The Czech Elvis Presley fan club released two new CD’s. The start of the new year could hardly have been better than with two shows from one of Elvis peaks, August 1970. An engagement we know from his movie “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is”. The CD's contain two audience recordings from August 20 1970, recorded by Rick Rennie. His audience recordings have been released in various formats before.
Are these CD’s an improvement over the previous releases on “A Dinner Date With Elvis”?
The design is done by Geert Hof again, and he outdid himself this time. The design of the two CD’s makes a complete package. You must like some bright colors, but so far these are the flashiest covers to come out of the Czech Republic.
The liner notes are a review of the show and the additional bonus tracks on this CD. It is a bit hard to read on the great background picture, but informative.
“A Dinner Bell In Vegas” is an audience recording, but this time it is the complete show, including the three missing tracks, in remastered quality. It still is an audience recording, but far above average, like most of Rick Rennie’s recordings are. For mor information about the, you can read the EmailInterview we did with him a few years back.
You don’t hear Elvis shout to James And John to play their parts loud that often during the first minute of “That’s All Right”. That sounds like we are in for an enthusiastic Elvis with this show.
We’re not wrong; Elvis is at one of his artistic peaks. The filming for “That’s The Way It Is” is done, Elvis interacts with his audience and is relaxed. Part of it we know, if only from the before mentioned documentary.
The “Love Me Tender” round along the girls is nice to watch, but irritating to listen to. One show later he goes over the top with it, resulting in a lesser positive reaction from his audience.
As for the familiar set-list: interesting is a one-verse version of “Memphis Tennessee”. “I’ve Lost You”, “I Just Can’t Help Believin’” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” clearly show Elvis' vocal strength, as does a great rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at the end of the show. This is the highlight of the show for sure.
On “Polk Salad Annie” Elvis has to deal with an enthusiastic fan who probably has been down south (too much), but the small instrumental part with Jerry Scheff’s prominent bass adds to the tension this song has. Unfortunately Elvis doesn’t get the song 100% straight anymore. The same goes for “The Wonder Of You”, on which Elvis is not flawless.
He makes jokes with all members of the band during the introduction, after the Sweets he introduces the Stamps as their husbands and James Burton as his favorite guitar player, Chuck Berry. The rocker in Elvis shows himself on the classic “Johnny B Goode”, with James pickin’ his guitar like only he can. The other standards get the quickie treatment, but fortunately the newer classic “Suspicious Minds” still sounds like a song both Elvis and the audience love.
The bonus tracks are recorded one day earlier of the same quality as the performances of this concert. Good to have some extra renditions of “I Just Can’t Help Believin’” and “Suspicious Minds” but these too were released before, on the classic import “Double Dynamite”.
The Czech fan club did a very good job re-releasing this concert in a better quality, and a nice presentation of the two concerts of this date. Perhaps next time a complete date is released it can be done in a 2CD set like the “Double Dynamite” release of the August 19th concerts. If you don’t have the original releases of these concerts, you might want to get these.