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Cancelled: The Request Box

By ElvisNews.com/ LexMar 4, 2008

Some nostalgia pops up with the release of this CD... the original Bilko was one of the first bootleg(CD)s I ever bought.

Design

As we are used from both the Audionics as the Sounthern Comfort label, the artwork is top notch. Besides memorabilia and two cartoons by the legendary Ger Rijff the booklet is filled with shots from our man, both on as off stage. Two superb background stories, one first hand and the other is one of the best pieces of background information I've ever read. ElvisNews published both of them earlier, and for completeness I'll include them at the bottom of the review again.

Content

Right after his final decent tour in the summer of 1975 Elvis had a very short stint in Vegas. The engagement was cancelled due to illness of the star, but listening two this 2CD set it is very clear that Elvis was in a good mood. If he was acting he surely deserves a posthumous Oscar for that role. Maybe he was in such a good mood because he new it would be a very short engagement?

As said before the original The Request Box Shows was one of my first bootleg CDs, but I have to admit I didn't listen to it for at least 7 or 8 years. I bought it in a period of my life when I - like many fans still do - loved anything Elvis. Criticism of The King was something I could not even think of. Over the years realism and developing braincells won and now I am mature enough to acknowledge Elvis was human and had his failures too. When I push the nostalgia aside, I have to admit there is a reason I did not play this CD for so long.

One of the reasons is the sound quality. I passed the time when I thought "rather a good audience than a bad soundboard recording". Now I just listen to the things I really like, in general audience recordings are not among that. And that's exactly why this release is a big improvement. For comparison I played a part of the original Bilko and By Special Request on the Live Archives label. Wow is the only thing I can say... the sound surely improved a lot. Especially the first CD sounds very good for an audience recording. The second CD is slightly less (and in the beginning it sounds like Elvis is in overdrive), but still very listenable. I am told we have to settle for this quality, since both RCA and the engineers did not record these shows on soundboard. Of course that is only until a soundboard turns up ;-).

Although the shows are certainly not among Elvis' best work, there are some real gems and rarities to be found on this 2CD set. Gladly the background singers did not have solos, but the intros of the band already got their annoying length with all the instrumental solos.

On the first CD And I Love You So catches the ear. After two false starts the song gets a more than decent treatment. Other highlights are three other songs of the Today album: Fairytale, Green Green Grass of Home and the single of the time T-R-O-U-B-L-E. If only he had build each tour around the then current album... But also Burning Love is far above the average live version of the song, I even think it is one of the best live versions ever. From the August 19 M.S. My Boy is outstanding and Young and Beautiful a great to have rarity.

As said the 2nd CD starts in overdrive with See See Rider but gets to a normal pace quickly. Disregarding the sound quality the show is less than the show on the first CD. My Boy is spoilt by fooling around and I can't name any real highlights, or it must be Crying in the Chapel for its rarity. Still all together this show is enjoying too, if only for Elvis' good mood. The bonus medley of That's All Right and See See Rider (recorded during the midnight show of August 20) is a nice addition.

Conclusion

This co-operation between Audionics and Southern Comfort is successful. Two pleasant CDs crowned with beautiful artwork.

Tracklisting

CD 1 – Complete Dinner Show - August 20, 1975:

Opening Vamp - C. C. Rider / I Got A Woman - Amen (Medley) / Hound Dog / Its Now Or Never / And I Love You So (With 2 False Starts) / Blue Suede Shoes / Green Green Grass Of Home / Fairytale / Softly As I Leave You (With Sherrill Nielsen) / Band Introductions / Johnny B. Goode / Drums Solo (By Ronnie Tutt) / Bass Solo (By Jerry Scheff) / Piano Solo (By Glen D. Hardin) / School Day / T.R.O.U.B.L.E / Why Me Lord / Until Its Time For You To Go / Burning Love / Can't Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp August 19th, 1975 Midnight Show / Opening Vamp - C. C. Rider / Bathroom Story / Blue Suede Shoes / Young And Beautiful / Are You Lonesome Tonight 1 / If You Love Me (Let Me Know) / Softly As I Leave You (With Sherrill Nielsen) / Its Now Or Never / Polk Salad Annie / My Boy Running Time: 79:47

