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The Best 25 gigs of all Time

Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:21 am

The Observer newspaper this week had a magazine article entitled "The best 25 gigs of all time". Elvis@ 19 july 1975 nassau show was on the list. It included a very good review article. It can be found at the below link. Scroll down a little when you get the page open.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/omm/stor ... 33,00.html

Wed Jan 24, 2007 4:38 pm

Thanks for the info!
I did not expect to find a 1975 gig among the 25 best.
Of course, we all know that Elvis put on some great shows that year,
nice that other will learn know after reading the review.

Regards

Lennart

Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:15 pm

I am confused here Elvis was in the top 25 yet Nick Cohn slated him in the review?? Have I missed something in that article?

Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:03 pm

Sid, you missed "You´ll never walk alone" :lol:
The review was rough on Elvis but still it was the reviewers favorite
concert.

Lennart

Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:52 pm

I don't know that he was rough - I think it's a very honest appraisal. The jumpsuit was one of Elvis worst, and least flattering. His comment was that despite the fact he'd put on lots of weight since vegas the previous year, which is a fact, Elvis seemed determined to put on a great show, and really worked hard, something that had been lacking last time he saw Elvis.

If Elvis did indeed come across an attractive female in the front row who didn't seem impressed, I can see why that would shake him - it was something probably wasn't used to.

His comments on You'll Never Walk Alone are excellent, and similar to what his reaction might have been to Unchained Melody.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:50 pm

Sounds like the typical, holier-than-thou, Elvis was never the same after he left Sun (or went into the Army) BS.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:58 pm

Interesting that a mainstreeam Sunday newspaper would even be aware of this show as a classic, surely!!

Re: The Best 25 gigs of all Time

Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:55 pm

bray1977 wrote:The Observer newspaper this week had a magazine article entitled "The best 25 gigs of all time".


The article is actually called "25 of the greatest gigs ever". There is a subtle (but important) difference.

An even more accurate title would be "25 pretty good gigs that happened to have a writer in the audience who was willing to contribute to this article”. The Springsteen show that is included (of which I was in the audience) is probably not even among his own 100 best shows.

Chris

Re: The Best 25 gigs of all Time

Wed Jan 24, 2007 9:01 pm

ChrisM wrote:
bray1977 wrote:The Observer newspaper this week had a magazine article entitled "The best 25 gigs of all time".


The article is actually called "25 of the greatest gigs ever". There is a subtle (but important) difference.




Never noticed that. The actual physical magazine gives the title as "The best 25 gigs of all time" whereas the online article has the other version. I wonder why.

Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:10 pm

Yeah,. I read this at the weekend.

The Morrissey and Springsteen shows, mentioned by Russell Brand and Stephen Metrchant respectively, are average by their usual standards.

Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:36 pm

As the perspective of this article is attendee based it does give a refreshing view on some shows that otherwise may never have been mentioned.

The review of Elvis' show was pretty much spot on on all acounts in my book.

Thu Jan 25, 2007 2:45 pm

With just about every insult to Elvis included. A Cheap shot!!!

Better the Concert remained un-reviewed.

The article left a bad taste. Yuk!

Thu Jan 25, 2007 3:00 pm

musicmentor1 wrote:With just about every insult to Elvis included. A Cheap shot!!!

Better the Concert remained un-reviewed.

The article left a bad taste. Yuk!


C'mon, it was a fair review of Elvis at this time. His comments relating to the August/Sept '74 engagement are pretty spot on. Let us not forget that this concert to the reviewer has stood out on top above all the other shows he has seen and obviously got considerable enjoyment out of being there.

Thu Jan 25, 2007 3:41 pm

I don't agree with every generalization in the review, but I found it to be a rather moving account of one fan's experience.

Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:04 pm

No real fan would write such a pathetic review. The cretin can't even remember the songs. His reliance on gutter journalism says more about him than his review does about the show. :smt078

Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:43 pm

The part that gets me is this:

Elvis was seen as ancient history, a curiosity at best. Instead of Madison Square Garden, he was reduced to playing Long Island, an hour's drive and light years from Manhattan.

This is untrue. I can tell you first hand that the crowd in Louisville in 1974 and 1977 were not there out of curiosity. They were there in full support of Elvis. He could do no wrong in their eyes. They were a very excited bunch of Kentuckians in Freedom Hall on those nights. There were 19,000 fans in attendance during both shows.

