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Elvis: An American Trilogy by Geoffrey Mc Donnell (Australia) Part III

The Trashing of An American Trilogy...

Unfortunately this seriously started happening on a Regular basis from this August season basically from then on... Also (somewhat unusually) virtually every version performed this season Elvis introduces as a 'request' before performing-why did he seem to need to justify performing it this season? Up until now from 1972 onwards we have heard Elvis substitute the word 'Dixieland' for 'Disneyland' to get a laugh in some of his versions, unfortunately what that also does is to undermine that version so upon repeat listening this 'joke' becomes unbearable. Even right though the (mostly) serious Winter 1974 season Elvis still sends up around 20% in this 'Disneyland' way, however the other versions are very, VERY good versions.

The worst season is the August 1974 season in which out of 10 versions 8 are a straight dis-respectful send up. It's simply like he suddenly lost respect for the song in this way. And things don't improve much in 1975 with most versions following this pattern and only a few are decent 'straight' versions. In 1976 after more Disneyland versions. At least by 1977, he manages to mis-time his final serious version, but at least here he isn't intent on sending it up. Oh how I wish he hadn't trashed such a fine song in the later 70's as he hardly ever trashed How Great Thou Art, why trash An American Trilogy?.

Las Vegas August 27th M/S Elvis says 'I wish you were too' however it's a passable version and seems appreciated by the crowd.

Las Vegas August 28th D/S Elvis says 'I/They were born and sings a sincere and good version with nice flute solo, however not quite the best ending though.

Las Vegas August 28th M/S Elvis says 'I wish they were too',' They were born','lookaway Disneyland',' sing it' as he ruins this version by word changes.

Las Vegas August 29th D/S Elvis says 'I wish you were too',' I/They were born',' Disneyland' and again rushes this version and ruins it.

Las Vegas August 29th M/S Elvis says 'lookaway, lookaway','I wish you were too',' Disneyland'. Passable version only.

Las Vegas August 30th D/S Elvis says 'I wish you were too''yeah, they were born',' Disney/Dixieland' this continues to a decent ending but spoilt early on.

Las Vegas August 30th M/S * Great audience applause and (most surprisingly!)A fantastic version as Elvis seems to rise to the crowd not muck around and deliver the best version this season with a fine ending. NIGHT FEVER IN VEGAS (Rock Legend OSA ACD CD 1003) (Released 'soundboard' in 1996) this was the version Elvis performed after the 'infamous' fuck-you comment.

Las Vegas August 31st D/S Elvis says 'in a bed of cotton','Lookaway, Lookaway','Wish you were too',' In Disneyland' this version ends ok but is obviously spoilt.

Las Vegas August 31st M/S Elvis says 'Lookaway Disneyland-sing it', (in mock high voice)'Wish you were too',' They were born' the ending turns out ok but only ok. IT'S MIDNIGHT IN VEGAS - (It's A Wizard Corp. 2094) (Released 'audience recording'1998)

Las Vegas September 1st M/S Elvis says 'Lookaway Lord,Lookaway','I wish you were too',' They/I were born',' Lord lookaway,lookaway'.Elvis rarely stuffs up putting in the line 'His truth is marching on' in the wrong timing and also his voice is over-vocalizing the song in a most un-careful way and making ultimately a very poor version.

Las Vegas September 2nd CL/S Elvis says 'wush I was'- unfocused casual start to singing the song,' I wish you were too',' They/I was born''Lord,Lord lookaway Dixieland' After he's sung 'your daddy's bound to die' Elvis adds 'yes he is' and 'play it Jimmy' Elvis here comers across like a drunken Karaoke singer with little regard for the song and gives an exceptionally uneven vocal performance -therefore it's a complete surprise that 'It's now or Never' performed after woods is much better. DESERT STORM (Fort Baxter 2200) (Released 'soundboard' in 1996)

Las Vegas March 21st D/S sung too fast, Disney/Dixieland + high voice 'joke' quipps, fair version only not at all good. Flute Solo.

Las Vegas March 27th D/S 'They were born' and 'Dixie/Disneyland' (twice!) in this version. All-held and otherwise ok version apart from this perennial tiresome 'joke' about Disney/Dixieland.

