 1975 

Afterwards he just says he did it for the kids tonight ( including his own 7 yr old Daughter in the audience ) Mountain next is a good serious version and ' Polk Salad Annie ' seems well done as well after. Certainly the band sounded ‘ good ’. Intros are typical of this season with Elvis singing along to J.B.GOODE from James Burton ‘off’ mike and getting Tony from the Orchestra to do a 2nd version of Hail, Hail rock N’Roll. During ' America ' he asks the back up singers to ‘ sing it out ’ and it’s a nice version..but maybe due to this brief comment is why the M/S version was the ‘ official ’ release of ‘ America ’. It seems the lighting for ' Mystery Train /Tiger Man ' was ok tonight and after Elvis gets Kathy to sing ‘ My heavenly Father ’ for him before preparing to close the show-even commenting that the Hotel have done everything accept throw baseball bats at him to get him off the stage because they only want him on for 50 minutes after a request is accepted to do ' Blue Christmas '- interestingly tonight he slips in a German word ' Blau Xmas  ' ( probably as he’d used a little German in singing Wooden Heart earlier? ), then he closes with ' Can't Help Falling In Love '. Good show and once again a different track listing has been ‘ presented ’ here keeping interest up for all present this season.

 

Las Vegas December 13, 1975 Midnight Show. R/t 80 minutes 

TRACKLIST

2001 Theme / See See Rider / I Got A Woman - Amen x 2/ dialogue/ Love Me / Trying' To Get To You / And I Love You So / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel / Welcome to my World-1 line/ You Gave Me A Mountain-f.start / Help Me Make It Through The Night / Polk Salad Annie / Introductions - Johnny B.Goode - Hail Hail Rock'n'Roll / Just Pretend / How Great Thou Art-with reprise / Burning Love / Hound Dog / Welcome To My World (short ) / Softly, As I Leave You / America The Beautiful / It's Now Or Never - O Sole Mio-f.start/ Little Darlin' / Little Sister / Can't Help Falling In Love.  

JUMPSUITS

Elvis Presley: Silver Phoenix suit / Reserve belt

Musicians: Red pants & shirt 

Sue McCasland © Las Vegas,NV. December 13, 1975 midnight show

Compact Disc; Just Pretend by Fort Baxter in 1991, then same show as an Australian ‘ Unauthorized ’ CD labeled ‘ Springfield 1976 ’ called “ ALL SHOOK UP ” released in 1994 but was in fact just a copy of ‘Just Pretend ’.

3rd release in 1994 ( Unsurpassed Masters Volume #4) was very interesting because ( unlike the first 2 releases ) this release by the Yellow Dog label contained an extra 2’45” of Hail, Hail Rock N’Roll missing from the original release! Making it highly collectable @ 76 minutes R/T and only missing the 2001 and opening riff to make it a complete show!

This show has been ‘ out ’ on Compact Disc now for over a decade and so most collectors know this show VERY well. It is simply a good show and also quite long.

Tonight after ' C.C. RIDER ' ELVIS IS AMAZED BY Ron Tutt’s drumming and says’ what you do been shows Ron have some Gatorade?-that’s the hardest I’ve heard you play all season!. Again it’s during ' Trying To Get To You ' that we hear the power of Elvis’s voice and many songs are similar to the Dinner show but in a different running order. Again he was given large Glasses to wear before ' Love Me ' and also given a hat as well ( which you often see in pictures from this show ) so he does a bit of Elton John impression again. At the end of the intros his Father and Daughter are introduced and it’s a well sung show. However after another good version of ' Just Pretend ' he blows away the sound by the FORCE of his singing of ' How Great Thou Art! - tonight even ' Burning Love ' is a good version! Quite surprising too after ' IT'S NOW OR NEVER ' is Elvis virtually alone sing O sole Mio-very unusual AFTER It’s now or Never. After many years of ??? we found out that the RCA single of ‘America/Softly came from THIS SHOW and they are good versions. After refreshing versions of little darling and little sister he thanks Bill porter and Felton Jarvis for the sound before finishing with C.H.F.I.L. 

Chris Trant © Las Vegas,NV. December 14, 1975 

Las Vegas December 14, 1975 Midnight Show. R/t 80 minutes 

TRACKLIST

2001 Theme / See See Rider /dialogue/ I Got A Woman – Amen x 2/ dialogue/ / Love Me/ dialogue / Trying' To Get To You / And I Love You So / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel / Hound Dog /dialogue/ Until It's Time For You To Go / You Gave A Mountain / Polk Salad Annie/dialogue/ intros/ Sweet, Sweet Spirit/ intros/ J.B.Goode/ Chicken’ Picking/ Happy Birthday/ Just Pretend / How Great Thou Art / Burning Love / Softly, As I Leave You / America The Beautiful / Little Sister / Heartbreak Hotel / O Sole Mio/ It's Now Or Never / Dialogue/ Can't Help Falling In Love.  