Secondly, the reason he was "reduced" to playing Long Island instead of Madison Square Garden was money. The Colonel refused to pay the asking price to rent the Garden. It had nothing to do with crowd size.

I don't think this is a fair review at all. The guy obviously does not have his facts straight and should not be called an Elvis fan.

Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:49 pm

The whole article was a great read - thanks for the link!

Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:55 pm

No real fan would write such a pathetic review. The cretin can't even remember the songs.


Yeah, really, the guy's supposed to recall the exact lineup 30-plus years later? So if he forgets that Elvis blew through Don't Be Cruel as he tossed away (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear, he's not a fan?

Quick, without checking, what's the tracklisting of the 8:30 p.m. May 22, 1977, concert in Largo, Maryland. What, you can't recall it? And anyway you don't have the bootleg audience disc at your fingertips?

And you call yourself a true fan?

Who gets to decide these silly litmus tests anyway?

---

Anyhow ... I think the point of the article is clear that he wasn't an obsessed Elvis fanatic at the time, and he wasn't trying to pass himself off as one.

I hate to break it to you, but there are a lot more casual Elvis fans in the world than there are nutjobs like board members here.

I suppose in your mind those people aren't allowed to be entertained by him, much less write with passion about how he moved them.

How incredibly narrow of you.
Last edited by elvissessions on Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:28 am, edited 2 times in total.

Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:00 pm

Rob, I really clearly understood him to mean Elvis' (relative) irrelevance by the mid-'70s.

In fact, he makes it pretty clear to me that the people who attended the shows treated it, to interpret his language, as a religious experience. That matches what you're describing.

However, in the wider world, Elvis was not the defining figure he had been 15 or more years ago.

These sentiments he expresses are similar to those I've heard from many people through the years who were huge Elvis fans in the '50s but began to view him as less central to their existence as the years passed. And especially because he's referring to the viewpoint of the "reigning hiperati," I think his assessment his spot-on.

Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:26 pm

elvissessions.com wrote:
No real fan would write such a pathetic review. The cretin can't even remember the songs.


Yeah, really, the guy's supposed to recall the exact lineup 30-plus years later? So if he forgets that Elvis blew threw Don't Be Cruel as he tossed away (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear, he's not a fan?

Quick, without checking, what's the tracklisting of the 8:30 p.m. May 22, 1977, concert in Largo, Maryland. What, you can't recall it? And anyway you don't have the bootleg audience disc at your fingertips?

And you call yourself a true fan?

Who gets to decide these silly litmus tests anyway?

---

Anyhow ... I think the point of the article is clear that he wasn't an obsessed Elvis fanatic at the time, and he wasn't trying to pass himself off as one.

I hate to break it to you, but there are a lot more casual Elvis fans in the world than there are nutjobs like board members here.

I suppose in your mind those people aren't allowed to be entertained by him, much less right with passion about how he moved them.

How incredibly narrow of you.[/quote;.

Clever bastard :smt021

Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:54 pm

elvissessions.com wrote:These sentiments he expresses are similar to those I've heard from many people through the years who were huge Elvis fans in the '50s but began to view him as less central to their existence as the years passed. And especially because he's referring to the viewpoint of the "reigning hiperati," I think his assessment his spot-on.


So do I.

Nik Cohn wrote one of the best books and the first about rock n roll music I ever read:

"Awopbopaloobopalopbamboom:The Golden Age of Rock" (as it's called now)

http://www.amazon.com/Awopbopaloobop-Alopbamboom-Golden-Age-Rock/dp/0802138306/sr=8-1/qid=1169753068/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-9275456-5180816?ie=UTF8&s=books

There's no doubt he's a huge Elvis fan. He closed his excellent Elvis chapter with this description of Elvis onstage in August '69...

"Each night, his performance achieves that same first impact, of new possibilities presenting themselves, a whole new style made possible. From the moment he comes out of the wings, all the music that has followed him is made to seem as nothing, to be blown away like chaff.”

In that context, it's interesting he chose this concert in '75 to review. To me there's an incredible pathos there. It's not too dissimilar to the description Guralnick gives at the end of "Careless Love" of Elvis' performance of "Unchained Melody".

