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Chaos In College Park

By ElvisNews.com / KeesOct 5, 2006
This fourth Straight Arrow release contains an unreleased audience recorded version of Elvis' infamous concert in College Park, Maryland. Was it a chaos on stage?

Design

It is certainly no chaos at the design department of this young label; a good review of the show in an historical perspective with many pictures and some memorabilia on 16 pages.

Content

It is no chaos at the “archive” department of this label either; they came up with an “original” release, Elvis' infamous concert from September 27, 1974 recorded from the audience at College Park, Maryland. A brave choice, but a good one? No. After a standard opening the crowd urges “Do It Elvis” but listening to the show he doesn’t unfortunately. We should stop the review here, this show isn’t a pleasure to listen to, and that is the main reason we put on an Elvis CD.

Elvis needs a lot of “well, well wells” to get going on “I Got A Woman” the sign of things to come. The audience is very loud, and certain ladies want way too much attention from our man, this distracts and irritates him. Even during the intro of a classic like “Bridge Over Troubled Water” they can’t keep quiet. But Elvis isn’t himself too, he can’t keep quiet either, he talks way too much, doesn’t want to do certain classics (like he needs to rehearse “Jailhouse Rock”) and even urges the band to slow down on the before mentioned “Bridge”.
Overall the sound quality is not that bad regarding the audience source. In the audio mix Elvis is a bit in the back sometimes, so we can’t determine if he can’t perform the really vocal parts, or the mix isn’t so good. We guess it is the first …

Conclusion

It was not a chaos on-stage, there are worse shows, but it wasn’t what an Elvis concert should be. In general this tour was bad – leaving out a few exceptions – Elvis simply wasn’t himself and it showed. This release documents it in writing and audio.

Track listing: College Park, Maryland, September 27 1974

01. Also Sprach Zarathustra - 02. Opening Vamp / C. C. Rider - 03. I Got A Woman / Amen - 04. Love Me - 05. If You Love Me (Let Me Know) - 06. It's Midnight - 07. Big Boss Man - 08. Fever - 09. Love Me Tender - 10. Hound Dog - 11. Bridge Over Troubled Water - 12. Polk Salad Annie - 13. Band Introductions - 14. Lead Guitar Solo (by James Burton) - 15. Drums Solo (by Ronnie Tutt) - 16. Bass Solo (by Duke Bardwell) - 17. Piano Solo (by Glen D. Hardin) - 18. Killing Me Softly (by Voice) - 19. Why Me Lord - 20. All Shook Up - 21. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel - 22. Hawaiian Wedding Song - 23. How Great Thou Art - 24. Can't Help Falling In Love - 25. Closing Vamp / Announcements.
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Reactions

Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2007report abuse
Having had more time with this release, I must say that it's not enough to say "Elvis wasn't himself" on this show, as he most certainly sounds like Elvis Presley on all the songs and some in particular are quite good. His rambling, which got worse on the next night, is evident, as is the audience's impatience in spots, but it's true: the myth has been busted.

If you want a truly bad, "train-wreck" show, try "The Bicenntennial Experience" from Hampton Roads, Virginia in '76, or even worse, "Send Me the Light...I Need It Bad" from Baltimore '77, when he actually left the stage for a long time. (And even then, the moment he comes back during "School Days" ("Hail, Hail Rock'n'Roll") is pure bedlam, and a super-rare "Elvis moment" that should be heard more. That is like he's come back from the dead.

By contrast, he recovers quickly from his few gaffes here. As the track listings note, "another 'Elvis Myth' is now laid to rest," - indeed.

The ironically titled "Chaos In College Park" turned out to be one of 2006's more interesting, and yes, controversial releases, as evidenced from the chatter on messageboards. This was precisely because people couldn't fathom that (a) an audience recording ("another one!") couldn't be worth it because (b) "it's that much maligned College Park, Maryland show from September 27th, 'the worst ever' "!

As Straight Arrow demonstrates with their fine, deluxe booklet and thoughtful notes, don't believe everything you've been told, even from a band member! And certainly the Washington Post, then and now.

The other show (the next night, I believe) can be heard on the second PROFILE boxset (hear it for free on Jordan's Elvis site). Now *that's* a melt-down. And even then, there are some decent performances. Both shows, however, show a rambling Elvis who shouldn't have been on stage, particularly the shocking (some might say "tragicomic") outbursts of the 28th.

