'Gyrating Asheville' is a decent, listenable 2xCD audience recording of the
July 23rd gig in Asheville, NC The penultimate tour show of 1975 (although
Vegas and a special New Year's Eve date were ahead), Elvis again performed
at a very high level. He gave the Wednesday evening crowd of 7,400 plenty
of standards from this era like "C.C. Rider," "Polk Salad Annie," and
"Funny How Time Slips Away" and perversely throws away the 50's numbers, as
usual, like "Love Me" and "Hound Dog"; however, there are a number of very
surprising inclusions to the set, like "Turn Around, Look At Me" (a short,
but full-blooded rendition), a soulful, measured version of Faye Adams'
"Shake A Hand" and a smooth-sounding "Promised Land." "Fairytale" is so
unfamiliar to the set that when Elvis calls for it the band sounds
tentative; it ends up a more pleasing, less "showy" performance than those
of the following year.
At his final three dates in Asheville Elvis apparently was spurred on to
give more than usual; the local folks just weren't the type to give
standing ovations. Each night became a personal challenge to get them up
out of their seats, thus the unexpected songs and extra-long shows. The
performance on the 24th would find Presley throwing two of his diamond
rings into the crowd! It's regrettable more Elvis audiences weren't this
Elvis interacts well with the southern crowd ("I'm not getting better, I'm
gettin' older!"); he even accepts a Bible at one point, pausing to point
out a "strange" coincidence: "Do you know how the first chapter of Genesis
spelled? G-E-N-E-S-I-S, right? Okay. What's the human body made of?
G-E-N-E-S. Okay, just a little bit of information, you know." Then he
goes into "Little Darlin'!" It's crazy, it's an Elvis Presley show.
Live Archives make up for the off-line cassette-recorded tape with a superb
package, sporting no less than nine high-quality color shots from
Asheville, some of which are previously unpublished. It's especially
well-done, better than most of Elvis' "official" live album covers.
Perhaps someday we'll hear more of the Asheville stand (not to mention two
wonderful sets in New York just four days earlier) from the mixing desk
tapes, but considering that all we have from the July'75 tour is
audience-recorded documentation, this is a worthy addition to the Presley
It's worth remembering, too, that this was the tour that garnered a very
honest, yet positive review from noted critic John Rockwell in the New York
"His baritone is still as solid as ever, with its humorously cavernous
bottom and its nasal vibrato on top. When he is putting out ... reaching
for the top notes and shaping phrases with the same easy individuality that
has always marked his best work, he is still the king."
Sound rate ** 1/2