The context Cohn gives here is important to understand the impact of that song and the fact he wasn't expecting anything from Elvis at that point. That Elvis was still able to pull that performance out of himself and via a song Cohn hated, was totally unexpected. That's what blew him away and made this show so memorable for him.

That's what he's trying to get at here imo.

Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:20 am

stuart wrote:No real fan would write such a pathetic review. The cretin can't even remember the songs. His reliance on gutter journalism says more about him than his review does about the show. :smt078


You didn't even bother to read the whole piece, did you?

he launched into 'Big Boss Man' with a fire and attack I hadn't heard from him in years and didn't expect to hear again. Memories of his 1968 TV special, his last great triumph, and a time when his guitarist James Burton had described him to me as 'a lean, mean, killing machine', flooded back. Lean and mean might be out the window, but the killing machine was up and pumping.


At first, the audience wasn't quite sure how to respond. It was almost as though a loved one on life support had suddenly ripped out the tubes, disconnected the oxygen tent, and started doing cartwheels up and down the ward - thrilling, yes, but we were also fearful, half-expecting him to collapse. It took time before we trusted our eyes and ears, and started to exult.


Instead of the triumphalism of Gerry Marsden and the Kop End, he treats the song as a private meditation, full of pain and the yearning to believe. Though the lyrics speak of hope, Elvis turns them into a cry, as if reaching for one last sliver of light in engulfing darkness. I am alone, he seems to be saying. All of us are alone. But maybe, just maybe, we can find someone or something to cling to. In his case, it's God. But each of us, hearing him, reaches for our own salvation. -- If great art needs nakedness, it was the most naked performance I've ever witnessed.


"Pathetic"? Moving, excellent writing, if you ask me!

Re: The Best 25 gigs of all Time

Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:39 am

This is a direct link to the Nik Cohn article: Elvis Presley, 1975

Wow, what a fantastic piece of writing.

For those who evidently had trouble with his thoughts, let me assure you his view is that of a passionate, but well-read, learned rock and roll fan. And he is more than impressed with Elvis' performance that night.

Cohn understands the true greatness of Elvis in a way so many of his contemporaries, who came of age in the 1960s, never will. His closing is almost beyond eloquent:

Nik Cohn wrote:The show resumes. Elvis is still impassioned, but now there's a note of desperation, something haunted. After a few minutes, he sits down at the piano and starts to sing "You'll Never Walk Alone."

It's a song I despise, but Elvis clearly loves it. Years later, I'll read that Roy Hamilton's 1954 version was a major inspiration in making him a singer. At any rate, he tells us he's always wanted to perform it on stage. Tonight's the night.

Instead of the triumphalism of Gerry Marsden and the Kop End, he treats the song as a private meditation, full of pain and the yearning to believe. Though the lyrics speak of hope, Elvis turns them into a cry, as if reaching for one last sliver of light in engulfing darkness. I am alone, he seems to be saying. All of us are alone. But maybe, just maybe, we can find someone or something to cling to. In his case, it's God. But each of us, hearing him, reaches for our own salvation.

The rest of the night is a blur. Objectively, I have seen better shows - Jimi Hendrix at the Savoy, Prince at the Ritz, James Brown (more than once) at the Apollo, and Johnny Paycheck at the Acadia County Fair, to name just a few. None chilled me as profoundly as those few minutes of Elvis alone at the piano, singing a song I can't stand. If great art needs nakedness, it was the most naked performance I've ever witnessed.


Nik is also responsible, as noted above, for one of the most perfect assessments of Elvis on stage in 1970s -- it's worth repeating here:

Nik Cohn wrote:From the moment he comes out of the wings, all the music that has followed him is made to seem as nothing, to be blown away like chaff.


Thanks for posting the initial link, Bray.

Re: The Best 25 gigs of all Time

Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:57 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Thanks for posting the initial link, Bray.


You're very welcome. I agree entirely that this is a superb and moving piece of writing. Thanks to all who responded.

Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:15 am

Did June 19, 1977 in Omaha make the list?

Certainly one of Elvis' concerts should make this sort of list, but a show from 1975 is probably a stretch.

Nic Cohn was a great rock journalist. It is a great article, thanks for the post.