Las Vegas March 28th M/S As usual around the 4 minute length, but he changes some word to:-"In Dixieland where they were born","Yeah look away, yeah Lord" Elvis also repeats a line singing: _"His Truth, His Truth..." passable version but for me spoilt very early on. Pretty good but by no means 'outstanding'.

Las Vegas April 1st CL/S Elvis sings "lookaway, lookaway" and "They were born" and 'lookaway Disney/Dixieland". There are some comments by him but despite these unnecessary remarks words it finishes well. ON A APRIL FOOL'S DAY VOL. 2 (Claudia CD 040175) (Released 1995)

1975 maybe performed at every show this 1st tour??

Macon, GA April 24 E/S not on incomplete show.

Jacksonville, FL April 25th E/S 'Stamps sing wish I was in Dixie' Elvis quips "me too" but still a solid version with a fine ending. A DAMN FINE SHOW (Vicky 2075) (Released 1995)

Tampa, FL April 26th A/S "look away Disney/Dixieland" and says in a high voice "sing it Fellas" ruins the seriousness of this version. THE KING ROCK TAMPA (Stage Entertainment EP 5009) (Released 1995)

Tampa, FL April 26th E/S Sung straight pretty good version with a great ending. Elvis - The Lightning Storm in Florida "Touring Florida Vol. 2"(Memory Records) (released 2006)

Lakeland, FL April 28th E/S Fans delay the start, but apart from Elvis saying 'sing it' and 'They were born' it is a definite 'good' 1975 version, All-held a flute solo and well sung right to the end. WE'LL MAKE YOU HAPPY (Savoy) (Released 2002)

Murfreesboro, TN April 29 E/S unavailable as my tape of show runs out.

Atlanta, GA April 30 E/S Another excellent Version with All-held and a nice flute solo.

Atlanta, GA May 1st E/S straight very fine sincere version.

Atlanta, GA May 2nd E/S * An excellent version, with zero mucking around by Elvis and he seems quite amazed at the lengthy and overwhelming fans applause after it! During the Dixie finale an American flag was unveiled and dropped at the back of the stage at the Omni-this Could well be his BEST 1975 version? LIVE AT THE OMNI (Wizard Corp. EP 5275) (Released 1997)

Monroe, LA May 3rd A/S Elvis quipps "you are you fools",+ 1 other comment and this is CLEARLY a much less good version than the night before in Atlanta.

Monroe, LA May 3rd E/S "Disney/Dixieland"," in mock high voice "sing it fellas","you are you fools" + other annoying dialogue ruining another version that has a fine ending.

Lake Charles, LA May 4th A/S "you are you fools" sincere very moving version with a great ending-otherwise good version. CAJUN TORNADO (Madison CWP 005) (Released 2001)

Lake Charles, LA May 4th E/S dreadful version with Elvis talking his way though and ruining the song. Saying "Look up Kathy"." you are you fools"," you may do that too, why you get applause and I don't get applause?" A pity because the ending is 'good'. A PROFILE, THE KING ON STAGE (Fort Baxter 161095) (Released 1995)

Jackson, MS May 5th E/S "Unavailable for review"

Murfreesboro, TN May 6th E/S 'look away "what?" Dixieland',' you are you fools', and Elvis sings a part of the Stamps part, otherwise it's an OK version. This was released on the FTD label as 'Dixieland Rocks' Murfreesboro, TN May 7th E/S Elvis says 'You are, I told you that',' all my trials Lord (thank-God) will soon be over'. Before ending an otherwise ok version. This was released on the 'Audionics' 2nd soundboard release r/t 3'40...

Changing from Flute Solo to Trumpet Solo From this tour onwards the awesome Flute solo became a Trumpet Solo and often no-where near as good!.

Huntsville May 30th Although Elvis quips right after the Stamps start their 'Dixie' singing saying "You Are" it's a decent version, All is held, and I only wish Elvis didn't make such comments.

Huntsville, AL May 31st A/S Elvis says "You Are" as Stamps start singing and there is great crowd enthusiasm All is held, Great Drumming and the end is Great one of the very best 1975 versions.

