The sound quality on this CD is not quite the best, with tape
hiss apparent on quieter passages. But it is about average for these
soundboard recordings. The opening "C.C.Rider" is missing, and the CD
starts with dialogue about microphones. This is an omen of things to
come; this talk has a strange, mean edge to it. "I Got a Woman / Amen"
follows, as usual. Elvis' doesn't sound really concentrated. Amen in
particular sounds quite ragged. It includes a swinging instrumental
part, however, which lasts for just over a minute. "What're we doin'?",
asks Elvis, and goes into the familiar vocal play with J.D.Sumner. "I
want you to take me down to treetop level in a B52, then stall out and
start the engines back up, OK?", tells Elvis. I'm sure this instruction
wouldn't make much sense to anyone not familiar with Elvis' stage shows!
J.D. does what he's told...
Karate dialogue follows, during which Elvis introduces himself
as Bill Cosby, and talks about black belt degrees. He himself just got
the 8th degree black belt. "Until It's Time for You to Go" is next and
again it's not a concentrated version; this version has hardly any
charm. In "If You Love Me" we get to hear the first proper performance
of the evening and it's a good one, too.
"It's Midnight" continues this vein of good performances; this
is a strong version of this wonderful song. Elvis calls out "Listen
Cilla" to his ex-wife in the middle of the first verse; thus no doubt
causing some embarrassment. The following "Big Boss Man" is a rocking
version, although Elvis' weird state of mind is evident even here.
Then we get to hear a strange version of "You Gave Me a
Mountain". Elvis talks his way through it, sounding very anxious
especially on the line "she took my reason for living", which he shouts
out in a hoarse voice. A dramatic version just underlining the fact that
all is not well with Elvis mentally tonight. The following dialogue
confirms this. Elvis tells the audience that this song "has nothing to
do with me personally or my ex-wife Priscilla." It gets more and more
embarassing as Elvis talks about his divorce settlement and Mike Stone.
By now it is clear that Elvis is under influence of some kind of
substance. "Excuse me folks, I just mumble things!", he tells after a
profanity slips out...
"Softly As I Leave You" follows and it's as beautiful as usual.
"I hope you'd quit rattling the glasses till I tell the story, please",
asks Elvis during the introduction. With only an "OK" Elvis then launches
into another throwaway version of "Hound Dog"; I wonder if he ever
performed this song seriously after 1969. On "American Trilogy" one
would wish for a more serious approach. Elvis doesn't sound committed
enough here, and so the song fails to convince. The following "It's Now
Or Never" is an OK version, which actually sounds close the original
1960 version, as the horns are missing this time. The ending of the song
is not so great, though.
The audience has enjoyed the show so far, despite its
peculiarities, so Elvis thanks it: "I couldn't have gotten a better
audience if I'd paid you 20 dollars to come i here... you're
outtasight!" Then it's time for the introductions. James Burton is
introduced as "one of the funkiest chicken-pickin' son-of-a-guns you
ever met in your life". The band members play their solos for probably
one of the first times; from now on it would be a regular fixture. Elvis
urges them on with: "We've got nothing but time!"
The group Voice is in the spotlight for 3 songs; personally, I
could have lived without these performances. Then Elvis goes on to
describe his liver biopsy in more detail than anyone would want to hear.
He then introduces Bill Cosby, who is not present. "You mean after that
build-up that son-of-a-bitch left? To hell with him, I won't pay him
anyway!" All this just makes the listener more and more embarassed for
Then it's back to music; Elvis repeats "It's Now Or Never" for
Vicki Carr. This version is not quite as good as the earlier one. "Let
Me Be There" features a screaming (as opposed to singing) Elvis, especially
during the reprise section. Not good. "If You Talk in Your Sleep" is a
funky version of this funky song, probably with some karate moves during
the instrumental part. Then Elvis has worked himself up into a mood, in
which he feels compelled to address drugs in front of the audience.
The following drugs dialogue has become infamous. We all know
how it goes. There's no use repeating it here. The term 'guilty
conscience' comes to mind... After threatening to pull a certain
person's tongue out by the roots, Elvis seeks into "Hawaiian Wedding
Song", ("Let me get out of this mood", he says.) of which we hear a
This somewhat excruciating show is now nearing its end. Elvis
talks about his jewelry and tries to introduce the Colonel, who is not
present either. "He's out there playing roulette, don't kid me! Him and
Cosby out there talkin' trash and drinking mash..." Finally "Can't Help
Falling in Love" is done and both the show and the season are over.
Three weeks later Elvis would start a tour, on which his embarassing
speeches would continue...
This CD can be recommended for the collector because of its
peculiarities. For that same reason, I hope that the so called "general
audience" never gets to hear this show. It would only bring about "Elvis
was on drugs and nothing else during the 70's" comments. That would not
be fair; after all, these kind of shows were relatively rare.
Review by Aki Korhonen (Finland)
Sound rate ****