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Another review

Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:36 am

copied from elvisconcerts.com killer website

I love review's like this (don't get pissed)

For some reason I always tend to believe everyone thought Elvis was great until they examined every single thing when the www world started.
This hits all the topics we frequently discuss on this board.
here it is:


Los Angeles Times
May 14, 1974

Elvis At 39 - A Time for Reassessment
by Robert Hilburn



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Since a performer's attitude is so important, I have been worried for some time now that the enormity of Elvis Presley's success since he returned to live appearances in 1969 was having a negative affect on the man who was surely the most significant single figure in the development of rock music

When Presley returned to concerts after a decade's absence, he was a dynamic, determined, electrifying performer who not only lived up to his legend but added to it. Even though he spoke at the time of the necessityto find new songs with more meaningful lyrics, he sang the old tunes - from the early "That's All Right" to the "Hound Dog" trademark - with a spirit that was faithful to the original recordings"

Despite the vastness of his influence and commercial appeal, Presley had to prove himself in those early Las Vegas engagements and subsequent "return" tours. There was no guarantee that nostalgia alone would be enough. Elvis' performances were stunning this country-blues voice was more controlled than ever and his moves - emphasizing karate-like twists and turns rather than the original hip-shaking eroticism - nicely updated his dramatic style) and the audience response, including critics, was overwhelming.

When female fans shrieked with delight and charged the stage at his concerts in the 1950s, some dibelievers suggested they surely must be paid plants. But there was no denying the genuineness of the screams and rushes toward the stage night after night in Las Vegas. There was also no denying the long lines that wove through the hotel casino each night of the Presley engagement. Every show in Las Vegas and on the subsequent concert tours was a sell-out.

In the face of this enormous commercial appeal, however, it soon became apparent that the audience was, in a very real sense, presold. Nostalgia was enought, after all, for most of those who went to see Elvis. thus, the quality of a particular show didn't have a noticeable impact on the reaction of the audience. They wanted, most of all, to see Elvis.

the problem with this type of largely undiscerning audience is that it makes it easy for an artist to lose - or at least seriously weaken - his own standards. And that's what seemed to happen to Elvis. It was too easy to simply coast through the shows. That's exactly what he did in most of the shows I've seen over the past couple years. I all too many cases, he didn't seem to care. His attitude was clearly a problem.

Thus, I went tothe Inglewood Forum Saturday night hoping for a reversal, but was not optimistic. The initial signs at the Forum didn't lend encouragement. The evening started with the same shameless, excessive hawking of Elvis souvenirs (the emcee told the audience the $5 scarfs and $3 photo albums are specially designed for the tours and a limited number is allocated to each city...get one for a friend) and the same modest suporting acts (comedian Jackie Kahane and the Sweet Inspirations vocal trio) that we've seen on past tours.

When Elvis finally arrived, there were the same shrieks from the audience and occasional fans racing down the aisles that we've come to expect. But what about Elvis? Some mixed reactions. He was noticeably heavier and his moves are becoming less and less dynamic, but his voice is, when he chooses to use it, as effective as ever. He remains the finest contemporary country-blues vocalist.

And thankfully he seemed to enjoy performing again. The indifference of some of the past shows was absent. He regained his old humor about the tunes and his whole sex symbol image. Thus, there were often wide grins on his facewhen he shifted a leg dramatically or paused for special effect. On the matter of attitude, Elvis, then, seemd to have made a reversal.

But, at 39 it may be time for him to reassess his career to consider where he wants to go musically. By continuing to adequately recreate the hits, he can certainly hold on to his enourmous present audience, but to expand it and reach hi spotencial as an artist, he needs to find more challenging material. Only the gospel songs seem to truly stir him at this point.

The decision isn't easy. He can play it safe and continue to do what he has been doing or take a gamble and grow. With all the shrieking and sold-outs halls, it's hard to see the need for a gamble. But the importance of ELvis was that he was an innovator, and I'm hoping that he takes the step. His improved attitude Saturday somehow gives me optimism that he hasn't settled for the applause.

Image

Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:45 am

Too bad Elvis couldn't have seen this back then. Not that it would have mattered. A fair and honest review.
spike

Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:11 am

Jon, I'm not pissed at all. :wink:
This is a sincere review, unlike the Detroit'77 one.. :smt072

A poor review of almost any '74 show would have been a joke.
(Besides October.. :oops: )
'74 was a fine year for Elvis concerts with a good balance between old & new material.
This LA gig is recorded on soundboard.., are you out there FTD?

Cheers, RJ

Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:52 am

Hilburn loved Presley, and the review must've been tough to write. It ultimately put him in Elvis' disfavor, and he found any future access impossible.

DJC

Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:07 pm

Jon -

What a sensible, balanced and unbiased assessment !

And written without the benefit of hindsight, too.

Robert Hilburn has described perfectly the things that many fans had sensed were happening in those years following the divorce.

A long, slow descent into boredom and complacency.

In 1974, there may have been a slim chance of reversing things.

Soon it would be too late.

Mon Apr 03, 2006 5:45 pm

Thanks to Francesc to a great website!

I agree if Elvis were to change, 1974 would have been a good time.
I have always said I would have loved to see Elvis at 40, go back to ihs Sun Sound for at least one album. get Scotty and DJ and a few extras and go for another 68 style type of show. Unfortunately, I can't think of one example where another famous person/group did this?

OK well now I can, i think the Stones do it/did it and of course Elvis did it in 68.

Mon Apr 03, 2006 6:09 pm

Quote: Unfortunately, I can't think of one example where another famous person/group did this?

***********************************

Shortly before his death, Rick Nelson went back to his roots and recorded the style of music that he began with.

Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:14 pm

I knew someone would come up with some. I'm sure the collective knowledge on this board could probably list 20.

I wonder if Elvis even cared about that kind of stuff.

Do you think he pondered," What if I dump the jumpsuit and large production and go back to my roots? "

Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:28 am

JonRomanovich wrote:I agree if Elvis were to change, 1974 would have been a good time.


He made a small attempt on August 19th of that year. A step in the right direction? We'll never know.

Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:34 am

Rob wrote:
JonRomanovich wrote:I agree if Elvis were to change, 1974 would have been a good time.


He made a small attempt on August 19th of that year.

Yes, he changed the whole shows lineup for that show and I liked it better.

Instead of the same CC Rider and then I Got A Women he used Big Boss Man as the opener and then did Pround Mary. I wished he would have used this lineup more often. We here mostly newer songs from this show with only two or maybe three oldies, which I really liked.

I have heard that the fans did not like this new act or something and that really got to Elvis and it was what may have caused some of the wierd behavior in the following weeks to come. :? .

Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:57 am

I agree with you guys, but I don't think that was a big enough change. he still had the vegas lights, suits, huge ensemble....

I wish he would have had the balls to do Elvis:Unplugged - The One Man Show

Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:58 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Hilburn loved Presley, and the review must've been tough to write. It ultimately put him in Elvis' disfavor, and he found any future access impossible.

DJC


Really Doc??

Is there more to that story.

Thanks

Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:02 am

JonRomanovich wrote:I don't think that was a big enough change. he still had the vegas lights, suits, huge ensemble....


Which goes back to the point I was making. At least it was a change. Had he stuck to it.....who knows?

Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:16 am

JonRomanovich wrote:Really Doc?? Is there more to that story.

Only Bob knows for sure.

DJC