Huntsville, AL May 31 E/S Again Elvis says "You Are" at which point the crowd go nuts. Their is Excellent Drumming throughout but despite Elvis's apparent extra vocal effort he changes the lines to:-"You Know the Sound Systems Bound to Die" which completely makes a mockery of an otherwise good version.

Huntsville, AL June 1st E/S This time Elvis Quips "You Guys Are, do you know that?" He extends the singing of Al-heluuula and yet the Trumpet solo is one of the most sincere versions.

Mobile, AL June 2nd A/S Elvis quips "I wish you were too" passable version. MOVIN' MOBILE (Madison CWP 008) (Released 2004)

Mobile, Al June 2nd E/S 'yeah look away',' sing it boys' you are you fools'+'Disney/Dixieland' unnecessary yeah Glory ruins version.+* dodgy trumpet solo! Too. Seems to end with falsetto but not a good version. SOLD OUT IN DIXIE (Rock Legends Soza 07 - CD 1007) (Released 1998)

Tuscaloosa, AL June 3rd E/S Elvis emphasis's 'Old times are NOT Forgotten', and says to the Stamps" You Are You Fools" Elvis also sings 1 line of the Stamps part' Take my Stand...'All is held and it's a beautifully paced great drumming version, good ending and not a bad 75' version. DEEP DOWN SOUTH (King Records 7596-1) (Released 1997)

Houston, TX June 4th E/S 'ooh lord,' you are you fools' Elvis sings 'Take my Stand'a passable version but faulted and over vocalized as he tries and ends on a falsetto high end-average version. THE EAGLE HAS LANDED - (Moon TEHL P7362512433) (Released 2001?)

Houston, TX June 5th E/S bit unusual being performed after 'Mountain', but emphasize 'old times are not forgotten' In Dixie (quips you are, you fools'yeah Lord and a 'dodgy' Trumpet solo-results in an 'ok' version but not that serious with a few extra embellishments. However better than the last few days passable version. HOWDY HOUSTON (Wiggle A Lone Star A101112) (Released 2002)

Dallas, TX June 6th E/S 'Lookaway, Lookaway',+ mock high voice and 'you are you Dodo's' 'In Dixieland They were born' Then Elvis makes the crowd be quiet , then 'All my Trials(Thank-Goodness) will soon be over' not such a good version as Elvis even laughs and says 'it's too late' during this version. ELVIS DALLAS SEVENTYFIVE - (Lone Star A 456) (Released 2001)

Jackson, MS June 8th E/S "Disney/Dixieland","you are you fools", again the trumpet solo is suspect' but builds to an ok not too bad version-great ending. A CAPITAL PERFORMANCE (CWP 006) (Released 2002)

Jackson, MS June 9th E/S * Elvis says "you are" (but it's barely audible) and Elvis also sings last few words of the Stamps part, 'yeah Lord Glory', 'All-held my trials Lord (thank-God!) will soon be over'. Again we suffer the 'dodgy trumpet solo'. Apart from this it's a serious Great Version and could arguably be Elvis's last really magnificent version without the Dixie/Disneyland joke? CUT 'EM DOWN TO SIZE (Pegasus PG 060975) (Released 1996)

Memphis, TN June 10th E/S after 'I wish I were in Dixie' Elvis says "you are!" despite a good finish it runs a little short (3:49) and not as well performed as before.

Oklahoma City, OK July 8th E/S 'unavailable' for review

Asheville, NC July 24th E/S Sung as a 'request' for Nancy, one has to wonder how Nancy felt after hearing her Legend virtually 100% 'trash' his performance of 'An American Trilogy'? Emphasizes NOT forgotten, Dixie/Disneyland and Elvis says 'wish I were in Dixie', and other comments ruining the delicate mood.' In Dixieland where they were born'+ more talking! Just before the Trumpet solo and "Hot Damm!" running for 4:03 you wouldn't want to hear it again. PIECES OF MY LIFE (Straight Arrow - SA 2005-1-02) (Released 2005)

Lake Tahoe 30.4.76 M/S Again it's the Disney/Dixieland version and says 'wish you were too' however great drumming and All-held a nice Flute solo and good, but Elvis lacks a bit by the ending. Running for 4:13

