release by the Madison label contains a soundboard recording of the 1st
June afternoon show from the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville Alabama. It
was the fourth of five shows performed in Huntsville at the start of this tour,
which ended in Memphis on the 10th June. All songs from this show are
previously unreleased, with the exception of: Heartbreak Hotel and Please
Release Me which were included in the FTD title: Southern Nights. As the 2001
introduction, See See Rider and closing vamp were not recorded, these parts have
been taken from different performances during the same year to simulate a
16 page booklet is simply stunning, containing 26 colour photos of Elvis from
the show itself, with more on the back cover, inlay tray and the disc itself. In
my opinion it’s impossible to overstate just how much these photos contribute
to the enjoyment of this concert—they truly bring it to life and raise it to
another level. In addition, the booklet also includes a comprehensive and
entertaining review of the show itself.
sound quality is excellent, with great bass and appears similar to other shows
from this venue. Although it was announced that there would be a marked
improvement in the sound compared to Vol 1 of this series, it was not
immediately noticeable to my ears. Certainly the shows issued on the Audionics
label appear to be every bit as good in this regard. Whatever your view, it’s
undeniably dynamic and rewarding to listen to.
CD opens with the 2001 introduction and See See Rider from the May 6th
performance in Murfreesboro, (featured on the FTD release: Dixieland Rocks).
This new recording begins during the opening monologue making it one of the most
complete shows from this tour, as this part is missing from other soundboards.
Initially Elvis sounds a little slurred when he speaks, but attempts to explain
his sluggishness saying, “I got to tell you something folks, when I walk out
here I haven’t been up for about two hours.”
then teases the crowd by ad-libbing a few lines of What I’d Say prior to I Got
A Woman. In a surprise move he decides not to ask J. D. Sumner to repeat his
vocal slide during the Amen chorus, remarking, “I ain’t gonna do it no more,
that’s about as good as he can do it.” Afterwards he introduces himself
saying, “I’m the Cisco kid….that’s what this outfit reminds me of, I
swear to you.” This is followed by some good humoured banter regarding his
dissatisfaction with the microphone, along with some playful remarks to a female
fan about a cuddly toy mouse which she brought to his show the day before, (featured
in the photo on the inlay tray).
Me is performed next, where he dons some enormous ‘Elton John style’ glasses
which can also be seen in photos within the booklet and inlay tray. This song is
extended for an extra verse and features a long ending note which his backing
groups are required to hold for a punishing twelve seconds. If You Love Me Let
Me Know follows this, with further audience interaction afterwards, where he
gives out different coloured scarves to two little boys.
Me Tender has the false start joke: “I’d like to but I don’t really feel
like doing it” and provides further opportunities for scarf distribution. All
Shook Up is followed by the Teddy Bear / Don’t Be Cruel medley, with comments
regarding scarves audible throughout. The Wonder Of You is next, which also has
a false start where Jerry Scheff misses his cue and comes in late, but goes on
to receive a nice performance.
Elvis announces, “We’re supposed to do Burning Love in this spot, but
instead I’m gonna do, uh, Heartbreak Hotel.” This song features the usual
fantastic piano embellishment from Glen Hardin, with Elvis ad-libbing, “So
sweaty you could die” on the final chorus. It’s immediately followed by the
aforementioned Burning Love, which ends with him commenting, “What d’you
know…I didn’t even work up a sweat, I don’t think I’ve got any fluid in
my body.” At this point a female fan offers him flowers which he accepts
saying, “Honey the flowers are shaking, is that you or me?” before rewarding
her with a kiss.
group introductions follow this, where several members are comically introduced
with no pause for breath. He sings a few lines of Johnny B. Goode and Lawdy Miss
Clawdy during James Burton and Glen Hardin’s respective solos and goes on to
introduce Charlie Hodge as the guy who “messes up my microphone.” The
backing group Voice are credited with having new outfits, which he takes the
time to admire, before jokingly accusing J. D. Sumner and the Sweets for being
too cheap to buy new ones.
this he asks his band, “Do we know Please Release Me? Have we got that?” The
answer is presumably negative as he retorts, “OK, let’s wing it.” The
version that follows is pleasant enough and was the only time this song was
performed on this tour. He then introduces T.R.O.U.B.L.E. as his latest record
adding, “I don’t know all the words to it, so I’ll have to read part of
‘em….” A good version ensues, followed by Why Me Lord which includes
various comic asides designed to put J.D. off his stroke.
Great Thou Art is performed next, which receives huge applause and appreciative
shouts from the crowd before an enthusiastic version of Let Me Be There. After
this there is a pause, where Elvis can be heard asking Charlie for suggestions
on what to sing next. Funny How Time Slips Away is decided upon, which results
in the house lights being turned up and a further exchange with the audience
which ends with him calling out, “Honey don’t lose anything…I ain’t
this song, the noisy crowd can be heard desperately trying to attract his
attention and the ending is later reprised to highlight J. D’s low ending
note. A light hearted performance of Little Darlin’ follows this, where he
forgets the lyrics and repeats a passage twice. Afterwards he addresses the
crowd saying, “You really have been fantastic audiences down here in
Huntsville….we couldn’t have asked for a better reception and we thank you
very much for it.”
goes on to suggest American Trilogy to Charlie as the next song, but instead
gets sidetracked by an insistent fan who offers him a lei in return for his belt.
As a compromise, he sings a snatch of the Hawaiian Wedding Song to placate her,
but abandons any thoughts of extending the show. After bidding everyone ‘an
affectionate farewell’ he follows with Can’t Help Falling In Love. A skilful
edit of the closing vamp which includes the ‘Elvis has left the building’
announcement completes the show.
sum up, this is another excellent production containing a previously unreleased
show from this venue. Whilst it is inevitably similar to other shows from this
tour, it nonetheless provides a further opportunity to experience Elvis’
infectious good humour and charismatic personality before an enthusiastic crowd.
As such I highly recommend it. Both the superior sound quality and attractive
artwork are further advantages which make this a must for every collection.
SOUND RATING *****
Reviewed by Mike Sanders