JUMPSUITS

Elvis Presley: White Bicentennial Suit / Original belt

Kathy Westmoreland Blue pants and top

The Sweet Inspirations Yellow pants and top

Tonight it’s another excellent and lengthy show NOT to be missed! First he comes out wearing his brand new White bi-centennial suit and then after C.C.RIDER quips ' I made one mistake-everyone is entitled to one mistake and I made three this year '. The other 2 you’ll never know! The ending of don’t be cruel is drum extended again and interestingly soon after introducing the Stamps Quartet Elvis says he had never heard their new bass singer on Sweet, Sweet Spirit yet…, then he asks the stamps to sing it. After J.B.Goode Elvis even gets James to do his Chicken’ Picking solo as well-then a surprise as it’s HAPPY BIRTHDAY sung to Charlie Hodge tonight!. ' Just Pretend ' is yet another excellent version and ' Heartbreak Hotel ' is both surprising for being sung and also starts VERY strong making it a good version. After introducing his father and daughter again he again does his O Sole Mio/It’s Now Or Never performance before Christmas wished and C.H.F.I.L. A very lengthy show and a good one. Quite unusual tonight a man shouts out for ‘ Danny Boy ’ to be sung! ( before little sister )- then 2 months later Elvis actually records it !.( making one wonder that Elvis did listen to what fans said? )

 

Sue McCasland © Las Vegas,NV. December 15, 1975 closing show

Las Vegas December 15, 1975 Closing Show. R/t 90 minutes 

TRACKLIST

2001 Theme / See See Rider /dialogue/ I Got A Woman – Amen-x 2 dialogue/ / Love Me / Trying to get to you / And I Love You So / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel / Hound Dog / dialogue/ I'm Leaving / You Gave Me a Mountain/ Polk Salad Annie / Introductions /Just Pretend/ How Great Thou Art-with reprise/ Softly, As I Leave You / America The Beautiful / Burning Love-brief only/ dialogue/ Sweet Sweet Spirit/ Little Sister / One Night / Until It's Time For You To Go /dialogue/ The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face / Mystery Train - Tiger Man /O Sole Mio-F.Start/ It's Now Or Never / Dialogue/ Can't Help Falling In Love.  

JUMPSUITS

Elvis Presley: Blue Rainfall suit / Original belt

Kathy Westmoreland Blue pants and flowered blue shirt

Musicians: Red pants & shirt

Compact Disc;’ King of Entertainment ’ released in 1993. NOT the whole show , but at 78 minutes still a good sounding release.( missing only the intros and closing dialogue and song ) N.B. This CD was released MIS-LABELLED as being the 14.12.75 show! In fact it is the ‘ edited ’ incomplete 15.12.75 CLOSING SHOW!

Sue McCasland © Las Vegas,NV. December 15, 1975 closing show

Actually ( NOT surprising for this season ) a great CLOSING SHOW. The most interesting thing to happen in this show tonight is him receiving the HUGE Snoopy Dog doll after Hound Dog! ( Which he jokes looks like Joe Guercio in drag! ). His Karate friend Ed is mentioned and their seem to be more people watching this closing show than anything else in Vegas tonight!.  So far tonight him performing ' I’m Leaving ' is a surprise inclusion and ‘ You Gave Me A Mountain ’ is sung for his Father.Once again this Show ‘ Just Pretend ’ and ‘ How Great Thou Art ’ ( with reprise ) are outstanding performances! 100% sincere, Softly also once again drips with sincertity!. At the very end of ‘ America ’ Elvis’s voice can’t be heard and it suggests he was having voice trouble before he quickly aborts ' Burning Love '(next) and gets the Stamps to do Sweet Spirit again whilst he complains that he has 3 frogs in his throat to clear backstage. After returning (quipping ‘ I needed that~!’ ) straight  into ' Little Sister ' and  singing all the way though ‘ The First time ’ (as one would expect sung tenderly and with care from Elvis )and another great effort on the Italian version of O Sole Mio .It’s encouraging that Elvis finally took a stab at performing the Italian part and his performances on 13th and 14th must rate as the most testing versions as tonight he seems to be holding back. Before the first time Elvis explains that the Hilton have presented him with a  Gold Chain  with his name on it encrusted in Diamonds as Elvis quipped that it’s a conspiracy to cut his throat! Finally after thanking Bill Porter, Felton Jarvis and introducing his father  he wishes everyone a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year and finally closes ( what must have almost been almost a  90 minute show, if you remember how long the missing parts of the show were. ) with C.H.F.I.L. 

Following the closing show Elvis stayed on a couple of days in Vegas-finally flying out back to Memphis  on 17th December. When he got home though he didn’t have a nice dream instead he had a nightmare where he dreamt that everyone who was around him only wanted his money.