CD 2 – Dinner Show – August 19, 1975

Also Sprach Zarathustra / C.C. Rider / I Got A Woman /Amen (Medley) / Monologue / Blue Suede Shoes / If You Love Me (Let Me Know) / Its Now Or Never / My Boy / Love Me / Loving You / Suspicious Minds / Band Introductions / Johnny B. Goode / Drums Solo (By Ronnie Tuff) / Bass Solo (By Jerry Scheff) / Piano Solo (By Glen D. Hardin) / School Day #1 18 School Day #2 / Introduction Of Neil Sedaka / T.R.O.U.B.L.E. / Why Me Lord / How Great Thou Art / Let Me Be There / Crying In The Chapel / Can't Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp
August 20th, 1975 Midnight Show (Closing Night) That's All Right - C. C. Rider (Medley)

And as promised the articles from the booklet:

Cancelled

It was the early evening of August 20th when we landed at the Las Vegas Airport. For years my lady and I had dreamt of this moment. We were finally going to see Elvis!

We're part of a group of 250 fans travelling from the UK and Europe, organized by the Official Fan Club of Great Britain. Specially chartered coaches - 5 of them - drive the large group to their 'home' for the next seven days - the Holiday Inn on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Early the next morning we take a taxi to the Hilton Hotel in order to confirm our reservations for three Elvis shows on the 24th, 25th and 26th. On the way we spot several large billboards that scream out NOW ELVIS! It's like driving through a Hollywood movie set. Frikkin' incredible! When the taxi pulls up in front of the Hilton Hotel entrance, a feeling of total disbelief overpowers us. Is this really happening? We enter the hotel lobby, look around and freeze. Everywhere we look, hotel employees are pulling down posters and large banners from the walls. What the hell is going on here?, we ask ourselves. Around us are many fans who are crying and comforting each other. In just a few short moments, the sheer joy and excitement that had engulfed us has turned into the feeling of being at a funeral. We walk towards some sobbing fans and ask what is going on. "All shows are cancelled", we're told. "Elvis has taken ill and has left Vegas...!" What?! We feel numb...paralysed. The next few minutes are wiped from my memory. Never have we been so disappointed.

Broken hearted, we take a taxi back to the Holiday Inn where the sad news is beginning to sink in. There are crying fans everywhere.

"How ill is he? Is there any news about his condition?" I'm on the phone with Todd Slaughter from the UK fan club, still in his hotel room. "Not a word from his management. I just learned about it from watching the local TV news", he replies. "I'm going to make some calls and get back to you a.s.a.p., okay?"

