I'm not one to review things, so apologies if this seems a little unorganized, clunky, and maybe a little repetitive. Hope you enjoy it!
Elvis's first and only Maine concert appearance. The source for this show is an audience recording and a decent one at that. The show was May 24th, 1977 at 8:30 PM, though Elvis walked on stage around 10 PM. The album starts with the customary "Also Sprach Zarathustra", or the Theme from 2001, if you will. Since this is an audience recording, you can sense the electricity in the air. As soon as the opening to C.C Rider kicks in and Elvis walks on stage, the crowd goes nuts. As Elvis hits "Oh see, C.C. Rider," a roar from the crowd goes up and you can tell they are mighty happy to see Elvis live. Add on to the fact that Elvis seems to be in good voice and mood for this show, and you come out with a very good 1977 show.
After C.C., Elvis starts his "well, well, well," routine. Elvis says, "Let me ask you a question - is it hot out here?" in reference to the fact the Augusta Civic Center had no air conditioning - the crowd meets his question with a loud response. Back to the "wells" - the crowd approves of JD Sumner's low note on a "well. It's interesting to note here, that Elvis sings the line "Well, I Never Been To Maine" a reference to the song "Never Been To Spain" which he hadn't done since Opening Night in 1974. Finally Elvis kicks into "I Got A Woman" which is met with a nice reaction and the crowd is clapping along to it, and having a good time. This is a decent version of I Got A Woman, however the extended version of Amen and JD's dive-bomb routine are totally forgettable. Of course at the time, the crowd was very much into it - but for me, after listening to hundreds of Elvis concerts, the Amen's and the Dive-Bomb's get a tiny bit tiring after a while. The crowd went nuts for Elvis' "strip-tease" move right before some more Amen's and a dive-bomb. "Now, If I can get it all moving at once," says Elvis. Sounds like he did! Elvis introduces himself as Wayne Newton and the audience laughs.
After some dialogue, Elvis starts with "Love Me" which of course the audience goes crazy for. It's a pretty standard '70's version, with what I assume was a bunch of scarf handing out. Next is "If You Love Me (Let Me Know)" during which Elvis brings up his record producer Felton Jarvis to the stage. Pretty good version, the crowd seems into it and so does Elvis. "You Gave Me A Mountain" kicks off next which is met by a nice crowd reaction. Elvis gives a decent rendition, certainly one of the best 1977 versions, if not the best. "Jailhouse Rock" is next on the agenda. Not exactly very good version at all, but the audience meets it with great enthusiasm, nonetheless. One of the better versions for the time period (which unfortunately isn't saying very much).
"We did a song called 'It's Now Or Never'" and Elvis has Sherril Nielson recite the Italian lyrics to which It's Now Or Never was taken from. The audience seemed to love it, and Elvis jokes "showoff." Anyways, the song is giving a solid going over and it has to rank up there as one of the best 1977 versions...
Elvis says he'd like to medley of some of his records for us, and he starts "Little Sister". I always enjoyed this song (especially live) and this is no different. The crowd claps along and they are appreciative of Elvis' efforts thus far. The "Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel" medley is next and Elvis makes his rounds and gives out a few dozen scarves. The "Don't Be Cruel" part of the medley is met with a solid roar of applause. However, this is the standard 1977 version, so it isn't all too great.
"My Way" is up next (seems unusual for it to be sung this early in) - Elvis tells us since he doesn't know the lyrics he has to read them - "if you don't mind." This is a fine performance, although Rapid City from a few months later is certainly better, and the Aloha version just blows both out of the water. Nonetheless, it's decent. "Heartbreak Hotel" kicks in next, and it's a fine for 1977 version. Nothing too special.
Up next are the band introductions...the best part of this 20-minute affair is the rendition of "Early Mornin' Rain". Everything else, is well, totally forgettable. After all the introductions it's time for "One of my latest records...'Hurt'." I must say I enjoy this song a lot, even with the Joe Guercio bombastic introduction. Elvis pulls out a fine version here and remarks "Oh well, here it goes, son" before hitting the first notes. No reprise on this one, but the audience eats it right up and I think it's a good rendition. "Hound Dog" is up next and as expected the crowd goes nuts for it. However, it's a throwaway version at best -- what a shame he never did this song justice at all during the concert years. He does seem to get into it right at the end, though.
"Ladies and gentleman...I'd like to say something...you've been a fantastic audience...one of the best we've had, really...we love you, too...and anytime you want us, just call us back." and with that "Can't Help Falling In Love" starts in. It's a nice version for the time frame, and the crowd roars for Elvis as the closing vamp kicks in...
All in all, this is a good, fair show for 1977 and ranks up their as maybe the 2nd or 3rd best show from that year (in my opinion...) If you ever are in the mood for a '77 show, go for this one! Elvis is in fine voice, he's coherent, and in a great mood. Below I've attached the album and the 8mm footage from the show so you can judge it for yourselves!
Hope you enjoyed reading!