Lake Tahoe 4.5.76 10pm 'Look away Disney/Dixieland' and more aside comments from Elvis. His truth(sung twice) This version is a pity because it's basically a well sung version with nice flute solo, great drumming and ending but short at r/t 3:46

Tulsa, OK July 4th 1976 A/S * Sings: - 'look away Disney/Dixieland 'He even tells noisy fans to be 'Quiet' because of their noise. despite all this it is WELL SUNG and trumpet solo and sung well to the end, but noisy fans and 'jokes' don't make for the occasion that demanded a 100% serious patriotic version.

Fayetteville 3rd Aug 1976(reported) In the Fayetteville Observer dated Wednesday 4th August 1976 it was reported that Elvis gave a 75 minute show on 3rd and "Elvis offered variety- rock,ballads,and mixed it up with a bit of 'Dixie' and 'The battle hymn of the republic' sung as only the king could." "For a country Guy this is one helluva an experience" - one spectator commented.. and it was.

2001 Theme / C C Rider / I Got A Woman - Amen / Love Me / If You Love Me / You Gave Me A Mountain / All Shook Up / Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel / And I Love You So / Jailhouse Rock / Fever / An American Trilogy /Polk Salad Annie/ Intros : Early Morning Rain by John Wilkinson - What'd I Say by James Burton - Johnny B. Goode by James Burton - Ronnie Tutt drums solo - Jerry Scheff bass solo - Tony Brown piano solo - David Briggs solo - Love Letters - Joe Guercio and Orchestra solo - Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll / Hurt (+ reprise) /Danny Boy-sherril neilson/Hound Dog/ Funny How Times Slip Away / Can't Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp

Mobile, AL 2nd June 1977 (last ever version) * This seemed a strange choice for this concert, but then part-way through this tour he had included other 'brief' surprise inclusions such as 'The Wonder of You' and even 'Big Boss Man'.Not having performed it for many months obviously when he stopped and re-started the song part way though (because he came in too early as it's going into it's final part of Glory, Glory hallelujah)it looses 'atmosphere' never the less the crowd seemed to appreciate his extra effort at the ending and makes just 1 highlights of the many in this great closing tour show. His voice seems 'strong' and up for this song tonight. Also quite 'remarkable' for these last 2 years of performing this song, this time he doesn't seem intent on making it a 'Joke' or trashing it. Newspapers all agreed that Elvis's performance in Mobile in 1977 was MUCH better this time around than the poor shows in late August 1976.

Finally Elvis became a part of the American Trilogy / American Dream and singing it 5 years before his death he seemed 'bound to die' but all his trials are over now and just the Legend lives as his truth is still marching on! Recently an interesting debate ran on F.E.C.C. and it was interesting that largely everyone seemed to agree that Aloha 14.1.73 was a great version (and certainly best we have visually) whilst many people still strongly rated the Hampton Roads 9.4.72 E/S.Greensboro 14.4.72 and Madison Square Garden 10.6.72 A/S also got a very high rating indeed and lastly Portland 27.4.73 and Opening Night 26.1.72 and Memphis 20.3.74 got honorable mentions too. It's partly 'good audio availability' and people's choice above reflects that!

(*) An American Trilogy FTD CD suggestion...:-

1. Las Vegas 26.1.72 Opening Show Version
2. Elvis Aaron Presley 1980 release 15.2.72 M/S
3. Single release version 16.2.72 M/S
4. Richmond 10.4.72
5. Greensboro 14.4.72
6. Madison Square Garden 10.6.72 A/S
7. Fort Worth 18.6.72
8. Las Vegas 11.8.72 M/S
7. Aloha 14.1.73
8. 15.2.73 D/S- doctor's office version
9. 23.2.73 D/S
10. 20.8.73 M/S
11. 8.2.74 M/S
12. Memphis 20.3.74
13. Lake Tahoe 25.5.74 D/S
14. Las Vegas 30.8.74 M/S
15. Atlanta 2.5.75
17. Jackson 9.6.75
18. Tulsa 4.7.76
19. Mobile 2.6.77