Hours pass by and there's still no official news from the Presley man

Elvis Presley on: eBay, iTunes, Amazon, Sheetmusic

Reactions

GeertFromNl (profilecontact) wrote on May 16, 2008report abuse
Greg,when i've got it i've listened to it twice in every day!!! Now i'm only listen to it once in a week. This is a fantastic 2CD set,but there there are new ones i've recently bought. Opening Night from Madison etc. There are so many great CD's we have recently got from labels like Audionics,Southern Comfort,Straight Arrow and Madison. What an overabundance:) This is a great time being an Elvis-fan!
Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on May 6, 2008report abuse
Is it me or is this fine Southern Comfort / Audionics release getting lost in the shuffle? It's really growing on me.
Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 24, 2008report abuse
Silly me --- Bravo ***SOUTHERN COMFORT***......and ****AUDIONICS***! Just had three deaths in two weeks in my family , so Elvis music really acts as a balm and a pick-me-up...not that my marbles are intact...! *SOUTHERN COMFORT*, ladies and gentlemen...! (wild applause..)and *AUDIONICS* ladies and gentlement. Don't let'me go with that. let'em hear it. Outrageously unhinged applause.!)
Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 23, 2008report abuse
Hello again folks. I just got the package and it is yet another treat from Straight Arrow: improved sound, longer running length (2-CDs) and a stupendously well-done glossy booklet packed with color photos, momentos and liner notes. I'm not sure why they all had to be re-printed above however! Bravo, Straight Arrow!
GeertFromNl (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 4, 2008report abuse
You Dont Know Me, just because we have mentioned the august '74 shows, we still exactly know what this 2CD-set contains. Though our conversation about the '74 shows were slightly 'off topic' here, indeed.
You Dont Know Me (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 3, 2008report abuse
I find it laughable that some poorly informed posters here (think) they are listening to a 1974 shows!!! Geez!. This 2 CD set represents the highlights from the 5 shows as we already had the poorer sounding opening night show on Memory records and really its only the 1st medley track from the closing show that offers anything 'new' and we have that here.I was quite surprised by the excellent sounding 20.8.75 Dinner Show! Not only was Elvis amusing, but giving excellent versions of almost every song(Green, Green Grass of home being superb!) and everyone seems to be REALLY enjoying themselves. Only when introducing the Sweet Inspirations and saying they have been in Las Vegas for 6 years and after the audience applause dies down Elvis cracks:_ 'well glad YOU liked it!' that his true feelings for leaving Vegas become apparent-Elvis was SICK of Las Vegas. Had he continued this 'request box' style of show is good and interesting.I remember the original CD release being one of my FIRST CD bootlegs and this much better sounding up-grade hasn't been out of my CD player all week- boy Elvis still had charm in bucketloads..even if he quickly left after the shows on 20th. Excellent package, presentation and highly recomended to Elvis Collectors.9/10!
Hawaii 5-0 (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 11, 2008report abuse
Hi, All looks very professional CD and Artwork are spot on so I don't believe so, possibly I just got a copy that was mispackaged! Ah well, thanks for the confirmation I have hunted down another one and have been promised it'a a 2 CD package! (Not so good for my wallet tho..) All the best.
GeertFromNl (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 11, 2008report abuse
It's a 2CD set... Have you received a CD-R?
Hawaii 5-0 (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 11, 2008report abuse
Hi, Odd question from me bearing in mind the in depth review but here goes! Is this a 2 x CD disc set or one CD set containing all the shows on a single disc? I ask as the copy I received has one CD only (am yet to play it so just wanted to find out). Thanks.
GeertFromNl (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 9, 2008report abuse
Rare live versions of Young And Beautiful,Crying In The Chapel,Green Green Grass Of Home,Until It's Time For You To Go and Loving You... In good sound quality... With lavishly illustrated booklet... You can't go wrong with this one!
Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 9, 2008report abuse
The original release was also probably my first bootleg as well, and a neat one, at that. I look forward to the upgraded set! Mature wrote " those vegas shows from 74 are ones i never listen to,he at time made himself sound and look like a fool." Painting with way too broad of a brush, methinks. Listen again.
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 6, 2008report abuse
The shows were decent,..our man was still in good shape vocally....we have strong setlists and he did great renditions of Green Green Grass and other rarities only here in Vegas. The booklet is a gem..therefore this release is really recommendable,..not only to the die hard fan..
GeertFromNl (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 6, 2008report abuse
Personally i like those august '74 Vegas shows very much (just listen to CD4 of the Live In Las Vegas set,he was in funny mood and performed the songs reasonably well! Only the last few shows were different),but why are you talking about them here? It's slightly off topic:) The shows on this 2CD set were recorded 1 year later. He was ill,but you can't notice this when you're listening to these shows. You may hear him in good mood,he performed most of the songs well and sang a few rarities during each show which didn't happen too often during other Vegas seasons and tours. All in all,it was a short but good and interesting Vegas stand.
mature_elvis_fan75 (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 5, 2008report abuse
First of all why was he in vegas in 74? geesh,and those vegas shows from 74 are ones i never listen to,he at time made himself sound and look like a fool,and thats what many people remember,of course us fans know there were much better times,just too bad it got that bad that quick!
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 5, 2008report abuse
After the cancellation, the Elvis team should have gotten together and demanded Elvis quit the road and get himself togeter before appearing in public again. I remember this time very well and it was very unpleasant being an ELvis fan and have everyone either make fun of him or calling him over the hill & washed up. A couple I knew even walked out of a Vegas performance in 1974 and told me he was a bum. A very sad time.
GeertFromNl (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 5, 2008report abuse
Reading his review i don't think he will use them as clocks:) These are great shows in very good sound quality. The front cover is simply beautiful. I wish FTD and other bootleg labels could do a similar job.
Matthias Kuenzer (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 5, 2008report abuse
"Wow! TWO clocks!"
GeertFromNl (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 5, 2008report abuse
This beauty is on the way to me,hopefully i'll get it on the next week. Some people told me that the sound quality is vastly improved. Good and unexpectedly positive review,Lex.

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