This show definitely has its moments when you think he's about to lose it- one of the worst "Fever" renditions (basically half-assed) and quite a few moments of him rambling on and on. One can hear actually hear fans yelling at him to sing already at one point or another. The band introductions go on and on forever. It's a weird mix of a cringe fest -redeemed by a man singing his ass off all of a sudden, if need be. It's a tightwire act - and the fans and Elvis actually win by the end, as finally finds another gear on some of the songs, particularly "How Great Thou Art."

I'll say more another time but this is one of those neat "weird shows," like "Closing Night" that some of us find room for. Hat's off to Straight Arrow for again surprising us all, including a certain "physician" at another site who for the longest time stridently thought that this was mere hype---until he heard it. So all of you: I encourage you to take what we in the USA once called the "Pepsi Challenge" and seek out this quality (really, quality) import disc.

Is it "chaos" - or not?
Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 19, 2006report abuse
Bravo to the "Straight Arrow" label for making this "controversial" show more of an *event* in this CD issue. Great booklet, great notes and a convincing conclusion that this show has gotten a bad rap for a variety of reasons. As the reviewer Kess and others note, it's a problematic show, to be sure, but I've heard worse (especially the next day). I have to say I winced when he told the fans that they couldn't do "Jailhouse Rock" because they don't know it. The song is a basic blues-based rocker and that moment was more cringe-worthy than most other parts of this. And he does fire it up on songs like "How Great Thou Art." LIke the best audience-taped shows, there is bird's eye feeling of "being there. Well done, "Straight Arrow" staff!
Natha (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 12, 2006report abuse
I just listened to this CD while on route. What struck me was the sheer enthousiasm of the crowd. They had a wonderful time obviously, and so did I. And that's what it's all about I guess. I could not yet establish clearly whether Elvis was great or not, but actually I don't care. If I want to hear that I listen to a studio or rca/bmg/sony 'release'. Soundboards are 'escapes' to share some emotion with those present. Thank you Elvis!
chrisc (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 9, 2006report abuse
And of course there is always exaggeration of anything negative about Elvis, even among the fans who ought to know better.
You Dont Know Me (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 8, 2006report abuse
I don't think this is either a very good 'review' as it lacks any details, I have just had the 'pleasure' of recieving this CD and my first listen, booklet is excellent many pictures and a neat 'style' of printing the following days newspaper review on the actual Disc. For 100% certain this concert is a better complete show than the next night on 28th Sept 74 as his attitude isn't 'bad' in fact it's funny(especially what he says about Jackie Kahane during the intros!- that he's NOT funny but kills time!) at times he DOES waffle talk too much(especially at the begining of the show) but he sounds somewhat clearer than the next night and his voice is better as well! You can certainly tell that something is wrong and that it's a step down from his start of season quality of August 74 Vegas shows, but nevertheless still an enjoyable concert! So i would certainly say that the 'myth' that Elvis was so completely 'out of it' that the whole show was a disaster is far, FAR from the truth...in fact the fans seem to be loving it! Sure it's not the best of shows and to those around him a big drop in Elvis the performer than recently in August, but even having dropped a notch or two in College Park he still achieves a fair show and of cource WITH some quite decent 'highlights' Obviously i feel that out of 2 CD's from College Park THIS is the one i enjoy hearing much more than the 'Felton i'll rip your kidney out 'rubbish he said the next night.Oh and the closing Vamp is unbelievable...like he must have stayed on stage forever before leaving ..one of the longest closing vamps after a show as Elvis greeted fans i ever heard!
Jerome (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 7, 2006report abuse
The show the next day certainly is worse. Here Elvis starts pretty bad I think. The version of CC Rider, even taking the sound quality in consideration, is one of the worst I ever heard. But Elvis recovers and stabilizes and that proves that the Joe Guercio comment is about the second show, not this one
Ton Bruins (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 6, 2006report abuse
Maybe he had a few pills too much, maybe he had a bad day, maybe he was bored. So what ? That was Elvis !
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 6, 2006report abuse
No chaos..perhaps a little disorder. After all what`s been written about this infamous show. I must have to say I was pretty surprised. He was overdosed yes...he is slurring a bit and most songs are performed sloppily...anyway...he could sing ..he could talk...is was not that he was totally off the role like it`s been written in various books. This myth is now busted...the show the next day was even worse I think. Interesting release which will cause lots of discussions..
ElvisBR (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 6, 2006report abuse
Not so bad show ater all, better than 28/10. Good sound

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