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Concerts Reviewed - 1973

Vegas Showman - August 11, 1973 Midnight Show
A Classic Bootleg review by Javilu

In 1993 the "Stage Entertainment" label released an audience recording of the midnight show Elvis performed in Las Vegas on August 11, 1973.

The sound throughout is very good for a 1973 mono audience recording.

Although there are a couple of dropouts here and there, the CD is quite enjoyable, even if not up to the standard of other bootleg recordings also available from this Vegas season.

Elvis isn't talkative and there's barely any dialog to be found between songs, but he sounds more animated and less bored than in the previous February season, when Presley was not enthusiastic about returning to Vegas after the "high" that the "Aloha From Hawaii" special meant for his career.

The artwork could have been better for it presents some errors, like when the producers of the CD inform us that the orchestra is conducted by "Joe Guericio", lists "American Triology" in the backcover or omits to mention "Emory Gordy" as the bass guitar player.

The liner notes on the inner sleeve are short and give an overview of Elvis professional life throughout 1973 and the concert itself.

The recording starts midway through "C.C. Rider", and the sound quality is very good. You can hear Elvis clearly as well as the band.

Oddly, Elvis forgets the lyrics in the middle of "I Got A Woman/Amen", stops the band, says "Wait a minute, Wait a minute...I forgot the damn song!" and resumes singing the correct verse.

Elvis greets the audience, complains about noises and asks if they are caused by his microphone.

"Love Me" is very short and a good version, followed immediately by a committed "Steamroller Blues" showcasing great guitar playing by James Burton.

"You Gave Me A Mountain" is well performed and the orchestra can be heard at an enjoyable volume instead of upfront like in so many soundboards from the 70s.

"I'd like to sing a medley of some of my records for you" is Elvis' comment before singing a great version of "Trouble" where Elvis sings "I'm only made out....of sweat, blood and bones". The guitar solo is great and the audience applauds enthusiastically as a rushed "Blue Suede Shoes" follows.

The regular 2 minute medley of "Long Tall Sally" and other Rock 'n Roll hits is followed by an average "Love Me Tender" showcasing the expected kissing and audience interaction routine.

"Fever!...in the morning....this whole place is on fire" and a lot of lyric changes prompts a lot of laughter and screaming in the audience during "Fever".

Elvis gets serious for "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and delivers a very good version where the orchestra sounds very nice in the background.

A small silence, probably due to a change of tape, precedes a rushed "Suspicious Minds".

The Band Introductions are short and serious until Elvis says "The guy that gives me my water and my scarfs, his name is Moreno", and then proceeds to introduce Joe Guercio and his orchestra.

Elvis then says "There's a very fine actress in the audience...Mrs. Shirley MacLaine...they told me that she's supposed to be here! This place is damn big you can't find anybody!" and tells us he's going to play a beautiful song called "My Boy".

He performs the song with slightly different phrasing than the one he'd use in December when cutting at Stax the studio version of the tune first recorded by Richard Harris.

"Thank you very much, that's a pretty song" Elvis says perhaps a bit moved by the dramatic lyrics.

"I Can't Stop Loving You" shows Elvis in fine voice, especially at the ending.

"I'd like to do this next song for my stepmother Dee" is the way Elvis introduces a beautiful version of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" which is one of the concert's highlights, a perfect rendition.

"Mystery Train / Tiger Man" includes 2 killer James Burton solos and increases in speed during the "Tiger Man" part.

"I want to tell you something Ladies and Gentleman...the normal tempo of this song is like this" and goes on to sing an ultra rare 1 minute country version of "Tiger Man" which is another highlight of this concert and shows Elvis good mood.

Elvis calls for "Trilogy" and delivers a very good version of the showstopper which prompts an ovation from the audience.

The not often performed "Release me" is next and even if not as good as the 1970 version, it is still well sung and played. This song finishes the disc for although "Can't Help falling In Love" is listed on the sleeve, it is not included in the CD.

If you enjoy good quality audience recordings with the odd rare song thrown in a decent concert, then it might be well worth seeking out this old CD.

Overall, this is a very entertaining show and one you'll not regret adding to your collection.

(c) Javilu - September 6, 2011

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