With Fort Baxter and Diamond Anniversary releasing excellent quality concerts from Elvis' summer 1974 Vegas stint, the other labels had a lot to live up to... Rock Legends followed suit and released a fabulous disc from the August 30th, 3:00 am show....
In a season that started out so brilliantly, and ended rather bleak, this show seems to be a mixture of both... Elvis is in a good mood, singing strongly, and appears to be putting his all into this concert that lasts almost a full 90 minutes.. But, the shape of things to come are apparent.. Elvis is overly chatty during some songs, and the cold he keeps complaining about is also in the forefront, as he hacks and coughs and apologizes for " spitting up " flem...But, fortunately, the pros outweigh the cons on this disc !!!
BOOM !!!! C.C. Rider kicks this disc off with a rollicking start..It has a funny moment when apparently the lights are bouncing off Elvis' guitar causing a glare to the people up front, making Elvis apologize mid-song, with that infectious laugh of his accompanying it !!
I Got A Woman/Amen drags on for so long as Elvis actually takes the time to switch mic's with JD so his low tones can be heard better..as if that was needed !!! The following Love Me, If You Love Me, Its Midnight, and Big Boss Man don't differ from all the other Vegas versions out there...But, all are done well, especially the beautiful, Its Midnight, which never seems to fail to come across with the sensitivity and compassion it was meant to have.
The version of Fever on this disc is a complete throw - away.. Elvis has never babbled so much in a song as he does here.Skip it.. The lovely Softly, As I Leave You is as peaceful and touching as ever.. Though, on a personal note, I don't think Elvis performed it as beautifully as he did than on the Just Pretend CD, especially if you have heard the 45 single release from RCA taken from an audience recording ( !!! ) where you have the ambiance of the room...Breathtaking...Hound Dog is funny, but that's about it !! Though Elvis does throw some balls into this version !!
American Trilogy is started with quite a unique intro... As a woman yells, " I love you Elvis, " a man clearly yells, " I hate you Elvis, " to which Elvis responds, even more clearly, " F**K You !!! " There's an intro you don't hear Elvis use too often ;-) !!! Trilogy is then done majestically !!! Dr.Nick's son had put in a request for Suspicious Minds which Elvis grants, and does it very well, indeed !!!
Disc two features Karate, Karate, and more Karate..as Elvis introduces teachers and shows off his belts, and performs probably some very dazzling moves for the audience during the intro to If You Talk In Your Sleep !!! Actually, although Elvis goes on for quite awhile on the subject, for the listener that knows nothing of Karate, that person will go away knowing quite a bit of the basic history of the art..as Elvis shows that his knowledge of the sport is quite vast !!
Help Me is done superbly !!! There is no fooling around, no jokes or forgotten lyrics, it is done with grace and style... Fantastic !! As is the same with Let Me Be There with the usual reprise, Elvis pushes hard on this one, and it works !!!!
Just How Great is Thou Art ??? When Elvis does it, Thou Art is amazing !! How many times as fans have we heard Elvis do How Great Thou Art ?? And how many times has it failed to show what an artist Elvis truly is ?? Never !!! This version is nothing short of stupendous !!! And for added measure, he throws in a reprise in case we missed just how good this man really is !!!
Before Hawaiian Wedding Song, Elvis has to throw his comments in about the movie magazines being trash and so on and so on... But when he finally does get around to Hawaiian Wedding Song, a sweet and heartfelt version is delivered.
A request for You Gave Me A Mountain is thrown Elvis' way, and fortunately for the listener of this disc, he does it !!! What a great version this is... Elvis' pure, powerful, and emotional vocals carry this song through to the end, giving us the climax to a concert that only he can do !!! With a quick goodbye and be careful going home, Elvis sings a standard version of Can't Help Falling In Love to end this wonderful evening.
As stated earlier, this disc is from a Vegas season where Elvis had drastic changes in temperament while on stage... But, this CD was recorded on Elvis' upswing apparently, as he jokes with the crowd, performs powerfully, yet with soul, and delivers 90 minutes of pure Elvis power.. something no one can match to this day. Night Fever in Vegas is a fever worth catching... so go get infected !!!
Reviewed by Chris Hassell, Brookhaven, NY, USA
Sound rate ****